Monthly Archives: May 2020

The first of many tentative steps


VICTORIAN PREMIER Daniel Andrews today announced some restrictions would be eased as of 11:59pm on Tuesday, May 12.
Following a National Cabinet meeting on Friday and a COVID-19 testing blitz which recorded 160,000 COVID-19 tests in two weeks, the Premier outlined the beginning of the road to a state of “COVID normal”.

“Today – thanks to the efforts of Victorians – I can announce our cautious next steps,” said Mr Andrews.

The Premier went on to say: “from 11:59pm this Tuesday night, there’s now a fifth reason to leave home: visiting friends and family — with a maximum gathering of up to 10 outdoors and having up to five visitors in your home.

“I know this will come as a welcome relief, but I need to be clear — although these are our first steps back towards normalcy — they are not an invitation to host a dinner party every night of the week.
“It’s not about having a rotating roster of acquaintances and associates — or your third best friend from primary school — over for a visit.
“This is about seeing those you need to — if you need to.”

These modified restrictions will be in effect until at least Sunday, May 31, with the State of Emergency being extended until that time.
Under the new restrictions, the following can occur:

  • Outdoor gathers of up to 10 people.
  • Indoor gatherings at home are permitted, with up to five people allowed to visit another household.
  • The ability to leave the house for exercise will be expanded to include outdoor recreational activities.
    These activities can occur in groups of up to 10 people outside, but the requirements on physical distancing remain.
  • 10 guests, plus the couple and the celebrant can now attend weddings.
  • For funerals, 20 people will be allowed at an indoor ceremony and 30 people at an outside ceremony.
    This is in addition to the minimum people required to conduct the funeral.
  • Religious gatherings and ceremonies will be permitted with up to 10 people, plus those required to perform the ceremony

There is also light at the end of the tunnel for grassroots sport.
The measures allow training to take place, with groups of no more than 10 — as long as physical distancing measures and “common sense” are adhered to.
Many clubs will now be waiting for an update from their respective governing bodies before announcing a restart of some sort of training regime.

However, the Premier made it very clear that competition was still off the table.
For many, the way of life in which they have adapted to in the past two months will continue to be the normal for the time being.
With fresh outbreaks in South Korea and Germany, and news from overseas showing huge opposition to the easing of restrictions and change of messaging in the United Kingdom, this pandemic is far from over.
With restrictions easing, it is even more important to be vigilant and practice good hygiene and physical distancing, a sentiment summarised by the Premier in this morning’s statement to the press.

“With more freedom comes more responsibility.
“I’m asking Victorians to use common sense — you should only spend time together if it’s safe.
“And you should only be undertaking these activities if you really need to.
“If it’s integral to your health and wellbeing.
“Use your judgement and think about the health of your fellow Victorians, because right now, staying apart is what’s keeping us together.
“And none of us want to squander everything we’ve achieved, none of us want to have to take a backwards step,” he said.

The State Government reiterated its message that if you can stay home, you should and if you have any symptoms, if you feel unwell in any way, go and get tested.
Drive thru testing clinics will continue to operate at major metropolitan shopping centres which include Eastland in Ringwood and Doncaster Shopping Town.
The Diary will continue to monitor the situation and provide an update in its mid-month bulletin, which will be published on Monday, May 18.

Back to school by June

On Tuesday, May 12, the Premier. Daniel Andrews outlined the plan to move away from remote learning, with Preps, Grades 1 and 2 and Years 11 and 12 scheduled to return to the classroom on May 26.
My Andrews recognised the challenges families had faced and thanked them for following the rules.

“As a father of three kids who have been learning from home, I know this has been a really challenging time for many families but thanks to everyone’s efforts in sticking to the rules and getting tested, we’re now able to start getting our kids back into the classroom.
“Having most of our kids learning from home has made a big contribution to limiting the number of people moving around the community and reduced the spread of the virus,” he said.

Following a pupil free day on Monday, May 25, the shift back to school grounds will begin
Students through Years 3 to 10 will continue to learn remotely until June 9, giving the government and health officials time to evaluate the return to school and to make decisions on how to proceed.
Starting today, all Victorian school staff will be prioritised for voluntary Coronavirus testing for a two-week period from both mobile and fixed testing sites.
This will enable school staff to seek testing during the preparation period before the return to on-site schooling.
Schools will be encouraged to implement a staggered drop-off system to reduce the number of adults congregating outside the school at any one time, as well as staggered break times to manage the number of students mixing across year levels.
Schools will also implement social distancing measures for all adults.
The strict health protocols that are already in place will be followed if a member of the school community tests positive for Coronavirus.
To keep the spread of the virus at bay, the Government is also investing $45m in enhanced, daily cleaning routines that will occur “every day, at every school across the state for all of Term 2 and Term 3”.

