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 Partners in Community Wellbeing Committee – December 2010 meeting

The final meeting for 2010 of the Maroondah Partners in Community Wellbeing Committee was held this morning to provide an update on Council’s Community Wellbeing Plan. The Committee, which includes health and education providers, as well as community and council representatives, is charged with overseeing the implementation and review of Council’s Community Wellbeing Plan.

Today’s meeting focused on the short-term priorities identified within the plan, including methods of surveying the community so that progress on the implementation of the plan can be measured against results. The Maroondah Partners in Community Wellbeing Committee will resume in 2011 to continue its function of improving community wellbeing within Maroondah.

Media Release: Go orange and show your support for the SES

Maroondah City Council is urging the community to wear orange on Wednesday 10 November in support of the State Emergency Service.

Maroondah Mayor Alex Makin said the event coincided with National SES Week which runs from November 7 to 14.

“Last year in Victoria alone, 5500 SES volunteers responded to more than 30,000 emergencies,” Cr Makin said.

“Across the state, there were more than 22,000 storm related requests
for assistance and 1000 road crash rescues – which adds up to more than 160,000
volunteer hours,” Cr Makin said.

“Maroondah has a dedicated team of volunteers based at the Croydon SES station who are trained in a range of emergency and non-emergency roles to prepare them for the many events they may face,” Cr Makin said.

“The community rely on these volunteers for assistance following storm damage, flooding, fire and for land searches or lighting at emergency scenes,” Cr Makin said.

“The volunteers do a wonderful job for our community and should be recognised for their efforts. I urge the community to show their support for the SES during National SES Week, by joining in Wear Orange to Work and School Day on Wednesday 10 November,” Cr Makin said.

“By participating in the day and uploading a picture of yourself in your orange outfit to the VICSES Facebook page you could go in the draw to win one of three Apple iPads,” Cr Makin said.

If you would like to know more about how to protect yourself and your belongings before a storm, or to find out about volunteering with VICSES, phone VICSES Central Region Office on 9684 6651 or visit

For more information or to find out about other events happening during
National SES Week, visit or

For emergency assistance, contact the SES on 132 500.

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Launch of the Eastern Region Family Help Cards

Community Safety Month is held throughout October to promote safer communities. Councils across the Eastern Region worked together to promote community safety, including the prevention of family violence.

This afternoon I attended the launch of the Eastern Region Family Violence Help Cards, which are pocket sized cards containing information on services available to assist victims of family violence. The launch, which was conducted in the City of Whitehorse, emphasised ongoing concerns over the rate of family violence, which is a problem often hidden from the wider community.

The cards contain important information on the resources that are available to assist in family violence situations. The cards, which are available for both men and women, are available through the Cities of Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

Celebrating Community Safety Month through Community Art at Bayswater North

Community Safety Month, an initiative of Victoria Police is held every October with the aim of encouraging safer communities. One of the major focal points of Bayswater North Community Renewal is safety and this has led to the formation of the Paths and Parking Action Group.

The Paths & Parking Action Group is a working group of Community Renewal consisting of three members who have worked for almost three years to improve safety, particularly in regard to pedestrians and accessibility.

The Action Group advocated for an accessible bus stop to be located on Colchester Road, opposite the Canterbury Gardens Shopping Centre. This bus stop has been decorated with mosaic tiles created by students from grades 3 and 4 at Bayswater North Primary with the theme of community.

This morning I officially launched the new bus stop and congratulated the three founding members of the Paths & Parking Action Group, all of whom are mothers with children at Bayswater North Primary. These three members not only advocated for safety improvements but also encouraged community participation through their links to the Bayswater North Primary.

The accessible bus stop and community art project demonstrates the positive improvements that can be undertaken in partnership with the community and Council. I congratulate the three members of the Paths and Parking Working Group for their dedication and community service.

10th Anniversary of the Swimming Bus Program

The Maroondah Swimming Bus provides transport for frail aged older adults to access Ringwood Aquatic Centre on a weekly basis each Monday. The program is provided by volunteer drivers who provide their time to deliver the members to and from the Ringwood Aquatic Centre.

