Media Release: New tobacco laws introduced

Maroondah City Council is reminding residents of new tobacco laws which came into effect on 1 January 2011.

Councillor Alex Makin said only State approved registered tobacconists can display tobacco products or packaging in their store. All other retailers must store tobacco products out of view.

“While outlets are still able to sell tobacco, the new regulations mean that no tobacco products can be visible from anywhere inside or outside the outlet,” Cr Makin said.

“Prior to the law changes tobacco was one of the most visible and widely accessible products on the market, which gives the impression that smoking is more popular than it actually is,” Cr Makin said.

“Reducing the visibility of the product will further protect young people from exposure to tobacco marketing and promotion, and hopefully lead to fewer people adopting the habit,” Cr Makin said.

“It is also hoped that removing the products from display will make it easier for those wanting to quit smoking,” Cr Makin said.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of illness and death in Victoria, claiming around 4000 lives, causing 80 per cent of lung cancer cases and costing Victorians around $5 billion every year.

Retailers are permitted to display an A4 sized prescribed sign which indicates that tobacco products are available, and one prescribed price board.

To become a certified specialist tobacconist, 80 per cent of the retailer’s gross turnover must be made from the sale of tobacco products.

This is not the first change the State Government has made to the tobacco-related laws. Since 1 January 2010 key changes in Victoria have included:

  • Banning smoking in cars carrying children under the age of 18 years;
  • Banning the sale of tobacco at temporary outlets and providing State Government powers to ban youth-orientated tobacco products and packaging; and
  • Implementing improved services to assist people to quit smoking, with an emphasis on supporting pregnant women and groups with high smoking rates.

Those wanting more information on the changes should contact the Tobacco Information Line on 1300 136 775, email or visit

– ENDS –

Media Release: Leading the way to responsible pet ownership

At the Maroondah Council meeting on Monday 15 November Council resolved to make an order under the Domestic Animals Act which will take effect on 1 January 2011.

The new laws include the introduction of on-leash regulations for all dogs in public places and a Dusk to Dawn curfew for all cats.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Alex Makin said the plan was a result of extensive consultation with the community and animal management experts, following community concerns regarding the lack of specific animal controls in Maroondah.

“We need to ensure that the management of Maroondah’s 14,600 registered dogs and 5200 registered cats is in accordance with State Government legislation and expectations of the community,” Cr Makin said.

“Council believes it has reached a considered outcome that leaves no one group unfairly disadvantaged. The new laws are underpinned by principles of fairness and equity, consistency with contemporary practice and a balanced approach to the differing community views on the issues,” said Cr Makin.

“During the consultation process we listened to our residents and taking their views into consideration we made changes to some of the areas designated as on leash or off leash areas,” Cr Makin said.

“Under the new laws, dogs must be under effective control at all times while in public, which means that they must be on a leash or in a designated off-leash area,” Cr Makin said.

“To give people more peace of mind while out and about in Maroondah, dogs must also be on a leash within 15 metres of playgrounds, picnic areas, barbeques, organised sporting events, sporting matches or training sessions or when on a shared use path,” Cr Makin said.

“For those who want to exercise their dogs off leash there are numerous locations across the municipality where this can be done. Residents can still enjoy walking their dogs off leash in these areas, as long as the dog is still under effective control, ” Cr Makin said.

The new laws also identify areas of significant conservation or biodiversity, which means that dogs are not permitted in these areas.

Cr Makin said a dusk to dawn cat curfew will also take affect from 1 January 2011.

“Cats can cause significant damage to the environment and wildlife when left to roam free, especially at night when a lot of native animals are out and about.

Council will conduct an extensive community education campaign to inform residents about the changes.

Maps outlining the off-leash areas throughout Maroondah will soon be sent to all registered pet owners. This pocket-sized brochure will also have tips on responsible pet ownership.

Information and maps showing designated off leash areas will also be available on Council’s website and at Council’s Customer Service Centres.

– ENDS –

Media Release: Change to local law encourages debate and interaction at Meetings

To ensure that Council meetings are more interactive and engaging, Maroondah City Council has formally adopted a change to a Local Law at its meeting on Monday 16 August.

Local Law 9 will now replace Local Law 7 that regulates meeting procedures at Council Meetings.

“The changes demonstrate Council’s overwhelming support for accessible and accountable Local Government, and will permit the community to hear and see more than ever before,” said Mayor of Maroondah, Councillor Alex Makin

“An example of some of the changes includes the opportunity for the public to hear Council presentations to further explain agenda items. Councillors will also present Ward reports to keep the community up to date with new developments and projects,” said Cr Makin.

The proposed amendment had been on public exhibition at Braeside Avenue as well as at Council Service Centres and on the website, and the public was encouraged to make submissions.

The submissions received all had the same theme -the addition of Acknowledgement of Country to the Order of Business for Council meetings.

