Friday, July 31, 2009

poor water policy for victoria

In a time when the focus should be on water recycling, water tanks, upgrading aging infrastructure, stormwater capture and mandatory water sensitive design why do we have a government hell bent on poor water policy for Victoria?

read on at Samantha Dunn's blogspot

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

living it now is coming

Living it Now! is a sustainable lifestyle festival being organised with the support of Scouting Victoria and the Shire of Yarra Ranges. It is scheduled to take place in Belgrave South on Sunday 8th November 2009 – so pencil this date in your diary now!

Will Ashburner - First Selby Scouts leader, me, Tyler Reeves - Selby Scout, Marcus Deuchar and Christina Reeves, festival organisers.

Organisers are planning for a large scale, high quality, professional one day event anticipated to attract over 5,000 people in its first year, and is set to become our Region’s highlight event.

This Festival has been created as an annual event to celebrate and showcase the unique community of the Dandenong Ranges and our commitment to the environment, to living sustainably, and to creating a better future.

It will be a fun, family-friendly, affordable Festival incorporating a Sustainable Homes Tour, an Exhibition, Conferences, Entertainment and a range of Scouting Activities for young people.

Organisers are seeking Volunteers, Sponsors, Business & Community Group Exhibitors, Conference Presenters and suitable Properties for the Sustainable Homes Tour. If you’d like to find out more visit or come along to one of the festival information meetings.

Festival Information Meetings
on Wednesday 29th July or Tuesday 4th August
at the Belgrave Library at 7:30pm

Organisers are also searching for a large Volunteer Staff of enthusiastic and committed individuals and groups from local service organisations, environment organisations, youth groups, neighbouring Scout troops and other interested parties, who are able to dedicate some time helping with pre-event planning, staffing at the Festival and/or post-event evaluation.

There are myriad opportunities for volunteer support, ranging from providing professional advice and sharing experience and skills right through to joining a committee or managing a Portfolio. There is something for everyone. It’s a great opportunity to get involved.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

mooroolbark library turns 25

Last week saw Mooroolbark Library turn 25. The community turned out in droves to celebrate, it was obvious that the library is a well loved and supported community space.

Part of the celebration included the unveiling of a quilt made by a local quilting group. Cheryl Young (convenor of the quilt) was inspired to make a quilt for Mooroolbark after a trip to Castlemaine library. She asked 5 of her friends if they’d contribute and Carmel Basile, Lorraine Walker, Lyla Welsh, Helen Loosley and Liz Vincent all agreed to take on the venture.

Sadly Helen passed away before completing her section of the quilt, so the ladies completed her work for her. Her husband Peter assisted me with the official unveiling of the quilt which was a fitting tribute to Helen and a wonderful gift for the library.

The making of the quilt was also supported by the Mooroolbark Community Bank Bendigo Bank, Sandlyn House Edge to Edge Quilting Services.

After a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, Peter and I cut the cake, which proved to be popular with young and old.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

monster petition underway

A blowy, blustery day greeted Mayors and members of the Eastern Transport Coalition for the launch of the monster petition on Tuesday.

The launch was held at Monash University, a great example of bad transport planning. The university sees 30,000 people a week go through it’s doors and yet there is no rail link to get there. Vast amounts of land around the university are taken up by car parking.

Me, signing as number 6 on the monster petition, by the time the monster petition left Monash we had 350 signatures for better public transport in the East.

Students readily took up the offer of signing the petition for better public transport to the east, particularly a rail line to Rowville which would link up with Monash Uni. Many students were lamenting the fact that they needed to drive their cars to uni because the public transport options weren’t there for them.

The State Government has never provided a reason why rail extensions to Rowville and Doncaster shouldn’t be built, the ETC is asking that proper public feasibility studies be conducted to assess the viability of delivering heavy rail services to these two areas.

The ETC is bitterly disappointed that the Victorian Transport Plan did not include any major initiatives to address the significant gaps in the provision of and planning for public transport in the region.

The seven members of the Eastern Transport Coalition representing 1.3 million Melburnians. We advocate for sustainable and integrated transport services to reduce the level of car dependency to secure the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the Melbourne's east.

