Media Release: Safety a key priority in Ringwood Station upgrade

Safety has become a key factor in Maroondah City Council’s push to secure a commitment to upgrade Ringwood Station within the next term of government.

Maroondah Councillor and Community Safety Reference Group representative Rob Steane said everyone deserved access to safe, accessible public transport.

“Media reports earlier this year highlighted Ringwood as having one of the highest levels of crimes across the metropolitan railway network. Regardless of whether or not these reports are a true reflection of Ringwood Station, they have resulted in a public perception that Ringwood Station is unsafe,” Cr Steane said.

“People have a right to feel safe when they are using public transport, and at the moment many people are scared to use Ringwood Station,” Cr Steane said.

“An upgrade to Ringwood Station would not only improve the amenities of the Station but it would also go a long way to improving public perceptions of safety,” Cr Steane said.

“The current layout of the station means there are many areas that are not visible from Maroondah Highway and Station Street, especially the ramps linking the platforms,” Cr Steane said.

Maroondah Mayor Alex Makin said he had spoken to many people in the course of the campaign with most commenting on safety concerns.

“Most people have commented on their insecurity when using the station at night. Many choosing to continue onto another station rather than have the worry of being at the station alone,” Cr Makin said.
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“The proposed upgrade to the station would open the whole area up to scrutiny and therefore act as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour,” Cr Makin said.

“It will also provide a better link to the central retail and business district making the area a safer, more visually attractive and user-friendly public place,” Cr Makin said.

“Securing this funding for an upgrade is an important start to improving Ringwood’s transport interchange and town centre. We will continue to lobby the state political parties on behalf of the Maroondah community for a funding commitment,” Cr Makin concluded.

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Media Release: Council signs an Agreement of Mutual Support

Maroondah City Council Mayor Alex Makin has joined five eastern council Mayors in signing an Agreement for Mutual Support in an effort to provide a stronger voice for the region.

Councillor Makin said the agreement would deliver a cohesive approach to issues facing the region.

“Having the support of our surrounding Councils will mean that Maroondah is better placed to tackle issues which affect our region, including public transport and community facilities,” Cr Makin said.

“Our aim is to ensure that all levels of government are well aware of the collective issues facing Councils and communities in the eastern suburbs. Maroondah Council has already been working cooperatively with our neighbouring councils and I look forward to this continuning into the future,” Cr Makin said.

The Mayors of the municipalities of Whitehorse, Knox, Manningham and Yarra Ranges also signed the agreement.
The agreement for mutual support commits the councils, where consistent and in accordance with each council’s adopted policy or position, to:

  • Lend support of the Council’s activities as considered appropriate in matters of common interest or mutual benefit
  • Be mindful of and take up opportunities to include other councils in activities that can provide economic, social and environmental benefit across the municipal boundaries
  • Work cooperatively and pro-actively to provide a collective voice for the region in matters where a collective voice will give greater weight to regional issues and solutions
  • Not replicate the activities of existing bodies, forums or like associations that already provide a collective voice for the councils covered by the agreement.

“This agreement will strengthen the partnerships that already exist between the five Councils and ensure that we work collectively to deliver outcomes for our communities,” Cr. Makin concluded.

The signing took place on Wednesday 22 September at the Art Space at Box Hill Town Hall, 1022 Whitehorse Road.

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Media Release: Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure community expo

The Maroondah community is invited to an information expo at Eastland on Wednesday October 15 to hear more about the proposed Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure facility.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Alex Makin said following the success of the first expo at Eastland in August Council would be hosting more throughout the municipality.

“The expos are an opportunity for people to see how the proposed new facility could provide exciting aquatic and leisure activities for them and their family,” Cr Makin said.

“There will be a variety of information, images and concept plans on display and and there will be an opportunity for people to provide feedback on their thoughts of the proposed facility,” Cr Makin said.

“For those who want to discuss the proposal further there will be leisure experts, representatives from Ringwood Diving Club, Ringwood Swimming Club, Ringwood Triathlon Club and council staff on hand to answer all of your questions,” Cr Makin said.

“The proposed facility is accessible for all, and includes warm water pool; dedicated learn to swim pool; 50 metre pool; and extensive water play and large indoor water slides. It is also proposed to include an extensive gymnasium with multipurpose exercise rooms and a wellness centre,” Cr Makin said.

“With all of this under the one roof the proposed facility will offer exciting aquatic and leisure activities for everyone,” Cr Makin said.

“The expo will also highlight the proposed state diving centre which is strongly supported by Diving Australia, Diving Victoria and Ringwood Diving Club. If we can secure state or federal government funding, the facility would also include unique dry driving training facilities and a FINA standard 10 metre diving tower and pool,” Cr Makin said.

“The expo at Eastland is a valuable opportunity for the public to chat to the experts; meet representatives from swimming, diving and other aquatic sports; and provide feedback on the proposed facility,” Cr Makin said.

Two more Community expos have also been organised; from 10am to noon, October 23 at Ringwood Aquatic Centre and on November 7 during Maroondah Festival.

