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.


Draft Budget and Draft Council Plan adopted
Each councillor got three minutes to discuss a year's worth of budget commitments. For me, the most striking thing about this budget is that we are effectively creating and compounding more problems than we can fix in our lifetimes, let alone within our tenure as local councillors.
I spoke on
a) enhancing the municipality's climate-readiness with well-thought out programs for sustainable living rather than $1.5m on new roads
b) rejecting the Civic Centre ($2m in this budget commits us to the whole project) and instead implement the Creating Better Parks Strategy in its entirety
c) an urgent review of Council's rates system to properly account for hardship and better reflect the social and environmental cost of the multimillion dollar industries in our municipality.
The Council Plan was also approved in its draft form on Tuesday night.

Residents, please have a read of it and have your say.


Meeting of the Keilor Cemetery Trust
At this meeting I was astonished to learn that the finance officer of the Trust had been under pressure from Kathryn Eriksson to investigate the Bank of Cyprus for a term deposit as the manager was a friend of hers. We quickly moved to ensure a transparent tender review process was to be implemented.

Federal Member for Gorton* Brendan O’Connor's recent comments about the Rudd Labor Government providing broadband to the ordinary people would strike as sincere if there weren't the problem of other vital and missing services to the people of the West. Suddenly broadband access is important to Labor and perhaps big business, but out of step with the needs of this community.
*the Federal seat of Gorton which shares similar electoral boundaries to Brimbank local government area.


Draft budget for 2009/10 endorsed by Council for public exhibition.
I alone voted against the draft budget. I believe that we should not be spending $30M on a new civic centre at Errington Reserve. It was bequethed to the community and remains of vital community importance as a recreation reserve. We should not be thinking of building a new civic centre while our community parks and facilities need so much work.

I put forward 2 motions tonight, both were defeated. I managed to get up an altered version of the TV Takeback resolution that included all e-waste, and the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) one was referred to the Metro Waste Forum for opinion.

Container Deposit Scheme
I spoke about the success of our community meeting on Wednesday 22nd April hosted by Colleen Hartland Greens MLC for Western Metro Region and the support in our community for such a scheme As one resident said that night “it’s a no brainer”. Whatever way you look at it is a win for Brimbank. The savings have been calculated conservatively to be around $660,000 for Brimbank. Such a simple system where the 10c is added by the manufacturer onto the price of the bottle, can or carton, that money is turned over to the EPA who will administer the scheme. The fantastic thing is that the system pays for itself and works to complement the kerbside recycling we already have.

TV Takeback Motion
As you know Brimbank is already a leader in TV recycling. We are one of only two councils in Victoria who have a TV recycle programme (and accepting much broader items at our ‘Detox Your Home’ drop-in drop-off facility in Keilor Park). Given the move to digital TV and the ensuing dumping of pre-loved TVs, such an important initiative that it deserves to be run out nationally as a matter of urgency.

Motion of Congratulations
I successfully moved motions of congratulation for Gwen Goedecke, the sacked John Holland Workers and the Akzo Nobel Workers.
Congratulations to Gwen Goedecke for being inducted onto the honour roll of the Australian Council for Women. As you all know Gwen was a founder of the Sunshine International Women’s Committee in 1974 along with Win Graham. Gwen has campaigned tirelessly for years for equal pay for equal work, childcare, and women’s rights particularly those of ordinary working women and women from the western suburbs Gwen is an active member of our Sunshine community and was a councillor with Sunshine Council in the 1980s.
The workers at the Akzo Nobel plant on McIntyre Rd North Sunshine won their fight with the company who was trying to increase their working week for no extra pay. These workers were on strike for two weeks at a time of incredible financial hardship. Meanwhile this company made $264M of profits last year and was using the circumstances to try to freeze wages and attack working conditions.
Support for the sacked Westgate Bridge workers as their ex-employer John Holland is exploiting the economic crisis, job insecurity and rising unemployment to coerce workers and their unions to accept lower wages and working conditions. John Holland is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leighton Holdings a giant multinational construction company who in spite of the economic down turn reported a profit of $250 M last year.

