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.

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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: FloodSafe Week highlights the importance of preparation

The heavy rain falls and subsequent flooding which affected parts of Victoria earlier this year highlighted the importance of being prepared for the unexpected.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said the annual State Emergency Services FloodSafe Week, Monday 30 May to Friday 5 June, encouraged people to get involved and learn more about protecting themselves, their homes and their businesses during floods.

“Floods cause more damage in terms of dollars and lives lost, per year, than any other natural hazard in Australia,” Cr Makin said.

“The rain fall which hit Victoria in late 2010 and February 2011, and the flooding which occurred as a result, is a prime example of the importance of ensuring your property is able to cope should we be faced with this level of rain fall again,” Cr Makin said.

“Research that was conducted following the September 2010 floods in Victoria shows that 31 per cent of people living in the affected areas did not know their homes were prone to flooding and 35 per cent said they had not prepared for floods at all,” Cr Makin said.

“However a well prepared community can reduce flood damage by up to 80 per cent, which is why Council is supporting the SES FloodSafe Week and urging residents to take appropriate steps to ensure their property is in the best condition possible to prevent, or at least minimise, the impacts of flooding,” Cr Makin said.

“Council is also doing its bit to ensure that the Municipality’s storm water drainage network is able to cope if the storms continue to worsen,” Cr Makin said.

“In the event of a flood Council’s operations team will conduct initial investigations to determine whether there is a blockage or other issues associated with Council’s stormwater pipes which may have contributed to localised flooding,” Cr Makin said.

“If no issues are found the matter is referred to Council’s engineering and infrastructure team, for further investigation, which will include assessing the capacity of the system,” Cr Makin said.

“Since the recent floods, investigations into Council’s stormwater drainage system has increased and Council is currently reviewing whether or not it needs to change the way the stormwater drainage network is designed and managed,” Cr Makin said.

“Council has a responsibility to property owners to ensure that the Council owned and operated drainage system is clear and functioning so it can capture any stormwater,” Cr Makin said.

“In times of excessive rainfall Council also needs to ensure that designated overland flow paths can handle the excess stormwater and work effectively to prevent properties from being flooded,” Cr Makin said.

“Council’s underground stormwater drainage system has historically been designed to a capacity of a one in five year magnitude storm, which is consistent with the industry standard” Cr Makin said.

“In the event of a storm of greater magnitude, the excess water is generally handled by designated overland flow paths which are created along drainage gullys, creeks or other low land points, during the initial developments stage of housing estates,” Cr Makin said.

“Council’s engineers are currently putting together a program to undertake detailed catchment analysis and flood mapping of the municipality which will help to determine appropriate solutions to stormwater management and may lead to improvements to underground pipe systems and overland flow paths to capture stormwater more effectively,” Cr Makin said.

“Investigations of the stormwater network and the associated improvement works is focussed on areas of land which were severely impacted during the recent flooding, with areas with property inundation taking precedence,” Cr Makin said.

“Council in conjunction with the SES is developing a Maroondah City Council Flood Emergency Plan which will assist in the identification of flooding risks and indicate suitable measure which can be undertaken to reduce and manage the risk of flooding,” Cr Makin said.

“Council working alongside the community to maintain Council-owned infrastructure and residential properties is the best way to ensure we are prepared in the event of heavy rainfall, and hopefully minimise the impacts of major flooding in the future,” Cr Makin said.

The best way to prepare for floods is to:

  • Learn the risk for your home and/or business
  • Prepare an emergency kit
  • Put together a home or business emergency plan
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers near your telephone
  • Check your insurance policy
  • If a flood warning is issued, listen to your emergency broadcaster for advice and check your neighbours are aware of the situation
  • NEVER walk, ride or drive through floodwater. Driving through floodwater is the number one cause of death during floods
  • NEVER allow children to play in floodwater. This is the number one cause of death during floods for children and teenagers

Throughout FloodSafe Week, SES volunteers will be running events in and around Maroondah. For more information or to learn about preparing a home emergency plan or home emergency kit, visit

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Speaking to Volunteering Geelong

Volunteering Geelong, like Eastern Volunteers, is one of several volunteer recruitment agencies within Victoria. This afternoon I was invited to speak to the Board of Management of Volunteering Geelong to discuss marketing and strategic partnerships that can assist in promoting the work of Volunteering Geelong.

The discussion outlined the marketing approach adopted by Eastern Volunteers, including the development of a consistent brand and key messages that are used to promote Eastern Volunteers within the community.

Ultimately marketing needs to be supported through a range of tools that assist in communicating these messages. In this regard Eastern Volunteers complements its marketing activities with events that support the aims of the organisation. These events, which include targeted activities with business partners, support the aim of Eastern Volunteers being seen as a peak regional body. Likewise, engagement with the media, as well as online tools, promote these activities and reinforces the role of Eastern Volunteers within the community.

It is imperative that marketing activities support an overall strategy of an organisation. Conflicting messages create confusion and undermine the branding of an organisation and this can diminish outcomes that otherwise would have been achieved.

A marketing plan is required to provide this strategic focus and guide initiatives that achieve the identified objective. The marketing plan should explore all marketing initiatives that are available, including a mix of offline and online tools to deliver positive and proactive marketing.

Once a marketing plan has been completed, it will provide guidance on marketing opportunities and the action required to achieve the goals within the marketing plan. This approach enables an organisation to measure results and effectiveness.

Community organisations are increasingly needing to be innovative and proactive with their marketing to ensure that they can communicate with the community and key stakeholders. The discussion with Volunteering Geelong was useful in providing potential strategies and should support future planning for the organisation.

