News

Can Warrandyte break the plastic habit?

AS THE single-use-plastic bag ban takes hold across the country, the people of Warrandyte are slowly embracing the change to reusable shopping bags.

“People have been really good,” said owner of Quinton’s IGA, Julie Quinton.

According to a survey of IGA cashiers, men have been the loudest complainants as the new system gets underway.

“They need to get organised and remember to bring their reusable bags so they don’t have to pay for a bag,” Julie said.

“Most people are pretty good, and you would hope that they would be after us trying to do it last time and now all the IGAs are doing this.”

Julie said when Coles and Woolworths said they would come on board in phasing out single-use bags, IGA followed suit. IGAs across the country have introduced a thicker reusable bag which cost 15c, along with a range of options for paper and fabric bags.

“Last time people were good when we first introduced it, but as time went on and they kept forgetting the complaints started — but it is more about them getting organised,” she said.

“We have also tried introducing reusable mesh produce bags in the past, but they were all stolen,” she said.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Warrandyte Riverside Market Committee spokesperson, Dick Davies says they are very receptive to any proposals to make the market plastic free, “especially offers to help”!

The market committee are encouraging market-goers to bring their own bags along to the market, as well as reusable cups.

Market committee member Greg Rowell told the Diary:

“We cannot control how the stall holders wrap their goods, it is up to market-goers to bring bags if they don’t want plastic”.

When the Diary turned up to the market this month, there was a large proportion of shoppers who had come with their own bags.

“Another major issue is coffee cups which are not fully biodegradable — people can bring their own of course,” said Dick.

“We have planned to have reusable mugs provided on stations at each end of the market but we did not get enough volunteers to run it,” he said.

Dick said that replacing stallholder’s plastic bags and containers comes at a cost, “which we are considering in conjunction with Council and other Manningham markets”.

The market would welcome members of the community to help out with their green initiatives.

“The onus of implementation should not fall on the committee of management who are all volunteers and working flat out as it is.

“Residents should bring their own bags and we need younger people who are concerned to come forward and help,” he said.

The ban on single-use plastics will hopefully go a small way to reducing society’s addiction to plastic and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in our oceans.

Have you found ways of living with less plastic in your life? Contact the Diary to share your innovative ideas of how to live without plastic: editor@warrandytediary.com.au

Saving Georgia

UPDATED (17.7.2018)

Kangaroo shot with an arrow returns home

GEORGIA the kangaroo, who was rescued last month after being shot by an arrow, has now been reunited with to her family in North Warrandyte.

Wildlife carer, Manfred Zabinskas oversaw Georgia’s rehabilitation for almost a month before returning her and her joey to their Bradleys Lane home range.

“She has other young ones here and her joey will be able to join its siblings, this is home for her, this is where she belongs,” he said.

Manfred said she coped very well during her month-long convalescence and is pleased she has made a 100 per cent recovery.

“Seeing her recover so calmly and to start eating grass and hop with reasonable composure was just a massive relief.

“It is always great to save an animal that needs care, but it seems so much more important when they have been victims of abuse and cruelty like that,” he said.

Police are still keen to hear from anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the perpetrator.

“Someone knows how this has happened, and you will be shocked to see how often this does occur on our wildlife,” said Manfred.

Please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 if you can assist.

To learn more about Manfred’s work with wildlife to donate to his wildlife shelter: fivefreedoms.com.au

Saving Georgia

A HORRIFYING thing happened in North Warrandyte in mid-May.

A young kangaroo with a joey in her pouch was cruelly shot by an arrow, left to wander the riverbank with a target-shooting arrow lodged in her back.

The community rallied to rescue the injured roo when she was spotted in a Bradleys Lane backyard sporting her unwanted accessory.

Residents alerted local wildlife carers, and the rescue effort, coordinated by Libby Annand and Liz McNeil began.

Liz and Libby arranged for a specialist volunteer wildlife carer, Manfred Zabinskas to capture the injured animal.

After a two-hour drive from Trentham, two attempts and several hours of patient waiting, Manfred was able to administer a tranquiliser dart and take the kangaroo to the vet for surgery.

