Media Release: Council motions supported at MAV State Meeting

Six out of the eight motions tabled by Maroondah City Council were carried at the 26 May Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) State Council meeting.

The successful motions related to improving information technology for customer service, general valuations, unfunded superannuation liability, road reserves owned by VicRoads, Tax deductibility for election expenses and building and planning fees.

Councillor Alex Makin, Council’s representative on the MAV, said the State Council Meeting provided an opportunity for each member council in Victoria to submit motions which have significance on a state level for all Victorian municipalities.

“The motions presented are viewed as being of significance across the Victorian Local Government sector, including the Maroondah community,” Cr Makin said.

“Council has a proven record of leading the way in highlighting issues faced by the Victorian Local Government sector. This is reflected by the favourable response to previous motions submitted by Maroondah and passed, often with unanimous support, at the MAV State Council Meeting,” Cr Makin said.

“At its meeting of Monday 18 April, Council approved eight motions to be submitted to the MAV State Council meeting which was held on Thursday 26 May,” Cr Makin said.

“The motions were developed by Council following interaction with the community in the form of various forums, consultation and strategies,” Cr Makin said.

Of the eight motions presented by Council, six were carried.

The motions carried included:

  • That the MAV State Council calls of the State Government to remove the requirement for Local Government to have superannuation cash backed, given the inconsistency between the three tiers of government and given that both state and federal governments carry these amounts on their balance sheets as unfunded liabilities.
  • That the Municipal Association Of Victoria State Council calls on the State government to extend the frequency of general valuations from two to three years.
  • That the MAV State Council calls on the State Government to abolish the prescribed Statutory Annual Increments for both planning and building fees and enable Councils to set their own fees.
  • That the MAV State Council calls on VicRoads to review current funding allocated for the maintenance of arterial roads and associated infrastructure, roadsides and central medians, and if necessary advocate for increased levels of funding.
  • That the MAV convene a working party comprising of Councillors and Information Technology Officers to explore the technological opportunities to provide a one stop shop customer service approach for Local Government communities.
  • That the MAV State Council writes to the Australian Tax Office seeking an urgent review of the current ceiling of $1000 for election expenses that can be claimed by candidates for Council elections.

– ENDS –

Eastern Volunteers Sponsors and Supporters Evening

Eastern Volunteers as a regional community based organisation, works in partnership with local government and businesses to provide its services to the community.

This evening, Eastern Volunteers held a function to officially thank its business and government partners with their assistance. This included the sponsors of the Annual Fun Run that was held in March, as well as the Multicultural Festival, which will be held again this October.

The function included video presentations from the two public events, highlighting the strong community participation with Eastern Volunteers and the benefits provided to sponsors in supporting these activities.

The 2010 Eastern Volunteers Multicultural Festival:

The 2011 Eastern Volunteers Annual Fun Run:

Further partnership opportunities exist throughout this year, including the Business Booster Breakfast on the 8th of August and the Eastern Volunteers Multicultural Festival, which will be held on the 9th of October.

For further information please visit

Media Release: Stroke a Chord goes from the stage to the screen

A documentary on the establishment and success of Maroondah’s Stroke a Chord choir will be filmed thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Ian Potter Foundation.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said the choir was started in 2010 to give people with limited or no speech the opportunity to experience something positive and joyful with their voice.

“The members of the choir may not be able to speak, but they still have the ability to sing. This is the reality experienced by a number of people living with aphasia,” Cr Makin said.

“The idea for the choir was first raised during Stroke Week 2008. After hearing that several people in Maroondah were living with aphasia, Council took the first tentative steps towards the formation of a choir,” Cr Makin said.

“With the help of a number of external organisations, the choir has gone from strength to strength, with more than 20 members now meeting every week at Maroondah Family Church in Ringwood East,” Cr Makin said.

“The choir has a qualified music therapist of Yooralla working alongside the participants to ensure they are getting the most out of the experience,” Cr Makin said.

Cr Makin said making a documentary about the choir was one more way to spread the word about aphasia and the benefits of the choir.

“The $20,000 to make the documentary will allow the participants to share their journey with Stroke a Chord, and highlight the positive health benefits that being part of the choir has had for stroke survivors and their families,” Cr Makin said.