Sunvale Primary School site
Council moved to send a letter to the Education Department saying that we support the land sale to developers for “affordable housing” and open space. I spoke against this for a number of reasons.
A report for potential uses of the site has only superficially touched on open space and has very little to do with genuine affordable housing. On closer reading you see that it is simply supporting a sell off to developers. As far as I am aware there has been no specific consultation over the development of this site but the community have been continually asking for it.
When community members became aware of the possible sale, SUNRAA wrote on their behalf to both the Minister and Brimbank Council CEO Nick Foa to outline what they thought the site should be used for. When Council conducted the ‘Creating Better Parks’ community consultations the participants were unequivocal about the need for more open space and community meeting facilities.
This site is already owned by our community, as a public asset that has served a school community. The State Government, however, have this perverse process which requires Councils to buy this land, already publicly owned, at market value.
At the moment our community groups cannot get regular Council meeting spaces in Sunshine because it either costs too much or it is at unsuitable times, or both. The wellbeing and civic life of our community cannot be supported if voluntarily formed groups with no money cannot get together and organise activities. Use of the existing school rooms for instance is an immediate resource, available without having to go to the extra expense of building new structures.
The detail of Council’s formal letter indicates its support for a private housing development with increased residential density in line with Melbourne @ 5 Million - probably 16.9 houses per hectare and a sop of .8 of a hectare (about 10 house blocks) left for a neighbourhood park.
But it is folly to think that any housing they build at the Sunvale PS site will be “affordable”. Those on very low incomes are struggling to afford houses in Sunshine as it is. The only genuinely affordable housing is public housing. And if it is going to be public housing, it would need to be high quality, attractive, environmentally sustainable houses. There would need to be a mix of people and a mix of housing. But without proper consultation we are left to live with what a developer’s cost-efficient imagination allows.
I proposed an alternative resolution on the night which failed.
“That Council authorises the CEO to write to the State Government stating that:
1. The site stays 100% in public hands; and
2. That Council will conduct an immediate consultation with the Sunshine community"


Unveiling Sunshine Harvester Works Gates
I attended the Sunshine and District Historical Society’s unveiling of the recently restored Harvester Works Gates. Blacksmith Charlie Pippett designed these wrought iron gates in 1922 for the Harvester Factory offices and engine works. The Gates are a very impressive reminder of the contribution to industry, local settlement and workplace relations that grew out of Sunshine in the early 1900s.


Support sacked Westgate Bridge workers

Sacked Westgate Bridge workers braved very wet and blustery conditions on Sunday to hold a picnic at Yarraville Gardens to raise awareness of their fight. Colleen Hartland and I attended in support. Their situation holds significance for all hard working Australians.


Container Deposit Meeting

We had a successful local meeting in Sunshine attended by members of local sports clubs, girl guides groups and interested community members. 10cent deposit on all drink bottles, cans & cartons would save councils $15.2 million, by shifting the cost away from councils towards those who create the litter.

A remarkable 94% of Victorians are in favour of container deposit legislation. The scheme proposed by Greens upper house MP Colleen Hartland would be self funding with potential for tremendous economic benefit to taxpayers and local community groups, as well as the obvious environmental benefit.

Brimbank Council would reap countless benefits
• We will end up saving on tip fees because of a lower volume
• We get a guaranteed 10c for every can, bottle or container
• We will got more for our paper that is collected through kerbside because it will not be contaminated by broken glass
• Less litter in our parks and waterways
• There will be an increased value of the recyclate
• Community groups will make money on bottles, cans and cartons and keep our streets clean
• We wont have to pay for expensive public place recycling
• There will be water and greenhouse gas emissions savings
• And we could even make money out of operating Reverse Vending Machines, hubs and depots

Ms Hartland released her report "Turning Rubbish into Community Money: The benefits of a 10c deposit on drink containers in Victoria" on 31 March 2009.