Monthly Archives: September 2018

War, climate change and our future


ON MAY 8 1970, Melbourne witnessed a then unprecedented event: a demonstration of around 100,000 people in Bourke Street against the Vietnam War.

In all, some 200,000 people protested throughout Australia that day, sending a powerful message to the government that the tide of public opinion was turning against Australia’s involvement in the war.

Nearly 33 years later, on February 14 2003, there were again massive protests throughout Australia – and elsewhere in the world – against the proposed invasion of Iraq.

Estimates of the numbers at the Melbourne rally alone ranged between 100,000 and 200,000.

I remember marching down Swanston Street to Federation Square and being stunned by the vastness of the crowd.

Fast forward to 2018, and we’re now facing a crisis of a very different kind.

A crisis that can fairly be regarded as the greatest in human history – climate change.

Throughout the world, average surface temperatures are rising.

Globally, 17 of the 18 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2001, with 2016 ranking as the warmest on record.

This is one aspect of what we call “climate change”, but the term also refers to a broader range of changes that are happening to our planet.

These include rising sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers, accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic, and shifts in flower/plant blooming times.

They also include weather events of increasing severity and frequency, like cyclones, droughts, and floods.

The effects of climate change are everywhere to be seen:

  • The Great Barrier Reef is dying largely as a result of increased water temperatures due to global warming.
  • Low-lying nations, particularly small island states, face inundation as a result of rising sea levels.
  • With increased temperatures and frequent heatwaves worldwide, there is increased evaporation of water which provides fuel for storms, exacerbating extreme weather events like cyclones or hurricanes, especially in tropical regions.
  • The melting of the cryosphere (frozen water in the polar ice caps and elsewhere) means that we’re seeing not only sea level rises, but also the exposure of dark ocean waters, which absorb more sunlight than ice – heating the ocean more and speeding up a relentless cycle of melting and heating.

The international Paris Agreement, supported by world scientific opinion, has recognised that the situation we face is one of urgency:  we need to take drastic measures to limit average global temperature rises to a maximum of 2oC (since the start of industrial times) — and pursue efforts to limit the average increase to 1.5°C — if we’re to avoid the worst impacts of dangerous climate change.

Given the great weight of scientific opinion and that our planet’s future is at stake, it’s not unreasonable to expect our politicians to show strong national leadership on the need for urgent, effective action on climate change.

However, leadership has been sadly lacking on this issue.

Instead, the climate crisis has become mired in short-sighted political expediency, climate denialism, and party politics — including the destructive Liberal Party in-fighting that recently caused the (second) downfall of Malcom Turnbull.

In the absence of proper political leadership, the pressure for urgent climate action needs to come from the community.

The People’s Climate March in Melbourne in November 2015 was attended by an estimated 60,000 people.

But we should be seeing far bigger demonstrations in our streets calling for urgent climate action, on the same scale as the one against the Iraq War in February 2003, if not larger.

For various reasons, however, this has not yet occurred.

Climate change has crept up on us gradually, especially over the last 50 years or so.

The adverse effects of climate change are worsening, but they’re occurring intermittently over an extended time-frame of years and decades.

Most of the time, our weather conditions appear normal and the urgency of the climate situation is not readily apparent to many people in the community.

Unlike the threat posed at times by war or terrorism (for example, by the looming invasion of Iraq in 2003), climate change does not present the same sort of imminent and tangible threat that people feel they can do something about, such as by taking to the streets in protest.

Part of the problem in getting people to accept the need for urgent climate action arises from the process of psychological denial, whereby people choose to deny the existence of unpleasant realities in spite of the evidence.

Likewise, the climate change problem is so huge that many people feel overwhelmed and powerless to do anything about it.

So they “switch off” and opt to do nothing at all.

The key challenges for the climate action movement are to engage with the community to a far greater extent, and to understand and overcome the barriers to widespread popular support for urgent climate action.

The proposed Carmichael (Adani) coal mine and rail project represent an excellent focus for community engagement.

In the face of the climate emergency due to the burning of coal and other fossil fuels, the federal and Queensland governments are ardently supporting and facilitating the Adani mine, which will be the world’s biggest coal venture.

