Wednesday, December 31, 2008

survival day – celebrate with indigenous music, dancers and elders

Australia Day 2009 will see the second running of Survival Day in Belgrave, a concert to celebrate the survival of indigenous culture both locally and nationally.

Last year I spoke at the inaugural Survival Day event and I’m glad to see that the Survival Day organisers are back with another great program of artists this year.
The second annual event will involve indigenous artists including Lee "Sonnyboy" Morgan and Band, Healesville Traditional Dance Troupe and Sparkleland an indigenous children's entertainer. Indigenous Elders Aunty Dot Peters and Uncle Henry will also speak at the event. Stalls selling indigenous craft and bushfoods will be there.

Lee "Sonnyboy" Morgan says “Australia Day was initially called Invasion Day but it did not sit in the spirit of Reconciliation so it was aptly changed to Survival Day. It represents how Indigenous people of the land and country have survived and are still part of the wonderful and great landscape.

Performing at such an event as Belgrave Survival Day brings to my band and myself great energy and respect to all people and nations. By being there on that day we can honour those who came before us and move forward from the issues of the past.

Let us join together in unity to celebrate our land, friendship and respect for one another. Let there be no borders so we can share the paths that are walked upon. Let this be part of our journey.”

I have been a proud supporter of the Belgrave Survival Day, an event organised by a group of committed local people. Belgrave Survival Day plays an important part in building better relationships and understanding between the indigenous and wider community. I look forward to seeing you there.

When: Monday, January 26th 2009
: Cameo Outdoor Cinema - 1628 Burwood Highway, Belgrave
Time: 12 to 5 PM

The Healesville Indigenous Dance Troupe at the 2008 Survival Day in Belgrave.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

burrinja gets the go ahead

More good news locally, VCAT have handed down their decision for the Burrinja redevelopment and it’s all systems go for the new performing arts centre. There have been a couple of changes to the permit conditions, but on the whole it’s full steam ahead for a new performing arts centre for the hills. I have been a long time supporter of the project and worked hard to see it come to fruition. I can’t wait to see the start of construction, it’s been a long time coming and a dream of many.

I congratulate all those in the community who have fought long and hard to get this project off the ground, who have negotiated all the hurdles and stayed true to the vision of a performing arts centre in the hills, that vision is now a reality.


1. In permit application no. 307/2007/06P, the decision of the Responsible Authority is varied. A permit is granted and is to be issued for the land at No. 18 Matson Drive, (Lot 1 PS407085), Upwey. The permit will allow the use and development of an auditorium (place of assembly), a reduction in car parking, buildings and works, and removal of vegetation in accordance with the endorsed plans. The permit is subject to the conditions contained in Appendix 1 to these reasons.

Margaret Baird - Senior Member
Geoff Rundell - Member

(for more details on the VCAT decision follow the link above).

The young songwriters perform their works at the Burrinja Cafe in 2008. Burrinja provides many opportunities for young and emerging artists in the hills, the addition of a performing arts space will increase the opportunities for performance without having to travel off the mountain.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

stop press….woolworths - no appeal for liquor licence

A great Christmas present for locals in Tecoma, particularly residents at Carlisle Court, there will be no drive through bottle shop at this site in Tecoma.

Yesterday Woolworths contacted me to advise that they will not be appealing or reviewing the decision of the Director of the Liquor Licensing Board to refuse their application for a drive through bottle shop in Tecoma.

Although Woolworths have further rights that may allow them additional time to appeal they have assured me that they will not be pursuing this matter further. Woolworths are keen to ensure that residents concerns regarding an appeal are alleviated over the next month.

I thank Woolworths for listening to the concerns of local residents and appreciate them taking the time to let me know.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

seasons greetings

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Make your Christmas more environmentally friendly:
Consume less
Reuse wrapping paper
Make your own cards out of scrap paper
Buy local food, not imported

When you do shop, shop locally

And when you are shopping for you and your family, if you can afford it, put a little something extra in the basket for those less fortunate.