New ward structure for Manningham Council


MANNINGHAM COUNCIL will have nine wards, instead of three, at the next local election.
Manningham Council announced the changes today, requesting input from the community regarding the names of the nine new wards.
Council has to submit the suggested name changes by May 21, through Manningham’s Your Say website.
The changes were announced by Minister of Local Government, Adem Somyurek on April 22.
Manningham joins nine other councils across Victoria who will not only have a new council in October, but a new representational structure.
Representational structure has been a topic of debate in the last 12 months, firstly with debate over making all local councils single member wards or single ward representation in early drafts of recently assented Local Government Act 2020 and during representational reviews conducted by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) in 2019.
Given Manningham has just finished a representational review, and – along with many other councils — objected to the requirement to become a single member wards council, it is a shock that this change has taken place.
Manningham Mayor, Paul McLeish said: “Our existing ward boundaries have been changed by the Victorian Government despite the Electoral Representation Review, conducted last year by the Victorian Electoral Commission, recommendation to stay with the current three multi councillor wards,”
In early April, the VEC announced their representational reviews were being wound-up as part of the new Local Government Act 2020.
When the changes to local government structure were announced on April 22, Mr Somyurek said:

“Single member wards support accountability, equity and grassroots democracy.
“This is about giving people more confidence in local government, because strong councils build strong communities.”

It is perplexing why the Minister has decided to take this action, given that there was such obvious opposition to a single member ward system in Manningham, supported by the 2019 VEC representational review which states in its final report that:

“There was also unanimous support for retaining a multi-councillor ward arrangement for Manningham City Council.
“The VEC’s analysis, along with submissions from the community and the Council, indicate that the current electoral structure is functioning well and suits the diverse landscape and demography of the local council.”

However, with the new structure now coming into effect in October, Cr McLeish is encouraging all businesses, residents and community groups within the municipality to have a say on what the mandated new nine wards will be called.

“The Minister has now given us just a couple of weeks to provide a list of ward names for Manningham.
“We want everyone in our community to share their suggestions into what our wards should be named.
“I encourage everyone to think about what represents your local area in Manningham and make a name suggestion before 21 May.
“We will then put a recommendation to the Minister for names of the nine new Manningham wards, which will come into effect at the next Council elections in October this year,” Cr McLeish said.

The Diary will have more on this story in its mid-month bulletin and in the June edition of the Warrandyte Diary.
In the meantime, head to Manningham’s Your Say page
to have your say on what our nine new wards are to be named.
Submissions will close at 12noon on Thursday 21 May 2020.

Further tax update on working from home


WE ARE ALL living in a period of great uncertainty.

There is a barrage of, almost daily, statements and articles about new government assistance to individuals, employees and business, plus regular updates aimed at clarifying or adding to earlier information releases.

If you are working from home either under instruction from your employer, or running your own business out of home then this month’s column should be of interest to you.

If you have not read the April column titled COVID-19 Tax Update on Working from Home, may I suggest you read that in conjunction with what follows, a copy of the column can be found on my website.

The new fixed rate per hour method

In a media release on April 7, the ATO announced a “temporary simplified method (or shortcut method)” to make it easier for individual taxpayers to claim deductions for additional running expenses incurred, such as additional heating, cooling and lighting expenses, as a result of working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Based on this announcement and further details in the ATO release entitled Working from home during COVID-19, updated on April 15, 2020, the ATO advised it will allow individuals to claim a deduction for all home office running expenses incurred during the period from March 1 until at least June 30, 2020, based on a rate of 80 cents for each hour an individual carries out genuine work duties from home.

This is an alternative method to claiming home running expenses under existing arrangements, explained in my April edition article, being 52 cents per hour for heating, cooling, lighting and office furniture depreciation.

What is covered in the new
80c per hour option?

The new 80c per hour method is designed to cover all of the following running expenses associated with working from home and incurred from March 1, 2020:

  • Electricity and gas expenses
    associated with heating,cooling
    and lighting the area at home
    which is being used for work
    purposes.
  • Cleaning costs for a dedicated
    work area such as a home office.
  • Phone and internet expenses.
  • Computer consumables such as
    printer paper, ink cartridges and
    stationery.
  • Depreciation of home office
    furniture and furnishings such
    as an office desk and chair, filing
    cabinets and bookcases.
  • Depreciation of home office
    equipment such as a computer,
    printer and scanner.