Governments have been promising major investment in public transport for the eastern region since 1969. Forty years on and our residents are still waiting.

We’re putting the Government on notice that it’s time to end the neglect.

The launch was a great start for the monster petition which will be touring the eastern municipalities for the next 6 months.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

kids go for your life in yarra junction

I had the great pleasure of awarding the Kids - ‘Go for your life’ to the Upper Yarra Community Childcare Centre in Yarra Junction. UYCCC are the very first childcare (long day care) centre in the shire to receive the award.

Jenny Holinger, centre manager, me and Creina Porter, State Coordinator for Kids Go for your life. UYCCC are a great example of good quality early childhood development and set the benchmark for others to follow.

It is a great credit to Jenny Holinger, centre manager, and her team. They have created a wonderful environment for children that has been further enhanced by their participation in Kids - ‘Go for your life’.

The award is to recognise “Supporting the Kids – ‘Go for your life’ Program and based on six key themes:
TAP into water every day
Plant FRUIT and VEG in your lunchbox
LIMIT ‘sometimes’ foods
Move, PLAY and GO
Turn OFF, switch to PLAY

Kids - ‘Go for your life’ is managed by Diabetes Australia Vic and The Cancer Council Victoria, and funded by the Victorian Government. Kids - ‘Go for your life’ encourages physical activity and healthy eating in children through primary schools and early childhood services.

There has been a great take up of the program in the Shire with 64% of preschool and childcare centres enrolled to get accreditation. It is a great program and I will certainly be keen to see the day when I can award the Shire’s own long day care and family day care services their own Kids - ‘Go for your life’ award.

Well done UYCCC, your commitment to good quality early childhood development is outstanding.

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community grants granted

Earlier this week I had the great pleasure of handing out ‘cheques’ to community groups who were successful in an application for funding under the Shire’s Community Grants Program.

It is a great program and facilitates many wonderful events and projects throughout the length and breadth of the shire.

It was terrific to see some locals receive grants. Lyster ward recipients included:

Mission Impossible: The Resource Centre Inc

Project Sweet Tooth (Stage 2) Engages young people in the making and serving of cakes and slices to the needy in our community who drop into Mission Impossible in Belgrave.

Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association Community Energy Forums to talk at a community forum on an aspect of sustainability, energy efficiency and renewable energy on a 4 monthly basis.

Kallista Community House Inc
Kitchen Refurbishment
- 2009 Replace the hot water service and oven/stove.

Dandenong Ranges Open Studios
To promote working artists studios in the Dandenong Ranges through the design, production and promotion of a booklet and touring map of the region's studios, an Open Studio Weekend and an exhibition of participating artists at Burrinja.

Kye Garrett and Kage Studio
Purchase and assembly of equipment needed for a free access mobile recording studio (Kage Studio).

Belgrave Traders Association
Public Art in Belgrave
(Concept Plan) - To fund the development of a concept plan to determine how they proceed with having public art displayed in Belgrave

Pocket Bonfire Productions
There's a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating CakeShort film adaptation of the children's picture book "There's a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake".

Belgrave Survival Day 2010
A local event that acknowledges and celebrates the survival of indigenous culture through community cultural activity.

Blue Dandenongs Young Filmmakers Festival
The BDYFF is a celebration of artistic excellence and innovation in Australian film, resulting in an annual showcase of the best original short films from emerging Victorian filmmakers.

1st Selby Scout Group
Sustainable Lifestyle Festival
- A festival incorporating an open houses tour which showcases the sustainable built environment in the local area.

Thanks to Lou for the images and Kaye for sending them.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

burrinja bursting with talent

Today I went to the launch of Mapping - Territories and Landscape by Heather Fairnie at Burrinja. The exhibition explores the intersections of mapping across Western and Indigenous art traditions and includes works by Heather and works from the Burrinja Indigenous Collection.

Ross Farnell, Executive Officer of Burrinja and co-curator of Mapping, Heather Fairnie, artist and me at the opening of Mapping - Territories and Landscape.

Heather says her works depict imagined landmarks as marks without location, without history, yet they are marks that assimilate a location. Looking at her work is like looking at imagined landscapes from an aeroplane. It is quite intriguing and well worth a visit.

