Monthly Archives: August 2019

VEC Representation Review: Manningham


The Victorian Electoral Commission’s (VEC) Local Council Representation Review: Preliminary Report for Manningham has been published.

Those interested in submitting feedback regarding the two options outlined in the preliminary report have until 5pm on Wednesday, September 18 to do so.

In total, there were 6 (six) submissions in the initial stage of the Manningham representation review with approximately 64 per cent of the submissions stating they were happy with the current number of councillors and the current number of wards.

In response, VEC have proposed two options, both of which maintain the current structure of three wards with three councillors per ward.

The two options propose a slight boundary shift reducing a reduction of the size of Koonung Ward.

Images courtesy of VEC, for illustrative purposes only.

Option A brings extends Heidi Ward, bringing the entire suburb of Bulleen under one ward, whilst Option B moves the boundary of Mullum Mullum Ward, to bring the entirety of Tunstall Square Shopping Centre into the same ward – Mullum Mullum.

These boundary changes will have minimal impact to Warrandyte Diary readers but if you do wish to “have your say” regarding the preliminary report, visit the VEC website for details on how to submit and to read the full report.

 

Soak it up while it lasts

THE DAYS HAVE been short, and the landscape has been at perhaps its most hydrated.

The sky seems drab, but quite literally, soak it up while it lasts!

Before you know it, we’ll be back to dust and searing heat.

For the naturalist in mid-winter, things can seem uninteresting.

Many animals are tucked away in hollows and burrows and the “higher” plants (trees, grasses, flowers, etc) are at a standstill.

However, a whole different slice of biodiversity has been doing its thing this month.

The trick is just knowing how to spot them.

The large “flushes” of mushrooms may have passed, but the fungi are by no means silent.

Turning a clump of soil or leaf litter may reveal fine white hairs — hyphae — the roots of the fungi.

As these are highly sensitive to drying out, winter is their time to break down all of last season’s organic matter and cycle it back into soil.

Springing from the soil after a good drink are the ferns.

Their fronds emerge as coiled bundles known as fiddle heads, for their resemblance to the end of a classical string instrument.

Thriving in low temperatures, there is a clear connection between ferns and trees.

The canopy trees shield out the harsh sunlight of midday, whilst allowing the gentle, angled light of dawn and dusk to nourish the fern.

Often at sunrise and sunset, you will see a small beam of light, with a fern waiting in just the right spot to take full advantage.

The mosses and lichens too revel in the wet, and those fuzzy banks of moss play host to other species with their high moisture content, whilst simultaneously smothering out the weeds.

These will continue to drip out water for many months to come, helping those heavy rain periods nourish the landscape for a longer period.

With water so widespread, life is good for our amphibious friends, the frogs.

Their habitat is at its greatest extent at this time of year.

Small dams and even dips/trenches in the landscape may be full of water now, but not so in summer time.

As the summertime grasses are drowned by water, a host of macro-invertebrates — water bugs — move in to feed on the decaying grass, triggering the beginnings of the freshwater food chain.

Without fish to eat their tadpoles, and nice small, tadpole sized meals swimming about, these little puddles are the perfect place for frogs to complete their life cycle.

Such water logged soils, when combined with high winds prove the down fall of many trees at this time of year.

Some healthy giants, but also many smaller dead trees that lost the race for top spot.

If you’ve had such an event at your house/your local bit of park, look out for weeds that may germinate in these areas come spring.

As if this didn’t make life hard enough for the poor possums, with very few moths about, many possums subsist only on the odd gum leaf in winter.

Our wildlife doesn’t truly hibernate like bears; however, many possums enter a low energy state or “torpor”, sleeping deeply but still waking nightly for a little snack and a stretch.

Winter is when a hollow in a dead tree becomes prized real estate.

As the inside of the tree rots it releases heat, much like a compost heap, just enough to keep a hollow a little warmer than the outside world.

The first few acacia flowers signal an explosion just around the corner.

More subtle signs of spring appear in the form of orchid leaves appearing on the ground surface, and various lilies putting out some foliage ready for the spring time delight.

So, chuck on your favourite trench coat, some good boots and get out in the bush while it is still full of life’s most precious element — water.

Ian Hawkins is a local ecologist, operating his own small business, Magpie Ecology.

Bloods fighting for finals

WITH THE Home and Away season drawing to a close, all three tiers at Warrandyte Football Club are playing for a spot in the Finals.