Advantages of using the
80c per hour method

Under this method whilst separate claims cannot be made for any of the above running expenses, which could be substantial, the advantages of using this method from March 1, 2020, are as follows:

  • No record keeping is required
    other than a record of the number
    of hours you have worked from
    home as a result of COVID-19
    such as timesheets, diary notes or
    rosters.
  • There is no requirement to have a
    separate or dedicated area at
    home set aside for working such
    as a private study.
  • Multiple people living in the
    same house could claim under
    this method at 80c per hour
    excluding school students of
    course.

Implications of not electing to use the 80c per hour method

You may elect to continue to use the 52c per hour method that was available from July 1, 2019, but that rate will only apply to running expenses for heating, cooling, lighting and furniture depreciation from the above list.

Unlike the 80c method, you will still have to undertake an analysis of the work related percentage of all of the remaining running expenses.

You will have to continue to maintain records of expenditure and retain all supporting documents as well as a time usage diary.

If you elect to use neither method, then you will have to resort to the actual expenses method for all expenses which is explained in detail in the April edition article, and have a dedicated work area or study set aside for work purposes.

If you are working from home only due to the consequences of COVID-19 you can’t claim occupancy expenses such as mortgage interest, rates, insurance, land taxes or rent.

Implications for the preparation
of your tax return

Regardless of whether you use a tax agent or prepare your tax return yourself, if you have, or will have, spent significant time working from home, you have to decide which of the three methods of claiming home office expenses you will elect to use for the period from March 1 to June 30 2020, and which of the two methods, 52c per hour or actual expenses method for the prior eight months.

If you elect to use the 80c rate you or your tax agent must include the note “COVID- hourly rate” in your tax return.

A word of advice

For many of you who have, or will have, spent a considerable amount of time working from home, it may well be worth devoting your time to:

  • Documenting the hours you have
    worked at home for work related
    purposes, or as a requirement
    from your employer or in
    running your own business from
    home.
  • Recording and filing all necessary
    supporting documents relating to
    allowable home office
    deductions.
  • Working out the percentage split
    between private and work related

portions of jointly incurred costs.

Armed with this information you or your tax agent should then be able to determine which of the three methods will deliver the greatest deductions for the eight months to February 29 and the four months June 30, 2020.

The ATO will be anticipating a significant increase in both the number and the amount of home office expenses claims for 2020 and consequently you can expect a much higher level of scrutiny of your claim.

The content of this article is not intended to be relied upon as professional advice and should not be used as such.

If you have any questions you should consult a registered tax agent.

Further information on claiming work related expenses and the Covid-19 Government Assistance to Business and Individuals updated to March 30, 2020 is available on our website.

Brian Spurrell FCPA, CTA, Registered Tax Agent. 

Director, Personalised Taxation & Accounting Services Pty Ltd 

P O Box 143 Warrandyte 3113.

0412 011 946

www.ptasaccountants.com.au

 

 

Remembering our Anzacs, as a community


This year on Anzac Day, the marching, the bagpipes, the veterans, the crowds and the choir were notably absent from the Warrandyte RSL.

However, at 10:45am on Saturday, April 25, RSL President David Ryan, begun his Anzac Day service introduction, and dozens of homes in and around Warrandyte heard his words, as the 2020 Warrandyte Anzac Day service was livestreamed for the first time in its history, in a collaboration between Warrandyte RSL, the Warrandyte Diary and 42K Media.

Warrandyte RSL has faced a number of challenges surrounding its Anzac Day service in the past few years.

In 2017, the memorial was vandalised the day before the service, with anti-anarchist graffiti.

In 2018, the RSL balcony, which is usually reserved for wheelchair bound veterans during the service, was condemned and had to be closed for repairs.

On both occasions, the branch, and members of the community pooled their resources and came together to ensure these challenges were merely bumps on the road to “another respectful service”.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions we have all be living with since mid-March threatened Warrandyte’s traditional service.

It became apparent very quickly that the traditional mass march from Whipstick Gully, followed by moving service complete with choir, bugler, bagpipes and sandwiches at the RSL after, would not be possible.

All over the state, country and world, public Anzac Day services were cancelled.

Officially, there was still reduced services at the Shrine of Remembrance and the Australian War Memorial, while Australians everywhere were asked to join in with the Dawn Service and Stand To in their driveways.