WarrandyteCAN condemns the recklessness of both these governments, and urges everyone to do what they can to support the Stop Adani campaign.

WarrandyteCAN would like to know what readers of the Warrandyte Diary think about climate change and asks them to take part in the following poll:

Global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs.


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Tasmania’s temptations

I asked our resident Tasmanian expert Anna, a Tasmanian herself, how best one should spend a lazy few days on the beautiful Apple Isle.

If you are a foodie and love the outdoors, it will be hard not to resist her recommendations.

Upon arriving at Launceston Airport, collect your car and travel about 10 minutes to your first stop.

Enjoy a winery tour, tasting and lunch at Josef Chromy Wines, a state-of-the-art winery located near Launceston. Surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens and vineyards, the winery offers a range of cool-climate wines, delicious food and warm service.

Start by walking in the vineyard and learning about the estate’s high-tech winemaking process.

Sip some samples served by a friendly wine expert then head to a two-course lunch paired with wine.

It’s the perfect way to explore Tasmanian wine country. Head o for a beautiful drive looping the vineyards and providores on both sides of the Tamar Valley.

Exploring the Artentwine Sculpture Biennial on o er over October and November 2018.

Next day drive to Cradle Mountain, roughly a two hour drive.

On the way keep an eye out for Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Café.

This place has an unending supply of raspberries and raspberry menu items.

Stop in, if only to buy some chocolate covered raspberries. is is important.

They are fantastic and will be perfect for an evening at Cradle Mountain Lodge with a good glass of red — I promise.

Spend your time in Cradle Mountain taking in the beauty of this amazing National Park.

The park contains an extensive network of walking tracks to suit everyone’s tastes.

A day walk map should be purchased from the visitor centre if you want to go on any day walks.

Start at the visitor centre will also provide tailor-made advice to match your walking needs with the tracks available.

Strahan is a harbour-side village with a dark and fascinating convict past set on the edge of the World Heritage listed Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

Strahan is full of stories from the days of convicts and pioneers toughing it out in Tassie’s “wild west”.

Strahan is also the departure point for the West Coast Wilderness Railway which do a half day tour journeying deep into Tasmania’s rainforest.

A scenic road trip will see you in Hobart for a city sojourn to end your gorgeous getaway in Tasmania.

What are you waiting for?

Our travel expert Carolyn is the manager of Warrandyte Travel and Cruise.

Email her at — carolyn@warrandytetravel.com.au

Orlando and his skiff do us proud


A TALENTED young Warrandyte sailor has taken on the world at the Spanish sailing championships.

Orlando Yen has sailed since he was four years old and is a very familiar face at the local sailing club on Sugarloaf Reservoir, where he helps out coaching newer sailors.

He regularly competes in regattas in Victoria and interstate and his passion and skill has earned him trophies in many of these events.

Orlando is now 13 and has spent thousands of hours sailing his O’pen Bic ski as fast as he can.

He is a member of the Victorian State Sailing team.

This August, he was invited to join the Australian Team to compete in the O’pen Bic World Championships in Spain.

Warrandyte Lions, Rotary and the Riverside Market quickly put up their hands to sponsor Orlando to see him compete.

Four boys and two girls from Victoria and Queensland landed on the beaches of Arenys de Mar to represent Australia against 171 sailors from 15 countries.

The weather was hot and sunny and the Mediterranean inviting — but the winds were light and frustrating.

Orlando scored a creditable 35th place overall in the trying conditions.

The Australian team all placed very well.

One of Orlando’s team mates was rst in the Under 13 division.

Orlando is extremely proud to have represented Australia as such a prestigious event.

It was a great experience to travel to Spain and he made good friends.

The coaches (parents of two of the team) organised his food and accommodation and even took him for a day of sightseeing in Barcelona.

Back in Australia now, he is back in training for the next World Championships, to be held in Auckland in 2019.

 

 

Artist’s impact near and far

Local artist takes it to the streets

 

LOCAL ARTIST Tim Read has been driven to protest the treatment of refugees on Nauru, and he has done it through the medium of sculpture.

