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.


Sunshine Kealba Quarry - Barro Group plans for a tip

While Brimbank Council have rejected Barro’s application to turn a large section of the quarry into a tip for building waste, Barro have now appealed this decision to VCAT (the Victorian appeals tribunal).
Barro want a tip that will take up to 80 years to fill and there is no guarantee that it won’t be used to dispose of contaminated materials such as batteries, or asbestos, because the EPA can’t and won’t monitor the tipping often enough.
There is no guarantee that contaminants will not leach into the river valley, or that further erosion of the escarpment won’t occur.
The concrete batching plant will continue. This means 24 hour truck access, more noise, and more dust.
The Barro Group needs to relocate the whole operation to a site that is more appropriate and well distanced from existing and future residential sub-divisions.
The remediation of the site should begin as soon as possible to create a green area in keeping with appropriate activity on the river valley. This tip can be stopped, but only if community members take action and tell Barro they don’t want it.

Residents met last Monday to plan for their legal fight at VCAT. In addittion, the community has deicided to organise a community protest for the 20th November.

What can you do?
The only way we have a chance of stopping this tip and getting rid of the batching plant is for our community to take action –NOW!
• Talk to your neighbours
• Turn up to VCAT to support the campaign
• Write to the local papers

Media contacts - Send a letter!
Star newspaper
17 Assembly Drive, Tullamarine 3043
Brimbank leader
The Editor, Brimbank Leader P O Box 2155, Spotswood 3015
The Brimbank Weekly
Airport West12 Howes St Airport West VIC, 3042 ph: 8318 5777
WestLink Rally

Rally to say NO new road tunnel NO new freeway

When: Saturday 13th November

Time: 12-1:30pm

Where: Hampshire Rd, opposite the Sunshine library

Dr Paul Mees (Senior Lecturer Transport Planning RMIT)
Colleen Hartland (Greens MLC, Western Metropolitan)
BTAG - Brimbank Transport Action Group
No Freeways 4 West Footscray
PTUA -Public Transport Users Association
Janet Rice (Greens Candidate for Footscray)
Geraldine Brooks (Greens candidate for Derrimut)

In July the state government announced 3 route options for Westlink. Their idea of consultation was to make the community choose which homes and schools should have more pollution and freeway noise.

We want the $5.3 billion dollars projected cost of Westlink which is taxpayers’ money spent on 5-10 minute train and bus services from 6am to midnight.

Westlink will not solve the problem. Freeways only ever lead to more car dependence and more traffic congestion. Most of the traffic on the Westgate is heading in to the city and it is this traffic that would use public transport if it worked. This would free up the Westgate for those cars and trucks that need it


The Ardeer-Sunshine West Powerlines Residents Group presents

We Want
Awesome live music line up, BYO picnic, sausage sizzle and more.
Come along and show your support for the ‘parks not power poles’ campaign.
Bring a picnic and blanket and join the fun.
Forrest St Ardeer
Ring John for information or updates on 93631090


A six point plan for better Public Transport
Geraldine Brooks- Lower house candidate for Derrimut
30 October 2010

“People in Melbourne's West are sick and tired of a failing public transport system, this issue comes up time and time again out on the campaign trail, “said Geraldine Brooks, Greens candidate for Derrimut at the launch of the Greens Six Point Plan to Fix Public Transport.

“It is the Greens who are strongly committed to fast, frequent, well connected, safe and accessible public transport for Victoria. A key step in achieving that is the establishment of an independent and accountable Public Transport Authority,” Geraldine said.

“There’s a myriad of agencies connected to the provision of public transport, The Greens would abolish these bureaucracies and transfer their powers and funding, but not necessarily their staff, to the new Public Transport Authority.”

Under the Greens plan urgent problems needing immediate action would be tackled, buses, rail, myki and a future growth taskforce all in the mix.

V/Line was taken back into public hands in 2003. Until recently, it operated in limbo, as the Bracks and Brumby governments tried to devise a way to reprivatise it. As a result, there has been little long-term planning. It needs reform, rather than wholesale replacement.

“There needs to be a concerted effort to integrate our regional transport and devise an integrated rail-bus network connecting regional Victorians to local, inter-regional and Melbourne destinations. This includes a staged program for track duplications, electrification and standardisation to allow for additional services across regional Victoria,” Geraldine concluded.

The Greens Six Point Plan to Fix Public Transport:
1. End the failed privatisation experiment
2. Establish a powerful, accountable public transport authority
3. Fixing urgent problems
4. Make public transport safe
5. Extend rail and tram systems
6. Integrated public transport for regional Victoria

For the detailed plan click here.


Overhead powerlines for Ardeer/Sunshine West - No way!

Our community today held a protest in Ridgeway Pde West Sunshine. Local residents tied black ribbons around the new 15m poles which Powercor wants to hold high voltage powerlines.

The ribbons symbolise the illness and death associated with the exposure to high levels of electromagnetic radiation that will come from the high voltage powerlines proposed by Powercor to run through our neighbourhood.

Prolonged exposure to electromagnetic fields greater than 0.3-0.4uT is associated with childhood leukaemia (World Health Organisation), and Powercor’s own study indicates children playing at the Ridgeway Parade kindergarten will be exposed to electromagnetic fields of this magnitude at the front fence, where they play.