Enjoy the time with your family, may your Christmas be a safe and happy one.

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stop press… no to bottle shop in tecoma

Save Tecoma have just received notification that the Liquor Licensing Board (LLB) have rejected a liquor licence application for a drive through bottle shop at 1571 Burwood Highway, Tecoma (the old Flash Mechanics site) – see blog entry for more details.

This is great news, the site was completely inappropriate for this type of business and it is heartening to see the LLB have upheld the concerns of the community.

It is not known at this stage whether BWS (Woolworths) will appeal the matter at VCAT.

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tis the season

Last week I went along to Carols @ Convention, organised by the combined churches of the Belgrave district; Belgrave South Baptist Church, St Martins Anglican Church and Highway Christian Fellowship.

It was fortunate that this ‘carols’ was inside as most Carols by Candlelight events throughout Melbourne were cancelled due to very wet weather. It was a wonderful night. The Freedom Choir and Belgrave South Primary School Choir were particular highlights on the night. There were many familiar faces and it was a fantastic community event.

Last chance for local carols this festive season is Christmas Eve at 7:00pm at Kallista Village Green and Community House, I look forward to seeing you there.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

5% target, who are you trying to kid?

The announcement of the federal government’s 5% - 15% target for greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2020 is an environmental catastrophe.

Current climate scientists are all advocating for cuts in the order of 20 to 25% by 2020. We hear ‘we can’t afford it’, but climate doesn’t care about economics.

Yarra Ranges Shire Council greenhouse gas emission reduction targets are:
30% reduction in corporate emissions by 2010 based on 2000 levels
20% reduction in community emissions by 2010 based on 1996 levels
and we are Australia’s first carbon neutral municipality.

We take climate change seriously.

5% is a joke and leaves Australia in a precarious position. In a time where we need to see leadership on the most urgent and pressing issue facing us, we have seen a response that fails not only us but our children and their children.

I am disappointed, I have spoken to many in our community who are equally disappointed and you have good reason to be, this announcement has shown how easily this government has folded to pressure from the big polluters.

As a response to the announcement, Green’s Senators have drafted terms of reference for a Senate Inquiry into the 5% emissions reduction target.

The Inquiry, to be moved in the first sitting week of the new year, will examine the scientific adequacy of the 5% target in avoiding catastrophic climate change of more than 2 degrees warming, and whether the target does enough to play a fair and responsible part in global climate action. This will give scientists from across Australia and around the world the opportunity to advise on how much Australia will need to do to prevent catastrophic climate change.

I look forward to seeing its progression.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

the plan leaves outer east behind

Last week the state government released its transport plan for Melbourne. It was a disappointing read for those of us in the Outer East. The plan had a distinct focus on the growth suburbs of Melbourne, so for those of us who live in suburbs which have long ago had their growth the outlook was bleak. There was a mention of consideration of the duplication of the Belgrave and Lilydale rail lines in the longer term, but no firm commitment for now. Given that this transport plan covers the next 12 years our communities are going to be waiting for some time.

The Belgrave and Lilydale lines suffer the highest cancellation rate and their record does nothing to entice new users to the service. It was also disappointing to see no increases in off peak frequency for rail services and no funding for cycling infrastructure in the outer east.

Once again our communities have been short changed and we continue to be reliant on motor vehicles, six times more reliant than people who live in inner Melbourne. I have once again been elected as council’s representative on the Eastern Transport Coalition, a sustainable transport advocacy group made up of 7 councils of the outer east.

The first meeting of the ETC for 2009 will see the group set an advocacy plan for the year and I will be making sure I represent the community views of Yarra Ranges. If you have any comments on the transport plan post them now.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

report from the roundtable - 16 dec

Report from the Roundtable is a regular entry on my blog where I report back on items from the most recent council meeting. This week it was the first meeting of the new council, very much the same faces as the last council with the addition of Cr Richard Higgins (Chirnside) and Cr Chris Templer (O’Shannassy).