In Warrandyte, families stood with lit candles by the roadside, some even played the Last Post on trumpets and bagpipes.

Warrandyte RSL had planned on holding a small, private service at the Warrandyte War Memorial on Saturday 25th, but a chance meeting between Warrandyte branch President David “Rhino” Ryan and Sandra Miller, a former Army Reservist and cofounder of local video production company 42K Media, set in motion an idea which would allow our local community to participate in a local Anzac Day service from their living-rooms.

Using a series of 4G mobile internet routers, 42K Media was able to harness enough bandwidth to successfully stream the full 30-minute service.

On the Friday before Anzac Day, Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith laid a wreath and paid his respects at the cenotaph, and Mullum Mullum Ward Councillor, Andrew Conlon, inadvertently became part of the ceremony when he turned up to lay Manningham Council’s wreath on Saturday morning.

As well as readings by the RSL President, and Community Church Pastor Andrew Fisher, traditional hymns, songs and the Last Post were played from recordings.

The speeches, songs, prayers, wreath-laying and the two minute’s silence were all recorded on camera and between the livestream and the post-produced video, the service has been watched thousands of times.

With services being cancelled everywhere, this Anzac Day was always going to be different, but thanks to some local inspiration, a dose of technological ingenuity, and a pinch of luck (especially with the internet), Warrandyte was able to mark Anzac Day 2020 in its own special way.

You can watch the service on the Warrandyte Diary’s Facebook page, or YouTube Channel: bit.ly/DiaryTV

 

 

Anzac Day

They were all answering the Call of the Dardanelles,

Little did they know, they were entering a living hell.

The brave ANZAC’s, marched up the hill,

With their aim, freedom and to kill.

Fighting for our freedom,

With their families at home, who really, really need them.

At Gallipoli, 10,000 ANZACs lost their lives,

While a small amount of them, only just survive.

As the Reveille played, get them up in the morn’,

As they thought about what would happen after dawn.

They slowly chewed on the Anzac biscuits that their families had made,

As they hid in the trenches, extremely afraid.

For the families whose daddies, brothers and husbands who went to war,

And for those who didn’t come back, their heart is so sore.

The Poppy’s laid over the soldiers, who were laid to rest,

May all of the ANZACS, be well and truly blessed.

At the Anzac Day parade, the soldiers march, strong and tall,

These are the people, who answered the call.

Liam, Our Lady of the Pines Primary School

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Run an Ultramarathon at home


IN MID APRIL, North Warrandyte resident Michelle Chan set out to complete a home isolation ultra-marathon — which is a continuous run of more than 42.2 kilometres within the confines of one’s own property.

After 9 hours, and 294 laps of an approximately 150-metre-long loop of her block, she had done it.

Michelle joins a growing number of global runners, who have managed to find a way to continue to do what they love: to run a long way, for a long time, within the scope of their country’s restrictions.

In some countries, runners have done this by running laps of their balcony or their dining room table (with some courses measuring a mere 30 metres).

In the pre-COVID-19 world, Michelle was preparing to tackle her first 100-kilometre event, Surf Coast Century in Lorne in September.

In April 2019, she finished her first 50km event in the Blue Mountains at Ultra Trail Australia (UTA50).

“After completing UTA50 with some friends, we started planning some events out, so I did Two Bays in January, the 56km, and the other plan was to do Surf Coast Century.”

But training for a large event such as Two Bays or Surf Coast Century is a very different experience to waking up one day and deciding to hang laps around the yard.

“So all the other nutters on the Victorian Ultra Runners (VUR) Facebook Page started doing these iso runs during Stage 2, and I like challenges.

“Being in Warrandyte, I don’t have a small back yard so I thought it was possible.

“I had a few other friends do it, I planned a weekend with nice weather and then once I said it, I had to do it.

“I had been planning it for a few weeks and it wasn’t until my husband started analysing my route around the garden as well, I thought ‘okay, I’ve got my support crew’”.

The Victorian Ultra Running community may have upward of 2,600 members but it is a community who know each other, VUR founder, and Doncaster resident, Jon Lim has been responsible for several social challenges, which see members hitting trails for elevation or distance, so I asked him why there had been so much appeal when he first suggested the community took up the challenge of running a self-isolation ultra at home.

“It was the community; it has always been about the community.

“I posted the question about the isolation ultra and within a week, seven people had done it, and they were all wearing their VUR tops — I had people messaging me asking if they can get a top so they can run their isolation ultra in it.

