Tuesday, January 29, 2013

survival day 2013

I've been proud to be able to support Survival
Day since it's inception in 2008.
I was pleased to be able to be part of the 6th Survival Day in Belgrave, an event held to celebrate the survival of indigenous culture.

Yarra Ranges Council is proud to support this event through the festival and events community grants program and also through my community ward fund.

We are also proud to support our indigenous community through the ongoing employment of an Indigenous Community Development Officer and supporting our Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Aunty Dot Peters has long supported Survival Day,
it was terrific to see her make the journey from Healesville
for this year's event.
Our Indigenous Advisory Committee did a review late last year, thinking about our achievements over the past few years. Council has been a leader in this area as far as Local Government goes. Some of the success stories include:
  • The Healesville Cultural Strengthening Project and the Choir and HipHop Programs
  • The Olinda Creek Weed Control Indigenous Employment Project
  • A Youth Forum
  • Yarra Ranges first Reconciliation Strategy and Action Plan which is now being updated
  • Developing partnerships and relationships with other organisations doing great projects
  • Working with state government to provide local knowledge and advocacy on behalf of Yarra Ranges Indigenous community 

Jordan Crook is one of the organisers of Survival
Day, great to see such passion for raising community
awareness of Indigenous issues.

Council’s commitment to the Indigenous communities of Yarra Ranges is on show right now with the draft Reconciliation Policy and Action Plan, its worth a look and we’d be keen to hear your thoughts, click here for more information.
Uncle Bill Nicholson did the Welcome to Country

The Reconciliation Policy and Action Plan policy includes:
  • Honouring our Elders and their place in our community
  • Continuing to seek the advice of the Indigenous Advisory Committee on key matters
  • Consider Indigenous perspectives, values and issues across all aspects of Council’s work to promote access, inclusion and respect
  • Taking a leadership role in education processes to enhance our organisation and community understanding a an awareness of Indigenous heritage, as well as the needs of our Indigenous communities
  • And encouraging participation and improving access to services, facilities and programs of Indigenous residents, such as health, employment and education.
Uncle Joey started the day with some Didgeridoo
Yarra Ranges Council is active, leading and walking with you on the journey of Reconciliation.

From little things big things have grown. Back in October, 2007 I received an email from local Natalie Walker asking for ward funding to fund a new community event Survival Day. I was pleased to be able to provide the $750 towards the very first Survival Day, 5 Survival Days on, I’m pleased to be able to continue that support today with $2,500 from my community ward fund and a $7,500 community grant from the Yarra Ranges Council. I look forward to the other tiers of government putting in similar contributions into the future.

I congratulate the organising committee, once again you’ve done a terrific job in ensuring that locally we don’t forget our Indigenous history and continue to celebrate Indigenous culture. 

Lady Lash entertained onlookers with some
hip hop

Uncle Joey kicked things off with meditation to the Didge

Aunty Dot demonstrated basket weaving at her workshop

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

our environmental achievers recognised

Erin Burton - Young Environmental Achiever of the Year,
Cr Samantha Dunn and Vicki Boyle - Environmental
Achiever of the Year.
I was very proud to be able to present Yarra Ranges two Australia Day environment awards to locals from the Lyster Ward (Southern Dandenong Ranges) at today’s Australia Day Awards.

Erin Burton, a Year 9 student (in 2012) from the Belgrave Heights Christian School, took out the Ken McIntosh Memorial Award for Young Environmental Achiever of the Year, whilst Vicki Boyle, who wears many hats including Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group, took out the Yarra Ranges Environmental Achiever of the Year.

The Ken McIntosh Memorial Award for Young Environmental Achiever of the year honours the contribution of Ken McIntosh who was a driving force in environmental and conservation issues in the Yarra Ranges. For a young woman, Erin’s list of achievements is impressive. During her year 9 year, not only completing her school work, Erin was involved with Water Watch, volunteered for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition Conference, organised the Youth Decide Voting Event for renewable energy at her school and assisted the school’s Prep class with environmental education.

I was delighted to be joined by Mrs Beryl McIntosh,
representing Ken to present Erin Burton with the
Ken McIntosh Memorial Award for Young Environmental
Achiever of the Year.

Erin has worked with her peers constructing productive gardens throughout the school grounds and is a volunteer for the school’s Keen on Green community service project. She’s also been involved in tree planting along the Monbulk Creek, Clean Up Australia Day, marine studies at Queenscliffe, soil testing and a myriad of other environmental activities.

Erin’s contribution is heartening, it’s wonderful to see such passion and dedication for the environment. It is Erin’s generation that is going to have to confront climate change in a way that no other generation has and it gives me great confidence for the future knowing there are young people like Erin so committed to improving the environment and taking action on climate change.

Congratulations Erin, I’m very proud to be able to present you with your award on Australia Day.