“Our government has been fighting in the courts against bringing sick children into this country — and when they are finally ordered to bring them to the mainland these kids are at deaths door,” he said.

Tim said he felt for the children suffering from a syndrome where they are uncommunicative and not eating, because they are being held in detention with no hope of release in sight.

“I was so frustrated that our politicians are doing this, and I thought ‘what can I do?,’ well I can do something at least through my artwork,” Tim said.

So, following his epiphany, Tim stayed up late into the night and produced A Postcard from Nauru, which he installed at Eltham Square in late August.

“Within a couple of hours of it going in people had started to put cards and flowers around it,” he said.

Not everyone was pleased about the installation, Tim’s Facebook page, Tread Sculpture receiving angry messages outraged at his protest, and other’s using the installation to refute Tim’s claims of ill-treatment.

“One person put a printout from the Nauru government website stating that refugee families are living happily in the community, so I looked into it, and it is rubbish — if you saw the

7:30 Report story, you would see the conditions are horrendous.”

Tim said that while he didn’t agree with the sentiments expressed and unhappy with his work being hijacked, the person still had the right to put the poster there.

“That’s the whole point of free speech, but do it with your own artwork, not mine,” he said.

Council also received calls about the work.

“I received a call from Council on Monday who said it couldn’t be a permanent installation and would have to come down.”

While the Council were very supportive of his protest, Tim has now removed the work from the site, and is considering his options about installing it in another location.

Northern Exposure

 

BEND OF ISLANDS artist, Tim Read of Tread Sculpture was pleasantly surprised by a phone call he received a couple of months ago to commission a work for the remote Aboriginal community of Mapoon in Far North Queensland.

“I was staggered when I looked up where Mapoon was,” Tim told the Diary.

The tiny community of around 250 people, only 200 kilometres from the tip of Cape York, is about as far as you can get from the Bend of Islands, but the community felt a connection with Tim’s work and commissioned him to produce an artwork for their up-and-coming Paanja Festival.

“The CEO of Mapoon Aboriginal Shire rang me to say they were having a celebration in September and they would really like some steel sculptural works representing the township and she found me online, ‘am I interested?’— and it went from there,” Tim said.

The remote community initially invited Tim to go fishing with them in exchange for his artwork. “It sounded like a great plan, except I have got to make a living from my artwork,” he said.

“My artist friend who had done work with communities up there, Linda MacAulay, told me that ‘life is simple up there, you enjoy the fishing and the hospitality and that’s the way it works’,” he said.

A more traditional payment was eventually negotiated for the commission.

Tim was shown a painting from local indigenous artist to inform his sculpture, which he has developed into a series of five totem poles that reflect the local Indigenous art, culture and landscape.

Tim works with reclaimed material to produce his sculptures and the rusted metal aspect of his work, along with Tim’s representation of native plants and animals, proved to be the right t for the remote community.

The sculptures are currently making the long journey to Cape York and, after being unveiled during the Paanja Festival, will stand as part of the gateway to the community.

If, dear reader, your travels take you to this far-flung community, keep an eye out for this little piece of Warrandyte in Cape York.

 

 

Small actions make a big difference


SEPTEMBER is Dementia Awareness Month.

More than 400,000 people are living with dementia in Australia and an estimated 70% of those people are actively living in the community.

Manningham Council is encouraging residents to
get involved in Dementia Awareness Month this September to help improve the lives of people living with dementia, their families and carers.

Council are encouraging residents to learn a little more about how we can better support family, neighbours, friends and people in our networks impacted by dementia.

It is an important step to help reduce stigma and dispel some of the common myths about dementia.

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing.

Some of the risk factors associated with dementia can be managed through lifestyle changes or appropriate medical treatments.

Many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia.

Early and correct diagnosis can be helpful to ensure
that the correct advice and strategies are provided to manage the condition.

Manningham Mayor 
Cr Andrew Conlon said Manningham would be highlighting the small actions our community could take to create a big difference for people living with dementia.

“We’re inviting the community to show their support by becoming a Dementia Friend to increase understanding about the condition,” he said.