What: Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure information expo
When: Wednesday October 15
Where: Eastland Shopping Centre main stage area
When: 1pm to 8pm

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Monkami Luncheon – Introducing Alarming Art

The Monkami Centre is located in Croydon and is a not-for-profit disability services provider for people with intellectual disabilities.  The Centre has a strong emphasis on empowering its clients and provides a range of educational, employment and community development activities.

This afternoon I attended a luncheon organised by the Monkami Centre to provide an introduction to their latest project, ‘Alarming Art’. The project includes the transforming of the former Croydon Fire Station into a community art space, featuring artwork from Monkami’s clients and other artists.

Today’s lunch also provided an opportunity for Monkami to discuss their other projects, including volunteer and employment opportunities that exist for their clients. These projects are critical in demonstrating that people with intellectual disabilities can contribute positively to our community and I commend Monkami for its emphasis on developing and enhancing the skills of its clients.

An official launch of Alarming Art is planned for 6.30 pm on Thursday the 14th of October at the former Croydon Fire Station, 14A Croydon Road in Croydon.

Manager of Marketing Services at Eastern Volunteers

Eastern Volunteers is a community based not-for-profit organisation that provides volunteer assisted transport and volunteer recruitment across the Cities of Maroondah and Whitehorse and the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

I had been a board member of Eastern Volunteers since July 2008 providing oversight and direction for the activities undertaken by the organisation. Eastern Volunteers has grown considerably over the past few years and now has 14 part-time staff supported with approximately 100 volunteers.

This morning I accepted the position of Manager of Marketing Services for Eastern Volunteers, which means I will not be seeking re-nomination to the board at the annual general meeting. This new role will focus on expanding the marketing activities of Eastern Volunteers, ensuring that the organisation is able to continue to expand and deliver its services.

The role is part-time enabling me to undertake my Council commitments, as well as my employment with Eastern Volunteers.

Maroondah Leader: Point of no slick churn

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) is a community based organisation that promotes improvements to public transport.

I served as the founder and Convenor of the Outer East Branch until 2008, forming the branch to provide local advocacy on public transport issues affecting Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Since 2008 Jeremy Lunn has served as the branch convenor and has performed tremendously in continuing to raise public transport issues effecting the the eastern region.

The Maroondah Leader has reported on ongoing concerns regarding the lack of frequent rail services along the Belgrave and Lilydale lines beyond Ringwood. I joined Jeremy in calling for more frequent services:

Public Transport Users Association outer east convenor Jeremy Lunn said passengers travelling on the Belgrave/Lilydale line beyond Ringwood were receiving services below urban standards.

Maroondah Mayor Alex Makin said consistent 10 minute services were essential, given Ringwood’s status as a Central Activities District.

The use of sustainable forms of transport is critical to the success of Ringwood’s transformation into a Central Activities District and the current half services beyond Ringwood do not encourage public transport usage.

“For example, people are waiting up to 30 minutes for an eight minute train ride to and from Croydon,” Cr Makin said. “It is completely unacceptable to have long gaps in frequency, particularly when we want more people to use public transport in Ringwood.”

The Frankston line was recently provided with a consistent 10 minute off-peak service, providing a frequent service linking the Frankston Central Activities District. This a welcomed step and provides public transport services that minimise waiting times.

Ringwood and Box Hill are both Central Activities Districts and served by the Belgrave/Lilydale lines, it is clear that these services require similar frequency improvements. Outer eastern residents should not need to wait up to half an hour to connect them to Ringwood or Box Hill.

Maroondah signs Agreement of Mutual Support with Eastern Councils

One of the areas that has been lacking in local government has been cooperation across councils to work pro-actively as a region.   While there are some regional groupings in existence, there is a need for a more focused and proactive level of cooperation across the region.

This afternoon I joined my counterparts in Knox, Manningham, Whitehorse and the Shire of Yarra Ranges to sign an agreement of mutual support, which means that the five councils will work cooperatively on areas that have been identified as a priorities across the region.

The agreement aims to:

  • Lend support of the Council’s activities as considered appropriate in matters of common interest or mutual benefit
  • Be mindful of and take up opportunities to include other councils in activities that can provide economic, social and environmental benefit across the municipal boundaries
  • Work cooperatively and pro-actively to provide a collective voice for the region in matters where a collective voice will give greater weight to regional issues and solutions
  • Not replicate the activities of existing bodies, forums or like associations that already provide a collective voice for the councils covered by the agreement.
Alex with the Mayors of Manningham, Knox, Yarra Ranges and Whitehorse signing an agreement of mutual support
Alex with the Mayors of Manningham, Knox, Yarra Ranges and Whitehorse signing an agreement of mutual support

The structure of the agreement ensures that the member Councils will work cooperatively and not duplicate the efforts of other bodies, ensuring that it will be focused on making a difference towards the region. Initial priorities include advocacy for public transport improvements and regional facilities, whereby that the councils work together to deliver the best possible outcomes for the community. For example, each of the five member councils have provided letters of support in regard the proposed Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure Centre, reflecting its significance to the region.

The signing of this agreement signals a more collaborative approach between the Cities of Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Whitehorse and the Shire of Yarra Ranges, ensuring that we work together to achieve collective results for the eastern region.