At the same time I bumped into
Emma Johnson, artist in residence at Burrinja, who is working on her exhibition, Another Dead Possum. Emma is creating her work during the exhibition with work space set up in the corner of the gallery. Emma has also created a giant laughing blackboard face where community members are encouraged to draw whatever they are inspired to.

Emma Johnson and me in front of the 3mt x 3mt collage Emma is creating as part of her exhibition.

Feeling like a bit of face art, the Jarmbi Gallery at Burrinja is the place to do it. A celebration of Emma’s exhibition will be held 7:00pm on 31st July at Burrinja.

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st thomas more turns 50

Today was a special celebration for the parish of St Thomas More which saw the 5 churches of the parish come together to commemorate 50 years in the Dandenong Ranges. Sacred Heart of Gembrook, St Joseph of Emerald, St Thomas More of Belgrave, St Paul of Monbulk and St Clare of Mt Dandenong were all represented. The choir of St Thomas More’s Primary School sung beautifully.

Bishop Hilton Deakin led the Eucharist and was joined by Fr Nhan Le, Fr Gerard McKernan and Fr William Matthews. Part of the proceedings included local community members recounting their experiences in the parish over the last 50 years, it was a fascinating journey to earlier days in the region.

It was a wonderful celebration of community and reminds us all of the great diversity we enjoy in this country.


rebuild regenerate renew expo

Yesterday the Shire held the Rebuild Regenerate Renew Expo, a community bushfire recovery event. The expo provided a showcase for building experts, local contractors and suppliers to assist people who are rebuilding in the region. Ernie Dingo hosted the event, apparently ‘co-opted’ by his kitchen renovator – a member of Rotary.

It was a great turn out, many of the suppliers at the expo were local contractors armed with information to help people with all manner of building enquiries. I got some great information on water tanks, septic/greywater systems and double glazing – there was something for everyone!

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rapid reveg

Yesterday I went out to Yarra Glen to join with volunteers and the Friends of Murrup Brarn Yarra Flats Billabongs to replant the banks and the billabongs. Earlier this year the billabongs were decimated by the Black Saturday bushfires and the Friends of Group despaired as all their hard work was lost in the fire.

Today around 80 people came out to help the group revegetate the area. A phenomenal task for a handful of people, but with 80 helpers, a swag of tools and 3000 plants the job was done in 2 hours.

Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth was there helping out.

Vicki Boyle, dedicated environmentalist, from the Dandenong Ranges was there.

Hundreds of middle and upper storey plants were planted near the banks whilst the billabong areas were planted up with grasses.

It was a terrific effort and gave the Friends of Group that much needed kick start to bringing the billabongs back to a healthy state.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

monster petition coming to an eastern municipality near you!

Next Tuesday sees the official launch of the Eastern Transport Coalition's Monster Petition at Monash University in Clayton. Monash is a great starting point for the petition because, despite the huge numbers of students and staff travelling to this campus every day, it is still without adequate public transport infrastructure – Monash is a metaphor for the neglect of the eastern region of Melbourne over many years.

The ETC Monster Petition is made of multiple rolls of recyclable synthetic paper, each 15 metres long with two signature columns. The petition is housed in a custom-made timber box to facilitate its transport over the next six months. The Monster Petition will travel around the region for the rest of this year, hosted for three weeks by each of the ETC’s seven member councils before being presented to the Victorian Parliament.

The ETC was bitterly disappointed that the Victorian Transport Plan did not include any major initiatives to address the significant gaps in the provision of and planning for public transport in our region.

The petition will seek commitments from the Government to modify the plan to include:
1. A full and public feasibility study for a heavy rail line to Rowville,
2. A full and public feasibility study for a heavy rail line to Doncaster,
3. A greater commitment to the extension of the Metro rail tunnel from Domain to Caulfield,
4. A full and public feasibility study for an increase in capacity on the Belgrave/Lilydale and Glen Waverly lines,
5. Improved facilities for passengers, particularly at interchanges located in central activity districts – Ringwood, Dandenong and Box Hill,
6. Fully accessible public transport facilities and vehicles

Successive governments have been promising major investment in public transport for the eastern region since 1969. Forty years on and our residents are still waiting. We’re putting the Government on notice that it’s time to end the neglect.

