MAV State Council Meeting – May 2010

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is the peak body representing local government across Victoria and advocates on behalf of the sector.  The MAV holds two State Council meetings each year, where motions are debated to influence the policies and activities of the organisation.

As the current Mayor I am also Maroondah’s MAV representative, meaning that I represent the views of the municipality at the State Council meetings.

Maroondah submitted several motions to be debated at the State Council, including calling on the State Government to provide a centralised support service to provide assistance in regard to Councillor Workcover and Conflict of Interest provisions.  In addition Maroondah initiated a motion calling on the roll-out of energy efficient lighting across Victoria and expressed concern over the lack of consultation in regard to the increases in the State Government Landfill levy.

Each of these motions were successful and will help shape the policies and actions of the Municipal Association of Victoria.  The next State Council meeting is planned for late October.

Thank You Function for Red Cross Calling

Red Cross Calling is an annual event held between the 1st and 31st of March, which supports the Red Cross, an apolitical and secular organisation that supports humanity efforts across the world. Maroondah has several committed divisions of Red Cross, which support Red Cross Calling each year through doorknocking and raising funds. This evening, along with Cr. Ann Fraser, who also serves as a volunteer of the Red Cross, I thanked the volunteers of Red Cross Calling through a presentation at Council.

It was wonderful to see the many families supporting the Red Cross, as well as long serving volunteers, including one who had been supporting Red Cross Calling for fifty years. In addition, Maroondah Freeman of the City Bob McDiarmid, is on the Red Cross Calling Committee and he spoke about his experiences in supporting the Red Cross and the causes that the humanitarian relief that the organisation provides.

Alex with Cr Ann Fraser, congratulating the Girl Guides that participated in the 2010 Red Cross Calling.
Alex with Cr Ann Fraser, congratulating the Girl Guides that participated in the 2010 Red Cross Calling.

The Guides and Scouts are tremendous supporters of Red Cross Calling and I had the pleasure of presenting certificates to the many younger participants who assisted in this year’s appeal. While the Red Cross is a world-wide organisation it has also provided assistance locally, including support for the Bush Fires that caused widespread devastation in Victoria last year. I would like to thank the many individuals and families that have supported Red Cross through 2010 and in previous years.

To find out more about the work of the Red Cross and its fundraising efforts please visit

Development in Maroondah – Business Networking Event

Maroondah City Council holds regular events for the business community to provide information on Council’s policies and future trends. This evening we hosted an information session on the Ringwood Central Activities District to provide an update on plans for the revitalisation of Ringwood.

As the Mayor of Maroondah, I introduced the session and provided an overview of some of the projects council is initiating within Ringwood to support the Central Activities District.

The session was supported by the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) and included Prue Digby, the Deputy Secretary (Planning and Local Government) of DPCD, who provided the State Government context in regard to activity centres.

Frank Dixon, Maroondah’s CEO and Phil Turner, the Director of City Development, both spoke at the session to discuss Maroondah’s involvement in the Central Activities District, including the preliminary plans for the redevelopment of the Ringwood Aquatic Centre, into a multifaceted leisure facility, as well as the Ringwood Library redevelopment, which will coincide with the Eastland redevelopment.

It is imperative that Maroondah delivers community infrastructure that reinforces Ringwood’s status as a Central Activities District and complements the redevelopment of Ringwood as a sustainable and accessible urban centre.

Maroondah celebrates National Reconciliation Week

National Reconciliation Week is held between the 27th of May and the 3rd of June and aims to foster mutual respect and wellbeing between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

Alex with Aunty Doreen Garvey-Wandin, Wurundjeri/Wandoon Elder at the 2010 Launch of Reconciliation Week
Alex with Aunty Doreen Garvey-Wandin, Wurundjeri/Wandoon Elder at the 2010 Launch of Reconciliation Week

Maroondah celebrates Reconciliation Week through an official launch, which was held today to acknowledge National Sorry Day on the 26th of May. National Sorry Day was formed in 1998 and in recognition of the Bringing Them Home Report and to acknowledge past injustices towards indigenous Australians so as to begin the process of reconciliation

Maroondah released its Reconciliation Policy in 2009 and released its Community Wellbeing Plan earlier this year. Both plans strengthen Maroondah’s approach towards reconciliation through education and strengthening wellbeing within our community.