A lot of different items were covered, but this time round I’m going to focus on childcare. Childcare is an issue that I have always been passionate about and I have long been an advocate for community based not for profit childcare, rejecting the notion of ‘for profit’ childcare. The demise of ABC Learning Centres across the country has thrown the childcare sector into crisis. Of the four ABC centres in the Shire, 3 are being continued, the one in Healesville is scheduled for closure in March, 2009. This is a dire situation for families in the Healesville region.

Me, outside council's long day care facility, Sherbrooke Children's Centre (SCC). It's full steam ahead for this site with the development of a Children's Hub for the Dandenong Ranges region. This will include integrated services for families across the hills and a 110 place long day care centre. Currently the waiting list at SCC is over 240 places. There is a clear demand in the hills for community based childcare.

The Robyn Jane Childcare Centre, a not for profit community based provider, are looking to expand their centre but can’t at their current location. The ABC centre offers them an ideal opportunity for expansion and if successful the community will have an even greater access to community based childcare.

Given the current Senate Inquiry into the provision of Childcare I thought it was important that the shire makes a submission to the inquiry as well as assisting Robyn Jane in their efforts to secure the ABC site in Healesville. It is time for the Federal Government to rethink long day care in this country, the failure of ABC highlights many areas of serious concern for the childcare sector. With this in mind I moved the following motion:

Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Provision of Childcare:

Resolved on the motion of Crs Dunn and Cliff

1. Council make a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the provision of Childcare prior to the close of submissions on the 30 January, 2009 and that the submission include:
a) Calls for greater federal investment into community based child care.
b) Support for local government to provide or support childcare services and that the provision of childcare is affordable and of high quality.
c) Acknowledgement that provision of Childcare is an important part of early childhood development and should provide quality care, health and educational outcomes for children and families.
d) That there be adequate performance monitoring including financial audits.
e) That federal funding for capital grants for childcare be reinstated.
f) Provide funding to local government and not for profit community groups for failed ABC childcare centres with the provision that the net operating costs, including leases and other costs associated with buildings and grounds, are funded by the federal government and any costs to be borne by council are identified for council to consider first and that Council is indemnified against any liabilities arising from the existing operations.

2. Council works with the Committee of Management from the Robyn Jane Childcare Centre in Healesville to assist with their negotiations to take over the operation of the ABC Childcare centre located in Healesville.

3. Council notes that where appropriate council’s family and children’s services staff will offer advice and support to ABC Learning staff and users.

The motion was supported by all councillors with the exception of Cr Graham Warren (Chandler).

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Monday, December 15, 2008

pipeline pressure continues

Me and Lorraine Leach (member of c4 Healesville) holding a sprig of Round Leaf Pomaderris, a critically endangered plant with only 100 mature specimens known to exist in the Toolangi - Castella region, right in the path of the pipeline. Its future is threatened by the construction of the pipeline.

Sunday saw the ongoing campaign to highlight issues around the construction of the North South pipeline to people who live in the city of Melbourne. To date the campaign has been driven by the community in rural areas. Plug the Pipe are doing a great job, now Friends of the Earth have joined the campaign to raise awareness in the city.

I was joined by approximately 50 other people from around the district to see for myself the destruction already caused by works on the pipeline. The works are an environmental disaster and present as a harsh scar on the landscape. In an area of forest under a special protection zone (SPZ) the vegetation has been cleared to bare dirt. It is a conservation tragedy and even more tragic given the still unproven water savings the project will deliver.

Council is opposed to the construction of the pipeline until claimed water savings can be demonstrated. Back in February, 2008 council resolved:
Sugarloaf Interconnector Pipeline
Resolved on the motion of Crs McRae and Dunn
The State Government and Federal Government be advised that we oppose the construction of the Sugarloaf Pipeline Interconnector project until claimed water savings can be demonstrated.
A report providing a synopsis of the environmental, social and economic impacts for the Shire be prepared by officers and presented to the next Council Meeting.
A division was called.
For: Crs Dunn, Avery, Keane, Cliff and McRae
Against: Crs Smith, Warren, Cox and Heenan

We still haven’t had a sufficient response from government and yet without any real evidence of water savings construction has begun with untold consequences for the social fabric of our communities and to the detriment of our natural environment.