A dementia-friendly community recognises that a person with dementia needs to continue to participate in the community; this can include employment, volunteering or social activities.

Manningham Council
is running a number of workshops and resources for people and families impacted by dementia, as well as the wider community.

Cr Conlon said through increased awareness and support, Manningham hoped to make a positive difference to the lives of people living with dementia.

“We aim to transform the way we, as a community, think, act and talk about dementia,” he said.

Manningham will also be releasing a pocket-sized set of information cards with up-to-date information about dementia; this includes a list of reputable organisations the community can contact for further support.

Council, in partnership with Dementia Australia will be holding an interactive seminar for Dementia Month: Worried About Your Memory on Tuesday, September 18 at Manningham Civic Centre.

 

Labor promises to spend big on public transport


‘TIS THE SEASON for election promises, and the Andrew’s Labor Party has brought out a doozy, the Suburban Rail Loop, which will form an outer ring around Melbourne, and importantly for the area, provide a station at Doncaster, finally linking Manningham into the rail network.

This is not the Doncaster Rail that has long been called for, but combined with the Bus Rapid Transit service that has been proposed to run along the promised Eastern Freeway upgrade incorporated with the North East Link, this could be good news for Warrandyte commuters.

It is unusual in recent times for governments to commit to such a long-term project, as the four-year election cycle does not often reward such far-sighted policy.

Premier Andrews says that the Suburban Rail Loop project will transform Victoria’s public transport system, providing an underground rail connection between Melbourne’s major employment, health services, education and activity precincts outside the central business district.

There is also promised to be a connection to the airport, providing a direct link for travellers without having to tackle the roads or transit via the CBD, the rail journey from Box Hill or Doncaster taking only around 30 minutes.

Presently, using public transport to travel between Warrandyte and the airport can take around two hours, if travellers want to avoid travelling into the CBD to take SkyBus.

“Trains on some sections of this new suburban rail loop will travel at up to 130 kilometres an hour and will be able to deliver very fast services,” Mr Andrews said at a recent press conference.

Greens’ candidate for Warrandyte in the upcoming election, Ben Ramcharan told the Diary that the Suburban Rail Loop will be a much-needed addition to our public transport system, but without upgrades to existing rail lines, he fears overcrowding will continue.

“I’m personally very excited to see plans for a train station in Doncaster as part of the Suburban Rail Loop.

“This will bring rail services even closer to our community in Warrandyte and is something that the Greens have been pushing for for a long time,” he said.

Undoubtedly, the planned project will fundamentally change public transport around Melbourne, moving from a “spoke and wheel” system to a “web”, directly connecting suburbs without the need to travel via the CBD and reducing reliance on the radial transport and road networks.

It will not happen overnight, the project is expected to be completed in stages over multiple decades, with the nal completion projected out to 2050.

The first stages are planned to commence construction in 2022, beginning with the south-east section from Cheltenham to Box hill and the Airport link to Sunshine.

Project delivery

Exact project staging, timing, route and construction methodology has not yet been released, but Mr Andrews says it will be con rmed as part of the full business case for the project.

Cheltenham to Box Hill (south-east)

  • Fully underground rail to minimise impacts.
  • Further technical assessment required to determine precise station locations, staging and construction timeline as part of the full business case.
  • Target work to commence by end- 2022.

Box Hill to Melbourne Airport (north-east)

  • Fully underground rail to minimise impacts.
  • Further technical assessment required to determine precise station locations, staging and construction timeline as part of the full business case.

Melbourne Airport to Sunshine (north-west, Airport Rail Link)

  • Potential sections of underground and surface rail.
  • Technical assessment being undertaken as part of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.
  • Target work to commence in 2022.

Sunshine to the Werribee line (south-west)

  • Potential sections of underground and surface rail.
  • Further technical assessment required for this stage as part of the full business case.
  • To be constructed in sections over a period of decades.

With a headline budget of $50 billion, the actual costings are yet to be released, but the Government has said that the combined Suburban Rail Loop south-east and north-east sections are expected to cost in the order of $30–50 billion, and the Melbourne Airport Rail Link section is expected to cost $8–13 billion.

