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 –

National Volunteer Week at the Healesville Living and Learning Centre

The Healesville Living and Learning Centre is an adult education provider offering nationally accredited training in Healesville. The Centre also operates an Opportunity Shop, with proceeds supporting the operations of the Living and Learning Centre. The centre, which is managed through a committee of management and staff, is supported though volunteers that assist with administration and with the opportunity shop.

This afternoon I was invited to speak to the volunteers to discuss how volunteering is changing and the need to clear roles and responsibilities. It is becoming increasingly evident that governments are reluctant to provide ongoing discretionary government grants that support community organisations. The trend instead is for governments to support project based funding with the increased expectation that these projects will become self-sufficient. As a result community organisations are increasingly dependent on independent sources of funding to complement their operations.

The opportunity shop serves as a significant fundraiser for the Healesville Living and Learning Centre which supports its operations and the delivery of classes. In this regard it is critical that volunteers are aware of the purposes of the Shop and its role as a fundraising initiative. While volunteers are donating their time, it is important to recognise that they have rights and responsibilities. Policies are required to provide certainty for volunteers and guide their actions, likewise position descriptions can help in clarifying volunteer roles and requirements.

The Healesville Living and Learning Centre has a significant role in the community providing courses that deliver new skills and qualifications. It is great to see the organisation supporting its volunteers and extending its fundraising initiatives through the planning of its Opportunity Shop.

Maroondah Citizens Advice Bureau 2011 Annual General Meeting

The Maroondah Citizens Advice Bureau is in its 43rd year and provides emergency relief for people in need, information referral and support.

Today’s Annual General Meeting elected committee members for the 2011/2012 year who provide ongoing direction for this vital community organisation. I had previously been a committee member of the Maroondah Citizens Advice Bureau since 2007 where I assisted in the planning and delivery of their business plan.

This plan led to modernisation of the service, including database systems for clients and referral agencies, improving efficiency and ensuring up-to-date records and information. The plan also strengthened the marketing of the organisation through a website, as well as ensuring consistent promotional materials and publicity.

Governance reforms were also undertaken providing delegated authority for the office administrator and a clear distinction between paid staff and the committee of management.

I chose not to re-nominate for the committee given that I felt that the changes over the past few years helped deliver an ongoing and sustainable future for the organisation.

For further information on the Maroondah Citizens Advice Bureau please visit

Maroondah Leader: Volunteers noted for passion recognised

Recognising the efforts of volunteers helps demonstrate the importance of their contribution and can also encourage other members of the community to consider volunteering.

To recognise outstanding efforts, Eastern Volunteers awarded two of its volunteers an Outstanding Volunteer Award.

The Award was provided in recognition of their contribution to several events ran by Eastern Volunteers, including the Multicultural Spring Festival, the Regional Conference, the Annual Fun Run and Giant Garage Sale.

The award received by the two volunteers was recognised by the Maroondah Leader which featured the two volunteers and their contribution:

Eastern Volunteers marketing services manager Alex Makin said Ms Barbian and Mr Franscisco were given the awards for their passion.

“The leadership and dedication of Patrick and Elke is inspirational and demonstrates how volunteers can make a real difference in our community,” he said. “The Multicultural Spring Festival was Maroondah’s first large-scale multicultural festival, which attracted over 5000 people. Patrick and Elke were crucial in planning this event and ensuring that it was a community success.”

International Volunteers Day was held on the 5th of December and provided an opportunity to formally recognise and congratulate Patrick and Elke for their dedication towards Eastern Volunteers.

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.

Media Release: The Lord Mayor joins forces with CAD Mayors to enhance city centres

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be signed between City of Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, and Mayors from the State Government’s six designated Central Activities Districts (CADs) – Frankston, Maroondah, Greater Dandenong, Hume, Maribyrnong and Whitehorse – on Monday 22 November at 9.30am in the Frankston City Council Chambers to officially cement their unanimous commitment to seek State Government support and funding to create the most productive, liveable and sustainable city centres. 

