Attendance Report: National Volunteering Week and Young Leaders

National Volunteering Week was held between the 9th and 13th of May and provides an opportunity to promote volunteering and the many community groups that exist within the community. The week included an expo at Eastland Shopping Centre encouraging volunteers and was supported through media coverage in the Maroondah Leader.

Volunteering is a measure of the vibrancy and success of our community and I encourage people to consider how they can volunteer for the many community organisations that exist within Maroondah.

On the 13th of May, along with Cr Natalie Thomas, I attended the Young Leaders Presentation Evening providing an opportunity to congratulate the participants who completed the Young Leaders Program. The Young Leaders Program is a week-long course operated through EVs Youth Centre, which promotes leadership qualities for Year 10 students within Maroondah.

I would like to congratulate the participants for their dedication and for completing the course. I trust that the skills they have learnt will be useful in their future education, employment and employment endeavours.

The 2011 Young Leaders Presentation Evening

The Young Leaders Program is a week long imitative providing leadership opportunities for Year 10 students within Maroondah. The program works with schools to identify potential students who undertake a week-long intensive leadership course at EV’s Youth Centre in Croydon.

The program covers public speaking, confidence and teamwork, with the aim of developing leadership skills. At the end of the course the participants organise a presentation evening, which includes the presentation of certificates from Council.

This evening I was invited to speak about the program and to formally congratulate the students for their completion of the course. The speech delivered during the presentation is available within this post:

Continue reading “The 2011 Young Leaders Presentation Evening”

Media Release: Maroondah celebrates National Reconciliation Week

Well-respected Indigenous rights speaker and performer Kutcha Edwards will be a special guest at Maroondah City Council’s National Reconciliation Week celebrations.

National Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May – 3 June and recognises the rich culture and history of the First Australians.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said this year’s event would provide a variety of opportunities encouraging the community to explore Indigenous culture and heritage.

“I’d like to extend an invitation to the community to attend Maroondah’s Reconciliation Week celebrations from 10.30am at Maroondah Federation Estate on Tuesday May 31,” Cr Makin said.

“The launch will include a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony, a flag ceremony and a mesmerising didgeridoo performance by an indigenous performer,” Cr Makin said.

“Following the official procedures, Kutcha Edwards will speak about the theme for this year’s Reconciliation Week – Let’s talk recognition,” Cr Makin said.

“Edwards was born into the Mutti Mutti tribe in New South Wales, before being “stolen” from his family at 18 months of age. As a teenager he was reunited with his family, and started his journey to reconnect with his heritage,” Cr Makin said.

“Edwards now devotes his life working with various community groups including the Aboriginal Community Elders Services (ACES), Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, Fitzroy Stars Youth Club Gymnasium and the Koorie Open Door Education school at Glenroy,” Cr Makin said.

As part of Reconciliation Week, Council will also host an Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training session at Maroondah Federation Estate later in the week.

To find out more about Reconciliation Week events visit

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Media Release: Youth support services still available

Council’s youth team will continue to support Maroondah’s young people and their families over the Christmas school holidays.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said the last session of the EV’s Lounge drop-in program is on Friday 17 December, but youth workers are still available over the summer break.

“During the holidays our youth workers will be only be a phone call away for any young person 12-25 years old who is in need of assistance or referral to another support agency,” Cr Makin said.

“So if you or someone you know finds themselves in a position where they need support or help, then our youth workers can provide information on almost any issue, including school, finding a job, family issues, getting involved in the community, or if a young person is just having a hard time,” Cr Makin said.

“For those wanting information outside of business hours the Maroondah Youth Services website offers a range of information including activities on offer in Maroondah to keep young people entertained, contact details for other local support services, and other resources for young people and their families,” Cr Makin said.

“The Maroondah Youth Card is also a good source of information. The handy wallet-sized card provides a range of afterhours support numbers which can be used in times of need,” Cr Makin said.

“The card, which caters for people aged 12-25, also includes discounts for local businesses and recreational facilities which will definitely come in handy over the summer break,” Cr Makin said.

To get your hands on the card visit or pick one up at EV’s Youth Centre, 212 Mt Dandenong Road, Croydon or Council Service Centres.

For more information contact Council’s Youth Services team on 9294 5709, email or visit

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Media Release: National Green Jobs Corps graduation

After six months of working to improve the Mullum Mullum Creek area the National Green Jobs Corps crew will graduate from the program today.

National Green Jobs Corps is a Federal Government funded youth development program which offers young people a chance to gain quality experience and training while participating in community based projects of significant environmental and cultural heritage.