Seniors

Warrandyte arrested their run of losses with a strong win over Chirnside Park.

But concurrent defeats in the following weeks against Ferntree Gully and South Belgrave leave the Bloods fighting for the last spot in the Division 3 Finals.

Josh Appleby and Nicholas Johnstone returned to the side for the home clash against Chirnside while Josh Huntly was named for his first senior game, Warrandyte’s 13th debutant of 2019.

With Chirnside Park intent on logging their first win of the season, the Bloods were mindful of the Panthers’ fast start in their previous encounter but two quick-fire goals ensured history would repeat itself.

Goals to Jack, Tom and Nathan Grimes sparked a six-goal run to the Bloods who took an 18-point advantage into the first break.

They pulled further away in the second quarter as Josh Meyers and Jack Grimes dominated around the park while forwards Quinn Clark and Luke Dunn hit the scoreboard.

Clark struck twice more in the third term and the 40-point three quarter time deficit proved unassailable for Chirnside as an eight-goal-to-five second half sealed a much-needed 53-point win for Warrandyte.

Kyle Thompson continued his fine season, sparking multiple rebounding efforts out of defence where Warrandyte’s kicking efficiency going inside fifty led to Warrandyte having eight multiple goal-kickers for the day.

Clark led the goal-scorers with three for the day and Jack Grimes was appropriately named Best on Ground for his performance.

In extraordinary playing conditions at Ferntree Gully the following week, the Bloods were forced into a hard slog in a hail-storm up the mountain.

Against second placed Ferntree, Warrandyte’s back six were under pressure for the majority of the match as the Eagles made the most of the mire to kick the only four goals of the game.

The loss of backman Andrew White just 10 minutes into the first quarter would hurt Warrandyte as the game progressed.

While the goal-kickers column was empty for the day, the efforts of Versteegen, Powell, Oliver and Thompson in defence were outstanding.

While Chris Tout was solid in the midfield on a day where it was hard to find much precision in a forgetable 29-point loss.

Warrandyte faced their hardest match of the year in Round 14; facing off against the undefeated South Belgrave.

The Bloods made their intentions known early in a physical first quarter, with both sides sharing the honours.

A goalless second quarter and six to South Belgrave put the Bloods on the back foot, trailing by 45 points.

Tout, Grimes (Jack) and Donahoo worked hard in a bruising midfield encounter and quick-fire goals to Dunn, Beasley and Jaffrey to start the third quarter launched Warrandyte back within four goals.

But another five to the Saints following left the side needing to overcome a 56-point at the final change, a margin that proved insurmountable for Warrandyte.

Despite the ten-goal defeat, a highlight to come out of the match was defender Versteegens performance on Division 3 leading goal-kicker Leigh Odermatt, who he kept to just one goal to take out the Bloods Best on Ground, his second in as many weeks.

With four rounds to go, Warrandyte is currently in fourth spot but tied on wins with Waverley and Donvale.

The Bloods will take on both teams in the run home in what’s sure to be a thrilling conclusion to the home and away season.

Round 12
Warrandyte 18.9–117 def
Chirnside Park 9.10–64

Goal Kickers: Q. Clark 3,
T. Grimes 3, J. Grimes 2, S. Jellie 2,
M. Cullum 2, N. Brooking 2,
L. Dunn 2, N. Grimes 2

Best Players: J. Grimes, J. Meyers,
S. Jellie, K. Thompson, T. Grimes,
C. Tout

Round 13
Warrandyte 0.3–3 def by
Ferntree Gully 4.8–32

Best Players: T. Versteegen, C. Tout, J. Powell, L. Oliver, K. Thompson,
N. Grimes

Round 14
Warrandyte 6.7-43 def by
South Belgrave 16.9–105

Goal Kickers: L. Dunn 2, M. Jaffrey,
C. Tout, N. Grimes, J. Beasley

Best Players: T. Versteegen,
K. Thompson, N. Grimes, J. Grimes,
C. Tout, P. Donahoo

Reserves

The Reserves dished out a 100-point drubbing to Chirnside Park but fell to both top placed sides in Ferntree Gully and South Belgrave and currently need everything to go their way for a shot at finals footy.

On-baller Tim Beasley was everywhere early and Andre Balemian put in his best game of the season playing off the wing with two goals to his name, winning him Best on Ground honours.

