Sharing cuisine with Maroondah’s Sudanese Community

In recent years the City of Maroondah has become home to refugees from Sudan, who have settled into the municipality to start a life within Australia. This evening, Maroondah’s Sudanese community prepared a traditional Sudanese meal to share with the Maroondah community, with the aim of bringing bring people together and to discuss common challenges facing people in the municipality.

Like many people within our community, Maroondah’s Sudanese population is finding it challenging to secure housing and employment opportunities and there is a need for all levels of government to work together in providing a diverse range of employment and housing options.

As the Mayor of Maroondah, I have assisted in the Sudanese community in establishing a dialogue with Central Ringwood Community Centre, with the aim of providing a meeting space for their community and thus encourage civic participation within the municipality.

While solutions to housing and employment focus on State and Federal Governments, local government can support this through delivering on a vision for the municipality. For example, the Ringwood Central Activities District aims to create a diverse range of employment opportunities and this will need to be reinforced through a range of housing types and community facilities.

I welcome Maroondah’s Sudanese community and thank them for the meal they have shared with the Maroondah community. The food, included lamb and cous cous with members explaining the different range of cuisines that exist within Sudan.

Media Release: Commitment welcomed for North Ringwood Community House

Maroondah City Council welcomes the funding commitment of $250,000 made by the Federal Opposition, through Phil Barresi, Candidate for Deakin and Kevin Andrews, Shadow Minister for Families, this morning towards the rebuilding of the North Ringwood Community House.

The Oban Road facility no longer meets the current or future needs of the community and Council is working with North Ringwood Community House Inc to find an appropriate site to relocate the House.

Alex with Phil Baressi, candidate for Deakin and Kevin Andres, Shadow Minister for Families, at North Ringwood Community House
Alex with Phil Baressi, candidate for Deakin and Kevin Andres, Shadow Minister for Families, at North Ringwood Community House

A Relocation Feasibility Study, commissioned by North Ringwood Community House Inc, estimated that to cater for the future population of North Ringwood, the new facility would need to consist of two to three full-sized classrooms, a large multi-purpose activities room, meeting room, staff facilities, consulting space, crèche and associated amenities, outdoor areas and car parking.

Alex with Phil Baressi, candidate for Deakin and Kevin Andrews, Shadow Minister for Families, with the Manager at North Ringwood Community House.
Alex with Phil Baressi, candidate for Deakin and Kevin Andrews, Shadow Minister for Families, with the Manager at North Ringwood Community House.

Council welcomes any opportunity to work in partnership with all political parties on matters which deliver positive outcomes for the Maroondah community.

2010 Year of Women in Local Government – LGPro Women’s Network Dinner

LGPro is the peak body for local government professionals within Victoria and holds regular events to promote development within the sector. 2010 is the year of women in local government and this evening I attended the LGPro Women’s Network Dinner to show my support for equity within the sector.

Maroondah City Council has been a stronger supporter of equity, with Maroondah being one of the sponsors of the event and an active member of LGPro and its board of management.

Ringwood Chamber of Commerce 2010 AGM

The Ringwood Chamber of Commerce aims to specifically represent the interests of businesses within Ringwood and is one of several business groups within the City of Maroondah. This evening the Ringwood Chamber of Commerce held its annual general meeting to elect officebearers for the upcoming twelve months and to outline the future direction of the organisation.

The Ringwood Chamber of Commerce and Industry was founded in 1947 and has played an important role in the history in Ringwood, including advocating for the placement of Eastland Shopping Centre, as well as Ringwood Square and the former Ringwood Market. Tonight’s guest speaker was Richard Carter, who spoke about his book, “From Horse Shoes to High Heels”, which documented the history of the land that is now occupied by Eastland Shopping Centre.

The establishment of Eastland in 1967, reshaped the Ringwood landscape and the centre has expanded several times over the following years, with the most recent extensions being in 2001. Eastland is now planning a further expansion, which will see the site expand to the Maroondah Highway and create a new mall-like environment. In addition, this redevelopment will provide for the creation of a new Library and Learning Centre for Ringwood, as well as the creation of a new town centre, to provide a civic and community soul for Ringwood.

This proposed development and the new civic facilities, means we can create an accessible urban centre, providing a range of community, residential and commercial opportunities. Ringwood has a unique history and it is great to see the involvement of our community in discussing the possibilities that exist for Ringwood’s future.