There are many alternatives to securing water for Melbourne, the most simple, water tanks. Melbourne receives 5 times the water it uses, it literally goes down the drain. Other options include upgrades to the Eastern Treatment and Western Treatment Plants, stormwater harvesting and of course ceasing logging in Melbourne’s water catchments. Whilst our government continues to concentrate on building massive infrastructure at a huge cost to the taxpayer, the environment and climate change, our water security is being squandered.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

a mention in parliament...

Local government: Greens councillors
Speech by Sue Pennicuik MLC
December 4th, 2008

Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- Today I congratulate the 19 Greens councillors who were elected or re-elected in 15 local government areas at the state-wide local government elections last Saturday. They are Geraldine Brooks in the City of Brimbank; Lynette Keleher in the City of Casey; Stephen Hart in Colac Otway shire; Trent McCarthy in the City of Darebin; Neil Pilling in the City of Glen Eira; Cathy Oke in the City of Melbourne; Rose Iser in the City of Moonee Valley; Jo Connellan and Toby Archer in the City of Moreland; Philip Schier in Mount Alexander shire; John Middleton in the City of Port Phillip; Lloyd Davies in the Borough of Queenscliffe; Simon Northeast in the Surf Coast shire; Helen Harris and Bill Pemberton in the City of Whitehorse; Sam Gaylard, Amanda Stone and Alison Clarke in the City of Yarra; and Cr Samantha Dunn who was re-elected with 54 per cent of the primary vote in Yarra Ranges shire. The election of these local councillors increases the number of Greens in local government by one-third. I would also like to thank those Greens councillors who either did not stand for re-election or were not re-elected for their dedication and hard work in their communities during their terms as local councillors.
Authorised by Sue Pennicuik, Parliament House Melbourne.
Me and Sue Pennicuik pictured celebrating 100 years of the vote for Victorian Women at the recent Greens State Conference.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

boys of belgrave bare all

Earlier this week I went to a launch with a difference, the Belgrave Trader’s Association officially launched their 2009 calendar, Bare Boys of Belgrave.

The calendar features a selection of nude male traders from Belgrave demonstrating their trades most creatively! The calendars cost $20 each and proceeds go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia to assist with further research.

Me with Michael Alexander, the project's coordinator. Congratulations to you and all the boys for a great effort.

I commend them on their efforts to raise awareness around men’s health, it’s a fun way to spread an important message and raise some funds for a serious men’s health issue. The calendars are available from traders throughout Belgrave, I believe there’s a bit of a competition amongst the traders to see who can sell the most calendars, so if you’re buying more than one don’t forget to share your purchases around!

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50 kph for kallista & sassafras

For a long time I have campaigned to get 50kph speed limits in our townships. It is an issue that has consistently been brought up with me by the community, arising out of concerns for pedestrian safety.

I got some great news on Friday, two of those townships, Kallista & Sassafras, have been approved by Vic Roads for a reduction to 50kph. This is something I have pursued for a very long time, I have consistently been told it won’t happen and our townships don’t qualify.

60kph no more, Kallista's speed limit will be reduced to 50kph, only 11 more towns to go!

After several letters and lobbying, with my latest letter to Minister Pallas on the 28th October (see blog – which includes links to previous blog entries) I have had a great victory for two of our towns.

It is fantastic news and I congratulate Vic Roads on their decision. There’s still 11 more townships to go, but I’m ready to continue the challenge to see a change in these townships too.

I still continue to be very concerned about traffic speed and pedestrian safety through the townships of Selby, Tecoma and Belgrave South and will specifically follow up with Vic Roads and the Victoria Police about an urgent review of the speed limits in these towns.

