Attendance Report: National Volunteering Week and Young Leaders

National Volunteering Week was held between the 9th and 13th of May and provides an opportunity to promote volunteering and the many community groups that exist within the community. The week included an expo at Eastland Shopping Centre encouraging volunteers and was supported through media coverage in the Maroondah Leader.

Volunteering is a measure of the vibrancy and success of our community and I encourage people to consider how they can volunteer for the many community organisations that exist within Maroondah.

On the 13th of May, along with Cr Natalie Thomas, I attended the Young Leaders Presentation Evening providing an opportunity to congratulate the participants who completed the Young Leaders Program. The Young Leaders Program is a week-long course operated through EVs Youth Centre, which promotes leadership qualities for Year 10 students within Maroondah.

I would like to congratulate the participants for their dedication and for completing the course. I trust that the skills they have learnt will be useful in their future education, employment and employment endeavours.

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.

Attendance Report: Celebrating Maroondah’s Arts and Cultural Events

On the 26th of February I attended the Picnic in the Park hosted at Maroondah Federation Estate, which coincided with the celebrations for its 10th anniversary. Maroondah Federation Estate was established in partnership between local, state and federal governments on the site of the former Ringwood Primary School

The foresight that resulted in the establishment of Maroondah Federation Estate, delivered a premiere arts and cultural centre for Maroondah and Melbourne’s outer east, with a gallery that attracts a wide variety of exhibitions and space for community organisations. The festivities included photographs from the former school reflecting the historical value of Maroondah Federation Estate.

On the 18th of March I was back at Maroondah Federation Estate where I had the pleasure of opening the Kaleidoscope Exhibition at the Long Gallery located in the former class rooms. The exhibition, which is organised by Scope, celebrates the artistic skills of people with disabilities by focusing on their talents. The exhibition, which is one of several through Kaleidoscope showcased artworks under the theme of Inspiration Works and several participants travelled considerable distances to be able to attend.

Accompanying the exhibition was music provided by members of Scope, highlighting the diverse range of artistic and musical talents that exist. Kaleidoscope is a celebration of these talents and it was a pleasure to meet many of the exhibiting artists at the opening of the exhibition.

Attendance Report: Australia Day and the changeover for the CAD Mayors Forum

On the 26th of January I attended the Maroondah Australia Day Celebrations at Ringwood Lake. The celebrations, which coincide with a citizenship ceremony and the awarding of Maroondah’s Citizen, Young Citizen and Event of the Year, were held at Ringwood Lake and provided an opportunity to welcome new citizens, as well as acknowledge the many people who undertake service to the community.

On the 20th of December I attended the changeover meeting for the former Mayors and current Mayors of Councils that include a Central Activities District. There has been a changing of Mayors in each of the Councils, with the exception of the City of Melbourne, and the meeting provided an opportunity to update the new Mayors on the alliance and the issues common to each of the Councils.

Attendance Report: Social inclusion and Council alliances

One of the reforms undertaken during my year as Mayor was to extend delegate reports into attendance reports, to ensure that Councillors can confidently discuss the events and activities that they have undertaken. In addition, a new report, known as Ward Reports was also introduced which allows Councillors to discuss upcoming events.

On the 19th of November I attended Maroondah’s end of year function for crossing supervisors. The function provides an opportunity to thank crossing supervisors for the work they undertake in providing safety for students gaining access to and from schools. Several crossing supervisors are some of Maroondah’s longest serving employees and I would like to thank these dedicated members of staff for the service that they provide to the community.

On the 20th of November I attended the 10th anniversary of Maroondah Movement for Reconciliation. The group, which was formed in 2000 aimed to encourage reconciliation and promote an understanding and awareness of Indigenous culture. I would like to congratulate the group for its achievements, particularly in encouraging Council and the community to embrace Reconciliation.

On the 21st of November I attended the first annual general meeting of the Maroondah Inter-faith network. The network, which was established in November last year aims to encourage dialogue and understanding between faith based communities in Maroondah. The group has experienced a strong first year and I would like to thank the interim committee for their service and dedication, as well as congratulate the incoming committee, which is already planning events for the year ahead.