Dr James Taylor, assisted by Robyn Ireland, performed the life-saving procedure at the Box Hill Veterinary Hospital, with the vets giving their services free of charge for native animals.

“She ended up having a worse injury than we had thought, at first we thought that the arrow had just gone in under the skin,” Manfred told the Diary.

After they removed the arrow they discovered she had a deep infection and necrotic tissue and realised the arrow had been in there more than a week.

“She had to have quite substantial surgery, and the vet had to do some serious stitching work, so the wound site is quite substantial now — there is quite a bit to heal — but it will heal a lot better now that the vet has removed all of the affected tissue,” he said.

“It is almost impossible to get on top of an infection with antibiotics but if you get rid of all of the infected tissue and just prevent further infection it is a lot more successful.”

What they also discovered was that she had a little joey in her pouch.

“A little pinkie around two months old, that is very small, its eyes aren’t open and its ears aren’t up or anything yet.

“The joey couldn’t survive out of mum’s pouch, so if something happened and she didn’t make it then the joey would be lost as well,” said Manfred.

The veterinary team were also pleased the arrow did not hit anything vital, missing the spinal column and organs.

“It is good that we got her when we did so that we could save her — in many of the arrow attacks, they do die after surgery because of the nature of the wound — it would be wonderful to save her after she has gone through such a horrible experience,” Manfred said.

The kangaroo, given the name Georgia, settled in well to Manfred’s wildlife shelter, Five Freedoms Animal Rescue, spending the next two weeks receiving care and medication from Manfred and his wife, Helen.

The shelter is a labour of love for the pair.

Like all wildlife rescuers, the care of the animals is paid for out of their own pockets, including medication, tranquilisers, food, and not to mention the extensive hours that go into rehabilitation.

“I’ve been a shelter owner and operator for 30 years, we are volunteer rescuers, so I make myself available around the clock to respond to animals hit by cars.

“I used to be an engineer, but I also now operate my own commercial animal business which is my entire source of income — getting possums out of buildings, snake catching… all of the work I do is related to animal rescue work,” he said.

Helen Zabinskas added: “there is no government funding, there is no department that does it — it is all the work of volunteers”.

If the government get their way, the fate of any future injured eastern grey kangaroos could be very different.

A recent discussion paper from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) signalled  they are seeking to ban wildlife carers from rescuing eastern grey kangaroos, wombats, possums and cockatoos.

The recently released Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW) system review Discussion Paper states:

“Wildlife shelters and foster carers invest significant time and resources rehabilitating sick, injured and orphaned eastern grey kangaroos.

Given that the species is overabundant in many areas and is the species that the majority of ATCWs are issued for, some members of the community have suggested that the species should not be able to be rehabilitated under the wildlife shelter system… it may also be appropriate to consider whether the rehabilitation of unprotected wildlife, such as wombats, cockatoos or possums, should be disallowed or restricted to areas where such wildlife is not over-abundant.”

Helen Zabinskas told the Diary, “It is absolutely shocking, it is going to lead to widespread animal suffering and human trauma.

“They say they want to free up shelter resource and money by stopping us rescuing and rehabilitating these animals which is pretty bloody cheeky when it is not their money.”

In a recent interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Manfred said he would face legal consequences if necessary:

“I will go to jail before I stop looking after animals that need help, and I think you’ll find there are quite a few hundred people out there who will say exactly the same thing.”

The proposed ban would be in place, even for acts of human cruelty such as this arrow attack.

And sadly, these incidents are not uncommon, even in Warrandyte.

Sergeant Stewart Henderson, Officer in Charge of Warrandyte Police Station said that there have been quite a few incidents over the last few years.

“It is hard to say at this stage whether it is kids being kids or people actually coming out to hunt them, but unfortunately it seems to be popping up,” he said.

“About three years ago we had a whole bunch of slaughtered kangaroos dumped in the dumpster at the car wash and around that time we found a beheaded kangaroo on someone’s property… I can’t understand what possesses people to be so cruel.

“Had we not been able to find her, she would have just gone around getting sicker and sicker, the joey would have kept growing and eventually the pair of them would have died from infection in a slow miserable way,” he said.

“It is illegal to hunt them and if they were caught they would be charged with cruelty to animals,” Sgt Henderson said.

