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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The Ringwood Chamber of Commerce – February meeting

The Ringwood Chamber of Commerce and Industry is Ringwood’s main trader group, representing its members on matters relating to commerce in Ringwood.

Tonight’s meeting included an update on development projects within Ringwood, including the long awaited redevelopment of Eastland. While some commercial development is taking place, the catalyst for Ringwood’s transformation will occur with the next stage of the Eastland redevelopment and the transformation of Ringwood Station into an accessible, integrated and safe transport interchange.

Over the past year Maroondah Council undertook considerable work to deliver community infrastructure within the centre of Ringwood. This includes two new playgrounds, as well as a community hub, which will provide new community space and library facilities.

The revitalisation of Ringwood must be accompanied with community facilities that create a sense of place and strengthen the level of community.

Furthermore, while the new State Government has committed to redeveloping Ringwood Station in its entirety from 2014 it is imperative that works on the station forecourt are also included to create new public realms and improve the amenity of Ringwood.

Maroondah Leader: Half-hearted trips

While there was a definite need for the Department of Transport to undertaken a review of bus services across metropolitan Melbourne, some of the resulting changes have not provided better services.

The Maroondah Leader has reported on changes to bus route 364, which was altered to terminate at Warrandyte Bridge instead of Doncaster Shoppingtown.

Cr Alex Makin said Warranwood and Ringwood North residents were worse
off and that he would raise the issue at the next Eastern Transport
Coalition meeting.

This means that there is no longer a seamless service for Ringwood North or Warranwood residents to get to destinations like Doncaster Shoppingtown making public transport less efficient and more difficult to use.

The review undertaken for bus services need to provide service improvements, specifically more frequent services that connect destinations. Overall implementation of the review has been poor and the new State Government needs to ensure that resources are allocated to provide improvements to bus services.

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

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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.

Conclusion of the 2010 Mayoral Year

This evening Maroondah City Council held its Statutory Meeting, whereby the Mayor is elected for the 2011 Council Year. While I have enjoyed the challenges experienced throughout this year I chose not to seek re-nomination as Mayor and Cr Tony Dib has been unanimously elected as Mayor for the oncoming Council year.

Maroondah is truly fortunate to have such a vibrant sense of community and I would like to thank the many community organisations and individuals that I have met throughout this year. While the volume of work undertaken as Mayor is immense it is also incredibly rewarding to meet the many people that are dedicated to their local community.

2010 has marked the year that Council delivered financial sustainability, ensuring that future Councils will be able to invest in community facilities and services. Maroondah City Council has finally reversed over 12 years of annual financial operating deficits to ensure that Council is able to meet future challenges. In addition, partnerships with neighbouring Councils have been strengthened and Maroondah is at the forefront of a newly formed alliance between the six Councils containing Central Activities Districts and the City of Melbourne.

Furthermore, Council has reaffirmed its commitment to Reconciliation through incorporating the Acknowledgement of Country at all Council events and Council meetings. Likewise, reforms to strengthen accountability and governance through encouraging debate and discussion were undertaken, including the rearrangement of the Council Chamber to ensure that Councillors are able to see members of the public present at Council meetings.

Council’s advocacy for an accessible, safe and integrated transit interchange for Ringwood proved successful and I congratulate the incoming State Government for their pledge to overhaul Ringwood Station.

Lastly, I would like to thank my colleagues for their support throughout this year, being Mayor is an incredible experience and I wish Cr Tony Dib all the best of success in the year ahead. I will be continuing as a Councillor for the Mullum Ward and I welcome feedback from residents and the community.

Maroondah Leader: Charity acts to the fore

The Rotary Club of Ringwood has held an annual golf charity day since 2009 to raise funds for worthwhile community causes. This year Rotary Club of Ringwood has chosen to support the installation of security cameras at Ringwood through proceeds raised through the day.

The Maroondah Leader has reported on the partnership formed between the Rotary Club of Ringwood, Eastland and Maroondah Council through supporting the charity golf day.

Maroondah Mayor Alex Makin said the efforts of the council, community, Eastland and the government would benefit Ringwood.

The introduction of security cameras will provide improvements to the amenity of Ringwood and Council is supporting this initiative through its sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Ringwood’s charity golf day. The installation of security cameras will provide immediate safety improvements While the Maroondah community awaits a State Government commitment for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station into an accessible, safe and integrated transport interchange.

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.

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Media Release: Final call for commitment for Ringwood Station upgrade

Maroondah City Council has issued a final call to all political parties to commit to the redevelopment of Ringwood Station into a safe, accessible and integrated transport interchange.

“Both the Greens and Liberal parties have listened to the concerns expressed by the Maroondah community regarding the urgent need to upgrade Ringwood Station within the term of the next government, but unfortunately the call has fallen on deaf ears with the current State Government.”

“While Council received a commitment in 2008 from Labor to fund the development of the Ringwood bus interchange and other improvements around the station, to date we have had no commitment to fund the upgrade of Ringwood Station itself,” said Cr Makin.

“We now wait in hope that the Labor party will follow its parliamentary colleagues, listen to the Maroondah community and commit to an upgrade,” said Cr Makin.

“Council has worked closely with the Maroondah community on a high profile advocacy campaign to highlight the urgent need for the funding commitment, as well as a commitment of starting date,” said Cr Makin.

“The campaign called for all major political parties to commit to an upgrade of Ringwood Station within the term of the next government. The Greens and Liberals listened to our community’s concerns and are now on board, we continue to await a commitment from the Labor party,” Cr Makin said.

“Council’s campaign has received enormous community support with a Ringwood Station upgrade petition receiving almost 3000 signatures,” Cr Makin said.

“The strong community support for the campaign has secured a commitment from two out of three major state political parties. It is extremely disappointing to note that the Labor Party not only continues to ignore the Maroondah community but ignores the need to fund the missing piece of its own Central Activities District,” Cr Makin said.

“The feedback I have received from people during the course of the campaign is that people want a station which is safe, accessible and integrated,” Cr Makin said.

“I will be presenting a copy of the petition, with all signatures and comments to both the Greens and Liberals in an acknowledgement of their support to the Maroondah community,” said Cr Makin.

“I will also be delivering a copy of the petition to Mr Brian Tee, Parliamentary Secretary on Public Transport, and Maroondah’s representative for the Eastern Metropolitan Region of the State Legislative Council,” said Cr Makin.

“The petition containing the almost 3000 signatures and comments will surely provide a weighty reminder to the Parliamentary Secretary and his colleagues in the Victorian Labor Party to sit up and take notice of the Maroondah community,” said Cr Makin.

Some of the comments posted on Council’s online petition:

“This station urgently needs an upgrade due to the increasing older population, to assist in making the train more accessible. It is very difficult for the elderly to manage stairs etc and updating the station would hopefully make it more secure for travellers. Older people don’t want to travel for this reason, it limits their freedom.”

“No one feels safe at this station. Our worries should not be ignored.”

“The upgrade is urgently needed if it wants to attract future residents. It’s needed to keep the existing travel users safe and secure. What happened to the Government’s duty of care. What happened to the Government’s responsibilty to Maroondah residents?”

“The current state of Ringwood Station is unacceptable. It is clearly not safe for the community- particularly those who are vulnerable ie pregnant women, elderly, disabled, mothers with prams- and its complete redevelopment should be the government’s highest priority.”

“This is an issue of great importance and ought to be a priority on the agenda for state political parties. Ringwood has been very much left behind and the upgrade would not only assist with the mobility of disabled commuters but will also make the area safer for all commuters.”

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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.

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