These electromagnetic fields will put our children’s health at risk. Our children currently attend the kindergarten for up to 10 hours a week; by 2013 this will be 15 hours a week. Some children are also living in houses (while others are cared for by grandparents for long periods of time) along the route of the new powerlines.

When is Powercor going to start acting as the member of our community it insists it is? And when is this community member going to ensure this project is delivered ina a manner that looks after our best interests rather than the interests of its shareholders?

want to know here for more information from the Ardeer West Sunshine Powerlines Action Group.

Powercor need to realise this overhead line will not be built and it is up to them how that happens.

Sunshine Kindergarten Trivia Night
Come along for a great night of entertainment and local fun and support our local kindergarten.


Rod Quantock Comedy Night Pardon my Carbon - Friday 5 November
**Special offer for all Greens branches and election campaign teams: book a group of ten or more, and get tickets to this once-off show for just $15 each - so, give your members a cheap deal OR ask them to pay normal price and keep the proceeds towards your campaign!** A State Election Fundraiser for the Darebin Greens and the Northern Metro Region Campaign. Friday 5 November 2010, snacks and drinks (at bar prices) in the bar at 7.00pm. Show at 7.30pm. New Council Chambers @ Trades Hall, 54 Victoria St (Cnr Lygon St) Carlton. A special Greens evening of laughs with our favourite political satirist Rod Quantock. 'For sheer cheek and inventiveness, the amazing Rod Quantock must take the honours. Bizarre, fresh, theatrically dangerous, unpredictable' The Guardian, London.
'Wit, warmth and aplomb... wise, scary, funny' The Age, Melbourne. Mr McLelland's "Finishing School" in the bar afterwards (classic indie, modern indie, 60s rock, 60's soul and eclectic pop) - only $5 with your ticket or free before 9:30. Cost: $20 Conc / $30 workers / $40 keen and green ? GROUP OFFER: buy 10 or more for $15 each - branches welcome to book a group as a fundraiser for their campaigns (please let Sarah know when you book who will be paying for and collecting tickets (highly preferred) and/or forward a list of attendees). RSVP to Sarah - 0405 547 542. *please let Sarah know if you need wheelchair access*
Greens - State election Campaign Launch
Event Dates: 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm, Sun, 7 November, 2010
Location: Richmond, Melbourne
Venue: Amora Hotel, 649 Bridge Rd Richmond, Melbourne
Join Bob Brown and the Victorian Greens to launch what could be another history making election campaign. In August, the Victorian Greens sent two locals, Adam Bandt and Richard Di Natale, to federal parliament for the first time. Now, we are looking to Spring St, where the Greens look likely to add members to the upper house, and for the first time, the lower house of state parliament.

Some of the Greens’ biggest names will be there, including Bob Brown, Adam Bandt, Richard Di Natale, Greens candidates Brian Walters, Kathleen Maltzahn, and Cyndi Dawes, and our current Greens MLCs Greg Barber, Colleen Hartland, and Sue Pennicuik, as well as all our state candidates and supporters.

Come along to the beautiful Amora Hotel by the river in Richmond, and afterwards enjoy a river walk. Food and drink provided.


switch off hazelwood

suport the switch off hazelwood protest and demand that we fund reknewable engery - NOW!

Hazelwood Power Station
The Hazelwood power station, located near Morwell in the Latrobe Valley of Victoria, is Australia’s most polluting power station, pumping and average 17 million tons of greenhouse gases every year, equal to the total caused by all 1.4 million households in the state capital Melbourne.

International Power Hazelwood employs 520 people, according to the company’s statistics. ( There are 209 people employed in the mine, 242 in the power station and the remaining 69 are employed in management, sales,administration, information technology and purchasing

The power station and mine are majority owned by the UK-based company International Power (which also owns Loy Yang B power station), Hazelwood was scheduled to be decommissioned by 2009 due to its excessive carbon dioxide emissions, however the State Government in 2005 extended its life until 2031.

The state government has made no firm commitment to close Hazelwood, and is currently considering another application for a new coal fired power station in the Latrobe Valley - the HRL Dual Gas, 'clean coal' plant, whilst painting themselves green with token investments in renewable energy - just in time for the election... So come show your concern and let's get a solid commitment and clear timeline to phase out Hazelwood, reject new coal developments, and implement plans to re-power the valley, and the nation!
If you can't make it on Sunday, be sure to attend the Melbourne based "Rally to Replace ALL of Hazelwood" Saturday November 6, 1pm, State Library.


Sanctuary Lakes Club

Tim Pallas arrived at the Sancutuary Lakes Resort to talk roads with local business people. You can buy time to chat to Tim it seems, but he isn't listening to ordinary residents who say they dont want roads, they want public transport!


Powercor: do the right thing

Residents from Ardeer and Sunshine West gathered this morning at Ardeer Station to travel to Parliament House to protest against high Voltage powerlines throught their suburb.

Geraldine had this to say at the rally: I am here today because, like you, I care about our neighbourhood and the future of our children. I want our government to listen and make powercor put the powerlines underground. And I want them to sort out how it is going to be paid for without expecting our community to pay for it

When powercor started to put up high voltage powerpoles through our neighbourhood without consulting us. They showed contempt for the impact on our families, and they gave no thought to the health of our children and the eyesore they were creating

They have thought only about the cheapest and most convenient construction method for themselves

Unfortunately when Powercor came back to us last week with a proposal to put the lines underground after we told them we would not accept their overhead powerlines, instead of being an offer in good faith, it seems it was a proposal full of deceit.