If you'd like to come down and put your name on the petition be at Monash at 11:00am on Tuesday 21st July on the lawn between Menzies Building and Campus Centre (Melways ref: X875, F9).
Can't make it? Don't despair, the petition is wending its way through the eastern suburbs starting at the City of Monash, to Whitehorse, Dandenong, Manningham, Knox, Maroondah and finishing in Yarra Ranges in November/December.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

powered up from power shift

I caught up with Nerida and Jaymie earlier this week to talk to them about their experience up at Power Shift. Nerida and Jaymie are part of the Shire's young leaders program and I sponsored them to attend Power Shift (see blog) up in Sydney last weekend. The girls were very enthusiastic and had a great time with 1,150 other young people from across Australia. They were fired up ready to spread the word to young people across Yarra Ranges about climate change and a youth referendum on climate change.

That's Nerida Lennon on the left, me in the middle and Jaymie Rudd on the right. The girls are keen to access as many young people as possible to participate in Youth Decide '09.

In September the AYCC and World Vision will be holding the first ever youth climate vote, Youth Decide '09. Nerida and Jaymie talked about the campaign to get as many young people as possible to participate in a youth referendum so the results can be fed into United Nations climate change negotiations in Copenhagen later this year. Jaymie and Nerida are keen to get the message out there and are currently thinking about the best way to get to as many young people as they can.

I've heard that the group of students I funded from Sherbrooke Community School had an exceptional time at Power Shift and have come back thinking that Sherbrooke is ahead of many schools but they have to do more. The students are in the process of writing up a report, I look forward to reading how they went.

Click on the image for more info Youth Decide '09.

Power Shift participants will be encouraging young people to hold a voting events in schools, communities, universities, TAFE and the workplace.

Their enthusiasm was catching, I look forward to hearing how they progress and look forward to helping any way I can.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

shocked by the cockatoo chew

report from the roundtable - 14th July

Council reserves a place on the agenda for councillors to report back on their activities since the last council meeting, it's called report from delegates.

I reported on a number of things, including the recent Treasure Vase Ceremony (see
blog) and the ETC Monster Petition being launched next week, but foremost I wanted to highlight to my fellow councillors the latest turn of events in relation to the cockatoo problem and their continued attacks on infrastructure in Kallista.

I recently attended the Kallista Mechanics Hall AGM (see blog) where I was presented with an extreme example of the recent cockatoo damage. The committee presented me with their chewed power supply line, the line that runs from the main power lines on the street to the power supply connection on the hall. The cockatoos had chewed through the outer casing, the insulation and into the power supply line itself, the peck marks in the metal self evident. I thought it important that my colleagues saw the line for themselves and the extent of the damage done so I brought it in to the meeting to show them.

This latest episode is alarming and the potential risk to the public is worrying. Clearly there needs to be an urgent education campaign around the consequences of feeding cockatoos. Although in the case of the Kallista Mechanic's Hall, Kallista Community House, Kallista Pre School, Kallista Village Green, Kallista businesses and nearby residents it's going to be very problematic to get the neighbours to stop feeding the cockatoos, given that the neighbours, Grant's Picnic Ground, is within the 200 metres of this area, the range that the DSE believes cockatoos will cause damage from human feeding.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

connex is leaving...will anything change?

I had a great start to the week handing out “Connex is leaving…Will anything change?” flyers at Belgrave Railway Station. It was part of a blitz across Melbourne organised by the Greens.

The flyers have been produced by the Greens to highlight the start of the public hearings into the parliamentary inquiry into train failures.

Will a change in operator make a difference – I don’t think so.

We will still continue to hear excuses for train failures, cancelled trains, crowded trains, trains without brakes, signal failures. Without any real investment in aging rail infrastructure Melbourne’s public transport system will continue to decline and our communities will continue to lose faith in an already failing system.

The Belgrave and Lilydale line has some of the highest cancellation rates, an untenable situation given the distance most of our commuters are travelling.

I got a great response from commuters in Belgrave on Monday morning, these people are at the coal face of public transport and appreciate the efforts of the Greens to highlight the failures of the system and suggest improvements to move Melbourne to a truly efficient and well functioning public rail service.