Lastly, on the 22nd of November I joined my then Mayoral counterparts of the Councils containing Central Activities Districts to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between these Councils and the Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne. This alliance will ensure that the Councils that contain Central Activities Districts, namely Maroondah, Frankston, Greater Dandenong, Whitehorse, Hume and Maribyrnong will be able to collectively advocate for the needs of these urban centres.

A meeting is scheduled for the 20th of December where this alliance will be introduced to the newly elected Mayors and priorities established for the next twelve months. This alliance will having growing significance to Council over future years as it will ensure that Maroondah will be also work cooperatively with these other Councils to ensure a cohesive approach to Melbourne’s Central Activities Districts.

Delegates’ Report: Celebrating diversity and promoting art

There are several items I’ll be reporting on:

On the 23rd of October I attended the Khaudo Festival, organised by Maroondah’s Zomi community. The Zomi are an ethnic group from Burma and Maroondah has one of the highest populations of refugees from Burma within Metropolitan Melbourne. The Khuado Festival is a celebration of the Zomi New Year and a welcome to the community.

Similarly on the 13th of November I attended a Sudanese Cultural Festival featuring music, food and dance from Maroondah’s growing Sudanese community. It is great to see our emerging communities sharing their culture with the wider Maroondah community through showcasing traditional dance, music and food.

On the 28th of October I attended Monkami’s production of ‘Hey Hey Its Monkami’. Monkami is a not-for-profit community based organisation that provides services and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. The organisation has an emphasis on community development including theatre and the arts as well as community partnerships. The Ringwood Movie Makers have continued to work in partnership with Monkami and filmed a cameo performance as part of the script.

On the 7th of November I attended the Maroondah Festival and it was fantastic to see so many community groups and residents participating in the festival. For the first year in a while, we had pleasant weather and in addition it was fortunate the rain held off.

On the 11th of November I attended the Remembrance Day services at the Croydon RSL and I would like to commend the members of the RSL for their community focus and involvement of local schools and community members.

Also on the 11th I officiated the Maroondah Volunteer Recognition Function, where we recognised the valuable contribution of Maroondah’s volunteers. Many of these volunteers have been assisting Council in the delivery of services, including Meals on Wheels, as well as supporting our environment and social support services.

Lastly, the 11th also featured the opening night of the Mayoral Art Show, which supports the Croydon Branch of the Bone Marrow Donor Institute. All proceeds from the exhibition support cancer research and features 90 artists across a range of mediums and styles.

Delegates’ Report: Regional Partnerships, Celebrating Diversity, Ringwood Station Advocacy

There are several notable items I will discuss tonight.

The first being the regional partnership signed by the Mayors of the Cities of Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Whitehorse and the Shire of Yarra Ranges on the 22nd of September. This agreement will strengthen co-operation between the municipalities in areas such as advocacy, where each of these councils have supported calls for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station into a safe, accessible and integrated transport interchange.

The Eastern Volunteers Multicultural Spring Festival was held on the 9th of October, with over 5000 attendees enjoying a range of multicultural food, entertainment and performances. It is great to see the Maroondah community embracing cultural diversity and this was further evident at the New Year celebrations of Maroondah’s Chin community, an ethnic group from Burma who celebrated Fang Er at Ringwood Secondary College on the 16th of October. The afternoon provided an opportunity to learn about Fang Er, which coincides with the harvest season in Burma and to discover national dances and food.

Monkami, a not-for-profit service provider for people with intellectually disabilities, has continued to strengthen its community connections and I had the pleasure of launching Alarming Art on the 14th of October. Alarming Art is Monkami’s new public gallery located at the Croydon Fire Station in Croydon Road, the space will provide an opportunity to showcase the talents of Monkami’s clients and further strengthen connections with the community.

Lastly, Maroondah City Council launched its Missing Piece Campaign on the 13th of October, calling on all political parties to commit to the redevelopment of Ringwood Station into an accessible, safe and integrated transport interchange. The campaign, which I co-launched with accessibility advocate Margaret Stevens, reinforces the dire state of Ringwood Station and the need for a commitment. The campaign will continue until the State Election with updates being available at

I’ll table the rest of my report.