It sounds grand. $2million. But there is a catch…there is a $900,000 shortfall, making it worthless if the money can't be found somewhere.

This makes us ask: is this really a genuine offer to put the power lines underground, or is this a plan cooked up by the government and powercor to buy us off and make us think we are getting a good deal so that the embarrassing problem of us go away before the election

This government needs to listen because while it was the Kennet liberal government that sold the SEC for a quick buck, Brumby was part of the opposition that did nothing to fight it, so instead of the electricity company being owned by us , accountable to us, and acting in our best interests, we now have a multinational conglomerate who is answerable first and last to their shareholders

This multinational group that now owns Powercor ,Cheong Kong, posted a ½ yearly profit of over $1600 million this year. They can well afford to do the right thing

Our community want s these powerlines and any others planned for our area put underground. And we want this done at no cost to our council or our community.


Derrimut Benefit Gig

What a wonderful afternoon! about 50 friends and supporters turned up to enjoy a relaxing afternoon of great music and great company.

Many Thanks to everyone.
Support Sunvale

Rally Saturday 9th November

The sunvale primary school is an ideal location for a community ccentre, park and recreation for the Sunshine Community. Brimbank Council's own open space strategy identifies a lack of open space in this part of the municipality and yet encourages an increasing population through increased housing density. if we are to suport a growing population we need facilities and services to support this.

Sunshine has amongst the highest unemployment in Victoria at over 10%, we have growing rates of obesity, diabetes, mental illness and other chronic health issues which desperately need addressing. If the state government is serious about tackling these health issues a preventative health approach must be taken and more investment needs to be made in parks, recreation spaces, as well as better access to local community health services and places that our community can get together to talk to one another.


On The Campaign Trail

Come and join me for these community meetings and street stalls for discussion of the issues that affect you.
The electorate of Derrimut is faced with a number of very important local issues incuding the proposed Barro tip, Westlink, inadequate public transport, poor access to community health and dental services, as well ending up with new high voltage powerlines through Ardeer as yet again the west of melbourne is taken for granted.

Thu 29th July 2010 11a-12p
Street Stall
Main Rd East
St Albans
4th August 2010 7pm - with Colleen Hartland
Transport Meeting
Errington Community Centre
St Albans
5th August 2010 11a-12p
Street Stall
Glengala Rd
West Sunshine
7th August 2010 10-12pm - with Colleen Hartland
Street Stall
Cnr Station Rd and Ballarat Rds
Deer Park


Powerlines Update
The Ardeer West Sunshine Powerline Action Group was formed last night to organise its response to the controversial erection of power poles in Ardeer without community consultation. you can link to recent media here.

The group is planning:
  • A written response to the environmental impact assessment.
  • Letter writing workshop for residents with limited english.
  • A Protest rally.
  • Meeting with Powercor and council.
  • Discussion with ETU for support for community picket. The ETU has already expressed in principle support for our here to link to the ETU.
While powercor contines to tell our community that these lines are safe, and within the ICNIRP guidelines designed to ensure an extremely low level of exposure, this is a myth. Our research shows that all overhead 66kV lines emit EMF's in a range of .5-40uT (Powercors own modelling says the level would be .7uT at 10m).

While Australia subscribes to these 1998 safety guidelines, the guidelines ignore the more recent pooled analysis of 20 epidemiological studies by the World Health Organisation task group (2002) which found an association between prolonged exposure to electromagnetic fields above .3-.4 uT and childhood leukaemia. There are children living on Ridgeway pde, Whitesides ave and Nancy streets, children attending the kindergarten and being cared for by grandparents in the area, who will be exposed to this electromagnetic field for many hours a day.


Letter sent to local papers

Residents tabled a petition to council at their recent meeting which requests that Powercor place underground the proposed 66kV powerlines through Ardeer.

We hope that council will continue to represent the interests of residents by raising their legitimate concerns and cancelling the permit for these works as Powercor have failed to comply with conditions of the permit which required them to consult with our community.

In our view, consultation means discussing Powercor’s aims with our community and being willing to hear our concerns and to negotiate. Consultation does not mean sending a pattern letter to residents saying what Powercor intends to do after the poles have been erected or seeking retrospective approval for the removal of trees.

To date Powercor continue to say they will not pay for the line to be placed underground despite the fact that the Powercor/CitiPower entity, returned a $AU69.5 million profit last year and their parent company Spark Infrastructure reporting an increase in total underlying income of 14.5% to $266.0 million.

Powercor has not supplied any evidence that there will not be adverse health effects as a result of EMF from the 66Kv lines. They have tried to tell us that the exposure of up to 100uT is safe according to 1998 guidelines while more recent (2007) World Health Organisation analysis acknowledges that prolonged EMF (electromagnetic field) exposures above .4uT (microtesla) are associated with childhood leukaemia. The impact study paid for by Pwercor uses computer modelling to predict the EMF from these lines and estimates a figure of .6-.7uT at 10m, however, UK literature on EMF’s under a 66kV line say the EMF varies from .5-40uT. This is especially important given the proximity of the Ridgeway Parade kindergarten, only 10m from the base of these poles.

Powercor continues to try to tell us that this line will improve the reliability of electricity supply to residents in the area. This line is not supplying power to Ardeer residents, it is supplying power to the industrial estate on the other side of the ring road, where ironically the lines will then go underground.