Alex announcing the acquisition of the painting Tali, reaffirming Maroondah's commitment to Reconciliation
Alex announcing the acquisition of the painting Tali, reaffirming Maroondah's commitment to Reconciliation

To reaffirm Council’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation I had the pleasure of announcing the acquisition of the painting Tali by Indigenous Elder Ray Ken. The artwork depicts the story of the sandhill country around Watarru, the country of Ray’s grandmother. The artwork will be on display until the 30th of July in the foyer of Maroondah Federation Estate.

A series of events will be provided in recognition of reconciliation week, including cultural awareness training, documentaries and workshops. For further details please visit

The speech delivered at the launch of Reconciliation Week 2010 is available within this post:
Continue reading “Maroondah celebrates National Reconciliation Week”

Media Release: A nod to Maroondah’s Red Cross volunteers

Maroondah’s Red Cross Calling volunteers will tonight (26 May) be received in the Council chambers during a special function in recognition of their charity work.

Mayor of Maroondah, Councillor Alex Makin, will meet the volunteers to thank them for their fundraising efforts during the 2010 Red Cross Calling campaign in March.

“Volunteers make a vital contribution to the success of Red Cross Calling and I’m honoured to thank them on behalf of Council and the community during tonight’s function,” Cr Makin said.

“Their efforts are appreciated and I’m looking forward to speaking with the people who put their hands up to help a worthy cause,” Cr Makin said.

“It’s important that we support organisations such as the Red Cross, which is often first in line to assist victims of natural disasters and those in needs of blood,” Cr Makin said.

Donations made during Red Cross Calling help the Red Cross respond to disasters faced by people in communities across Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

To find out more about the work of the Red Cross and its fundraising efforts, or to see how you can help by volunteering or donating, visit

Media Release: Mullum Mullum Reserve fencing application approved

Council has this week granted conditional approval for the construction of a permanent fence along the length of the Mullum Mullum Road frontage of Mullum Mullum Reserve in North Ringwood.

The application by Norwood Football Club to construct the fence was approved during Monday night’s (24 May) Council meeting.

The club cited a number of factors in support of their application, including the additional safety a fence would provide for park users – particularly small children – and their ability to collect gate fees during home games.

Mayor of Maroondah, Cr Alex Makin, said there had been much community interest in the fence proposal and the conditions imposed aimed to address the most common concerns identified.

“In making this decision Council has taken into account the feedback received during several consultation periods and is confident that the conditions imposed will lead to a satisfactory outcome,” Cr Makin said.

“The fence will be 1.2 metres in height and designed to blend into the Mullum Mullum Reserve surrounds. It will be made of black PVC coated chain mesh and will be more aesthetic than the current yellow temporary fence used during Norwood Football Club home games,” Cr Makin said.

Among conditions attached to the planning approval is that Norwood Football Club bear the cost of fence construction, that match day entry fees be voluntary, and that a gate management plan be developed.

Council will work in conjunction with the football club to determine the exact location of the fence.

– ENDS –

Maroondah Journal: Community centre gets second wind

Central Ringwood Community Centre is located in Bedford Park in Ringwood and provides courses, as well as meeting space for community groups.  The Centre received a $200,000 grant to provide accessibility improvements and a new activity room through a partnership between Maroondah City Council and the Federal Government.

Cr Makin said the upgrades came as wonderful news for families of the 105 children who attended the centre’s playground each week and community groups who used the venue.

“They have given the centre a new lease on life and ensure that user groups will continue to enjoy high quality facilities.”

Central Ringwood Community Centre has a strong focus on social inclusion, including migrant communities and people with disabilities and the completed building improvements will assist in better meeting the needs of the Maroondah community.

Delegates’ Report: Dawn Service, youth projects, community facilities and recognising our natural environment

On the 25th of April I attended the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Ringwood Clocktower along with Councillors Ann Fraser, Nora Lamont and Natalite Thomas.  The Dawn Service is facilitated by the Ringwood RSL and I would like to congratulate them on their ongoing involvement and for catering to the growing crowds that gather each year.

On the 6th of May I spoke with the participants within the Young Leaders Program, which is a week long program providing leadership and confidence skills for up to thirty Year 10 students.

The students participate in a number of activities throughout the week and part of the program includes a session entitled ‘Councillor for a Day’.  I was the speaker for this session, where participants discussed the role of local government and I provided an overview of the activities undertaken as a Councillor and Mayor.  The students had many questions around the role of local government and it was fantastic to see an active interest in our local community.

The graduation ceremony for the Young Leaders Program was held on the following day, the 7th of May, and while students may have finished the course, there is a further opportunity to use these skills through the Community Action Project.  The Community Action Project involves students choosing a project that they wish to develop and to deliver positive outcomes for the community.  The skills that were developed throughout the past week will equip these participants with the ability to undertake this project and I look forward to seeing the positive work they will be undertaking in the community.

