Attendance Report: Promoting the arts and community organisations

On the 31st of March I had the pleasure of opening Parole Viaggianti, which is the latest exhibition at Maroondah Federation Estate. Parole Viaggianti, otherwise known as Travelling Words, features artwork by Angela Cavalieri explores the relationship between language, cultural memory and subjectivity drawing upon Angela’s experiences while travelling.

The exhibition was developed in partnership with the La Trobe University Museum of Art and highlights the Gallery’s role in exhibiting promising artists.

Parole Viaggianti will be on exhibition until the 14th of May at the Maroondah Art Gallery, located at Maroondah Federation Estate in Greenwood Avenue, Ringwood.

On the 7th of April I had the pleasure of attending the 21st birthday celebrations of the Croydon Stroke Support Group. The Group, which focuses on providing peer support, has grown rapidly over the past 21 years In recent times, the group has developed an arts focus, uncovering the hidden talents of its members, through painting, drawing and mosaics, as as well as writing.

The group has also pioneered the first choir for people with aphasia, a stroke condition where people are unable to speak but are still able to sing. The choir, which is an Australian first, helps restore confidence for people with aphasia and develops new talents in the arts and singing.

I would like to congratulate the Croydon Stroke Support Group for celebrating its 21st birthday and its innovation, I’m certain the Group will have many more birthdays to celebrate.

Media Release: Funding assisting for flood victims

Maroondah residents damaged in the January and February floods may be eligible for financial support as part of the 2011 Victorian Floods Disaster Relief Fund.

Councillor Alex Makin said the funding was established to assist residents to repair flood-damaged homes and replace household goods.

“The Damage to House and Contents Gift is open to a range of households including owner occupied, tenants, boarders and sole residential asset owners,” Cr Makin said.

“The gift is structured in two stages. Stage one is an initial payment of $1000 to assist with immediate costs facing households with significant damage to their flood-affected houses,” Cr Makin said.

“Stage two is a further payment to assist with the replacement of household contents and towards the repair and restoration of homes which have been more severely damaged. The amount residents will receive for this payment will depend on the number of eligible applicants and the amount available in the fund,” Cr Makin said.

“A single application form is used to determine who is eligible for the payments, as some applicants may only be eligible for one of the payments, depending on their circumstances,” Cr Makin said.

“As well as completing the application form residents will need to provide supporting documentation regarding the extent of damage to their house and contents and sign a statutory declaration,” Cr Makin said.

All applications must be submitted before 1 July 2011.

To determine if you are eligible for funding assistance contact the Floods Disaster Relief Fund on 1800 180 213, email or visit to download the application form and fact sheets.

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Maroondah Leader: Trains unreliable

The Maroondah Leader has reported on the decline in reliability for trains serving Maroondah through the Belgrave and Lilydale lines.

Cr Alex Makin said the lack of services left passengers waiting up to 30 minutes to get from Croydon to Ringwood.

While peak-hour services continue to suffer from reliability issues, there is also a lack of frequent rail services serving stations beyond Ringwood during inter-peak times.

“The whole notion of Ringwood being the Central Activities District is built on the notion of reliable and frequent public transport.”

While the Government should be commended for committing to the redevelopment of Ringwood Station from 2014, there is a need to provide frequent services to reduce the delays in travelling to and from Ringwood and other stations in Maroondah.

Celebrating the 21st Birthday of the Croydon Stroke Support Group

The Croydon Stroke Support Group is a community based organisation that supports people with stroke. The group provides peer support, as well as innovative programs to help restore confidence and provide assistance for people with stroke and their carers.

This morning I was invited to join the celebrations as the Croydon Stoke Support Group celebrated its 21st birthday. The group began due to a need for peer support group for with stroke in the eastern suburbs. Since this time the group has grown considerably, with weekly meetings, monthly barbecues, as well as art therapy and choir.

The Croydon Stroke Support Group has a strong interest in the arts, with exhibitions showcasing canvas, mosaic and photographic works undertaken by members. In addition the group recently formed the Stroke a Chord choir which involves members that have aphasia, a stroke condition where they are able unable to speak but can sing. The Choir provides an opportunity for these members to be involved within the group and is a first for Australia.