“People just want to be part of that community, you know — with a group like that, if you suggest an idea, you often don’t have to push very hard to get people to do it.”

Seeing uptake of the idea, Jon asked Melbourne based running coach Chris Wright to administer the Self Isolation Running Facebook group, which has grown from being a small offshoot of the VUR Facebook Group to a truly international affair with some of its 1,300 members in the UK, Spain and the USA.

I asked Chris where he thinks the attraction lies in running laps of one’s property.

“I think once that seed of ‘I can possibly do this’ takes root then ‘boom’, they’re off.

“I think having a safe forum where they can celebrate it is also what attracts people,” he said.

Another feature of the home ultra movement has been the extent in which people are documenting their runs.

While some are simply uploading photos and screenshots of Strava, others (and there are quite a few) have shot video, even livestreamed their attempt via Facebook.

“It’s great to watch, it’s a bit like test cricket, you know there is not much happening but it is nice to check in to see if anything has happened.

“It adds a bit of accountability too, there could be people there who have been cheering you on, so when it gets hard, to have that bit of leverage and support from social media goes a long way.

“For people whose hobby and love is being outside and in remote areas, this situation has caused people to change the way they do things to hit those core values, and it has mutated to be something that is really amazing.

“In these times where there is so much political stuff going on, maybe there is something quite refreshing about watching someone run 50 kilometres in their backyard, on a live feed, and not to have to worry about [things like] the toilet paper that has run out on the shelves of the supermarket,” said Chris.

As in other areas, and as has been documented in other parts of this edition, it is a sense of community, and of one’s own accountability driving people to do these extraordinary things in unusual times.

For Michelle, with her home-grown support crew and friends who “deliberately went for their walks” at the same time to cheer her on mid-way, she did not need to resort to livestreaming for her own attempt.

Although she has no intention of running nearly 300 laps of her yard again, the community around her has celebrated her achievement.

The big question now is: when will I run my first home ultra?

 

May 2020

Download your copy of May 2020 Warrandyte Diary. Click here

To Download your copy of the May Warrandyte Diary Bulletin. Click here 

Jumping Creek Road works commence


TRAVELLERS between Wonga Park and Warrandyte now have an extra 10km added to their journey times as the first stage of construction of the road upgrade has now commenced.

Work started on April 21 with a 350 metre stretch of road between Potters Cottage and Nelson Drive closed to through traffic, and diversions will remain in place until complete, which is currently scheduled for end of August.

The diversion route is lengthy, and involves a 10km detour along Ringwood-Warrandyte, Croydon, Wonga, Brysons and Yarra Roads.

There will be access through the works for emergency vehicles at all times, and access for residents within the work zone will be allowed for most of the time.

This is a continuation of Stage 1A of this massive project which will eventually rebuild the entire length of Jumping Creek Road from Ringwood-Warrandyte Road through to Homestead Road.

Stage 1A commenced over a year ago with some minor works including the relocation of electricity, gas and water lines.

These works will involve removing the existing road pavement in order to significantly lower part of the road to improve sightlines for road users, new drainage infrastructure including pits, pipes, kerb and channel, retaining walls, safety barriers, a pedestrian path and landscaping.

But those living along the diversion route have expressed their concern on Facebook about the extra traffic and the speed with which it travels.

Leanne Torpey, who lives on a bend in Brysons Rd close to a blind corner posted a video showing the new traffic problems and received over a hundred comments and replies.

Most of these were supportive but, as is typical with Facebook, a few were abusive with one respondent suggesting “You’ve clearly bought on a blind corner, therefore it’s your issue” missing the fact that some of these people have been there for 25 or more years and the traffic was not an issue when they bought.

Kerrie Reid posted “Sadly the last 48 hours has seen a HUGE increase in the amount of traffic on Brysons Road upon the closure of Jumping Creek Rd.

“It’s like the Monaco GP has been relocated to Brysons Rd — not just for the day, but for months!”

Fiona Jane agreed, “Totally ridiculous that all the traffic is being diverted down Brysons which is narrow and winding with broken edges.

“Traffic should be going down Yarra Rd — wider, straighter and can carry the traffic load.”

A number of people have commented on the fact that Brysons Rd has a number of horse properties and there have been a few near misses with fast cars trying to overtake slow horse floats.

Leanne Torpey spoke to the Diary and told us that residents had received advice about the diversions from Manningham Council only a couple of weeks in advance, which was too late for residents to make submissions to the next council meeting.

“Cyclists are now riding along the footpath because the road is too dangerous” she told us.