The Young Leaders Program is one of several activities undertaken through the EVs Youth Centre in Croydon and I wish to congratulate staff and the students for their involvement in the Young Leaders Program.

On Sunday the 15th of May I attended a public forum convened through the Maroondah Interfaith Network.  This group, which was formed in partnership with Maroondah City Council, provides a forum for Maroondah’s faith based communities and aims to provide dialogue between the religious communities within the municipality.

The forum was the first event convened by the Maroondah Interfaith Network and it highlighted that all beliefs hold the same core values of respect and acceptance.  I would like to congratulate the Maroondah Interfaith Network on holding such a successful event and I look forward to their ongoing involvement within the community.

On the 20th of May I had the pleasure of opening the upgraded facilities at Central Ringwood Community Centre, which is a project that was completed in partnership with Council and the Federal Government.  The new facilities will enable Central Ringwood to provide a more accessible centre and to offer additional programs and courses for our community.  This project represents the positive community outcomes that can be achieved when multiple levels of government work together to achieve results for Maroondah.

Lastly, last Saturday on the 22nd of May I attended the Mullum Ward Picnic in the Park along with Cr. Ann Fraser.  It was wonderful to see so many members of our community enjoying the day and this was certainly helped by the pleasant weather that we had.

The Picnics in the Park provide an opportunity to rediscover Maroondah’s Reserves and at BJ Hubbard there was a strong environmental focus given that the Reserve is part of Maroondah’s remnant bushland and home to unique flora and fauna.  Speakers provided information on the environmental significance of BJ Hubbard Reserve and it was wonderful to see such a strong interest in our local environment.

I’ll be tabling the rest of my report.

Accessibility groups discussing public transport issues

The Disability Action Group Eastern Region (DAGER) is a community based group focused on improving accessibility within Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, including the City of Maroondah.  The group meets on a monthly basis and often has guest speakers at its meetings.  This morning the group held a combined meeting with Scoot Wheel n Move, a community group which is focused on the needs of people with mobility aids, to discuss public transport issues relevant to Maroondah and the broader eastern region.

The meeting included presentations from Brian Tee, the Parliamentary Secretary for Public Transport, as well as representatives from Metro.  Brian spoke about the Government’s Victorian Transport Plan, as well as the bus reviews, where he outlined some of the network wide improvements that are planned for Melbourne’s public transport system.  In particular, the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus will be extended from Ringwood from 2011 to provide another orbital route across Melbourne’s northern and eastern suburbs, similar to the recently upgraded orbital services from Box Hill and Nunawading.  Other improvements include extending route 670, along Maroondah Highway, to Swinburne University in Lilydale, as well as more frequent services which are due to begin in July.

While these upgrades are definitely welcomed, there are still further improvements required for the Maroondah community, including the need for commitment to the long-term recommendations in the bus service reviews.  These improvements include new and more frequent services and it is imperative that the Government commits to their implementation.

In addition there is the need for a commitment to the complete redevelopment of Ringwood Station, with many members of the group sharing their adverse experiences with Ringwoood Station.  The steep and narrow ramps at the Station fail disability compliance standards making it difficult to access for people with disabilities and mobility aids.  This lack of access hampers the ability to create a sustainable and inclusive urban centre and it is imperative that the State Government fully commit to the redevelopment of the Station.

The combined meeting between the Disability Action Group Eastern Region and Scoot Wheel n Move demonstrates the passion and strength that exists within Maroondah for an inclusive and accessible community.  Both groups meet on a monthly basis and have proved to be strong advocates for creating a more inclusive municipality.

Ringwood Croquet Club – Celebration of court works

The Ringwood Croquet Club is part of the Jubilee Park Sporting Precinct and offers both social and competitive croquet.  This afternoon I attended the Club to join the celebrations of their court resurfacing works and kitchen renovations.

The Club  undertook these court renovations through Council’s third/third/third grants program, which provides funding for infrastructure projects on Council land.  The third/third/third program shares the costs of these projects between the Club and Council with the final third being offered as a loan or through Government or other agencies.

The new court surfaces use a summer grass that requires less water than the previous surface.  In addition the Croquet Club has installed water tanks reducing their dependence on mains water and improving the sustainability of the Club.  It is encouraging to see the Ringwood Croquet Club supporting water conservation initiatives and having such a strong commitment to sustainability.