It was a great privilege to be able to award
environmental dynamo, Vicki Boyle, with the
Yarra Ranges Environmental Achiever of
the Year Award.
Vicki Boyle is what I’d describe as a human dynamo, passionate and committed to the environment and seeing the Dandenongs return to a far healthier ecosystem. If there is any environmental activity in the Southern Dandenong Ranges you’re bound to find Vicki Boyle’s hand in there somewhere.

For the past 15 years Vicki has been weeding the land near the Trestle Bridge, originally starting alone, she soon attracted interest from others so started a Friends Group which has now become the Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group.

Vicki has worked around the Monbulk Creek region, throughout the Dandenong Ranges and in fire affected regions, assisting with revegetation work. Her positive attitude and gusto for the environment has seen others encouraged to start Friends of Groups along the Monbulk Creek.

In 2010 Vicki, nominated by her peers, was awarded the Individual Caring for Public Land award at the 2010 Port Phillip and Westernport Landcare Awards. She is also a member of the Friends of Monbulk Creek – Trestle Bridge, Friends of Monbulk Creek – Birdsland and Friends of Monbulk Creek – Belgrave Lake Park.

Vicki’s list of achievements is long and includes holding regular market stalls promoting Landcare, participating in the myriad of meetings to progress the fight on weeds, delivering a range of environmental courses and assisting residents to gain knowledge about weeds, indigenous plants and a healthier environment. She’s also been an instrumental part of Awesome Ornithorynkids Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the local platypus population and the Mini Beast Festival at Birdsland which focuses on our waterways and the importance of habitat for our wildlife.
I was absolutely delighted to award Vicki Yarra Ranges Environmental Achiever of the Year, she is a much deserved winner, congratulations Vicki, our environment is a far better place for your efforts.

Congratulations to all our other Australia Day Award winners:

Citizen of the Year – Denise Garratt, President and Coordinator of Help for Wildlife
Young Citizen of the Year – Breanna Andersen
Community Group of the Year – Melba Support Services
Mayor’s Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr William Hardy
Ian de la Rue Achievement Award for Community Leadership – Rodney Woods

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

to pledge or not to pledge, the ethical paper pledge debate returns 12 feb

At our last meeting of 2012 the issue of the Ethical Paper Pledge and relocation of Vic Forests head office to Yarra Ranges was debated due to a notice of motion submitted by Cr Jim Child.

Cr Child’s Motion
That Council:
1) Acknowledge that its procurement policy supports sustainability, protection of the environment, corporate social responsibility and local community needs.
2) Acknowledge that it purchases copy paper in line with that procurement policy, with Australian Paper supplying almost 100% of Council’s paper, its Australian™ product line having been chosen on its environmental credentials and its alignment with our sustainable procurement commitment.
3) In recognition of items 1 and 2 above, retract from the Wilderness Society's 'Ethical Paper Pledge' and withdraw its direct involvement with that pledge.
4) Write to the VicForests Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, expressing support for facilitating the relocation of the VicForests Head Office to the Yarra Ranges municipality.

Debate lasted for some time with a clear division of new councillors and longer serving councillors. Many of the arguments put were patently incorrect but the numbers were there to see council agree to the motion with the inclusion of an additional point pertaining to FSC paper suggested by Cr McAllister (below) and agreed to by Cr Child and McCarthy (the seconder).

Cr McAllister’s suggested amendment to the motion
5. Request officers to report on options for purchasing copy paper that is Australian made and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.

The vote was won and a division was called.
For: Crs McAllister, Witlox, Callanan, McCarthy and Child
Against: Crs Dunn, Cox, Cliff and Avery

I felt it important to move a rescission motion as many of the arguments put were incorrect. I am hoping that my colleagues have had time to explore the matter further and learn more about the issue. The rescission motion will be heard at council’s first meeting for 2013 on February 12.

My rescission motion:
That the resolution of Council on 11 December 2012 relating to Item 9.3 – Ethical Paper Pledge, be rescinded.

Contingent to my Notice of Motion to Rescind resolution being carried, I wish to put forward the following motion:

That Council:
1) Maintain its support of the Ethical Paper Pledge.
2) Write to VicForests to commence discussions regarding the relocation of their Head Office to the Yarra Ranges.
3) Purchase Australian made FSC certified paper when it becomes available.

In a nutshell the rescission motion seeks to maintain council’s support of the Ethical Paper Pledge, we have never received more letters of support than when we signed the pledge, a great rarity in local government.

It also seeks to ask VicForests if they want to relocate to Yarra Ranges, rather than being used a political football between Minister Walsh and Yarra Ranges. I’ve heard they don’t want to move, their staff not keen to do the commute from the inner city out to Yarra Ranges, I think it would be a sensible move to just ask them directly.

Lastly it picks up on Cr McAllister’s addition to the last motion regarding the purchase of FSC certified paper, FSC is a far more credible certification scheme, internationally recognised for certifying and labeling forests products.

In a future blog entry I’ll put up some of the debate from the December meeting, that’s enough writing for this entry.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

samantha in the press

Huntingdale station still a mess of hard rubbish
by Tim Michelle
Waverley Leader
14 Jan 2013

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