Delegates’ Report: Thanking our volunteers, supporting cultural diversity and youth and reducing greenhouse emissions

On the 31st of July I attended an evening hosted by Maroondah’s Sudanese Community, where they shared traditional Southern Sudanese cuisine with the wider Maroondah municipality. Maroondah is home to almost 200 people from Sudan who share similar aspirations, in regard to employment and housing, like many other members of our community.

The food included lamb and cous cous combined with traditional Southern Sudanese cooking and ingredients and it is great to see all members of our community welcoming each other into Maroondah. Our municipality consists of people from a range of backgrounds and cultures and it is diversity that enriches our community and provides opportunities.

I congratulate the Sudanese community for bringing Maroondah’s communities together for the meal and for sharing their aspirations within the municipality.

On the 4th of August I had the pleasure of hosting the Community Volunteers Luncheon, providing an opportunity to acknowledge the work undertaken by the many volunteers within our community. Maroondah is fortunate to have many people committed to volunteering and working together to improve the wellbeing and amenity of our municipality.

The Community Volunteers Luncheon is Maroondah’s way of acknowledging and thanking the efforts of our volunteers and I would like to congratulate the many people who devote their time, energy and resources into improving our community.

On the 5th of August I attended a meeting organised by Common Equity Housing Limited (CEHL), the managers of the affordable housing cooperative in Larissa Avenue, Ringwood. The meeting provided an opportunity to meet prospective tenants of the development and to discuss Council’s plans for the Ringwood Central Activities District and the need for a State Government commitment towards Ringwood Station. It was great to see such enthusiasm towards the vision for Ringwood from the participants at the meeting. While Council was understandably concerned over the State Government’s removal of Council’s planning powers over the development, it is critical that we now work towards ensuring that the tenants of the development are a part of our community and able to partake in the same opportunities that we are all able to enjoy within Maroondah.

On the 6th of August I attended the launch of the Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action’s Solar Hot Water Program. The Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action is formed through six Councils within Eastern Melbourne, including Boroondara, Whitehorse, Maroondah, Yarra Ranges, Knox and Monash. The program will provide assistance in reducing household greenhouse emissions through solar hot water systems. An information session is scheduled for Thursday the 9th of September at 11am at Maroondah Federation Estate in Ringwood, where members of our community can learn more about this program.

I’ll be tabling the rest of my report.

Delegates’ Report: Presenting the Monster Petition, NAIDOC week and support for our community

On the 24th of June I was part of a delegation through the Eastern Transport Coalition, that presented a petition of 13,000 signatures to the Parliament of Victoria.

The petition, which was accepted by Martin Pakula, the Minister for Public Transport, as well as Terry Mulder, the Shadow Minister for Transport and Greg Barber, the Greens Spokesperson on Transport, requested public transport improvements for Melbourne’s outer east including:

  • A full and public feasibility study for a heavy rail line to Rowville,
  • A full and public feasibility study for a heavy rail line to Doncaster
  • A greater commitment to the extension of the Metro rail tunnel from Domain to Caulfield,
  • A full and public feasibility study for an increase in capacity on the Belgrave/Lilydale and Glen Waverley lines,
  • Improved facilities for passengers, particularly at interchanges located in central activity districts – Ringwood, Dandenong and Box Hill,
  • Fully accessible public transport facilities and vehicles

It is great that the eastern region recognises the importance of the redevelopment of Ringwood Station into an accessible, safe and integrated transport interchange. As the City of Maroondah and as part of the eastern region, we can only hope that the State Government and all political parties act on requests within this petition.

On the 8th of July I had the pleasure of launching the Maroondah Photographic Competition and announcing the winners amongst this year’s entrants. The competition has now been running for 14 years and it is great to see that it has sustained interest from both sponsors and the community. There were 121 entries this year and the judging decision was definitely a difficult one.
The diverse of photographic talents is to be commended and in particular it is great to see our schools supporting the arts and encouraging students to participate, with the two winners in the Intermediate category both being students from Norwood Secondary College

On the 9th of July I attended the Outer Eastern NAIDOC Ball, which was held at the conclusion of NAIDOC week. The ball recognises the many individuals and organisations that are involved with Indigenous communities and provides an opportunity to celebrate Indigenous culture and achievements.