Sgt Henderson said Police are looking for information on anyone hunting illegally.

“If people do see people on their property, at the time phone 000 so we can come out and speak to people and identify them, but if they have other information, if they don’t need police attendance, call Crime Stoppers, you can do it online or anonymously with information such as registration numbers,” he said.

Manfred told the Diary, “People are always astounded at how many times I do go out to these sort of incidents, I don’t think a year goes by when I am not rescuing or knowing of some kangaroos that have been shot with bows and arrows or with crossbow bolts.

“It is quite regular,” he said.

Wildlife carers have been calling for a crackdown on illegal wildlife hunting.

“There has been no work whatsoever to try to address the situation, it is pretty serious.

“Aside from the fact it is an horrific thing, it is completely illegal and horribly cruel to the animals, this was in the middle of Warrandyte.

“These kangaroos don’t move far, they are a known little family of kangaroos, they pretty much live in the backyards along Bradleys Lane and down to the river.

“This has happened in a very populated area.

“There are people that are happy to fire off arrows at wildlife, not only doing the wrong thing by attacking protected animals, but killing them in an environment where people are around all the time,” Manfred said.

In true Warrandyte form, in an open letter sent to the Diary, a resident of Bradleys Lane has given a warning to the perpetrators of this incident:

“To the big brave hunter who took to the terrifying wilds of Bradleys Lane with your bow and arrow.
You must be so proud of your heroic endeavours injuring a mother kangaroo in what I’m sure was such an even fight.
If I ever see you in my backyard with your toy hunting gear, I’ll invite my resident big buck kangaroo to sneak up on your unsuspecting arse and see who wins that battle.”

President,
Bradleys Lane Chapter of North Warrandyte Residents against Meaningless Acts of Cowardice

Manfred plans to release Georgia back with her mob in Bradleys Lane.

“She has got family there.

“There is a large male that is part of her family group, there are some younger ones, may even be other joeys of hers that were nearby.

“She has her own definite family there that she lives with and they go from yard to yard, the neighbours all love having them there and cherish having the wildlife in their backyard.

“We certainly want to get her back there.”

If you have any information regarding this or other acts of animal cruelty, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

If anyone would like to donate to Manfred’s Five Freedoms Animal Rescue Shelter, to help offset the cost of Georgia’s care, deposits can be made to:

Five Freedoms Animal Rescue
Bank: NAB
BSB: 083-515
Account No. 8133 33160
Cheques can be posted to:
Box 575 Woodend Vic 3442

Photos by Libby Annand & Manfred Zabinskas

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Analysis paralysis

Pictured: Paul Purcell (left) and Dr David Stapleton.

Photo: Leann Purcell

Medicinal cannabis was made legal with prescription at the beginning of last year.

British Medical Journal Open, this month published results of a survey of 640 Australian General Practitioners, and found almost two-thirds have had at least one patient ask about the drug, some as many as 10.

According to the survey, while more than half the doctors said they’d like to be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis, they feel they don’t know enough about it, are uncomfortable discussing it with patients, and feel overwhelmed by the bureaucratic access scheme.

This is leaving patients who may benefit from the drug in no-man’s land.

Paul Purcell was involved in a workplace accident two years ago, which has left him confined to a wheelchair and in unrelenting pain.

Paul suffered a crush injury with severe damage to the spinal cord, leaving him with no sensation from the chest down.

“Nothing, I can’t even move my toes, there is no signal getting through… there is no sensation apart from the pain,” he said.

Chronic pain is one of the conditions where doctors are allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis, alongside conditions such as cancer pain, MS, and Parkinson’s, but according to Paul, he has been unable to find a doctor willing to allow him to try it for his pain.

He says the drugs he is currently taking for his pain have left him feeling foggy and forgetful.

“Sometimes you will stop mid-sentence you will forget what you are talking about… but often there are days when I wonder to myself whether it really does anything [for the pain].”

“The pain is the hardest thing to deal with — then there is the mental side of it, the grief — the sadness, your old life, you know it’s right there and just you want to get it back and you can’t — and then the wheelchair.”

“I have experienced a lot of pain, but the neuropathic pain is like nothing else.”