She has been trying to get the speed limit on Brysons Rd changed from 60 km/h to 50 km/h for the duration of the diversions.

However the Department of Transport has told her that they can’t change the speed limit as that requires the approval of Manningham Council.

Manningham Council has told us that it “has not proposed any changes to speed limits along the detour routes and any proposed speed limit changes would require Department of Transport approval.”

The original Jumping Creek Road Development Framework was endorsed by Manningham Council in 2016 and arose because between January 2009 and December 2013, a total of 17 crashes resulting in casualties were reported at Jumping Creek Road, including one fatal crash.

Rachelle Quattrocchi, Director City Services at Manningham Council, told the Diary, “The Jumping Creek Road project aims to improve safety for all road users and upgrade the infrastructure of the road in a way that that supports the local area.

“The works underway between Ringwood-Warrandyte Road and Nelson Drive form part of stage 1 of the project and are the first step of the upgrade of this important local road in Manningham.

“The design for future stages is currently in development with further consultation planned in early 2021.”

 

Safety push for Research-Warrandyte Road

By DAVID HOGG

AS MENTIONED in our February edition, Ben Ramcharan, Australian Greens candidate for Warrandyte, together with local residents Renee Peta and Simone Mariani had written to VicRoads, State MPs and MLCs, and local councillors and mayors calling for improved road safety for local residents, road users and pedestrians following a number of serious accidents on the road.

In mid-April, Mr Ramcharan posted on Facebook that they had just heard that the Department of Transport (DoT) will continue to work with both Nillumbik Council and Victoria Police to determine the need to implement road safety improvements in the area.

“This is a great win for our community but it’s important to keep the pressure up.

“What we’ve had now is an acknowledgement from the department that they’ve heard us.

“Let’s keep pushing; our community deserves to be safe and I know this is something that can be achieved,” he said.

The post has resulted in over 30 varied and differing comments.

Matthew Magilton was sceptical.

“I think the DoT borrowed from one of Utopia’s scripts; promising substantially nothing but using warm and glowing terms.”

Cathie Joy wanted to see the speed limit on Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road lowered, whereas Robyn Galley suggested that returning the speed limit to 80 km/h on Research-Warrandyte Road would be a start.

Another correspondent wanted to know how they proposed to make improvements, and was concerned that the move might result in ugly railing being put up everywhere.

Jillian Garvey was keen to ensure that any changes to Research-Warrandyte Road do not result in trucks using Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road instead.

Sharron Weight believes that the North East Link is the only way to stop the trucks driving through Warrandyte, and we should mention that there has been speculation in the press over the past few weeks that in view of the Coronavirus costs, the North East Link project may be in doubt.

Ryan Smith, State Member for Warrandyte, wrote to Benita Quine whose family were victims of the oil tanker rollover in January, advising “It seems some measures will be taken to slow vehicles down on that road which is a good outcome, given yours is not the only accident I am aware of on that stretch.

“I have raised the matter of these local truck movements and the inexperience of some heavy vehicle drivers with the Victorian Transport Association.

“They are currently in discussion with the government about increased training requirements for new drivers, and I hope this will, in time, lead to our roads being that much safer.”

So the views expressed are all very varied.

One thing is certain in that whilst almost everyone agrees that something needs to be done, there is absolutely no detail as to what should be done and locals will have some very firm views once the details are released.

Hopefully the DoT, Nillumbik Council and Victoria Police will get their heads together and come up with some specific proposals and advice.

 

 

Helping our most vulnerable and marginalised


Doncare is particularly concerned about the vulnerable members in our community and people who are now being impacted financially, socially and emotionally by situations arising from COVID–19.

Many of whom, may not have required assistance before.

Last financial year, 98 per cent of clients seeking assistance from Doncare’s Information and Emergency Relief program were in receipt of a government pension, with 30 per cent receiving a Newstart Allowance.

That figure is set to rise, as Covid-19 continues to affect the level of unemployment.

Every day, Doncare’s Community Support Workers hear stories of family violence, financial hardship, homelessness or people facing the real risk of becoming homeless through the inability to pay rent or mortgages.

They see parents who cannot feed their children, pensioners who have not put on heating or who have had to choose between paying their utility bills and eating.

Many seniors tell us that they would normally spend time in local libraries or shopping centres to keep warm, but with Stage 3 restrictions in place, they are housebound.

Now that Victorian children are learning remotely, financially vulnerable families will also see significant increases in utility usage and expenditure as the winter months approach.