Gareth Hitchman and Josh Beasley enjoyed a shoot-out inside the Bloods’ forward line with Hitchman edging Beasley five goals to four in Beasley’s first game back from overseas.

Warrandyte took an imposing 10-goal lead into half-time and never looked back, slamming on another eight goals to take out a 96-point win.

A sterner test awaited them against Ferntree Gully and like the Senior side they were subject to the worst of the winter weather.

In a low-scoring affair, Josh Hale and Kyle Speers rose to the occasion to slot the Bloods only two goals of the match and were strong around the contests on a day suited for hard ball gets.

Warrandyte found themselves just eight points behind the second-placed Eagles at half-time but suffered the loss of backman Drew Corke to a season-ending knee injury during the second quarter.

Clean marking from Tim Foster down back was instrumental to keep the Bloods in the game, needing to overcome a 13-point three-quarter time deficit to pull off a famous win.

Both sides played the ball down the middle of the ground in a wet and wild back and forth but an early goal to Ferntree in the last quarter put the game to bed, Warrandyte falling to a 17-point defeat.

The challenges kept coming for Warrandyte who took on first placed South Belgrave in Round 14.

With a good side in, the Bloods were intent on causing an upset and keeping their season alive but the class of South Belgrave was immediately obvious.

Tim Beasley and Josh Appleby worked hard in the midfield for the majority of the game to move the ball forward but Warrandyte’s attacks were repelled by an experienced opposition.

With a half-time deficit of 10 goals, the Bloods were forced to work hard to get something out of the game and a move up the ground proved fruitful for Tim Foster who slotted the Bloods’ first early in the fourth quarter.

Dave Wilson gave the Bloods their second but Warrandyte were consigned to their second heavy defeat to the Saints.

The Reserves currently sit sixth, two games behind fourth spot and need to win all four remaining games along with favourable results elsewhere to be a chance of playing finals footy.

Round 12
Warrandyte 18.16–124 def
Chirnside Park 4.4–28

Goal Kickers: G. Hitchman 5,
J. Beasley 4, C. Prior 3,
A. Balemian 2, T. Beasley, L. Hogg,
N. Thornbury, L. Brewis

Best Players: A. Balemian, T. Beasley, C. Whitfield, C. Prior, N. Thornbury, G. Hitchman

Round 13
Warrandyte 2.4–16 def by
Ferntree Gully 4.9–33

Goal Kickers: J. Hale, K. Speers

Best Players: T. Foster, J. Hale,
K. Speers, H. Buyn, J. Appleby

Round 14
Warrandyte 2.2–14 def by
South Belgrave 15.14–104

Goal Kickers: D. Wilson, T. Foster

Best Players: T. Beasley, R. Reardon, T. Foster, K. Speers, J. Appleby, J. Hale

Under 19s

Warrandyte’s U19s are all but locked into Finals, sitting in second and displaying imperious form on the back of some strong victories.

The Bloods were toppled just once in July football, falling to ladder leader South Belgrave by 20 points in their rematch at Warrandyte Reserve.

Boell, Addison and Van Der Ree had their hands full in defence against some slick ball movement but weathered the storm well down back for Warrandyte.

Blake Trevorrow continues to be one of the sides most consistent performers, named in the best players for the fifth week running.

Darcy Poole made it 11 goals in three games as he hit a purple patch, but ultimately Warrandyte will be forced to wait for another crack at the Saints come finals time.

The Bloods didn’t miss a beat against their previous opponents, however.

In squalid conditions up at Ferntree Gully, Warrandyte’s big three forwards in Poole, Padfield and Clark combined for 11 of the Bloods’ 13 goals while the back six managed to keep the Eagles goalless for the match in an exceptional all-round performance.

Just one win behind 1st placed South Belgrave, Warrandyte will be looking to sew up the double chance on the run home.