The service has delivered not only improved health and wellbeing but social interaction and inclusion through the forming of friendships and support. This afternoon volunteers and participants celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the swimming bus program

The speech I delivered during the celebrations is available within this entry:

Good afternoon and welcome to the 10th anniversary of the Swimming Bus Program. I would like to welcome Cr Ann Fraser, as well as welcome past and present participants, volunteer drivers and aerobics instructors of the program from the past 10 years.

I’m very pleased to be here at the 10th anniversary of the swimming bus program which began on 9 October 2000. There has been approximately 43 residents participating in the program over the past 10 years.

Over 15 volunteer drivers have given their time enabling a large number of otherwise house bound older adults to access the Ringwood Aquatic Centre on a weekly basis for the Monday Swimming Program. This free service has played a vital role in both maintaining and improving health and providing an opportunity for socialisation. Many valuable long term friendships have been formed on these bus trips which has provided another support mechanism for these otherwise isolated residents.

Congratulations to everyone who has been involved in this program over the 10 years including the volunteers who provide the transport services, your dedication has improved the lives of many older Maroondah residents.

Media Release: Help cards tackle issue of family violence

As part of Community Safety Month Maroondah City Council has joined forces with other Councils in the eastern metropolitan region to address the growing concern of domestic violence.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said later this month Eastern Region Family Violence Help Cards would be distributed in the hope of better supporting victims of family violence.

“The support cards are designed to support families experiencing any form of family violence. The gender specific cards provide definitions, tips for dealing with situations and helpful contact information for services locally and across the Eastern Region,” Cr Makin said.

“The wallet size cards will be distributed across the region and will provide details on how people can discretely seek support if they are experiencing any form of family violence,” Cr Makin said.

“By uniting with the other Councils in the eastern region we are showing a clear and consistent message that family violence is not okay,” Cr Makin said.

The cards will be launched on October 28 in Nunawading.

“The launch will feature some key note speakers including White Ribbon Day Ambassador Nick Mazzarella, family violence survivor Robyn O’Sullivan and Victoria Police Eastern Region Assistant Commissioner Wendy Steendam,” Cr Makin said.

“The Doncare SasSing Choir (Survivors and Supporter’s Sing), made up of woman who have escaped family violence or those who support the cause will also perform,” Cr Makin said.

The Eastern Region Family Violence Help Cards will be launched on October 28, from 2-4pm in the Warratah Room, Whitehorse Centre, 379-397 Whitehorse Rd, Nunawading.

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Maroondah Leader: Station safety plea

Maroondah’s campaign to secure a commitment for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station into a safe, accessible and integrated transport interchange is continuing, with many members of the community dedicating their time to encourage signatures on the petition calling for the upgrade.

One of the areas of concern of Ringwood Station is safety, due to the outdated station design and narrow ramps and walkways, which also fail to meet disability compliance standards.

The Maroondah Leader has reported on the ongoing safety concerns at Ringwood:

Maroondah’s Mayor says people are bypassing Ringwood railway station because they feel it is unsafe. Cr Alex Makin said he had spoken to people who chose to use another station rather than wait alone at Ringwood.

While the Police have been proactive in increasing patrols at Ringwood Station, the Station design, which has not been updated in over 50 years, does not create a safe atmosphere.

Cr Makin said many people had highlighted safety concerns.

“Ringwood is a safe area but people have commented on their sense of insecurity at the station at night,” he said. “The proposed upgrade to the station would open the whole area up to scrutiny and act as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour.”

The City of Maroondah and the eastern region deserves a Station that is safe, accessible and integrated with facilities. Our community should feel confident and safe in using Ringwood Station and sustainable forms of transport and it is incumbent on all political parties to commit to delivering this improvement.

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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Maroondah Partners in Community Wellbeing Committee – September 2010 Meeting

The Maroondah Partners in Community Wellbeing Committee is charged with the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of Council’s Community Wellbeing Plan. The Committee includes Council representatives, as well as well as a number of agencies and community based organisations, including Eastern Volunteers, the Migrant Information Centre, Wesley Mission and Eastern Access Community Health.

Today’s meeting discussed the use of portfolios to assist in identifying the areas of interest held by each member and to strengthen dialogue with the relevant areas of Council. Portfolios will enable monitoring and oversight of individual areas within the Community Wellbeing Plan.

I also provided an update on Council’s advocacy campaign for the upgrade of Ringwood Station, which is critical to improving the safety, accessibility and sustainability of Ringwood.