It seems that while we remain a safe Labor seat our community will continue to be taken for granted. Given the Liberals track record of privatisation, defunding of services in the west and antiworker legislation I don’t believe they are the solution either. It is time we demand better for our area and that includes electing genuine, local representatives with a track record.


Powerlines meeting success

Last night the Ardeer Community met to demand yet again that the 66kV powerlines being put through Ardeer be placed underground.

80 residents attended a very productive meeting at which we formed a community committee to organise the next steps including: a response to the EIA, protest action, letter writing workshop and getting information out to our community in community languages.

all present passed a resolution to demand the undergrounding of the power lines.

I have also spoken directly to Howard Worthing at the ETU who has said the ETU will back the action group on this issue and will consider a number of specific things we have asked them to do.


Colleen Hartland has organised a series of community meetings to discuss the impact of Westlink through our neighbourhoods. She has been a strong advocate for our community and continues to say NO to westlink because it is an inefficient, polluting and uneconomic plan which will only lead to increased traffic. Come and join us in standing up to the Brumby governments car and truck plan.
The Greens have a real transport plan which will deliver fast efficient public transport and cost a fraction of this proposed road!

Remaining Westling meetings are:

West Footscray
YMCA cnr Market St & Essex St West Footscray 7pm Thurs 17 June
West Sunshine
West Sunshine Community Centre
25 Kermeen Street, West Sunshine 2pm Sun 11 July
Glengala Community Centre
Glengala Road, West Sunshine 7pm Tues 13 July
Uniting Church Conference Centre 28 Withers St, SUNSHINE 7pm Thurs 15 July


Yesterday, May 31, the international community was shocked when in international waters, --tens of thousands of miles off the coast of Gaza-- nearly one hundred Israeli paratroops jumped from helicopters, in the wee small hours, recklessly shooting on hundreds of peaceful people from various nationalities, causing them --according to press reports-- no less than 20 dead and scores of injured.
I think we should use the experience of South Africa, where we know that the sanctions had a great impact. It took time, but they had an impact. We need to see Israel for the Apartheid that for what it really has been doing to the Palestinian people for the last 40 years.


Greens Media Release – Monday May 24, 2010
Brumby Betrays Melbourne with East/West Tunnel
New documents uncovered by Greens MP Greg Barber last week show The Brumby Government is still planning to build the controversial East/West Tunnel, despite local campaigners defeating the project last year.
“The Brumby Government is betraying the people of Melbourne by continuing with the unnecessary East/West Tunnel after they had let us think we had got rid of it,” said Melbourne Greens candidate Brian Walters today.
“Several parks are at risk if this project is allowed to go ahead, and it will do nothing to solve the real transport problems of our city.
“The Greens know, the people of Melbourne know, and independent experts know, that this money should go towards improving public transport, not towards expensive, ineffective roads.”
Independent expert Professor Peter Newman, who is on the advisory council of the federal government's Infrastructure Australia fund, said there is no longer a strong case for funding ''incredibly expensive road projects''.
''The reason we gave $4.6 billion to urban rail projects was that it was economically the best option,'' Professor Newman said, adding that car use in Australian cities has declined in the past five years.
''This is an historic point: after going up every year for 100 years, it has spent five years going down. The reality is that public transport is going gangbusters.''


New report backs Greens carbon tax

Greens candidate for Derrimut Geraldine Brooks has welcomed a report from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) that shows The Greens backed tax on carbon is good for local economies like the Latrobe Valley.
“The Greens carbon tax is a jobs creation policy,” said Ms Brooks. “The Creating Jobs – Cutting Pollution report confirms that putting a price on pollution is good for jobs, good for the economy, and good for locals.”

“Reports like this show why major unions such as the ETU and the CFMEU are now openly supporting the Greens ahead of Labor in the Senate.

“The Greens are the only political party listening to our top economists like Ross Garnaut and Nicholas Stern, who know a price on carbon is the only way to ensure our economy survives the transition to a new economy.

“The Government's shelved ETS, without the proposed Greens amendments, would have locked in failure and sent millions of dollars offshore instead of investing in local job-creating, renewable energy.”


From the media

I am extremely disturbed by the allegations of Labor branch stacking in the West and I hope that the truth comes out with a truly independent investigation. See today's report in the Australian and the Age

It is very important that our parliamentarians focus on our community and act in the interests of our community. We deserve representatives who act on the issues that are important to us such as:

Funding for high quality public housing to address housing affordability.

High quality parks and playgrounds for all residents within walking distance of their homes

Redirecting roads funding to fast, frequent train and bus services: NO Westlink. We want funding to support walking and cycling and bring public transport back in to public hands.

A focus on universal primary preventative health services for all to address the epidemic rates of obesity and chronic illness in the West.

Saying no to the Barro tip and yes to genuine community consultation over planning and development


Park Meeting - this Saturday 15th May

Larissa Reserve St ALbans


Many St Albans residents have been waiting years for a safe level crossing, decent public transport and attractive streetscapes.
We must have a Government-led plan to provide:
- Efficient, high frequency public transport
- A safe level crossing
- Attractive, vibrant local shopping areas
- More high quality open spaces (multi-use – parks, places for kids to hang out, attractive streetscapes, community gardens)
- Sustainable housing design
- Locally accessible Govt-funded services for families (community health centres, schools, childcare centres etc).
We need to initiate more community input into these issues. If you would like to discuss parks, public transport, housing density or any other state government issue please come along to Larissa Reserve, St Albans, Saturday 15th May between 10 and 11am.

