Family Fun Day

Come and join the Ardeer and Sunshine West Community and show your support for putting the powerlines underground. Sunday 7th November 1pm, Ardeer Community Park, Forrest St. Click here for more information.


Local area forum - Sunshine
I attended the Local area forum discussions at West Sunshine Community Centre, which was the chance for community members to discuss progress on the Community Plan.

Some of the areas covered include:
· Local Area Plan, from Brimbank Community Plan
· Sunvale Primary School site future use
· Brimbank Planning Scheme amendment
· Sunshine Station rebuild
· West Sunshine Community Centre Redevelopment
· 150th celebrations
Unfortunately the Forum did not cover the issue of the urgently needed facilities review and fees for community meeting space!


Meeting Procedure Local Law - rescission motion defeated
Unfortunately my rescission motion was defeated last night. This now means that every motion I put forward has to have a seconder when I lodge it with the CEO!

I lodged this rescission motion, because I believe these changes are grossly undemocratic.
And I was hopeful that at least some councillors would show enough respect for democracy and the community that elected me and agree to throw out this undemocratic move.

With the whole of Victoria watching Brimbank and the conduct of Brimbank Councillors, we need to demonstrate that we are a democratic Council making transparent and accountable decisions.

Motions may fail in the chamber but at least Councillors should have the right to raise the issues and debate them. Under this law that will be so much harder.

No other Council I am aware of has a local law that requires a notice of motion to be seconded on lodgement. The sole motivation for this amendment must be to prevent the minority voice from being heard at Brimbank and I have to ask why would you want to do that…who is trying to gag me?

The minority I might be, but what I have to say is no less important - and the truth often rests with the minority

I believe this move is an obvious attempt to stifle independent opinions and silence debate the only non-Labor councillor, it is clear that this is aimed at preventing me from moving any motions and raising issues in the community interest.

Councillors are meant to act in the community interest. Unfortunately it seems that some other councillors are more interested in silencing community issues. Have they not learnt anything from the Ombudsman’s report?

Click here to see the rescission motion I put to the chamber and my speaking notes


Alternative Community Council meeting
I congratulate the residents and ratepayers who organised the alternative meeting. It was a resounding success, with many decisions made in the interests of the community!
Container Deposits
I lodged a new notice of motion for Council to support a National Scheme as legislation is currently being debated at the federal level.

With community members telling me they have great concerns about the amounts of litter in our streets and water ways, this is a very practical solution that turns litter into community money and litter bugs into recyclers. Click here to see the motion and my address to the chamber.

Unfortunately Council voted to defer this motion until the Ordinary Council meeting in August. Watch this space for more container deposit discussion!


Community planting at Ardeer Park
Over 20 people again turned out to help plant the new indigenous flower garden. Thankfully a few spots of rain are keeping the plants alive!


Sunshine gets down and gets groovy!

I attended a CD launch at wonderful local business – SunYoga ( )
It was a wonderful chance to get out and enjoy a night with friends - locally.
We were treated to beautiful live performance from the Legless Lizards, a guided relaxation and wonderful company.


UGB extension – do we already have this?
The analysis and assessment of implications of these proposals by the State Government are missing everywhere in the phone-book sized gloss - it's hard to know whether any other planning options were even considered.
The manner in which the State Government has facilitated public comment for these four proposals is also telling. It is strikingly similar to previous consultations on transport plans and UGB expansions that the State has received and then ignored- this great cause for concern. Why are they asking again and again as if it is not already very clear that the UGB needs to be permanently fixed, and public funds and energy be channelled to address our current problems.

At the last Planning Committee Meeting on Tuesday 14th July, Council decided to make a submission to the State Government on its recently released report euphemistically called 'Delivering Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Communities'.
I'd like to see this Council take a position within its submission that it does not believe that the UGB expansion is needed nor warranted. Unfortunately it has taken a very watered down position.

I spoke about this at the meeting. click here to see the motion I put to the chamber and my speaking notes.
Ardeer Neighbourhood Watch

I attended my local neighbourhood watch meeting tonight. The meeting came up with a very creative solution to a problem residents have been having with illegal drinking.