On average, Doncare feeds over 3,000 individuals a year and has already experienced a 200 per cent increase since February in the numbers of people approaching its Emergency Relief program for essential food items.

At the same time however, as suppliers and major donors take their own precautionary measures and downsize operations, Doncare is rapidly running out of food to distribute.

A Doncare spokesperson told the Diary thst now, more than ever, Doncare needs the community’s help to maintain the health and wellbeing of people experiencing hardship by donating food and household items.

“We have been very fortunate that Bendigo Bank’s Warrandyte and Doncaster East and Templestowe Village branches donated funds and Noel Jones Doncaster jumped to the rescue with a significant donation, even securing a huge amount of food from Metropolitan Foods Pty Ltd with the funds they donated.”

Year 9 students, Lucas and Angus also popped in to the Doncare office with Toby, Vice Captain of Whitefriars College.

The students initiated a fundraising BBQ and partnered with Youth Resource Officers from Warrandyte and Forest Hill Police Departments.

They raised $413.40 for Doncare’s food pantry.

Thanks to Mary-Anne Lowe, Warrandyte locals can now donate non-perishable items to Doncare’s food pantry by visiting the drive-thru drop zone at Bramleigh Estate, Warrandyte.

Donations will be gratefully accepted seven days a week from 7am–7pm (contactless).

Doncare’s new CEO Gaby Thomson said: “We are extremely grateful to Mary-Anne for creating this fabulous initiative, and to all the families, businesses and community groups that have already donated.

“This level of support really and truly echoes the sentiments of Doncare’s philosophy ‘for the community, by the community’,” she said.

Donations can also be delivered to Doncare’s main office at Suite 4, Level 1, 687 Doncaster Road, Doncaster.

Whilst the MC2 building is closed due to Covid-19, staff will gladly meet you downstairs to collect donations.

Meanwhile, Doncare has adopted physical distancing and other transmission reduction measures across the organisation and will be providing remote service delivery to clients in Family Services; Counselling; the Social Support for Seniors program and Community Visitors Scheme.

DAWN mentors will also continue to support women in recovery from family violence.

Should you require emergency relief or assistance with food parcels and food vouchers, please call Doncare on 9856 1500.

For more information, visit
www.doncare.org.au

 

The bank that cares for its community in a crisis

By SUSAN FOREMAN

YOUR LOCAL community bank has long been the lifeblood for the community, and especially in our current State of Emergency, the bank is doing all it can to help.

Community Liaison Officer at the Warrandyte Community Bank, Dee Dickson said the branch is staying in touch with Bendigo Bank head office, their staff, customers and community partners to ensure they are able to continue to service and support customers safely.

“Behind the scenes we have been speaking with our not-for-profit partners to understand the needs of locals, how this presents now and how it is likely to present moving forward.

“Recently we have contributed $2,000 to Now and Not Yet for the provision of emergency food parcels for local people and families in need.

“We have also reached out to Doncare and provided $1000 toward the distribution of food parcels and donated $2,000 to the Rotary Op Shop Food Bank to ensure they are well stocked with non-perishables.

“We’re exploring other ways to fund projects that support those in need and lift spirits — demonstrating what we can achieve together.”

If you know of someone, including your own family, that is in need, there is help available:

  • Now and Not Yet:  148–150 Yarra
    St, Warrandyte — for food and
    support.
  • Rotary Op Shop:  Rear of the
    Bridge shops, 264 Yarra St,
    Warrandyte  — for food (non-
    perishables on  site)  and food
    orders (purchased  and  delivered
    by op shop  volunteers)
  • Doncare:  Manningham City
    Square, Suite 4 level 1/687
    Doncaster Rd, Doncaster
    — for food  and crisis intervention
  • Pettet Family Foundation, Park
    Orchards — Crisis intervention
    and inclusion services for children
    and their families.
    Contact Geoff Parkes
    geoff.parkes@bigpond.com
    or 0418 392 748.

For 17 years, the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch has been committed to the care of locals and the groups of which they are members, especially when things get tough.

“As we respond to COVID-19, please know our commitment to our customers, will not change.

“If you need assistance our branch staff are here to help you navigate these uncertain financial times,” Dee said.

The branch is open Monday–Friday from 9:30am–5pm or staff can be contacted on 9844 2233.

 

CFA still there for community


In these crazy and weird times that is COVID-19, many organisations and businesses are finding ways to adapt and remain relevant.

Warrandyte CFA is no different.

Despite all events, face-to-face meetings and weekly training being cancelled, the volunteers down at the station are finding new ways to adapt to isolation.