Round 12
Warrandyte 11.5–81 def
Chirnside Park  2.7–19

Goal Kickers: C. Padfield 3,
L. Durran 2, D. Poole, L. Downie,
F. Swedosh, B. Davies, L. Garrick,
M. Philpots

Best Players: D. Poole, E. Boell,
B. Trevorrow, L. Vaughan, C. Addison, J. Van Der Ree

Round 13
Warrandyte 13.9-87 def
Ferntree Gully 0.1-1

Goal Kickers: D. Poole 6, Q. Clark 3,
C. Padfield 2, B. Trevorrow,
C. Addison

Best Players: D. Poole, B. Trevorrow, B. Vermeulen Brown, C. Addison,
M. Baynon, O. Bell

Round 14
Warrandyte 7.5–47 def by
South Belgrave 10.7–67

Goal Kickers: D. Poole 4, C. Martin,
C. Padfield, Q. Clark

Best Players: E. Boell, D. Poole,
O. Hodgson, C. Addison,
J. Van Der Ree, C. Martin

August 2019



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Vale Sigmund Jorgensen

Image: Where the blue shadow dances under the cream panama, SYD TUNN

THE ARTS COMMUNITY is in mourning for the passing of Sigmund Jorgensen OAM, a cornerstone of the arts in Nillumbik, aged 79.
He was the son of Montsalvat founder Justus Jorgensen and served as chief executive and artistic director of the historic artist colony from 1969 to 2005.
Justus and his partner, Lily Smith, established the beautiful artist’s colony in Eltham in 1934, naming it after the home of the legendary Holy Grail.
Originally built for Justus and his family, Montsalvat attracted many artists, artisans and intellectuals over the years, including Clifton Pugh, Betty Roland, Leonard French, Helen Lempriere and Albert Tucker.
Sigmund and his brother, Sebastian, are the children of Justus and colony member Helen Skipper.
Lily and Justus remained married and reportedly dined together with Skipper each night, much to the chagrin of the less liberal-minded.
Current Executive Director of Montsalvat, Jacqueline Ogeil expressed the sadness of the whole Montsalvat community at Sigmund’s passing.
“It is a very sad end of an era for us.
“His contribution and dedication to Montsalvat was all encompassing and his love for his heritage and artistic expression was ever present,” she said.
Sigmund, known lovingly as the Godfather of Eltham, is remembered for his significant and considerable contribution to the arts and the broader Nillumbik community.
He made Montsalvat a haven for local and international artists.
His contributions to art and culture were many, including the Melbourne culinary scene, running the award winning restaurant Clichy, being a judge at the Melbourne Asian Food Festival, food critic for the Melbourne Times and played host to, and support the formation of, the Montsalvat Jazz Festival, which has gone on to become one of the major Melbourne cultural events.
Sigmund was also a supporter of the acclaimed student orchestra, the Geminiani Chamber Orchestra.
Sigmund was a Nillumbik Shire Councillor from 1999 to 2002 and served as Mayor from 2000 to 2002.
Nillumbik Shire Council Mayor Karen Egan acknowledged his important involvement in Nillumbik’s arts and culture scene.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Sigmund Jorgensen’s passing and offer our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
“Sigmund leaves an enduring legacy as a passionate advocate for the arts, and we are grateful for his tireless promotion of Nillumbik and Montsalvat as significant cultural centres,” she said.
Bend of Island’s artists Syd Tunn and Ona Henderson recalled fond memories working with Sigmund for several years on projects at Montsalvat.
The couple said they found Sigmund to be “a warm-hearted generous and honest supporter of so much in the cultural life of Eltham and beyond”.
“His passion was legendary, innovative and determined — for all art forms.”
They invited Sigmund to sit for them in their studio for an Archibald portrait, however Ona says initially he was shy.
“I said I’d make a gorgeous lunch, and Syd said (being a quick painter) that it would only take a couple of hours.
“Well it was memorable! And we dined in style with a classy vintage red to wash it down.
“Syd painted this portrait (above) in several hours, it sold at The Archibald Salon and Sigmund asked for a framed print of Syd’s acrylic on canvas,” recalled Ona.
In 2013 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to the arts.
He is remembered as a friend and supporter of the arts and artists all his life.
Sigmund Jorgensen is survived by his partner Sue and brother Sebastian.
Montsalvat will be holding a public memorial service at 2pm on August 9 and will be closed to visitors that day.

Baldessin Studio – a legacy in pictures

THE BARN GALLERY and Residents Gallery at Montsalvat are both currently playing host to a collection of works created by a variety of artists at a remarkable studio nestled in the beautiful St Andrews bush.