Media Release: Councillors show support for Ringwood Station petition

Maroondah City Councillors have thrown their support behind the Ringwood Station Petition and are urging other members of the community to get behind the campaign.

All nine Maroondah Councillors have signed the petition which is calling on all state political parties to commit to an upgrade of Ringwood Station within the term of the next government.

Maroondah Mayor Alex Makin, who was the first signatory on the petition, thanked the community for their ongoing support of the campaign.

“There have been many community groups and individuals, who feel strongly about the station upgrade, circulating the petition around the region,” Cr Makin said.

“We appreciate the community support, but to make the signatures count, the petitions need to be returned to Council by Friday October 1,” Cr Makin said. “The petition will then be collated and presented to State Parliament in the final sitting week before the state election.”

“The more signatures and community support we can generate through the petition the stronger our voice is to ensure the funding commitment is made. So it’s not too late to sign the petition at one of Council’s service centres or on council’s website,’ Cr Makin said.

To sign the petition or find out more about the campaign:

Visit one of Council’s service centres:

City Offices Service Centre
Braeside Avenue, Ringwood

Eastland Service Centre
Level 2, Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood

Croydon Service Centre
Civic Square, Croydon

Go online to watch the video, to complete an online submission or to download a copy of the petition:
Maroondah Council website –
Maroondah Youth Services website
Facebook –

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Media Release: Draft Community Facilities Occupancy Policy and Pricing Policy on public display

Maroondah City Council has endorsed the draft Community Facilities Occupancy Policy and the draft Community Facilities Pricing Policy for public display.

The policies were presented at the Council meeting on September 20.

Council currently owns or manages more than 100 sports fields, pavilions, halls, meeting rooms and other facilities on behalf of the community.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Alex Makin said the draft policies were developed concurrently and were directly aligned.

“The draft policies provide a comprehensive framework for the community use of Council owned or managed facilities,” Cr Makin said.

“The draft Community Facilities Occupancy Policy and the draft Community Facilities Pricing Policy will guide the process of determining appropriate occupancy agreements and pricing structures for all Council owned or managed facilities and ensure the agreements are consistent and transparent,” Cr Makin said.

“The draft policies aim to establish clear frameworks so the community groups know what they are paying for, why they are paying and that other users groups in similar situations are contributing in a consistent manner,” Cr Makin said.

“Under the draft Community Facilities Occupancy Policy community groups wishing to use Council owned or managed facilities will have to undergo an assessment to determine the suitability of the proposed arrangement and the length of tenure. Once this assessment has taken place Council will then discuss the rate of rental,” Cr Makin said.

“There are two existing policies relating to the occupancy and the pricing of community facilities, however these policies have not been updated for a number of years. During this time there has been changes to legislation, increased emphasis on risk management and occupational health and safety requirements and changes to the way the groups are using the facilities,” Cr Makin said.

“To meet these new needs Council has also reassessed the pricing structure associated with the use of Council facilities. The current pricing structure has been in place for the past 11 years and was established with the intention that Council could recover an estimated 30 per cent of facility maintenance costs,” Cr Makin said.

“In the past 11 years that margin has dropped significantly and Council is currently recovering on average 3 per cent of maintenance costs for the sporting grounds and 15 per cent for the pavilions,” Cr Makin said.

“Council believes the sporting grounds and community facilities are integral to the development of a strong community, which is why we subsidise and support the many groups which use them,” Cr Makin said.

“We need to have a system in place which allows for the reasonable, transparent and equitable use of these facilities,” Cr Makin said.

The policies cover most Council owned facilities or grounds including:

  • Council Owned Community Halls
  • Community Centres
  • Kindergartens
  • Senior Citizens Centres
  • Sporting Pavilions
  • Sports Grounds and sporting activity surfaces
  • Scout and Guide Halls
  • Facilities managed by Council Committees of Management
  • Maroondah Federation Estate

The draft policies will be on public display until October 26. Those wanting to make a submission must do so before this date. Following consideration of the submissions the policies will be amended where appropriate and Council endorsement will be sought.

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Maroondah Weekly: Station upgrade high on wishlist

Maroondah City Council’s campaign calling for the upgrade of Ringwood Station is continuing with a strong response to the petition calling on all political parties to commit to the redevelopment of the Station during the next term of Government.

The Maroondah Weekly has reported on Council’s campaign and the widespread community support it has received:

“It has been great to hear how strongly the community feels about the need for an upgrade to the station,” mayor Alex Makin said.  “People are fed up with the current state of the station and are willing to speak out to campaign for change.  The more community support we can generate, the greater the impact it will have when we present the petition to the political parties.”

The online petition enables community members to leave comments on their thoughts on the condition of Ringwood Station and Council has received many responses highlighting the accessibility and safety issues that exist at the station.

Cr Makin said the comments highlighted the station’s inadequacies and shows the personal impact it was having on rail users.

“It is not compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act and it is time that Ringwood Station receives the upgrade it deserves.  This is something the people of Maroondah feel strongly about. Council has listened to their concerns and is doing everything possible to ensure that these voices are heard.”

There is still time for members of the community to sign the petition which is available at Council’s Customer Service Centres or online at