Community Meeting
Monday 24th May 2010

Are you concerned about the high voltage power lines in Ridgeway Parade?
Are you concerned about the health effects of electromagnetic radiation?
Powercor is putting 66000 Volt power lines through your neighbourhood without consulting you.
These power lines are going through your neighbourhood to provide power to industry on the other side of the ring road.
Electromagnetic radiation from these lines can cause serious health effects.
These lines are close to people’s houses and a kindergarten and yet Powercor will not put them underground saying it doesn’t want to pay.
When: Monday 24th May 6:30pm

Where: Ridgeway Pde Kindergarten


Park Meeting


I went out to Cairnlea today to meet residents and talk about local issues.


whats in the media...

see link to article on this issue

I attended the packed meeting in St Albans tonight to discuss an application by the Barro Group to build a tip on the site they currently use part of for a concrete batching plant.

The residents said loud and clear they do not want a tip

While Barro was trying to convince the community that it would be ok, our ocmmunity are sick and tired of being told for years that 'is alright' when it patently isn't. The site, which is next to the Maribyrnong River should never have been allowed by council to become a quarry and now that it is having (and has had) a detrimental effect on the residents for so long, its operations should be closed down immediately. The remediation of the site should begin as soon as possible to create a green area in keeping with appropriate activity on the river valley. Given the erosion that is occurring, the whole site should be replanted as it would have been before the quarrying began as a matter of urgency.


Budget Response

“John Brumby’s Bandaid Budget”

This is John Brumby’s bandaid budget. We have a crisis in transport, a crisis in water, a climate crisis, a housing crisis and a preventable disease crisis (including drugs and alcohol). This budget treats the symptoms, but it ignores the causes of the crisis.

The Greens want to get to the root of our state’s problems.

Australia has one of the highest rates of hospitalisation in the world because budgets like this continue to prioritise end-of-the-road treatment, rather than preventative health.

What is The Greens solution?
The Greens know that the healthier we are the less we need to go to hospital, which is why we want more money for community health centres. Community health centres work because they're a convenient one stop shop of nurses, dieticians, GPs etc. They’re essential to keeping people out of hospital.

Climate Change
Kevin Rudd has walked away from the climate change challenge, but John Brumby is the one in charge of most of our state’s emissions. Brumby has not tackled faced the climate facts in this budget, except in the most tokenistic way.

What is The Greens solution?
The Greens would implement a plan to close Hazelwood power station ASAP and we would make up the energy shortfall by reducing energy use and using renewable energy sources.

The government now spends nearly a third of a billion dollars on concessions for low income people who cannot afford their water and energy bills - that makes it one of the fastest growing cost areas in the budget. Why is this cost skyrocketing? Because water and energy bills are skyrocketing. This budget does little to address that.

What is The Greens solution?
The Greens know the smart solution is to provide a water and energy conservation program for low income households. That program will save low income households money, it will save the budget money, and environmentally, it just makes sense.

We are still the lowest spending Australian state on education. The Brumby Government is short changing our children’s futures. Victorian parents make their child’s education their number one priority – why doesn’t the government honour that commitment?

What is the Greens solution?
The Victorian Government needs to spend an extra billion dollars in every budget from now on to match the other states on education spending. The Greens want to see that happen. We want to reduce class sizes to cater for the needs of high achievers, students with special needs, and indigenous children.

Public Transport
The government is paying more than ever for privatised train services even though Metro Trains are failing on their targets. We're only getting 2.5% more train services, despite the budget predicting 4% more passengers. Where will they fit?

What is The Greens solution?
The Greens would put our trains back in public hands so that it can be planned and run efficiently. We want to create a service that runs 24 hours, so that the people of Victoria will never have to wait longer than 10 minutes to get where they need to go in peak times.


Park Meeting - Brimbank Gardens
I have been conducting a series of park meetings to talk to local residents about the issues that effect them.

The old expression 'think global, act local' has never been more relevant if we are to address what I think is the challenge, not of this next parliamentary term, nor even the next decade, but the remainder of this century. I want State Government to do more, faster on climate change, and to help Derrimut residents do the same. I think tackling this issue also has the capacity to create local initiatives that build neighbourliness and caring for each other as well as the environment.
Many Brimbank Gardens residents moved into the area attracted by the low density of housing. The caveat has now expired and the developer is now subdividing lots. Melbourne needs high density living, but there is currently no plan to make it liveable.

We must have a Government-led plan to provide:
- Efficient, high frequency public transport
- More high quality open spaces (multi-use – parks, places for kids to hang out, attractive streetscapes, community gardens)
- Sustainable housing design
- Locally accessible Govt-funded services for families (community health centres, schools, childcare centres etc).
We need to initiate more community input into these issues.


Labor refuses to sign Honesty in Campaigning Pledge

Last week I asked the MP for Derrimut Telmo Languiller if he would sign an honesty in campaigning pledge. The reason for doing this was that in February 1984, the federal parliament passed an amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to insert s. 329(2), under which it was an offence to print, publish, distribute or broadcast any electoral advertisement containing a statement that was untrue or that
was, or was likely to be, misleading or deceptive.