Media Release: Mayor makes the switch to myki

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Alex Makin is moving with the times, this week upgrading to the new myki ticketing system.

In December last year when Cr Makin was elected Mayor he decided not to drive the Mayoral vehicle, and generally relies on public transport or walking to attend Council appointments.

“Normally the Maroondah Mayor would have the use of a Mayoral car but I wanted to highlight the importance of sustainable transport within Maroondah and to demonstrate that is possible to utilise public transport to undertake commitments as Mayor,” Cr Makin said.

“While there is room for improvement, we are very fortunate in Maroondah to have good access to rail and bus transport making it a viable form of travel within the municipality,” Cr Makin said.

“As someone living in the heart of the Ringwood Central Activities District I know how important public transport is to ensuring a vibrant, accessible and sustainable municipality,” Cr Makin said.

“As a Central Activities District, Ringwood has been identified by the State Government as a vital public transport hub. While the imminent upgrade of the bus interchange at Ringwood will see improved public transport infrastructure, we urgently require a commitment to the upgrading of Ringwood Station to deliver a safe, accessible and integrated transport interchange.”

“It is critical that the State Government works in partnership with Council to achieve the vision of the Ringwood Central Activities District. A commitment to the redevelopment of Ringwood Station is essential in achieving this vision,” Cr. Makin concluded.

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Luncheon with Noeline Brown – Ambassador for Ageing

This afternoon I attended a luncheon organised by Yarrunga Community Centre, with Noeline Brown the Ambassador for Ageing.  Noeline was appointed as the Ambassador for Ageing in 2008, which was a newly created position that aims to create a positive image for ageing.

Alex with Noeline Brown, the Ambassador for Ageing, and staff at Yarrunga Community Centre.
Alex with Noeline Brown, the Ambassador for Ageing, and staff at Yarrunga Community Centre.

Approximately 100 guests attended the luncheon, where Noeline spoke about the importance of healthy lifestyles and remaining socially included within our community. In addition, Noeline discussed her extensive film and theatrical experience, discussing the techniques she uses to memorise scripts and to develop the characters within the roles she performs.

Yarrunga Community Centre holds a range of programs for all members of all community, including extensive offerings specifically for Maroondah’s seniors. For further details please visit the Yarrunga Community Centre website at

Media Release: Green Jobs Corps tackle creek

The Mullum Mullum Cultural Heritage Trail will be extended with the help of participants from the Maroondah National Green Jobs Corps.

National Green Jobs Corps is a Federal Government funded youth development program which offers young people a chance to gain quality experience and training while participating in community based projects of significant environmental and cultural heritage.

The Maroondah-based team will work in partnership with Council, Mission Australia Employment Solutions, Melbourne Water, Waterwatch Melbourne, Mullum Mullum Creek Bushcare Group, CRISP Community Nursery and Platypus Conservancy.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin, who launched the project last Friday, said the program offered the participants the right balance of work experience, skill development and accredited training

“The 16 participants in the Maroondah team will be working to extend the Mullum Mullum Cultural Heritage Trail, weed removal, revegetation works, water monitoring and flora and fauna surveys,” Cr Makin said.

“They have already created some additional paths, planted new trees and removed a large section of ivy along the creek path,” Cr Makin said.

“The Mullum Mullum area is an integral part of Maroondah and it is great to see that the land and it’s biodiversity is being preserved and enhanced,” Cr Makin said.

“At the same time these participants will undertake a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management at Swinburne TAFE, a Level II First-aid course and herbicide use training.

“In six months the participants will go from being unemployed with limited experience to having nationally recognised qualifications and workplace experience.”

To be eligible for the National Green Jobs Corps program you have to be aged 17-24, unemployed and receiving the Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance or Parenting Payment.

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Media Release: Federal election wishlist

Mayor of Maroondah, Councillor Alex Makin has confirmed Council’s major project for funding at the forthcoming Federal election.

“The Federal election provides Council with a wonderful opportunity to promote the City of Maroondah to all federal candidates, both sitting and standing, and to ensure they are briefed on the issues and projects that are of concern to the Maroondah community,” said Cr Makin.

“With federal political parties forming a consensus on the need for sustainable population growth, it is timely to note that Maroondah is poised to assist with these concerns, with Ringwood being one of six State Government designated Central Activities Districts,” said Cr Makin.

“Significant investment and development has commenced in Ringwood, with support from the State Government and private enterprise – major commercial and residential growth is already underway,” said Cr Makin.