Local Liberal member, Ryan Smith said that while the Liberal Party supports road and rail infrastructure, he is concerned that the election promise has been developed outside Infrastructure Victoria.

“The devil is in the detail, which is why this idea needs to be sent to Infrastructure Victoria for proper assessment, costing and planning,” he said.

“The Andrews Government set up Infrastructure Victoria in the first place, to allegedly ‘take the politics out of infrastructure’, yet this proposal is not one that has been assessed by that agency, nor did it feature in Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-year infrastructure plan,” he said.

The Government have not yet outlined the funding arrangements for the project, however the project’s Strategic Assessment states “opportunities to o set capital costs and capture value will be considered in the full business case”.

“This includes direct commercial arrangements or developments at stations together with broader value capture mechanisms”.

Mr Smith said he thinks this project will hit Victorians in the hip pocket.

“Worryingly, Daniel Andrews won’t rule out new taxes to fund this project,” he said.

Mr Smith says Governments must plan for the future, “however Melbourne’s commuters are sitting in traffic and standing in crowded trains today — they need a plan for today, not one that will only reduce growing congestion in 30 years’ time.”

Meanwhile the Liberal Party, so far, have more modest promises for Victoria’s rail network,

Liberals’ current promises are:

  • $487 million to extend the Cranbourne line to Clyde, adding both Cranbourne East and Clyde railway stations.
  • $450 million to extend the Frankston line with an electri ed, twin track to Baxter.
  • $300 million to duplicate the Hurstbridge line between Greensborough and Eltham, rebuild Montmorency station and add carparks at Greensborough, Montmorency and Eltham stations. $77 million to increase services and improve track conditions to Shepparton.

However, Mr Smith says “there will be others as the next three months progress”.

Both major parties have promises of massive infrastructure plans for eastern Melbourne, with the Liberals promising to construct an East West Link before they consider developing their own plans for a North East Link.

Labor is continuing its focus on public transport improvements alongside a North East Link and improved Eastern Freeway.

 

Projects ripe for the picking


Photo: EUGENE HOWARD Birrarung House, Laughing Waters

A $30 MILLION State funded Pick My Project community grants initiative, which has been a hot topic for individuals and community based organisations for the past four months and the public voting window to choose which projects are given a share of the money is about to close.

This means Victorian’s across the state have only a few more days to vote for their top three projects.

The initiative aims to distribute funding across the state into projects such as community events, repair cafes/ sheds, community gardens, art projects, urban landscaping, skill share programs and walking/cycling trails.

Community groups, events and initiatives are part of what binds the residents of Warrandyte and surrounding communities together, so it is no surprise that within five kilometres of the township there are 18 project proposals.

The $30M needs to be distributed evenly across the State, but with 2299 projects being put up for public voting — more than half of that focussed around Melbourne — competition for funding is going to be tough.

The participatory budgeting platform this initiative uses means that the popularity of a project is determined by the community who would use it.

In theory, this ensures funds are assigned to a project the community thinks will bene t them the most.

Victorian’s can each only vote for three projects — the Diary has outlined a selection of the projects proposed in and around Warrandyte.

New vision for Laughing Waters

Local artists Eugene Howard and Kate Hill are collaborating with Parks Victoria, Nillumbik Council and the Wurundjeri Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Aboriginal Corporation to seek funding to restore two buildings designed by Landscape Architect Gordon Ford and Architect Alistair Knox, situated in Laughing Waters Reserve.

Once restored, these buildings will be used as a site for an Artist in Residence program, aimed at bringing in a diverse range of national and international artists, as well as cultural programs, talks, workshops and exhibitions for the local community.

Eugene is also hoping to forge a stronger relationship between artists, the local community and the Wurundjeri, which will bolster the existing strong artist community in Eltham, Warrandyte, Kangaroo Ground and Bend of Islands.

“The project has been developed as a co-use space between the Wurundjeri and Residency Projects,” said Eugene when he spoke to the Diary.