Paul told the Diary that when he was in hospital and rehab he had no neuropathic pain.

“I’ve heard it is not uncommon for the pain not to come on immediately,” he said.

“But now, it’s like when you touch an electric fence, very mild impulses right down to your feet every day all day, probably every two to three minutes, and that goes on all the time, so that is on a mild day — on a bad day I have heat on my stomach and my back like severe sunburn and I feel like I have someone on my shoulders pushing me down into the chair — this is all at the time,” Mr Purcell told the Diary.

“When I go to bed and I go to sleep, I think I go to sleep because I am exhausted just from the whole day of pain — it is really hard to live with,” he said.

Mr Purcell is being supported in his search for a solution by Warrandyte distributor of medicinal cannabis, Dr David Stapleton, who, with his partner, runs a company which imports medicinal cannabis.

“We have all the permits, ASIO has checked us out, it is all good, we can bring it into the country, the TGA has looked at all our products and given approval to them,” he said.

However, they are unable to supply the product without prescription.

“Paul’s doctor should be able to prescribe it — they have to fill out a form write two to three lines with a clinical justification why Paul would need medicinal cannabis over the current medication he is on, fax that off to the TGA, someone there says yes or no, if it is no then that is the end of it, if it is yes they send a number back, they give it to Paul he goes to a chemist and he can order it.

“We have been approved to import products from Switzerland where they have created a strain of marijuana with very little THC in it, the part that makes you high — it has all the good stuff in it, all the healing components — but just not the part that makes you high.

“It has been legal for a year and a half now and yet there are a handful of doctors that have managed to get it through the system, and I understand there is a lot of work for them because they have to sit and write this and send it off and they also have to find a whole lot of scientific factors that back it as well.

“I have all that information to give to them but for whatever reason they are just saying no, no, no to it,” said David.

Speaking with ABC radio, Dr Vicki Kotsirilos, a general practitioner who has managed to successfully prescribe the drug, says the process for doctors is onerous and time consuming.

“I had to justify the applications to the TGA for each patient, each prescription and each product,” she said.

Paul’s wife, Leann Purcell said Paul’s doctor wouldn’t sign the form for him to have it, saying there wasn’t enough research and he should consult his pain specialist.

“But [the specialist] won’t do it either, he passes the buck and says you have to go to the doctor,” she said.

David said that he believes the reluctance for the medical profession to embrace cannabis comes from its association with marijuana.

“Hemp seed oil was banned because of the word ‘hemp’ in the name, it took intense lobbying in Australia and NZ to get that — it takes lobbying that hard over a word…it is very hard to break through the barriers, people are still very nervous about it.”

Paul’s only other alternative is to take opioids, which he is reluctant to do.

“I take a low dosage if I take anything because they are highly addictive.

“I don’t know if it does anything for the neuropathic pain, maybe some temporary relief — it makes me a little bit light headed and then I forget about the pain….”

Paul is frustrated by the reluctance for GPs to continue to prescribe opioids without even considering medicinal cannabis as an alternative.

“I mean I don’t know what we are all waiting for — is it fear of something happening and someone getting sued, the whole world is playing the blame game… but someone should give it a go,” he said.

Warrandyte bridgeworks update

Bridge reduced to one lane overnight tonight to facilitate lane switch

AFTER a successful concrete pour, VicRoads have today announced the Warrandyte Bridge lane swap will happen overnight between 10pm, Wednesday July 11 and 5am, Thursday July 12.

Contraflow and traffic management will be in place to ensure traffic is still able to move across the Bridge overnight.

When completed, northbound traffic will use the new section of the bridge.

Southbound traffic will continue to use the current upstream lane.

This will allow VicRoads contractors VEC to work on the middle section of the bridge.

Pedestrian access will remain on the upstream path and the north bank pedestrian crossing will remain in place until bridgeworks are completed.

The Diary will keep across this story and report here if there are any changes to the current bridgeworks plan.

Grassroots sport focus of new Nillumbik budget

At the end of June, Nillumbik will adopt their 2018/19 annual budget.

Submissions from Nillumbik residents were being accepted during the month of May.

If the draft budget is adopted, this is how it will affect the Shire’s 64,000+ residents over the next 12 months.