On the 10th I attended the opening of the redeveloped Glen Park Community Centre, which had extensive works to improve the accessible and inclusiveness of its facilities. One of the real accomplishments with Glen Park has been the partnerships that have formed with various organisations, as well as all levels of government working together to provide better facilities for our community.

On the 13th of July I had the pleasure of welcoming James Merlino as the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Youth Affairs at EVs Youth Centre in Croydon. The State Government has provided a $10,000 grant, which will be used for the purchase of new music equipment through the Youth Centre and also announced that EVs will be one of the venues for the state wide FReeZA Central Music program. This is a great achievement and would like to commend our Youth Services Team for raising the profile of EVs and the talents of our young people.

In addition, on the 14th of July I had the pleasure of receiving a grant for $8,800 from the State Government through the Victorian Multicultural Grants Commission to further the work of the Maroondah Interfaith Network. The funding will be used to strengthen the capacity of the group and to further encourage Maroondah’s faith based communities to become involved the Network. I would like to commend the Community Development Staff and the Maroondah Interfaith for their work in establishing the group and for achieving this great result for our community. The Maroondah Interfaith Network was formed in November last year and it is fantastic to see that its efforts have been recognised by both Council and the State Government.

I’ll be tabling the rest of my report.

Delegates’ Report: Reconciliation Week, ALGA, Refugee Week and celebrating Guiding

On the 26th of May I had the pleasure of launching Maroondah’s Reconciliation Week program at Maroondah Federation Estate.  The launch was held on National Sorry Day, which preceded National Reconciliation Week, which was held between the 27th May through to the 3rd of June.

Reconciliation Week  provides an opportunity to recognise and celebrate indigenous culture and as part of the proceedings I had the pleasure of announcing the acquisition of  the artwork Tali, by Indigenous Elder Ray Ken.  Ray’s piece depicts the sandhill country around Watarru, the country of Ray’s grandmother.

The acquisition of this artwork demonstrates Maroondah’s ongoing commitment to Reconciliation, which is affirmed through our Community Wellbeing Plan, as well as our Reconciliation Policy. The artwork will be on display until the 30th of July in the foyer of Maroondah Federation Estate and I encourage you to take the time to view this artwork.

Between the 14th and 17th of June I participated in the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) National General Assembly, which was held in Canberra.  ALGA is the peak body representing local government across the country and I was joined by Cr. Les Willmott, Cr. Rob Steane, Cr. Michael Macdonald and Cr. Paul Macdonald, as well as Frank Dixon our Chief Executive Officer.

I would like to thank these colleagues for providing the time to attend the National General Assembly in Canberra.  A strong presence assists in creating recognition for Maroondah and helps set us apart from the hundreds of Councils that exist within Australia.  I would also like to thank our local Federal Members; Kevin Andrews, the Member for Menzies, Tony Smith, the Member for Casey and Mike Symon the Member for Deakin, who each took the time to meet us in Canberra.  In particular, Mike Symon organised meetings with senior Government Advisors and I would like to thank Mike for this effort.

While the National General Assembly concluded on the Thursday, I remained in Canberra until Friday the 18th of June, to attend the Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG).  This organisation, was a Federal Government initiative, designed to increase collaboration and partnership between Councils and the Federal Government.  I was able to take this opportunity to speak to several members of the Government, where I was able to discuss Maroondah and the need for ongoing collaboration between all levels of Government.

While it is not easy to take a week out of anyone’s schedule to attend a conference, the trip to Canberra was useful and I will be tabling a formal written report at our next Council meeting.

Upon returning from Canberra, I attended two events on Saturday the 19th of June, the launch of Refugee Week and a celebration for the Centenary of Girl Guides. I was joined by Cr. Ann Fraser at both events and we were both able to participate in launching Refugee Week.

The theme for 2010 Refugee Week is Freedom from Fear, reflecting on the experiences that refugees have faced prior to their arrival in Australia. The launch for Refugee Week, was held at Maroondah Secondary College and included a cultural exchange of food, dance and music, many of which was delivered by students from the school.

I also had the pleasure of launching Maroondah’s updated version of the Guide for Migrant and Refugees, which has been revised following its original production in 2007. The new booklet was created through a partnership between many organisations, including Victoria Police and it is great to see this collaboration resulting in a useful guide for Maroondah’s emerging communities.