The Committee have asked that I speak to Council and the Ardeer Soccer Club to determine the possibility/practicalities of the local community being able to meet in the social rooms of the club after hours. This would provide a win:win solution for the community, the Club and Council. Community members currently meet outside the local shops and would like a warmer place to socialise – and a legal one! The Club would have increased drink sales and local people to keep an eye on the building and grounds. And contribute to Council's wish to see more mixed use in our sporting facilities as well as reduce illegal drinking on our streets. Lets hope we can get it to work!


Civic Centre Debacle
Council has reacted to the community backlash about this issue by holding a series of 4 sessions over the next few weeks. At the first of the PR sessions organised by Council to sell the business case for a new civic centre, the community told Council in no uncertain terms that they do not want it built on Errington Reserve.

My postion continues to be that we should not be building a new civic building until such time as we have implemented our Creating Better Parks Strategy.

While I am not opposed to Council taking out a loan, I think it should be spent on funding the upgrade of our parks across the municipality over the next 4 years and the same with the cycling and walking strategy.

These are urgent as far as our community priorities go and now more than ever. We need to create local jobs that provide sustainable outcomes for our community.

If we were ready to build a new centre, and I certainly agree we need an arts and cultural complex, then using the project to activate a civic precinct is a great idea. But we need parks first and Errington Reserve should not be an option!


Sunshine Principal Activity Centre - Draft Plan
Council has approved the draft plan for Sunshine Principal Activity Centre and will now go through a process of community consultation and discussion until the end of the year.

The Plan is important for a future Sunshine Activity Centre that is a true “town centre” and seeks to rezone areas in line with land uses the community have identified that will make Sunshine a better place to live and work.

In particular it will be exciting to see the future redevelopment of the Albion Triangle and associated rehabilitation of Stony Creek.


Harmony Train gathers steam at St Albans
There was a great turn out for this important day. Residents gathered in the Square opposite St Albans Station to enjoy performances from local musicians and express their support for our community which comes from a diverse range of backgrounds.

50th Anniversary for Sunshine Football Club
Congratulations to Sunshine Football Club for achieving their 50th anniversary. The Club has a proud history of supporting families through tough times and fostering a healthy, caring environment for young people.

Conflict of interest
As a new councillor elected at the last election, it has taken some time for me to process the full effect of the difficulties associated with the new Conflict of Interest provisions.

Overall, I welcome the new provisions because they are clearly intended to prevent Councillors from making personal gain from their role as a councillor and providing a clear set of guidelines about what is a conflict. The new rules are important to help ensure councillors’ act in a transparent way at all times about any associations they have with developers, real estate and other interests that could mean they profit from a particular council decision or have a bias when it comes to making a decision about an issue on a particular development. The guidelines also protect councillors by ensuring that in general they do not accept gifts that could later be used by a group or company to influence a decision about an issue.

I am concerned though that like many dedicated country Councillors I was elected because of my connections to my community and those connections are not about developers or real estate. My involvement is with many community not-for-profit groups working to improve their local area and support their neighbours. Because of my continued involvement as an active local person on my school council, breastfeeding group, playground group etc, those groups have suffered from my association, and are not being able to apply for grants because of a perceived conflict of interest. I believe there is also potential for conflicts to arise on making decisions about issues that might be remotely associated with these groups and that is not necessarily fair.
Notice: Local Area Forum - Sunshine
Remember to come along and have your say on local Sunshine issues and hear about the progress of the community plan.
All Welcome.
30th July at 7pm
Glengala Community Centre.


Park one step closer

I enjoyed hearing about the revised plans for Tom O’Brien Park/Matthews Hill Reserve. Officers have really listened to the community and it shows in the new design which has a thoughtful use of space and creative solutions to the multiple uses this park has.


Container Deposits Scheme (and Legislation)
I've just received news from Colleen Hartland MLC's office Queenscliffe Borough passed a motion in support of drink container deposits. Northerh Grampians Shire also resolved to offer in principle support to container deposits.

Unfortunately Brimbank is at the back of the class for voting against. Please see here to view the motion and a brief comment on how it fared in the council chamber.

Nationally Greens Senator Scott Ludlam's container deposit legislation is in the process of gathering submissions for a Senate inquiry (submissions are due 23 July 2009).


Community planting at Selwyn Park
In addition to restoring locally indigenous plans to the escarpment and restoring the remnant grasslands, volunteers were treated to an archaeological tour with local Robert Jackson. Robert talked to us about the important Aboriginal History of the area and pointed out some significant stone tool artefacts.