The MOU acknowledges that mutual benefit can be derived by these municipalities through measures of mutual support, collaboration and by providing a united voice and joint approach to lobbying.

Frankston City Council Mayor, Cr Christine Richards said these six metropolitan hubs have been selected to attract people, investment and jobs and it is pivotal they remain supported to achieve the objectives of the State Government’s Melbourne 2030 and Melbourne @ 5 million strategies.

“This is a historical political event – the joining of Mayors to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. The CAD municipalities are ready, willing and able to face the challenges ahead together to make our CADs thriving metropolises. However, we cannot do so without a whole-of-government commitment to CAD planning,” Cr Richards said.

Maroondah City Council Mayor, Cr Alex Makin, said despite the CADs individual differences, synergies do exist between the municipal city centres.

“This alliance means we can work co-operatively to provide a united voice with more weight that will give greater strength to plans and solutions to state-wide issues. We need a State Government supported implementation plan to ensure our city centres can achieve their designated potential,” said Cr Makin.

The Mayors’ will further discuss how to best achieve the objectives set out in the State Government’s Planning Policy Framework. The Mayors’ are unanimous that at a minimum CADs must:  

  • have a functioning transit interchange – to enable comfortable, quick and efficient journeys by buses and trains throughout each municipality – in some CADs substantial infrastructure funding is still required to make this vision a reality
  • create more local jobs – CADs need to expand their base of employers to create a greater range and number of local jobs available to local residents
  • create more affordable housing.

“This Memorandum of Understanding between the Central Activities District Mayors and the Mayor of the City of Melbourne will allow for increased co-operation between our municipalities and allow us to jointly advocate for our key priorities,” Cr Makin said.

“Our main priority at a state level is to secure a long term funding commitment for the CADs. With Melbourne quickly becoming a city of many cities, we want to ensure certainty for the respective CADs, as well as bolstering the opportunity for all levels of governments to provide more services across greater metropolitan Melbourne”, Cr. Makin concluded.

– ENDS –

Acknowleding the Wyreena Committee of Management

The Wyreena Community Arts Centre is a Council facility located in Hull Road, Croydon, which provides a range of art and cultural activities for people within Maroondah.

Wyreena was formed due to the dedication of the Croydon community which fought to save the historic building from demolition in the 1970s. A committee was formed which successfully saved Wyreena and was constituted as a Committee of Management to oversee the direction and planning of the Centre. In recent years, the involvement in the Committee of Management has diminished and Council is now forming User Groups, which will provide ongoing community involvement in the planning of Wyreena Community Arts Centre.

This afternoon Council hosted an afternoon tea to acknowledge the dedication of members from the Committee of Management, including the efforts of former Councillors Maureen Naylor and Peter O’Callaghan. Over the past thirty years Wyreena has grown to include a community art gallery, cafe, art based classes and the studios of 98.1 Radio Eastern FM and this is due to the partnership formed between Council and the community to deliver these facilities.

2010 Maroondah Festival

The Maroondah Festival is one of the largest community events within Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, attracting approximately 30,000 attendees and featuring dedicated community, business, sustainability, fitness, teenagers and children.

The weather remained largely pleasant throughout the day, providing a contrast to the hot weather experienced in previous years. The new location at Town Park also provides additional shade and ensures that activities are closer together making the festival easier to attend.

As the Mayor I delivered the opening speech for the Maroondah Festival, welcoming community members and highlights the partners that assisted in delivering the event:

Alex at the opening of the 2010 Maroondah Festival.
Alex at the opening of the 2010 Maroondah Festival.

On behalf of the Maroondah City Council I would like to welcome everyone to the 2010 Maroondah Festival.

In the spirit of Reconciliation, we acknowledge that we are meeting on land for which the Wurundjeri people have been custodians for many centuries, and on land which the Indigenous Australians have performed age old ceremonies.