“Our priority is to ensure that all federal political parties are aware of the proposal for the Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure facility and the importance of the project for the region, both in recreational and leisure terms as well as the economic and employment benefits during construction and operation,” said Cr Makin.

“A particular aspect of Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure is that it will lead the way in terms of Environmentally Sustainable Design – an essential element in any infrastructure planning,” said Cr Makin.

“Council is seeking considerable funding to assist with the development of this project, particularly for the diving facilities which will provide unique dry driving training for the State, as well as FINA standard 10 metre diving tower and pool,” said Cr Makin.

Council has sought a grant of $10 million from the Federal Government towards this vital project.

“Both Diving Victoria and Diving Australia are strongly supporting this initiative. These bodies recognise the need for new training and competition facilities and have the results on the board in terms of past, present and future diving athletes,” said Cr Makin.

“The Delhi Commonwealth Games later this year will have a number of diving competitors who began their careers at the current Ringwood Aquatic Centre, and I’m sure the Maroondah community will watch with some anticipation to see how well they perform,” said Cr Makin.

The project has also gained support from:

  • Ringwood Diving Club Inc
  • Whitehorse Diving Club
  • Ringwood Triathalon Club
  • Ringwood Swimming Club
  • Victorian Water Polo

“The Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure facility will complement the developments to take place in the Ringwood Central Activities District enabling it to meet the needs of the growing and diverse regional population of more than 400,000 people,” said Cr Makin.

“I will be endeavouring to meet with all candidates over the coming weeks to ensure that they are aware of the needs of the Maroondah community, and wish them all well as they campaign on behalf of our local community,” said Cr Makin.

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Media Release: Soccer pavilion takes shape

The Ringwood Soccer Reserve’s multipurpose sports pavilion is starting to take shape with the first of the steel beams being lifted into place last week.

In May 2009, the Federal Government provided $2.9million of funding for the project as part of the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program.

Maroondah Councillor Mayor Alex Makin welcomed Federal Member for Deakin MP Mike Symon and to the site last Wednesday to oversee the continuance of works.

“The old stadium and grandstand have been cleared from the site for some time, so it was amazing to see the crane lifting all of the steel beams into place,” Cr Makin said. “As the pavilion take shapes over the next couple of months the community will be able to start seeing the benefits of the new facility.”

“The redevelopment includes a multi-purpose shared sports pavilion with a boxing gymnasium, office space for the Ringwood District Cricket Association, male and female change facilities, car parking, spectator viewing areas and lighting,” Cr Makin said.

“The facility will also feature many environmentally friendly initiatives including the installation of solar hot water units, bladders will be placed under the building to catch storm water runoff which will be used to flush the toilets, solar panels will be used to generate enough power to light and heat the facility,” Cr Makin said.

The playing field will also be upgraded to an all weather synthetic surface. This project was jointly funded by $650,000 of funding from Maroondah Council and Sport and Recreation Victoria.

The completed venue will be home to the Ringwood City Soccer Club, Ringwood District Cricket Association and the MVC Boxing Club. It will also supplement the other major facilities at Ringwood’s Jubilee Park, including the proposed Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure facility.

The pavilion works are expected to be completed in January next year with car parking sealing to commence in February and the synthetic surface to be installed in March 2011.

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Maroondah Leader: Most like Council

Each year the State Government undertakes a survey measuring community satisfaction levels across each local government within Victoria. The survey, which was distributed through the State Government in February and March, asks 350 residents their thoughts on their relevant council.

The surveys measure community satisfaction across a number of different Council areas and were tabled at the July Council meeting. Council will use this information to assist in identifying areas of improvement, such as advocacy, which is an area Council needs to enhance.

One of Maroondah’s strengths is its recreational facilities, as well as health and human services, where Maroondah has consecutively scored highly as reflected through these results. The proposed new Maroondah Leisure and Aquatic Centre will further enhance the municipality’s performance in this area.

The Maroondah Leader has reported on the outcomes of the community satisfaction survey:

Mayor Alex Makin said the results for recreational facilities showed the city had a “wealth of top-class sporting and leisure opportunities”. He said he was pleased with the ratings, which generally remained unchanged, but that the council would use the feedback to prioritise resources.

One of the areas requiring improvement is advocacy and Council will be embarking on a significant campaign seeking a commitment towards the complete redevelopment of Ringwood Station in a safe, integrated and accessible transport interchange.