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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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.

Media Release: Join in the annual Clean Up Australia Day

It’s not too late to register a site to help beautify Maroondah during Clean Up Australia Day on Sunday 6 March.

Councillor Alex Makin said various sites had already been identified around Maroondah, including the Council coordinated site at Mullum Mullum Creek.

“This year Council will be working at the Mullum Mullum Creek in Ringwood, and we will gladly welcome extra pairs of hands on the day,” Cr Makin said.

“If you’re willing to help, you can meet Council representatives at the end of Acacia Court, Ringwood between 9.30am and 11.30am,” Cr Makin said.

“Helpers are asked to be safe when participating by wearing sturdy footwear, gloves, sunscreen and a hat, and by bringing refreshments and a bucket,” Cr Makin said.

“The Maroondah community has always been very supportive of Clean Up Australia Day, with more than 110 people collecting more than one tonne of rubbish from across seven sites during last years event,” Cr Makin said.

“We value the many volunteers who keep coming back to help clean up our parks, reserves and roadsides. It would be wonderful to see some new faces at this year’s event, to show that the Maroondah community care about reducing our impact on the environment,” Cr Makin said.

For further information or to register your involvement at Council’s Clean Up site call Council on 9298 4369 or visit

Other community sites organised for the day are at Ringwood Lake, Dandenong Creek, Anderson’s Creek and Tarralla Creek. To find out more or register to help at these sites call Clean Up Australia on 1800 282 329 or visit

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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.

Media Release: Croydon man prosecuted for littering

A Croydon man has been convicted and fined $1635 after pleading guilty to three separate littering offences.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said the matter was heard at the Ringwood Magistrate’s Court on Monday 7 February.

“Following an extensive investigation by Council officers the man was charged with three separate offences for dumping bags of printer cartridges during September and October,” Cr Makin said.

“The man was placed on a good behaviour bond, ordered to pay court costs of $635 and to contribute $1000 to a charity nominated by the Court,” Cr Makin said.

“Council is extremely pleased with this verdict, especially given the nature of the products being dumped. Any goods which contain hazardous chemicals, like printer cartridges, are extremely hazardous to residents and the environment and need to be disposed of appropriately,” Cr Makin said.

“Council will not tolerate the dumping of rubbish in our beautiful municipality. We take these matters seriously and will do all we can to ensure that those who participate in this illegal action will be held accountable,” Cr Makin said.

“At the end of the day dumping rubbish in our municipality not only impacts the environment and appearance of our suburbs, it also comes as a major cost to ratepayers,” Cr Makin said.

“Council has a number of processes in place to ensure residents can dispose of their rubbish easily and safely,” Cr Makin said.

“Maroondah households with a residential waste service are entitled to two hard waste collections of up to two cubic metres per financial year. When households require a hard waste collection, residents need to register with Council and they will be provided with a date in which they can place their hard waste on the nature strip,” Cr Makin said.

“For those who aren’t sure if their waste is eligible to be collected as part of this service simply pick up the phone and speak to one of Council’s customer service officers who will be able to assist you to dispose of your waste correctly,” Cr Makin said.

As a reminder, the correct procedure to follow when making a hard waste booking is:

  • Ring Council on 1300 88 22 33 to make a booking.
  • Place acceptable items out in a neat pile the weekend before your collection.
  • Put the ‘booked’ collection sticker supplied to you by Council on your pile facing the roadway.

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Media Release: Putting wetlands on the map

Residents are being urged to get to know their local parklands to celebrate World Wetlands Day on 2 February.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said Maroondah has various wetlands that attract an array of flora and fauna.

“Wetlands play such an important role in creating ecosystems that support various populations of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. These animals are often not found anywhere else,” Cr Makin said.

“Wetlands also help to absorb pollutants which can be washed off our roads and roofs into the storm water system, which leads to improved water quality for our rivers and creeks,” Cr Makin said.

“Ringwood Lake is probably one of the best known wetlands in Maroondah, but there are other hidden treasures worth taking the time to explore,” Cr Makin said.

“Candlebark Walk Reserve in Croydon Hills is an important link in the habitat corridor that extends from Warranwood Reserve to Yarrunga Reserve,” Cr Makin said.

“For the keen bird watchers, the reserve is home to the Purple Swamp Hen, Australian Wood-duck, Little Pied Cormorant and the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, to name a few,” Cr Makin said.

“If you’re lucky you may even spot a koala, wallaby or echidna in the area,” Cr Makin said.

Other wetlands in Maroondah worth exploring are Yarrunga Reserve, Settler Orchard Reserve and Narr Maen Reserve, all of which are in Croydon Hills.

New wetlands are also being constructed as part of residential development sites in Maroondah including The Range in Croydon and Bayview Rise in Bayswater North.

World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997 to mark the signing of the Convention on Wetlands which took place in 1971 in a small Iranian town called Ramsar. The Convention is now commonly referred to as the Ramsar Convention.

“During the time of the signing there was concern from many countries about the declining number of wetlands and waterbirds. It was hoped the international treaty would help to prevent further loss of wetlands by providing countries with a framework for action and establish an international cooperation aimed at the conservation and wise use of wetlands,” Cr Makin said.

“For the past 40 years the annual World Wetlands Day has provided an opportunity for all levels of government and community groups to raise public awareness of the critical role wetlands play in maintaining our natural environment,” Cr Makin said.

The theme for World Wetlands Day 2011 is “wetlands and forests – forests for water and wetlands” in celebration of the United Nations International Year of Forests.

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