With the “stay at home” campaign in full force, the brigade is experiencing a downturn in call outs.

Community Safety Officer, Rebecca-Leigh Dawson said: “The community is being careful and doing the right thing”.

But rest assured, the volunteers down at the station are still here for you.

They are still working hard behind the scenes to ensure they are ready for any emergencies.

Captain of Warrandyte CFA, Adrian Mullens, highlighted the need for the volunteers to stay connected and continue to upskill.

He said, “The brigade management team continue to hold meetings online via Zoom, ensuring all operational needs of the station are being met.”

“We’re also maintaining a focus of member wellbeing and have assigned a select group of officers to remain in touch with all our volunteers,” he said.

The volunteers continue to train in whatever capacity they can.

There are multiple opportunities, from online training programmes available from CFA corporate, to joining in with CFA Group area led lessons.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The officers of Warrandyte CFA have taken it upon themselves to prepare localised training, designed for the unique characteristics of Warrandyte.

The interactive online tailored workshops include local infrastructure with specific maps, details of existing sprinkler and booster systems of sites around town such as the schools.

Warrandyte’s 1st Lieutenant, Will Hodgson said: “Our volunteers aren’t necessarily skilled in training preparation, so to undertake this task in preparing lessons for their fellow members in their own time is extraordinary”.

The training is attended by the Captain, Lieutenants, Officers and firefighters — offering plenty of opportunities for the members to effectively learn as a team.

“The adapted training is thorough with detailed framework, quality images, and thought-provoking questions,” Will said.

But it’s not just training and meetings, the team at Warrandyte CFA remain committed to providing educational resources as well as supporting some much-loved annual events.

The unprecedented challenge of the CFA being unable to shake their tins for the Good Friday Appeal, was quickly transformed to an online fundraising portal by the Royal Children’s Hospital.

A Virtual Tin Shake became the platform and the team down at the station were keen to ensure they could still help raise funds for the kids.

202 Victorian CFA brigades raised a total of $195,000 for the appeal, with Warrandyte CFA contributing a collection of $4,290 from our supportive community.

Warrandyte CFA’s efforts placed them second on the urban brigades leader board.

Will Hodgson, who has personally experienced the exceptional services of the Royal Children’s Hospital with his own children.

“I’m proud of what our members have achieved for the appeal.

“To raise more than we normally would in these unprecedented times is credit to the team’s unbreakable comradery and spirit”.

In these unpredictable times, your CFA volunteers are still here for you.

Warrandyte CFA’s members continue to undertake the groundwork to ensure they continue to be prepared to service Warrandyte.

The brigade wishes to express their appreciation to the Warrandyte community for supporting their volunteers in their efforts.

 

 

Fireball delayed

By JAIME NOYE

IT IS NO SURPRISE with all the uncertainty going on, this year’s Fireball event will be postponed.

The Fireball committee is mindful that so many businesses are struggling and respectfully recognises that it is not the right time to seek sponsorships and donations.

Chair of the Fireball Committee, Michelle Lambert said “With everything so uncertain, it’s not possible that they will be back on their feet and ready to support anything other than rebuilding their businesses by October”.

“Hopefully, by this time next year things will be improving, and people will be getting ready to celebrate and move forward” she said.

But there is good news.

Fireball is delighted to share that their extremely generous major sponsor; Bramleigh Estate, Warrandyte’s newest wedding venue, will continue to support a reschedule of this wonderful community event.

This means  Fireball is still able to maximise the profits being donated to the Greater Warrandyte CFA’s.

“Mary-Anne from Bramleigh, is the gift that keeps on giving” Michelle said.

“Considering the current climate, to still host Fireball free of charge, is an incredible demonstration of Bramleigh giving back to the Warrandyte community”.

Fireball made a commitment to the volunteers of the Wonga Park Fire Brigade to facilitate the purchase of a new light tanker.

Together with Bramleigh, the committee intend to follow through on their promise in 2021.

The event has been rebooked for Friday, October 22, 2021.

Fireball will continue to keep the community informed on event updates, all opportunities and ticket sales as we move through the aftermath of COVID-19.

Captain of Wonga Park CFA, Aaron Farr said: “We are ever so grateful for Fireball and Bramleigh’s continued support to honour the original offer, in light of the delay caused by COVID-19 and the tough financial environment”.

The Fireball Committee looks forward to resuming event preparations in 2021, to support the volunteers of CFA.

To keep updated on event announcements, the community can register their information at
www.fireball.org.au.