The story

The Baldessin Studio was established and built in St Andrews in the 1970s by the artists George Baldessin and his wife, Tess Edwards.
The untimely death of George Baldessin (1939–1978) might have robbed art of one of its creative giants, however Baldessin’s legacy has only intensified.
Following George’s death Tess moved to Paris, in part to run away from her grief, and in part to work as an artist in her own right, without the pressure of the Baldessin name.
“By going overseas, nobody knew the name, and I changed my surname to my maiden name of Edwards,” she told the Diary.”
“I had also wanted to give my kids space, so they did not grow up as tragic figures who had lost their father, because when George died, in the art world it was huge, because he was so well known as an artist and a teacher at RMIT.
“During that time, George’s work, which had been in storage, was really not seen because there was no one was championing his posthumous career.
“I knew I had to come back to do the right thing by George, and so I girded my loins and put my own career on hold, and I came back here and moved into the house,” said Tess.
She returned after 17 years to a studio which was largely left as George had left it.
“It was almost like Miss Havisham’s wedding feast, with the garlands of cobwebs adorning every surface.
“George’s studio had always been somewhere where people dropped in — there was always somethings to do — it was a lot of work but there was always a lot of good will and collegiate spirit,” she said.
So, in 2001 Tess decided to open up the studio and called it Baldessin Press, in George’s memory.
The space is still dominated by his large-scale electric printing press, used with pride by many artists, and by his sculptures in the grounds.
“I didn’t know what form it would take, we started with a few etching workshops and then things went on when Silvi Glattauer came along and she was instrumental in getting it all together,” Tess said.
Since then, the studio has gone from strength to strength and in the last few years they have forged an alliance with the State Library.
“Two of their fellowships are now residencies with the Baldessin Studio, one is sponsored by Rick Amor, and the other is the Tate Adam’s memorial residency — sponsored by Morag Fraser — they are very prestigious,” said Tess.
They have also recently joined with Australian Galleries and Fox Galleries for two further residencies.
“Apart from that, we do workshops in all types of print making and photographic processes,” she said.

The exhibition

This exhibition is an exploration of George Baldessin’s legacy.
“Many people don’t understand what the history is” said Tess, explaining last year’s National Gallery of Victoria exhibition, Baldessin/ Whitely: Parallel Visions, put George’s posthumous career back on the map.
It was a perfect time for the Baldessin Press to delve deeper in to George’s legacy and for the artists following in his footsteps, to show their work.
The exhibition showcases 39 artists who have a connection to the Baldessin Press, including Rick Amor, Michael Leunig, Rob Hails, Lloyd Godman, Chris Ingham and Tess Edwards, and the works are as diverse as the artists who produce them.
Several stories are told via videos screened at the exhibition, one outlines the history of the studio itself, and there is a heart-warming story of five young men who studied at what is now the Monash University’s School of Pharmacy in 1915.
The men gave up their studies to fight in the Great War — and gave their lives in the process.
Curator of the exhibition Christine Johnson worked at the Baldessin Press to produce floral artworks to represent each of the soldiers, which were presented to each of the families of the fallen solders as they were presented with posthumous degrees a century on.
The exhibition is complemented by a selection of George’s own prints and by The Baldessin & Friends Commemorative Folio, which celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Studio’s operation as a not-for-profit organisation.
The folio brings together seven celebrated Australian artists — Rick Amor, GW Bot, Jock Clutterbuck, Michael Leunig, Jan Senbergs, Imants Tillers and John Wolseley — each of whom shares a personal connection to George Baldessin or to the Studio.

Baldessin Studios — The Story is on at Montsalvat, with works in the Residents Gallery on display until August 18 with the remainder of the exhibition on display in the Barn Gallery until September 15.

128,000 reasons to support our market


THE WARRANDYTE Riverside Market continues to go from strength to strength, distributing $128,000 in grants, donations and jobs created in the last financial year.
As a not-for-profit community organisation, revenue raised by stallholder leases is used in small part to pay for management and operating expenses, and also fees to Manningham Council and St John’s Ambulance for attendance.
A large part is distributed back into the local community by way of grants to schools, kindergartens and local community groups, including the member service organisations and associations.
In addition to the management committee members, local beneficiaries included Warrandyte High School, Neighbourhood House, the Be Ready, Warrandyte bushfire campaign, Warrandyte Festival, a Pottery Expo award for innovative contemporary ceramics, Rotary Art Show, Warrandyte Junior and Senior Football Clubs and Warrandyte Pre- school.
Most of the running costs incurred by the committee create jobs in Warrandyte.
Over and above the Market committee’s revenue, is the additional overall return to Warrandyte stallholders, who otherwise would not have an outlet on a Saturday morning — all of which adds up to a sizeable return to the Warrandyte economy.
The market is held on the first Saturday in each month except January, with two markets in December.
The market management is by a sub-committee of Warrandyte Donvale Rotary under licence from Manningham City Council.
Other members of the organising committee consortium are the Warrandyte Lions Club, North Warrandyte CFA, the Warrandyte Community Association and the Warrandyte Community Church.