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burrinja is turning ten

On Sunday December 14, from 11am to 2pm Burrinja is inviting everyone to their TEN plus TEN event.

Celebrate the TEN years past and plan for the next exciting TEN years to come.

Burrinja’s tenth birthday is a great opportunity to reflect on where Burrinja has come from, what Burrinja has achieved and how the community sees Burrinja’s role – past, present and future. It is a celebration and community cultural event for everyone.

Activities on the day will include:
A performance from the theatre group students at Ferny Creek Primary School
Music from ‘The Deep End’ – the Mater Christi student’s rock band
Drumming en masse extravaganza from Rhythmology
The Bones and Bodran Bush Band
The ‘history of Burrinja’ project (it’s a work in progress!) – and a wall of your words
Free Sausage Sizzle, party food and more!

Burrinja is a hub of activity for local artists, pictured from left to right is Tracey Roberts, Gwen de Lacy, Me and Stax at the recent launch of Resonance, Tracey Roberts' exhibition (on till 10th Dec).

Jarmbi gallery from Dec 13, 2008 to Jan 19, 2009.
You can be a part of this collaborative exhibition event celebrating ten years of Burrinja.
• Artists (and non-artists!) of all ages working in all media are invited.
• It’s about participation, celebration and getting involved!
• All works on the theme of Burrinja’s Tenth Birthday or just ‘being ten’ are welcome.
• Simply produce a work of art in any medium that can be mounted on 3mm, A4 sized board (210mmx 297mm), and have it at Burrinja by Friday December 12.
• For more exhibition participation details contact Burrinja on 9754 8723 or email

In the lead up to the Birthday celebrations, Burrinja has been asking Ten Questions about the community response to Burrinja. The questions are in their Birthday card or online at our Burrinja Birthday Blog: Log on and read what others have written.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

news flash – tecoma supermarket application

I have been advised by our planners that the application for the supermarket in the Tecoma will now be considered by council in early 2009. Due to the complexities of the application it was not possible to get the report to council by the 16th December 2008. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call me on 9752 6869 or for latest community news you can visit

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report from the roundtable – 4th december

The last week of the election campaign was such a hectic time, I didn’t get to do my regular ‘report from the roundtable’ for the 25th November council meeting. Although just over a week ago a lot has happened since then.

I was re-elected to council with a resounding 54% primary vote, a record for a Greens endorsed candidate across Australia. I am truly humbled by this result and assure the community I will always have their best interests at heart as the Lyster Ward Councillor.

Last night was a ‘special meeting’ of council where councillors swear an oath to office and elect the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the ensuing year. It was a great pleasure to nominate Cr Len Cox for the position of Mayor and with no other nominations Cr Cox was duly elected Mayor. Cr Jeanette McRae was elected Deputy Mayor with no other nominations on the night.

The newly elected Shire of Yarra Ranges Council (Cr Avery absent), all seven councillors were returned with two new councillors elected in O'Shannassy (Cr Chris Templer) and Chirnside (Cr Richard Higgins).

Part of the special meeting is the appointment to external bodies, this year I will be representing the Shire on the following committees:
Advocacy Reference Group
Belgrave South and Heights Township Group
Birdsland Environment Education Centre Advisory Committee
Burrinja (substitute)
Eastern Regional Libraries
Eastern Transport Coalition
Local Planning Policy Framework Reference Group
MAV Strategic Environment Advisory Group
Policy and Strategy Committee
Tree Task Force
Yarra Ranges Environment Advisory Committee (substitute)

I have worked with all these committees during my first term with the exception of the Eastern Regional Libraries committee, which I very much look forward to participating in.

Affirmation of Office
I, Samantha Dunn, do solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm that I will undertake the duties of the office of Councillor in the best interests of the people in the municipal district of the Shire of Yarra Ranges and faithfully and impartially carry out the functions, powers, authorities and discretions vested in me under the Local Government Act 1989 or any other Act to the best of my skill and judgement.

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