The large attendance at the Croydon Stroke Support Group demonstrates the far-reaching and positive impact the group has with members of the Maroondah community. I congratulate the Croydon Stroke Support Group on its successful 21st birthday.

Media Release: Time to immunise before flu season hits

As the cold weather closes in, now is the time to book in for an annual influenza immunisation.

Councillor Alex Makin said Maroondah City Council has a highly dedicated immunisation team committed to quality service in the delivery of immunisations to the local community and businesses.

“Council offers free immunisation sessions at various locations in Maroondah each month. The influenza vaccine is available free of charge to people over the age of 65, pregnant woman, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 15 years, and anyone over the age of six months with a medical condition that increases the risk of influenza complications,” Cr Makin said.

“For those who aren’t eligible for a free flu vaccination, Council provides the service for $20 per dose,” Cr Makin said.

“Council also offers a Corporate Immunisation Service which means the Immunisation Team will visit businesses and immunise staff, with the most common being the flu vaccine,” Cr Makin said.

“Research has shown that healthy working adults who have been vaccinated against flu have half the number of doctor’s visits and nearly half the number of sick days,” Cr Makin said.

“So offering staff the opportunity to immunise against the flu could not only prevent the spread of the flu in your workplace, but it will also help to keep your workforce productive and healthy,” Cr Makin said.

If you are interested in protecting your staff please contact the Immunisation Team on 9294 5627 to discuss a program that will best suit your needs.

“The vaccine is most effective when received towards the start of Autumn, with the vaccine taking about two weeks to develop and provide protection,” Cr Makin said.

“Council is committed to providing an exceptional immunisation service that is readily available to everybody, with the immunisation program a vital part of Council’s community health strategy,” Cr Makin said.

“And with the knowledge that Council’s Immunisation Service has full accreditation in compliance with AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008 Quality Standards, Maroondah families can be even more confident of receiving a safe, effective immunisation service,” Cr Makin said.

Council also provides a secondary school immunisation program and a pre-school immunisation program for four-year-olds, plus free immunisation information and advice.

Dates and times for the April to June period can be obtained from Council’s Service Centres, Maternal & Child Health Centres, or

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Maroondah Partners in Community Wellbeing Committee – First meeting for 2011

The Maroondah Partners in Community Wellbeing Committee is a delegated committee of Council that includes two Councillors and a number of external organisations, including EACH, Eastern Volunteers, the Outer East Primary Care Partnership, Women’s Health East and other health and education providers.

The Committee meets on a quarterly basis, with Council representation consisting of myself and Cr Ann Fraser. The Committee oversees the implementation of Council’s Community Wellbeing Plan, which aims to improve health and wellbeing within Maroondah through working in partnership with other key organisations.

Today’s meeting reviewed Council’s internal progress towards implementing actions within the plan. This ensures that the various Council departments are working towards progressing the plan and delivering upon its outcomes.

The Community Wellbeing Plan is renewed every four years and as such it is imperative that progress is measured to consider its success. Progress has been positive and it is encouraging to see outcomes being achieved.

Maroondah Citizens Advice Bureau 2011 Annual General Meeting

The Maroondah Citizens Advice Bureau is in its 43rd year and provides emergency relief for people in need, information referral and support.

Today’s Annual General Meeting elected committee members for the 2011/2012 year who provide ongoing direction for this vital community organisation. I had previously been a committee member of the Maroondah Citizens Advice Bureau since 2007 where I assisted in the planning and delivery of their business plan.

This plan led to modernisation of the service, including database systems for clients and referral agencies, improving efficiency and ensuring up-to-date records and information. The plan also strengthened the marketing of the organisation through a website, as well as ensuring consistent promotional materials and publicity.

Governance reforms were also undertaken providing delegated authority for the office administrator and a clear distinction between paid staff and the committee of management.

I chose not to re-nominate for the committee given that I felt that the changes over the past few years helped deliver an ongoing and sustainable future for the organisation.

For further information on the Maroondah Citizens Advice Bureau please visit