Want to know more? Visit to have your say.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

let’s talk cockie

Last week I attended a meeting, urgently convened, to talk about the cockatoo problem in the Dandenong Ranges, specifically around the Kallista and Menzies Creek regions of the Dandenongs.

These cockatoos have been slowly chewing their way through the bollards at the Kallista Village Green. I was told today that they have chewed through to the metal railing. The bollards will soon be replaced with the ratepayers bearing the cost of their replacement.

The meeting was attended by myself, James Merlino (MP for Monbulk) and staff, representatives of Parks Victoria, the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Tammy Lobato (MP for Gembrook).

There was no doubt that the problem of cockatoo damage was widely acknowledged as a significant issue by all in the room.

The DSE categorically stated that damage to buildings was caused due to the feeding of the birds. It was also said that the feeding would be in and around the vicinity of the damage in a radius of approximately 100 to 200 metres.

So if you are more than 200 metres from Grant’s Picnic Ground and experiencing cockatoo damage there is someone in your local area providing cockatoos with food. The DSE were clear-cut in this fact.

The meeting discussed the broader issue of wildlife feeding across the state, the legislative instruments available for the longer term and the need to have a major cultural shift so people understood why it was a bad idea to feed cockatoos.

This advertisement was published last year by the Shire in an effort to educate people about the consequences of feeding cockatoos. Given the cockatoo damage experienced this year, there is a lot more work to be done on education.

Education was seen as a vital step to effecting change. With the cooperation of DSE, Parks Victoria, James Merlino and myself it was agreed to develop succinct information for distribution to residents in the Dandenong Ranges to start a focused education process.

As a longer term outlook the DSE have committed to providing an assessment of the legislative process required.

It must be remembered that it is not the DSE that make the call on whether legislation is appropriate, it is our state parliamentarians and their will to see it happen.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

powered up for powershift

This week saw young people across Australia attend Power Shift, a summit organised by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. The summit was organised to coordinate a massive display of young people's commitment to finding stronger climate solutions.

When I first heard about Power Shift, I thought it was a great opportunity for young people across the country to learn more about climate change from leading figures of the climate movement. The organisers are keen to see young people armed with information to implement clear and ambitious plans of action to combat climate change. I was keen to ensure that young people from Yarra Ranges were represented at Power Shift.

I was very pleased to be able to assist with funding for a group of students from the Sherbrooke Community School to go up Power Shift. The students from Sherbrooke Community School are very active when it comes to climate change, two of them joining me recently for a meeting with Greg Hunt (federal Shadow Minister for the Environment).

Jamie Rudd, me and Nerida Lennon, the two young leaders I sponsored to go up to Power Shift.

I was also pleased to sponsor two of the Shire's "Young Leaders", Jaymie Rudd and Nerida Lennon to attend the summit.

Jaymie said the conference was a great opportunity to meet people who share the same opinions on climate change and were interested in making a difference.

Nerida said the conference gave her the chance to explore her interest in actions people could take to create and secure a positive future in terms of climate change.

The summit is covering a huge range of topics including campaign and event planning, public speaking, lobbying and leadership development and will be of great assistance to young people trying to get the message about climate change out there.

A number of presentations to be made include ‘How Combating Climate Change Leads to Job Creation’ and ‘International Security and Climate Change’, with keynote speakers including Dr Tim Flannery and Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Dr Rajendra Pachauri.

I can't wait to hear how they all went, I'm sure they are now equipped with a valuable insight into current news on climate change and the knowledge and tools they need to pass on the message to their peers and the broader community.

A salient point was made at this weekend's Power Shift summit by Co-director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Anna Rose, who said "Young people have the most to lose from climate change, we're the last generation that has the chance to solve this problem in terms of the time frame scientists have told us we have."

And she's right.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

station blitz public transport action

coming to a railway station near you – Monday 13 July

Look out for me and other Greens at Belgrave, Upwey and Boronia stations.

We will be handing out flyers to encourage commuters to attend the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Train Failures hearings on 21 July and to sign up for updates about the Inquiry.