“I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of the participants since the choir began, and the documentary will allow these people the chance to let them share their voice with the world again,” Cr Makin said.

“Seeing the positive changes in the mental and physical health of the participants will hopefully inspire other people with aphasia to consider becoming part of a community activity,” Cr Makin said.

The Stroke a Chord initiative is a partnership between Council, Yooralla, Royal Talbot Hospital, University of Queensland, Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Croydon Stroke Support Group and Melbourne University.

Yooralla’s Eastern Region Communication Service speech pathologist Bronwen Jones said the participants were excited about sharing their story as part of the documentary.

“The choir has been such a terrific success, and everybody who has had something to do with it has just been blown away by the personal stories of these participants,” Ms Jones said.

“These people have got very little speech, so we thought being in public would be confronting. But when they perform they turn into show ponies,” Ms Jones said.

“They really have blossomed, they have been filmed for the Today show and recorded for ABC radio’s Life Matters program. They are all keen to share their stories and show people that there is life after stroke,” Ms Jones said.

Filming for the documentary is expected to start in July, with production expected to take about six months.

Stroke a Chord will perform publically for the first time at 2pm, Saturday September 17 at Karralyka Theatre, Ringwood East. For more information or to purchase a ticket visit

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.

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.

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.

Opening the Kaleidoscope Exhibition

Kaleidoscope is the name of an art exhibition hosted by Scope, which showcases the artistic talents of people with disabilities. The exhibition, which is being held across the State, includes a series of exhibits at the Long Gallery at Maroondah Federation Estate.

This morning I was invited to open the Exhibition at Maroondah Federation Estate to encourage members of the community to view artworks that were submitted under the theme of ‘Inspiration Works’. The launch was accompanied by ambient music provided by members of Scope, showcasing musical, as well as artistic talents.

Alex with the first prize winner of the Kaleidoscope Exhibition
Alex with the first prize winner of the Kaleidoscope Exhibition

The Kaleidoscope Exhibition was widely attended with several members travelling across Victoria to be present at the opening. It was wonderful to be a part of the exhibition and to see Scope celebrating the artistic talents of its members.

The speech I delivered during the proceedings in available within this post:
Continue reading “Opening the Kaleidoscope Exhibition”

Meeting with the Mayors and Former Mayors of the Central Activities Districts Councils

This morning a meeting was held to officially handover the alliance between the City of Melbourne and Central Activities District Councils to the newly elected Mayors. The meeting provided an opportunity to formally introduce the new mayors to the group and to discuss the activities that were undertaken over the past year.

The alliance has been officially endorsed by each participating Council and priorities include meeting with the new State Government to identify the transport, housing, employment and community priorities for each Central Activities District. I would like to thank the former Mayors of Frankston, Greater Dandenong, Whitehorse, Hume and Maribyrnong, as well as Robert Doyle, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne for their support of this alliance.

I am confident that the new Mayors, including Cr Tony DIb as the Mayor of Maroondah, will continue to support this alliance and ensure that all levels of government have a shared vision and implementation plan for Melbourne’s Central Activities Districts. A collective voice for Melbourne’s Central Activities Districts will help ensure that they become vibrant, accessible and sustainable urban centres.

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.

North Ringwood Community House 2010 End of Year Luncheon

North Ringwood Community House is located at 120 Oban Road in Ringwood North and provides a range of community based educational courses, as well as accredited training, including Certificates III and IV as a Registered Training Organisation.

This afternoon North Ringwood Community House held its end of year luncheon to thank students, staff, tutors and volunteers. North Ringwood Community House is currently operating at capacity and is the only community house in Maroondah that is not located on Council land making it difficult to expand the services that it offers.

This year Council approved the undertaking of Masterplan to assist in relocating North Ringwood Community House onto Council land at Quambee Reserve located at Wonga Road in Ringwood North. This location will complement the existing community facilities at Quambee Reserve and work on the Masterplan will commence from July next year through the 2011/2012 Council Budget.

North Ringwood Community House has continued to serve the Maroondah community and will be offering further programs in 2011 to provide new skills and opportunities. For further details please visit