The Maroondah-based team worked in partnership with Council, Mission Australia Employment Solutions, Melbourne Water, Waterwatch Melbourne, Mullum Mullum Creek Bushcare Group, CRISP Community Nursery and Platypus Conservancy.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Alex Makin, who attended the graduation today, said the participants had gained a lot of experience during the program.

“The program is structured in such a way that the participants receive the right balance of work experience, skill development and accredited training,” Cr Makin said.

“During the course of the program the participants in the Maroondah team assisted in the extension of the Mullum Mullum Cultural Heritage Trail, undertook extensive weed removal and revegetation works, and conducted water monitoring and flora and fauna surveys,” Cr Makin said.

“The new paths around the reserve are looking fantastic and I urge those who haven’t seen the works to head down and experience one of the most tranquil and beautiful areas that Maroondah has to offer,” Cr Makin said.

“It is great to know that the Mullum Mullum area is being preserved and enhanced, given its importance to the biodiversity of the area,” Cr Makin said.

Each of the participants will graduate with a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management from Swinburne TAFE, a Level II First-aid course and herbicide use training.

“So in the six months each of these participants has risen to the challenge and their efforts will be rewarded with nationally recognised qualifications and workplace experience. I wish them all the very best in their future careers,” Cr Makin said.

A second round of National Green Corps participants will now join the program, also working in the Mullum Mullum Creek area.

To be eligible for the National Green Jobs Corps program you have to be aged 17-24, unemployed and receiving the Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance or Parenting Payment.

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Morning Tea for Maroondah’s School Crossing Supervisors

One of the services Maroondah City Council provides is crossing supervisors who ensure that schoolchildren are able to cross roads safely near schools. Each year the Maroondah City Council holds a morning tea to thank our crossing supervisors and the work that they undertake.

Some of Maroondah’s longest serving employees are crossing supervisors and the morning tea ensures that we are able to acknowledge the service they provide for the community. As Mayor, I spoke at the function to publicly acknowledge the dedication of the supervisors and discussed my own experiences and appreciation that I had for crossing supervisors during my time at both Marlborough Primary and Luther College.

While the school year is shortly drawing to a close our crossing supervisors will be returning for the new school year in 2011.

Speaking to Grade 4 students at Ringwood North Primary School

Ringwood North Primary School is located at Oban Road and was founded in 1923 and has continued since this time to provide primary school education to the Ringwood North community. The school prides itself on being a close-knit community with a range of services to students and community based activities.

This morning I spoke to approximately 70 grade four students to discuss my role as Councillor and Mayor within the City of Maroondah. As part of an educational trial the students have been provided with an iPad and it is great to see the embracing of technology and its support amongst the teachers and pupils.

I remarked on the continued adoption of technology within schools, whereby when I was in Primary School there was just one computer per classroom compared to today where each student has been provided with an iPad. Students were taking notes on the iPads and asked questions in relation to my time as Mayor including the importance of teamwork and delivering a vision for Maroondah.

Discussions with students are one of the most enjoyable functions in being Mayor and it was great to see how engaged and enthusiastic each of them were in discussing Council. I wish each of the students the very best for their future.

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.

Letter of Recognition to Pat Dyson

Pat Dyson is a 17 year old student who is a member of the Ringwood Horse and Pony Club and recently competed in the International Mounted Games, an event that involves competitors from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia.

This afternoon I had the pleasure of providing a letter of recognition to acknowledge Pat’s ongoing achievements with riding, as well as serving as a mentor for other students. Pat balances his school and riding interests and assists in coaching younger participants within the sport.

It is great to recognise the achievements of young people within our community and I wish Pat the very best in his educational and sporting pursuits.

November Broadcast on 98.1 Radio Eastern FM

Radio Eastern is a community based organisation located at Wyreena Community Arts Centre, that broadcasts on 98.1 FM.

Each month Councillors are invited to participate in an on-air interview on 98.1 FM and this morning I discussed upcoming Council activities, as well as reflected on the year as Mayor. During the interview I highlighted the governance reforms that were undertaken this year, including the encouragement of debate and discussion in the Chamber and presentations through deputations to Council. This ensures that decisions are being made in an open and transparent nature and ensures that community groups and individuals can make formal presentations to Council.

In relation to upcoming events I discussed the the Maroondah Festival, which will be held on Sunday the 7th of November. The Festival is Maroondah’s largest event, featuring community organisations, interactive displays, music and stage performances, including dedicated areas for community, business, sustainability, fitness and a youth precinct.

I also reminded the community that nominations for Maroondah’s Australia Day Awards close on Friday the 19th of November. The Australia Day Awards provide an opportunity to recognize prominent Maroondah citizens and community events.

Details on the Maroondah Festival and the Australia Day Awards are available from the Council website at