This amendment was later repealed and now the Electoral Act states only that advertisements cannot mislead voters as to how they mark their ballot papers or defame a candidate’s character or conduct.

All political parties and their candidates now have absolute control over the content of their advertisements and there is nothing to prevent them from making false or misleading statements.In recent years the Labor and Liberal Party's have been responsible for the publication and distribution of deceptive and dishonest material in a bid to discredit the Greens and other hard working and well respected candidates who are a threat to them.

In the absence of an industry watchdog that enforces a code of practice the Greens have proposed an amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act to incorporate a Truth in Political Advertising Unit to monitor and regulate political advertising to ensure it is true and accurate.

However in the absence of federal truth in advertising laws to deal with unscrupulous tactics to mislead voters the Greens propose that all parties and candidates sign onto a voluntary pledge, consistent with the 1984 Electoral Act amendment.
In the absence of federal truth-in-advertising laws to deal with unscrupulous tactics to mislead voters, The Greens propose that all parties sign this voluntary pledge.

To that effect I signed the following. We, The Australian Greens, will not print, publish, distribute or broadcast any electoral advertisement, material or communication containing a statement that is untrue or that is, or is likely to be, misleading or deceptive. We understand this pledge to be consistent with the 1984 amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act.

Date ¬ 16/4/10

Name Geraldine Brooks

Telmo has written back to the Star Newspaper (not to me) saying that he won't be signing the pledge because he has already signed a pledge as a parliamentarian. He also goes on to attack the Greens for wanting a pledge because somehow this makes us guilty of the behaviour we wish to remove. This attack is fascinating when it is his party, the Labor Party that have been responsible for recent slanderous and defamatory flyers. At the last state election the ALP attacked the Port Phillip Greens, and Phil Cleary, in the Kororoit byelection they attacked Les Twentyman and more recently in Tasmania the Greens. I wonder if Telmo can show us this pledge that he signed in 1999 and the contents of it. Of course, it is not something I can sign given I have not been elected to parliament.

I am concerned that signing the pledge does not seem to have stopped Labor MPs from being party to slander and tries to prevent voters from electing representatives on their merits.

you can find the link to the story in the Star Newspaper here.


In the Media
This letter was published recently in the star in response to an application for pokies by a local club.

To the Editor,
Congratulations to Brimbank Council for taking a stand on pokies. I was thrilled to read about council’s decision to reject a planning permit application from Club Italia in St Albans to increase the number of gaming machines it has from 38 to 60. What would be the point of council having a gambling action plan if they were to ignore it?
Pokies are causing untold damage to our community, through stress-related physical and psychological ill health. Other adverse effects include family breakdown, domestic violence, criminal activity, disruption to or loss of employment and social isolation. Additionally, problem gambling may compromise their capacity to afford necessities such as adequate nutrition, heating, shelter, transport, medications and health services.
Pokies in Brimbank are taking people’s hard earned wages to the tune of $ 9.7 million, money that could be directly spent on shopping locally and supporting our local community.
I support council’s brave decision. We need to say no to pokies and start demanding adequate levels of funding for local sports and recreation so that clubs are not dependant on pokies revenue.
Taking action on this issue is long overdue. We need a state wide cap on pokies and the removal of ATM’s from gambling venues immediately.


Some of you received a Westlink News Community Update April 2010, dropped into your letter box over the last week.
In it, it announces a new $10 million two and half year study. This study and all that follows is conducted under the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act, introduced in Victoria in 2009. It is administered by the Minister of Planning, the Honourable Justin Madden (he’s the one that’s been in the news recently over his staff suggesting they fake a community consultation).
Westlink will affect the communities of Seddon, Footscray, West Footscray, Sunshine and Sunshine West. One of the key elements is a road tunnel between the Port of Melbourne and Sunshine Road running under the Maribyrnong River and the communities of Seddon and Footscray. The key reasons for building Westlink are:
• to cater for an additional 350,000 people moving into the west over the next 15 years (i.e. more cars);
• reduce pressure on the Westgate Bridge (i.e. more cars and trucks);
• to improve freight access to the Port of Melbourne (i.e. more trucks)
The newsletter introduces us to a “Social Impact Assessment” team leader Ruth Davies (see here for Ruth’s LinkedIn profile) and to two new advisory groups (you can see why is costs $10 million) to help with the communication with the community, and vitally, to get the community’s input. There’s even talk of 2 way communication. There’s a online community survey (click here and select the Community Survey picture on the right hand side). Excuse me, but it sounds awfully like she has lots of experience selling unwanted projects to communities using social planning skills to try and make them palatable!
Of concern is that there’s not one mention of health issues. There is a link between ultrafine particles (a form of particulate matter prevalent in truck and car exhausts) and the following:
• Individuals with respiratory disease (e.g., Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, acute bronchitis) and cardiovascular disease (e.g., ischemic heart disease) are at greater risk of premature mortality and hospitalisation.
• Individuals with infectious respiratory disease (e.g., pneumonia) are at greater risk of premature mortality and morbidity (e.g., hospitalisation, aggravation of respiratory symptoms). Also, exposure to particulate matter may increase individual susceptibility to respiratory infections.
• Elderly individuals are also at greater risk of premature mortality and hospitalisation for cardiopulmonary causes.
• Children are at greater risk of increased respiratory symptoms and decreased lung function.
• Asthmatic children and adults are at risk of exacerbation of symptoms and increased need for medical attention.
These findings where documented in a federal government literature review of published studies from around the world- it’s just over 300 pages – click here.
Have a read and start thinking about what the future developments will mean for our communities. We live in safe Labor seats; Labor is the party in power at the state and council level. Go and fill in the online survey, start talking to your neighbours and to your local council member, to your state level representative. We need to make sure that our air, our soil, our environment is not in a worse condition for all of us.