The Upper House inquiry into train failures was initiated by Greg Barber MLC earlier this year and the public hearings begin on 21 July 2009. If you’d like to jump on board and help out visit

It's not too late to make a submission to the Inquiry yourself. The Inquiry's terms of reference are to inquire into the factors leading to and causes of failures in the provision of metropolitan and V/Line train services.

You might like to suggest some answers to questions like:
- In what way have rail services failed?
- Why have train services failed?
- What should be done to improve train services?

Feeling inspired, do you know the answers, then it’s time to write your submission! Visit for the link to forward your submission.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

bushfire claims in the dandenongs

It was interesting to read the front page story in the Herald Sun this morning about the claims for the Bushfire Disaster Recovery Payment by residents in the Dandenong Ranges. The story also featured on most of the television news networks tonight.

I was alarmed at the tenor of the stories suggesting that people in the Dandenongs were not entitled to the payment. I acknowledge that there may be some out there who claimed the payments fraudulently, however there were many legitimate claims from people in the Dandenongs.

During February our community was living on tenterhooks. After seeing the devastation of the Black Saturday fires, we knew that it was very possible the Dandenongs could suffer the same fate.

A fire in Sherbrooke Forest exacerbated the fear in the community along with the two enforced school closures across the region. The day of the fire in Belgrave South (23/02/09), thousands of people fled the Dandenongs. Many did not return the next day, their fear too great.

This is me on my front veranda, hosing down the house, my wind up solar powered radio to my ear, tuned to 774, smoke in the air and the persistent sound of helicopters dowsing the fire just over the hill.

The light was eerie and orange and the prevailing wind at the time heading towards Belgrave South/Heights and Selby. Very scary when 774 announced fire danger for the street I live on. We were lucky the wind changed and the danger subsided.

This is just one of thousands of stories and we were very, very lucky. As a Yarra Ranges councillor I have been to countless community meetings/events and toured fire affected regions in Yarra Ranges where locals were not so lucky and my heart goes out to them.

I was one of the residents who stayed behind to defend my property with my family in Selby. As news of the fire spread and smoke cloaked Belgrave South and Selby the roads became clogged with panic stricken residents trying to collect their children from school and get off the mountain.

Burwood Highway, our main thoroughfare was clogged with those trying to leave and conversely with those trying to get home to defend their properties.

It was a time of extreme tension and the stakes were high as people were already in a heightened state of anxiety from the Black Saturday bushfires, in Yarra Ranges the fires were still burning.

The Dandenongs were very lucky, due the skilled firefighting efforts of the CFA, the Belgrave South fire was controlled before it reached populated areas of the Dandenongs with only one house suffering fire damage.

Late in the evening as the fire danger subsided, I drove down to the township of Belgrave, the streets were deserted, our house was the only one in the street with the lights on. Belgrave was like a ghost town. The majority of people had left.

The next day at school it was obvious many in the community had not returned, in my son’s class only 8 students were there in what is usually a class of 24 students. This was repeated at schools in the area.

I recognise that people in the Dandenongs did not lose property, however the payment was not for that alone. I know of families who stayed in hotels for the night, too frightened to stay in their homes. Those people did not return to work the next day, still fearful.

It was a very stressful time, we all felt the anguish and pain of our community who had been tragically affected by the Black Saturday fires but many remained fearful of the potential for tragedy in the Dandenongs and took flight at a moment’s notice on many occasions this summer.

It is disgraceful to think that people may have claimed the payment deceptively but let that not cast a shadow on all those in the Dandenongs who legitimately made a claim.

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where did route 694 go?

Is it right that the community has to wait till the end of the year to know the fate of route 694? NO. At the recent bus review this service was proposed to be deleted due to lack of patronage.

If we had a service that was frequent and well connected the patronage numbers would be much higher. This route provides a key orbital link between Belgrave and Olinda, to suggest that in the future Belgrave commuters travel to Olinda via Upper Ferntree Gully defies any logic and makes for a very cumbersome journey.

I read in the local papers that one girl cried to learn that her only access to public transport was to be taken away. These decisions have long lasting significant effects on our local community and their ability to fully participate in society.

What happens to those who have limited transport options? How do they get to school, to work, to medical appointments, to shops, to socialise? It is unacceptable to lose this service in the Dandenongs.