We, Maroondah City Council, accept, respect and have shared with the Wurundjeri people in their customs of welcome.

The Wurundjeri people support the coming together of all people, respecting their individuality to focus on a unified and cohesive nation.

This year marks the 21st anniversary of this wonderful community event and we invite you and your families enjoy the beautiful sunshine and take part in the huge array of activities available here today, including some fresh new initiatives and of course the old favourites.

I would especially like to extend a warm welcome to Ringwood Honda as the principal sponsor of the 2010 Maroondah Festival. Be sure to visit the Ringwood Honda stand next to the Information tent to collect your free Honda merchandise and check out the latest range of Honda vehicles on display. There will also be an opportunity to talk to the friendly staff from Ringwood Honda and enter the draw to win some fantastic prizes including a Honda lawn mower valued at over $800.

At the Festival today, over 150 local groups and businesses have come together to provide information on their networks, goods and services. With their continued support, the Maroondah Festival has grown to become the most well supported community Festival in Melbourne’s east.

I invite everyone to visit the Denso Australia Group – Community Expo today and learn more about the valuable work undertaken by our fantastic local community groups.

We are also fortunate that we have many businesses in our municipality who support the Maroondah Festival. I would like to thank the following businesses for their generous sponsorship at this year’s festival:

  • Ringwood Honda: The principal sponsor of the Maroondah Festival
  • Bankwest – sponsor of the Main Stage
  • Denso Australia Group – sponsor of the Community Expo
  • Maroondah Weekly – our media partner
  • Anaconda – sponsor of the Fun and Fitness Arena
  • Ventura – sponsor of the Park n Ride service
  • Jalna – sponsor of the Fun and Fitness Walk breakfast

An event the size of Maroondah Festival requires a lot of planning and hard work and I would especially like to extend a huge thank you to all of the volunteers and staff assembled here today. In particular I would like to acknowledge the assistance of St John Ambulance and Victoria Police, and I would also like to thank the staff of Maroondah City Council and Fruitbowl Productions.

I hope that you enjoy the rest of the day, visit the Festival Information tent to find out about the huge array of activities on offer and be sure to take advantage of the free sunscreen.

Thank you all for being part of this fantastic event and celebrating our wonderful Maroondah community.

I would now like to welcome to the stage, the Yarra Valley School band.

Hey Hey It’s Monkami

The Monkami Centre is based in Croydon and provides a range of services for people with intellectual disabilities, with the aim of developing employment and educational opportunities.

Monkami has a strong focus on community development and has established the Monkami Drama Group which holds an annual theatre performance to demonstrate the talents of its clients. The Monkami Drama Group is one example of the organisation’s community focus, which also includes a focus on artistic skills and volunteering opportunities.

This year’s performance was titled ‘Hey Hey It’s Monkami’ and followed the plot of performers auditioning for a part in Red Faces. As the Mayor of Maroondah, I provided a cameo appearance via a video sequence, in relation to Monkami’s suggestions. The Monkami performance is possible due to a partnership between Karralyka and the Ringwood Movie Makers, who have provided ongoing multimedia support including filming sequences to accompany the stage performance.

The annual Monkami theatre performance continues to grow in popularity each year, including a number of external performances to showcase the skills and talents of the performers. Tonight’s show was a tremendous success and Monkami is already planning for their 2011 theatre season.

Maroondah Leader: roll out the issues

The State Election is just over a month away and the Marooodah Leader has canvassed community organisations on the issues facing Maroondah and Melbourne’s outer east:

Mayor Alex Makin said the council’s focus was on funding for the $48 million Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure Centre, but the major parties should also provide an ongoing commitment to Ringwood Central Activities District, preserving local government’s authority over planning decisions and more frequent public transport services.

It is imperative that all parties commit to a shared vision for Maroondah, including Ringwood’s status as a Central Activities District. This requires an ongoing commitment and planning certainty, as well as facilities that serve not only Maroondah but the wider eastern region.