Victorian Government Landfill Levy.
I support moves by the Victorian Government to decrease waste in landfills through a landfill levy but proposals for mega in-vessel processing plants to divert green waste from landfill will create other environmental problems and cost ratepayers more.
Ratepayers will pay councils $15 more to have their rubbish removed due to the landfill levy and may have to pay more to make up the price differential between disposal to landfill and disposal to the Alternative Waste Treatment (AWT) facilities. The Metro Plan establishes a price differential between disposal to landfill and disposal to AWTs of between $20 and $51 per tonne depending on the resource recovery performance of the AWTs. This differential includes an assumption of a landfill levy of $10 per tonne. (The metropolitan municipal landfill levy is currently $9 per tonne.)
Using the higher end of the CPRS modelling, the price difference between disposal to new landfill and recycling would be between $6 and $37 per tonne. Using lowest end of the CPRS modelling, the shortfall would be as much as $48 per tonne.

Under the new proposals residents will be encouraged to deposit all their food waste and green waste into the rubbish bin instead of composting at home, because councils need to guarantee a certain percentage of waste volume to the in-vessel processing plants. The processing plants will then convert the rubbish into compost for commercial purposes.

Our community is already paying $10M in developing the business case for these mega in vessel plants and the state government will no doubt commit more of tax payers’ money to offset the predicted $30M set up costs for each facility. In addition, food waste will need to be transported everyday across Victoria to a small number of purpose built facilities instead of being processed locally.

The landfill levy must be returned to local councils. The money should be used to fund education for residents to turn food and green waste into compost for home and community gardens, and to set up council owned, small scale plants so that land fill is reduced, and residents are not paying to have it removed and processed for the use of big agricultural companies.


Housing Crisis in Victoria

I sent a letter to one of the local papers today in response to an article they ran about affordable housing.

To the Editor

When we bought our house in Ardeer in 1998 it was because it was affordable and we could not even contemplate buying where we had been renting in Spotswood. House prices and rents are now so high they have pushed many working people out of the market altogether and more and more families are being forced in to sub standard accommodation on the fringes of Melbourne with poor facilities.
Brimbank has been facing a severe shortage of affordable accommodation for some time now and Victoria’s housing affordability is in crisis - a crisis that the private housing market cannot fix.
In fact we need to understand that it is the private market which is the cause of the problem. Developers build houses for profit, not to meet the housing needs of all Victorians. When times are good for the housing industry and they are building houses hand over fist, the supply increases and the problem is not so acute for most of us, but when the market dries up the few who dropped off the edge before become a large number indeed as more people cannot afford to buy or to rent. And because of a rapidly increasing population in Victoria and years of inadequate state and federal funding for public housing the problem has been exacerbated.
Housing is a basic human right. It is the right of every person to have access to affordable, appropriate, safe, secure, healthy, environmentally responsible housing, and yet in Brimbank we have a situation where residents are forced to living in illegal rooming houses often with sub standard kitchen and bathroom facilities and paying extortionate amounts for the privilege.
While Labor has invested some stimulus money in public and community housing, it has a very long way to go to undo the years of selling off, neglect and underfunding – and of course the stimulus money was to keep industry going so now the GFC is over the spending is at an end. Labor has no plan.
Melbourne needs high density living if the population is going to keep increasing and we need much more public housing, but there is currently no plan to make it liveable.
We must have a Government-led plan to provide more public housing and at the same time:
- Efficient, high frequency public transport
- More high quality open spaces next door to housing (multi-use – parks, places for kids to hang out, community gardens)
- High quality sustainable design
- Govt-funded services for families (community health centres, schools, childcare centres etc)

If we are serious about addressing this issue we need to look at providing housing differently. We need to increase the public ownership of housing and we need to make it work really well.


Werribee Plains Sustainability Framework released

The Werribee Plains Regional Environmental Sustainability Framework was released last week at Victoria University, Sunshine and the framework has been uploaded to the ACF website today. The Framework is a huge disappointment for residents of the West who urgently want the Brumby Government to demonstrate leadership on emissions and climate change.

Geraldine Brooks, Greens candidate for the lower house seat for Derrimut attended the launch and said “I am extremely upset that this is an opportunity that has been squandered. The research undertaken by the Australian Conservation Foundation clearly states that industry is the biggest energy waster and yet almost the entire focus for solutions in this framework is put on to households”.

The metal manufacturing, and petroleum and coal industries are responsible for nearly half of all emissions and that figure does not include the building industry or agriculture which account for further large contributions. Brimbank is number one for energy emissions; however while households in Brimbank had the lowest per capita emissions at 6.8 M tonnes, industry was responsible for around 17M tonnes

We cannot address the issue of zero emissions in Victoria until the Brumby government is willing to take on poor practice in industry in a real way and for that we need a complete shift in our thinking, not business as usual with some tinkering at the edges. Some of these industries may just not be needed any more and the jobs need to be relocated in more sustainable sectors such as renewable energy creation, for example, through a container deposit scheme.