At a time when we should be encouraging take up of public transport this mooted ‘improvement’ seeks to turn even more people off using public transport.

Why should we be denied access to fast, frequent and well connected public transport? I want to see serious investment in our bus services, not juggling the books of the current budget which will never deliver significant improvements to services in the hills.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

no desalination plant for victoria

Today I sent a letter to the Premier and various politicians voicing my opposition to the Desalination Plant at Wonthaggi. If you’d like to read more visit Samantha Dunn for Eastern Victoria at

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

treasure vase for the dandenongs

Today I joined with Khentrul Rinpoche and members of the Tibetan Buddhist Rime Institute to participate in a Treasure Vase Ceremony for the Dandenong Ranges. I was invited along as the community representative for the Dandenongs.

The ceremony was lead by Khentrul Rinpoche with the day including two special celebrations, one to generate blessings for the local community and rejuvenation of the environment, the other to celebrate the birthday of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama tomorrow.

The Treasure Vase is filled with jewels, medicines and holy relics, blessed and buried. Community members were invited to join in and contribute their own items as well as special 'dirt pills' and blessings prepared by Rinpoche.

Participants were also given a mantra to bestow on them good wishes and blessings in the Buddhist tradition.

It was a beautiful ceremony and a reminder of the great diversity we enjoy in this country. Our community is certainly spiritually richer for their contribution.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

cockatoos still crunching

I visited Kallista Market this weekend, the weather was terrible and stall holders thin on the ground, but the visit gave me a good chance to inspect the latest damage by the cockatoos.

Sadly the birds are continuing their chewing at the Kallista Village Green, they've also started on the Kallista Community House and the Preschool.

A meeting will be held this week to see what can be done to address the issue. So far confirmations have been received from James Merlino MP - Member for Monbulk, the DSE, City of Knox and the Shire of Yarra Ranges. Watch this space for outcomes of the meeting.

Many residents have told me they have visited James Merlino's office to discuss the issue, I'm advised by them his counter staff have requested photos of the cockatoo damage. I will be sure to send him copies of the many photos I have of the extensive damage I have seen over the last month, I encourage you to email him your photos and stories too at(

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

budget endorsed for 2009/10

report from the round table - 30th June

Last night saw council ratify the budget for 2009/10. I'm pleased that the following projects have been secured for the Lyster ward.

$80,000 Belgrave Pool Car Park Improvements - Belgrave
$70,000 Birdsland Caretakers Cottage - Belgrave Heights
$32,000 Belgrave Avenue Drainage improvements - Belgrave
$16,000 Belgrave Hallam Road Drainage improvements - Belgrave South
$14,000 Borang Avenue Drainage improvements - Selby
$96,000 Elgin Road Drainage improvements - Belgrave South
$25,000 Belgrave Hallam Service Road Footpath staircase reconstruction - Belgrave
$30,000 Belgrave Recreation Reserve replacement of sleeper seating - Belgrave
$15,000 Minak Reserve - Selby
$385,000 Selby Aura Road improvements - Selby
$115,000 Streetscape improvements - Belgrave South
$40,000 Streetscape improvements stage 4 - Belgrave
$25,500 Monbulk Pool redevelopment - Monbulk
$20,000 Belgrave hub feasibility project - Belgrave
$75,000 Footpath construction Sandells Rd - Tecoma
$25,000 Wellington Road equestrian trail - Belgrave South

The Selby Aura Road in Selby has been crying out for improvements, the project has commenced with funding of $395,000 from the 2008/09 budget and $385,000 from the 2009/10 budget.

Also for construction in Lyster:
Bayview Road Roundabout - Belgrave
$2.4million Monbulk Pool - Monbulk

And for the Dandenong Ranges, a project that I have been very active and passionate about:
$7.4million Childrens Hub - Upwey

The Birdsland Reserve carpark is undergoing significant upgrade works due to funding I secured in the 2008/09 budget.

In our consideration of fees and charges I was concerned about a proposed increase in tree inspection fees which would have seen a considerable hike in the amount charged. I moved a motion to keep the tree inspection fees at their current level which is a much better outcome for residents.

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