ATM to stay

One of the most asked questions at the market office on market day is: “where is the nearest ATM?”
For a while stallholders and market visitors have been asking if one could be made available.
With this in mind, the organising committee investigated the hire of an ATM tent for the market.
The July market was the first time ATMs were on site and available to visitors and stall holders, and it was a huge success.
The committee had been prepared to invest funds for the provision of this facility, should the demand not have met the required transaction level.
Happily, in their first appearance, the ATMs exceeded the minimum transaction level and so will now become a regular part of the market infrastructure.
They are located in Stiggant Street car park near the market office and the St John First Aid station.

Scouts scupper shops’ stocks of snags

THE JULY market saw the Warrandyte Scouts’ best stall yet with over $1,000 raised.
Over the last 12 months the scouts have improved the layout of their kitchen and introduced some new ideas.
In July they offered slow cooked roast pork and lamb rolls, cooked over the coals on a traditional scout campfire.
The problem was, there were so many people attending the market, the mouth-watering smells of fine food attracted the market visitors by the droves, and there was not enough to go around when it got to lunchtime.
They sent a detachment of troops to IGA where they bought up all the remaining bangers.
Still not enough!
The next platoon sallied forth to the butcher’s, where again they emptied the store of snarlers.
And still they ran out, eventually having to turn people away.
The Scouts’ market stall offers the scouts the opportunity to develop skills in service, cooking, money handling and organisation while serving their community.
Warrandyte Scouts is one of the most successful groups in the district.
They use the income from the market to buy equipment and materials for camps and adventures.
And they proudly announce that one of their venturers, Hamish, is representing Warrandyte at the World Jamboree in Virginia this month.
Next market, beat the crowds and help the scouts fund their next adventure.

 

Recycling crisis hits Nillumbik

Update: 14/8/19

ON AUGUST 13, Council released an update regarding the recycling situation in Nillumbik:

Council is working with the State Government’s Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) to find an alternative for the Shire’s recycling. Council has a contract with SKM through the MWRRG. SKM’s closure affects several councils and about half of Victoria’s recycling.

The broader, long-term issue requires a response from all levels of government. At this stage SKM, while temporarily closed, has indicated that it is working to recommence receiving recycling.

Council will continue to collect recycling bins as normal and encourages residents to continue their recycling efforts until this is resolved, it’s important we keep working together to meet the current challenges.

Unfortunately we expect this week’s recycling will be sent to landfill.

The capacity of alternative facilities in the north of Melbourne is limited and the MWRRG is working to find alternative arrangements.

FAQs

Why can’t Council follow Boroondara’s lead and use Visy or another provider for its new recycle facility?

Nillumbik Shire Council is one of five Councils that has a contract with SKM Industries Pty Ltd through the Metropolitan Waste Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG). A separate company, SKM Corporate Pty Ltd, was recently placed into liquidation. SKM Recycling have advised that SKM Industries Pty Ltd is still able to trade.

Notwithstanding current contractual arrangements, the biggest hurdle for alternatives to processing recyclables appears to be the lack of excess capacity in the northern region to be able to process the kerbside recycle materials.  Other Councils appear to be taking advantage of capacity in other regions. The additional transport costs associated with processing outside the northern region is currently being quantified to help assess the value of any alternative arrangements.

Not a single Councillor, staff member or community member wants to put recycling to landfill, it goes against everything we stand for, so you can be assured we are doing everything we can to get through this.

What does council recommend for residents and how can residents help?

Council’s Recycling and Recovery Centre at 290 Yan Yean Road Plenty accepts recycling paper and cardboard, metals (cans, aluminium foil, pots and pans) and e-waste free of charge.

These source-separated materials are sent to dedicated recycling facilities not affected by the SKM closure.

Residents can also help by avoiding and reducing the amount of waste generated in the first place, only placing the recycling bin out for collection once it’s full and taking soft plastics to Coles/Woolworths for recycling through REDcycle.

What are Council’s next steps?