While the data clearly acknowledges the link between lack of access to public transport, increased car use and decreased housing density in Moorabool as contributing to the highest per capita energy emissions, it utterly fails to advocate for ceasing housing development in areas of Melbourne with large travel distances,and immediately call a halt to the outer metropolitan ring road and the Sunshine West tollway.


Bottle shop in West Sunshine not wanted

I was recently contacted by a local resident over the issue of council approval for a liquor outlet in West Sunshine. On visiting the bottle shop it was clear that the area already has too many opportunities to purchase alcohol and the location is completely inappropriate.

Brimbank Council and the Department of Justice have approved a permit for a liquor outlet in Glengala Rd West Sunshine while local police and community members are battling alcohol issues within the area.
Geraldine Brooks, Greens candidate for the lower house seat of Derrimut said “Residents are angry that they have been told by Council there is nothing they can do and they have no elected councillors who can advocate on their behalf to stop this shop from selling alcohol only metres from where children go to school”.

At first Council denied knowing about the application but after residents contacted the Department of Justice it was found Council had the opportunity to voice concerns but did not.

Local Resident Larrissa Stewart points out that “There are already 3 alcohol outlets on Glengala Rd and at least 8 within a 3km radius. This premises is located directly across the road from a secondary school campus and less than 15 metres to the west is a manned children’s crossing catering for the school children. Located less than 200 metre along the same road (east) is a hotel with packaged liquor facilities”.

“Ardeer and West Sunshine have significant alcohol problems amongst young people and this irresponsible decision will only lead to more alcohol fuelled antisocial behaviour and long term health problems in our community” said Geraldine.

Follow the link below to see the story ran in the local paper the Advocate.


Ardeer, Albion, Sunshine community forum - Tuesday 23rd March

The forum was well attended last night with about 80 residents having an opportunity to voice their real concerns about councils priorities for our area. It was clear from the discussion that our community want the priorities reviewed. We want parks not roads which is what I had been advocating for in council during my term - to deaf ears!

Community members present raised issues about the need for more and better green spaces, better quality shopping precincts, the future of the sunvale site, the need for support for community groups and meeting spaces that are affordable and high quality, leadership and governance development, access to sporting facilities that are currently leased to just one group, services and spaces for our young people and much much more...

While Brimbank's administrators and the Brumby government might want everything in Sunshine to go quiet before the state election, it is clear the issues in our area have not gone away.


Western suburbs says NO to Racism

I attended a rally in Footscray over the weekend where community members came together to express support for residents born oversees and tell the state and federal governments that racism in Australia, especially state sponsored racism that says refugees are not welcome is NOT on.


No Road Tunnel - new map shows community very close to this road

this map of the proposed Westlink study area, which has been extended to residential areas(the Northern side-Rupert st) and extending the tunnel exit to residential areas along the Cedar Woods Housing development site along Cross st.


from the news

Brimbank house prices still rising
newsLocal News20 Mar 10 @ 06:00am by Andre Awadalla
BRIMBANK’S median house prices are still on the rise, according to new State Government figures.



The Green’s candidate for the State seat of Derrimut, Geraldine Brooks, says the State Government must begin funding and establishing parks in the western suburbs following the release of a report that found the western suburbs are in the grip of a diabetes epidemic.
The Australian Community Centre for Diabetes found one in seven residents of the west have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes compared with the State average of one in thirty.
According to the report, a staggering one in every three residents aged over 55 living in the western suburb of Ardeer, has diabetes with two new cases diagnosed every day in the City of Brimbank.
Brooks, and a group of parents from Ardeer, spent five years fundraising to turn a large abandoned space that housed a former lead factory into a park, the only park in Ardeer.
Brooks says, “Our community needs safe, green, attractive, destinations that we can walk to. Our community experiences higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and mental illness; with repeated studies showing this is attributable to lower income and lack of open spaces and quality parks. It is discrimination. People living in the east enjoy better health because of greater access to parks.”


Waste management

At last- sane analysis of the Brumby government’s future plans for waste from Kenneth Davidson (The Age, 1/3/ 2010).
As a local councillor I was being told by the Western Metropolitan Waste Management Group that there were many advantages of moving to a mega ‘in vessel’ composting facility that would cost Brimbank Council in the order of $75.00 to $90.00 per tonne. These included, assisting council with meeting the 65% diversion target in the Government’s Toward Zero Waste strategy by composting the food waste component which currently makes up just over half of the waste stream. Selling an unproven waste treatment scheme to councils was on the top of their agenda as was telling us at the same time that a Container Deposit Scheme which is already proven and works well in many countries is not worth considering.
The State government is spending $10M to develop the business case to set up organics processing plants as a profitable business for SITA. Where is the analysis of funding local councils to help residents compost their food waste and return it to their own backyard veggie patches?..but there isn’t profit to be made in that.


Vindaloo against Violence

About 50 residents turned out to share a meal and spend time together on Wednesday 24th February for the Vindaloo against Violence event I organised in our local park. It was a really great opportunity to meet our neighbours and enjoy each others company. The gathering was an important statement about how we feel about racism in our community and residents wanting to express support for our Indian community. We wouldn't have been able to get together like this in the past, it is only because of the hard work of local residents that we have this park.