“Following the public submissions, Council is proud to incorporate an Acknowledgement of Country as part of the Order of Business at both Ordinary and special meetings of Council,” Cr Makin said.

The Acknowledgement of Country forms part of Council’s Reconciliation Policy Statement which reaffirms its commitment to the process of reconciliation and the desire to build strong partnerships with the local Indigenous community.

“Another significant change to meeting procedures is that Question Time can be extended by an additional 10 minutes if required to complement the aim of increased participation and interaction from the community,” said Cr Makin.

As well as changes to process, the Council Chamber has also experienced a change to layout.

“New ramp access will improve accessibility to the chamber floor. Plus, the change to the seating arrangements means that Councillors will no longer sit with their backs to the public gallery, thereby promoting a feeling of inclusiveness,” Cr Makin said.

Council meets on the third Monday of each month and meetings are open to the public. Meeting dates may change if the meeting falls on a public holiday. Council is generally in recess in January.

The next meeting is scheduled for 7.30pm on Monday 20 September at Council Chambers, Braeside Avenue Ringwood.

Maroondah Leader: poultry fines

One of council’s responsibilities is the administration and enforcement of local laws, including responsible pet ownership. Maroondah has requirements in regard to the amount and types of pets that can be kept without a permit.

While many residents understand the Council requirements, there are unfortunately instances when these are not complied with.

The Maroondah Leader has reported on a recent incident where a resident was fined for keeping more than 50 hens and roosters on their property.

Maroondah Mayor Alex Makin said it was important that people be aware of pet permit requirements. “It is imperative that residents do cooperate with council so that we can ensure our community lives in harmony with pets,” he said.

Details on Council’s requirements regarding pets is available from or contact 1300 882 233

Maroondah Leader: Property owner charged over tree poisoning

Tree poisoning is an offence and any instances are investigated by Maroondah City Council. Recently Maroondah City Council has declared legal action in regard to 33 trees that were poisoned in Bayswater North.

The Maroondah Leader has reported on this incident:

Cr Makin said the Council was aware of at least seven more trees poisoned across Maroondah in the past year. He said the council could issue fines and direct offenders to replant advanced trees, adding to costs.

“If you need to remove a tree on your property it’s a requirement that you contact council to discuss your plans first,” Cr Makin said. “Poisoning is definitely the wrong way to go about things.”

Maroondah City Council will pursue matters relating to tree poisoning to help protect our local environment. Maroondah’s Local Laws Department can be contacted on 1300 882 233 to report any instances of tree poisioning within the municipality.

Maroondah Journal: Heathmont woman fined over snappy dog

Pet ownership brings responsibilities and it is important that owners of pets respect their neighbours and the community. The Maroondah Journal has reported on a recent incident, whereby a woman was fined for letting her dog roam and intimidate people.

Maroondah Mayor Alex Makin said the prosecution was a strong reminder to pet owners that they must abide by relevant laws.

“That includes ensuring their animals are kept under effective control both on and off their property. Taking matters to court is a last resort but it is a step the council is willing to take when people have broken the law. Safe and responsible pet ownership is important and it is something the council encourages within Maroondah.”

The amenity of our community needs to be respected by everything within our municipality and Council will undertake court action when all all other avenues have been exhausted.

Maroondah Council Local Law No. 5 – Public Safety and Amenity

Local Law No. 5 is a Maroondah Council by-law which relates to public safety and amenity. The local law which came into effect in January 2000 aims to protect Maroondah’s amenity through reducing harm to public safety, public health and the environment.

Issues covered within the local law include graffiti, trees and vegetation and animal management (including the number of animals allowed within a household). The materials that are allowed within the general garbage collection and within the recycling bins is also covered within this local law.

Local Law No. 5 – Public Safety and Amenity was designed to ensure that the community is aware of risks to Maroondah’s environment and public health and is therefore worth reading by any Maroondah resident or ratepayer.

A copy of local law no. 5 – Public Safety and Amenity is available from the Maroondah City Council website (PDF).

Local Government Act 1989

The Local Government Act of 1989 and further amended on 12 December 2005 outlines the conduct of local government within Victoria, including the administration, conduct and election of local councils. The ability to create local laws, charge rates and the specific powers and accountability measures for local councils is also included.

The Local Government Act of 1989 is useful reading for anyone interested in the functions, roles and responsibilities of local councils.

The Local Government Act can be downloaded from the Australasian Legal Information Institute.

Health Act 1958

The Health Act of 1958 (and further amended on 11 May 2005) is a Victorian Act of Parliament which covers a number of areas relating to public health such as nuisances and immunisation. The Health Act also empowers local councils to investigate complaints and perform inspections.

As an example, the Health Act and specifically Part III (Nuisances) was invoked in dealing with the excessive noise created by Southern Rocycling due to the following sections of the Act:

Continue reading “Health Act 1958”