In the immediate term, Council has no choice but to send kerbside recyclables to the landfill.

In order to understand and manage the contract risk, Council is currently having daily interactions with MWRRG given the situation with SKM is fluid.

In the medium term, the best outcome is that the recycling infrastructure currently owned and operated by SKM continues to operate to process municipal kerbside recycling, whether the operator is SKM or another party. This infrastructure is capable of sorting to the level required by markets both locally and overseas.

In the longer term, Nillumbik is participating in process initiated by MWRRG to explore a collaborative contract for recycling.

*******

ON AUGUST 2, the Supreme Court ordered recycling processing business SMK Recycling is now to be liquidated.
This followed a July 25 announcement that the firm would cease accepting Council recycling waste from 33 municipalities, including Nillumbik.
As a result, Nillumbik Council, which has been sending all its material from household recycling bins to SKM, may have to divert this material to landfill until a new solution is found.
Moments after news of SKM’s imminent demise was made public, Nillumbik issued a press release, advising residents of the situation.
The Council have continued to collect recycling bins as normal and encourage residents to continue their recycling efforts.
After the courts announcement, Nillumbik Mayor, Karen Eagan said residents can help by reducing the amount of waste they generate whether its recycling, food or general waste.
“Every effort is being made by Council to find short term, interim and long term solutions, including finding alternative recycling options.
“Like several other councils that are also affected, we’re very concerned about how we’re being forced to send recycling to landfill this week”, she said.
Cr Egan said Council will continue to work with the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group and other councils to create sustainable solutions for managing waste.
Nillumbik has been in a long-term collaborative contract with Wyndham, Brimbank, Melbourne and Port Phillip Councils, with the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group as contract principal — this contract was not due to expire until 2026.
Cr Egan said the state’s recycling service is a state-wide and long term issue that “requires a stronger response and commitment from all levels of government”.
Apart from the obvious concern of all environmentally-conscious residents that recyclable material is once again going to landfill, there are serious financial aspects to this fiasco which will undoubtedly have a significant effect on Council rates in future years.
Sending this material to landfill comes at a cost, as all Councils have to pay a State Government levy for every tonne of material deposited in landfill — an extra expense that has not been budgeted for.
Additionally, any contract with an alternative collector would come at a significantly higher price than that agreed with SKM.
More worrying is that although we do not know what advance payments, if any, have been made to SKM, we do know that at the last Council meeting on June 25 the existing contract was amended to change the price.
That item on the agenda was held in camera, and despite our enquiries to Council as to whether additional sums over and above the original contract agreement had been paid to SKM in the last month, we are told that “the detail remains confidential”.

The bigger picture

Earlier this year, SKM was ordered to stop receiving waste at its Coolaroo and Laverton North sites after they failed a waste audit and SKM was fined $16,000 for failing to get its facilities back within regulation within the prescribed timeframe.
SKM has been in an insolvency hearing at the Supreme Court, facing liquidation from creditors, with debts reported to be in the millions.
The recycling company — who has contracts with 33 Councils in Victoria — had warned 400,000 tonnes of recyclables would be sent to landfill each year if the company was to permanently close.
There is genuine concern that this will become the reality.
As the recycling situation has deteriorated during the last month there has been no shortage of blame in the mainstream press.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio recently labelled SKM as a “rogue operator”.
Victorian Waste Management Association’s Chief Executive Peter Anderson criticised councils for continuing to send recyclables to SKM and of being irresponsible in maintaining their contracts with the company.
SKM pointed the finger at households for contaminating the recyclable rubbish.

Impacted Councils

There are a total of 79 Local Councils in Victoria.
33 Councils across Victoria had contracts with SKM to collect and process their waste.
The other 46 used Visy or similar waste and recycling contractors.

The 33 Councils which have been impacted by the liquidation of SKM are:

  • Melbourne, Port Phillip, Darebin, Nillumbik, Hume, Whittlesea
  • Wyndham, Brimbank, Moonee Valley, Hobsons Bay, Cardinia
  • Booroondara, Stonnington, Knox, Casey, Kingston
  • Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, Colac, Otway, Queenscliff, Surf Coast
  • Ballarat, Macedon, Hepburn, Golden Plains, Mildura, West Wimmera,
  • Yarriambiack, Buloke, Hindmarsh, Pyrenees, Glenelg.

At this point in time, all other Councils in Victoria are still able to collect and properly process recycling.