Rates are always at the forefront of residents’ minds and there is a proposed rate increase of 1.95 per cent.

Nillumbik’s municipal rates charge, which was previously a separate and fixed charge of $95.84 per property has been “abolished” and subsequently absorbed into the general rates charge.

The ban by China on foreign waste which has impacted many municipalities will not impact the 2018/19 budget.

There is a $0 increase in waste management charges for Nillumbik households, which is in contrast to neighbouring municipalities which have seen an increase on their waste charges of around 20%.

Both Manningham and Yarra Ranges councils have attributed this increase to the impact of not being able to on-sell recyclable waste to China.

This is good news for Nillumbik ratepayers who are already paying higher rates for their kerbside waste collection, but it is also worth noting that Nillumbik’s ability to keep waste collection rates at 2017/18 levels could be attributed to the Shire’s generous recycling policy, which allows residents to recycle plastic bags and other soft plastics such as bubble wrap and plastic wrapping from food and appliances.

At present, residents of Manningham are required to place these materials in their general waste bin.

The “Green Wedge Shire” has sport and infrastructure as key projects on their agenda for the next financial year.

$32.246M has been set aside in the 2018/19 budget for these projects, key projects within this budget include:

• Diamond Creek Netball Club Pavilion
• Eltham Central Park oval pavilion upgrade
• Research Park Sports Pavilion
• Hurstbridge Line Overpass

Some money has also been set aside in the Council coffers for the Diamond Creek Trail extension — a project which will connect the cycle trail network all the way to Hurstbridge.

These projects cannot proceed without additional income from State Government.

In April 2018, Nillumbik Council announced they had successfully lobbied the Victorian Government and secured an additional $400,000 through the Growing Suburbs Fund, which is on top of a previous grant of $800,000 from State Government.

In April, Mayor Peter Clarke said, “Nillumbik Council will now have access to this important funding stream, along with an additional $400,000 to improve facilities for the Eltham Football and Cricket Clubs.”

The granting of funds from State Government came at the eleventh hour for Council when it was considering selling 17 parcels of Council land (including a number of reserves) which was strongly protested by Nillumbik residents.

As reported in the April Diary, Cr Clarke had indicated that additional funding was required for the development of leisure and infrastructure in Nillumbik and lobbying state and federal government to help foot the bill is preferred to selling off large amounts of land.

“As a result of our lobbying efforts we are now starting to crack open funding opportunities that may result in us being able to preserve these community assets, while at the same time delivering on new and upgraded community facilities.

“Our success in securing these funding opportunities has relieved pressure on Council to have to sell all 17 sites,” he said.

Projects such as developing sports pavilions and extending the Diamond Creek Trail will still require more funding than Council has put aside.

The 2018/19 budget reports that council may have to look at land sales as a way to generate funding for future Capital Works.

48 submissions were made to Council concerning the 2018/19 budget.

Many of the submissions declared support for the $1.5M Council earmarked for land acquisition for the Diamond Creek Trail extension,

There were also many voicing anger at Council for a lack of information about funding for Yarrambat Golf Course.

The Nillumbik Council Officer responded to all submissions concerning Yarrambat Golf Course with this statement:

“Council can confirm capital works will be undertaken during the 2018-19 financial year to the Golf Course.
In addition to the works and part of the maintenance program Council will be planting 500 trees around the facility.
Council continues to review the entire capital works program on an annual basis, this process includes (but is not limited to) assessment of renewal gap requirements, compliance with statutory obligations and consideration of future needs.
Specifically, with regard to the Yarrambat Golf Course ongoing review of the facility is continuing and should urgent works arise during the year they will be considered by Council.”

In terms of major projects, with Council’s focus on developing sporting grounds and infrastructure in the more urban areas of the Shire, there is not much in it for residents in more rural areas such as North Warrandyte, Bend of Islands or Christmas Hills.

In light of the $307M political football kicked by State Government Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, which promised the Coalition would fund the duplication of the railway line between Greensborough and Eltham, Nillumbik’s $1.7M Hurstbridge Line Overpass could indicate further disruption to Warrandyte residents and Bridge users, similar to what was seen in March and April of this year during the Clifton Hill–Greensborough upgrade.