Eugene went on to explain the Wurundjeri wish to use the site as a place for “inter-generational cultural knowledge transfer, bush food/medicine education, access to the nearby eel traps and significant cultural sites in the reserve surrounding the buildings”.

“We will also develop smaller projects that will include public language classes, walking events and recurring panel discussions around Indigenous arts and culture; we will grow our partnerships across the Shire of Nillumbik and up the Birrarung (Yarra) River to enable exhibitions and events to occur from the City of Melbourne to the Yarra Ranges.

“We’re thinking of the site as an arts and cultural centre with a core artist-in- residence stream,” he said.

The restoration of two buildings designed by iconic Australian architects, and an opportunity to further understand and strengthen the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through art and cultural experiences, would enhance an already rich cultural gestalt.

Warrandyte Men’s Shed

In May 2017, the Diary spoke with Chris “Chewy” Padgham, Assistant Scout Leader to 1st Warrandyte Scouts and long-time advocate of men’s health when he initially attempted to set up a Men’s Shed in Warrandyte.

Chewy had conveyed how a lifetime working to support and improve men’s mental health had taught him that a space where men can work and chat around other men can help them deal with emotional stress in a healthy way, instead of trying to supress it, which often results in them either lashing out violently or completely shutting down and becoming disconnected with society.

“My objective, which is the objective of every men’s shed really, is to have a place where men can meet and talk and share their experience and I think it will be a great thing for Warrandyte.

“I thought that [a men’s shed] was a good opportunity to act as a catalyst and contribute something back to the community and there’s a lot of people that have been talking about it but not a lot happening so I thought I could get the ball rolling,” said Chewy.

The major hurdles faced by Chewy in 2017 were a suitable location and funding.

Chewy is hoping to secure $85,000 from the Pick My Project initiative, which will go towards leasing and converting an appropriate building.

A sporting chance

Warrandyte, Wonga Park and Park Orchards sporting communities have all put forward projects to improve the sports precinct in their respective towns.

The Warrandyte Sporting Group is encouraging the local community to rally behind its proposed exercise trail to be situated at Warrandyte Reserve.

The exercise trail proposal earmarked several sites for construction of the area, including an option for a single site between the tennis court and oval, a cluster of smaller and more focused workout areas located around the ground and a custom kit to be utilised in a flexible fashion.

The site is designed to accommodate people of varying levels of fitness and aptitude with equipment specialising in strengthening, core exercise, aerobics and agility just to name a few.

The trail would not require any maintenance and would utilise recycled plastics to construct environmentally friendly workout equipment.

The project provides a casual and intensive fitness outlet situated in the heart of Warrandyte.

Wonga Park are seeking $140,000 to install flood lights on the community oval which will allow local sporting teams to train at night which will greatly improve the use of the oval during winter.

In Park Orchards, the local sporting group is in the process of negotiating with Manningham Council for an extensive redevelopment of the Domeney Reserve sports buildings.

The club is looking for $84,000 of funding from Pick My Project to develop a community space at the reserve for dinners and social functions.

Domeney Recreation Centre was earmarked for development as part of the Domeney Reserve Management Plan, endorsed by Council in October 2017.

But in the July 2018 council meeting, sporting groups and other users had proposed an alternative development plan for the Reserve facilities, plans which would require additional funding, on top of that which Council had already assigned the project.

Funding for this social space at Domeney Reserve is not just the first of many steps into the development of the facilities at Park Orchards but would also give the community some much needed community function space, something which they currently lack.

These projects are a small sample of the many funding worthy community projects which have been put forward.

Other local initiatives include: erosion control on Anderson’s Creek; resurfacing of the Anderson’s Creek Primary School oval; Suicide prevention seminars; a sensory play space at Kangaroo Ground Primary School; upgrade of the picnic area at Jumping Creek and a new play space at Park Orchards Community House.

Voting criteria requires the participant to reside within 5km of the chosen project and to be 16 years or older.

If you are interested in voting for any of these, or looking to see all the other projects on offer, visit the Pick My Project website before September 17 and pick your projects.

Project funding is scheduled to be handed out at the end of September.
pickmyproject.vic.gov.au