News

Every which way you turn


CALLS HAVE resumed for VicRoads to solve the dangerous intersection at Five Ways, where Croydon Road, Brumbys Road and Husseys Lane intersect with Ringwood-Warrandyte Road.
An online petition has gathered more than 1000 signatures after recently being returned to circulation.
It is calling for improved traffic controls at the intersection.
The petition was initiated two years ago and has recently resurfaced on Facebook where it has generated a lot of discussion.
Petitioner Renny Koerner-Brown told the Diary she was prompted to start the petition following several near misses with cars mistakenly turning into Brumbys Road “only to have them do an abrupt u-turn” in front of her “leaving me out in a horrendous intersection in on-coming traffic”.
Mary-Anne Lowe is a resident on Ringwood-Warrandyte Road, and says every day she navigates the intersection pulling a horse float.
She spoke with the Diary about the issues she has encountered.
“It is a daily occurrence to witness blaring horns, near misses and unfortunately I have also witnessed an accident with a horse float in the last two years,” Ms Lowe said.
She says traffic from all directions need a smoother transition and clearer instruction to make it safer for all road users.
Another South Warrandyte resident, Kim Dixon, said she has been sending letters to VicRoads for years about the intersection.
She says that the confusion at the intersection itself is only part of the problem.
“I reside in Colman Road and the traffic we get coming down our street, to avoid this intersection, is horrendous.
“[Colman Road] is not designed to take traffic travelling in both directions, it is extremely narrow and there are a number of places in which cars cannot safely pass each other,” Ms Dixon said.
She said that as a result of her ongoing complaints, around eight years ago Maroondah Council installed speed humps in their section of roadway and Manningham Council have also recently installed four speed humps.
“Unfortunately, these devices have not deterred the amount of traffic that use this road to avoid the intersection,” Ms Dixon said.
“In all my correspondence [to VicRoads] I have stated that the issue in Colman Road is a direct consequence of the dangerous intersection at Croydon Road and [Ringwood-]Warrandyte Road — I get the same reply, “this intersection is not our priority”.
Leigh Harrison, Director City Services for Manningham Council said Manningham Council is aware of congestion issues and safety concerns along Ringwood-Warrandyte Road and would support an upgrade of this intersection.
“The intersection is an important connection for local roads connecting to Ringwood-Warrandyte Road, including Brumbys Road which is a no-through road.
“While VicRoads is responsible for any upgrade works, options that could be considered include a roundabout or new traffic signals,” he said.
State Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith, said he has been asking the Government for several years about the intersection, but he says the response he has received has been disappointing.
“I have raised the very real concerns from local residents about this dangerous intersection on a number of occasions, but these concerns have fallen on the Government’s deaf ears.
“I would hate to think that a tragedy has to occur before we see any action from the Andrews Government.
“Fix the problem now so we can avoid the kind of fatal accident that many locals believe is an inevitability,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith showed the Diary a series of correspondence he has had with various Roads Ministers, during his last foray into the issue in March 2017.
Back then, he was advised: “VicRoads has been monitoring the safety record at the intersection of Ringwood-Warrandyte Road, Croydon Road and Husseys Lane in Warrandyte South.
“There has been no reported injury crash at the intersection in the most recent five-year period.
“The average two-way daily traffic volume on Ringwood-Warrandyte Road has increased from 5,700 vehicles per day in 2015 to 5,800 in 2017.
“The configuration of the intersection is in accordance with relevant guidelines and is similar to many other intersections across Melbourne.
“Based on the safety record and in inspection of the site, VicRoads considered the intersection to be operating safely for all road users.
“VicRoads will continue to monitor the road safety at this location to determine the need for any future improvements.”
Member for North East Metropolitan, Sonja Terpstra told the Diary she had not had any contact from constituents regarding this intersection, but that she would follow the issue up with the Roads Minister.
The Diary contacted VicRoads for comment and a Department of Transport spokesperson said that they receive many requests each year for safety improvements and upgrades to intersections, including new traffic lights, from across Victoria, and that all requests are prioritised based on the extent to which such a treatment would improve safety and/or congestion at each intersection.
The unnamed spokesperson said that VicRoads consider a range of factors such as the number and type of vehicles using the intersection, the need to cater for pedestrians, the historical safety record of the site and the impact the improvements would have on the surrounding road network.
“The safety of everyone travelling on our roads is our number one priority, and we’re continually looking at ways we can make it safer and easier for people to use our road network.
“We’ll continue to monitor this intersection to see if there’s any safety improvements we can make,” the Department of Transport spokesperson said.

 

Community’s development dread at Eltham gateway

By JAMES POYNER

THE ROUNDABOUT at Fitzsimons Lane/Main Road on the Eltham—Templestowe border has become the focal point of a conflict between green-minded conservation groups in the latest infrastructure development from the State’s Major Roads Project team.
As part of the $2.2million Northern and South Eastern Roads Upgrade, the roundabout, which marks the gateway to the Green Wedge from Templestowe, is planned to be developed into an 11 lane intersection, in an effort to reduce congestion and improve safety.
In background supplied by Major Roads Project Victoria (MRPV), the agency stated the upgrade would “benefit more than 60,000 people who use the busy road every day.”
“Unfortunately, some tree and vegetation removal will be necessary to carry out the upgrade.
“However, Major Road Projects Victoria will plant new vegetation where there is available land within the project boundary and manage landscape and vegetation loss in accordance with statutory obligations.
“Design revisions to date have been able to save more than 100 trees in the vicinity of the project, and any options to minimise the removal of trees will continue to be considered.”
If you have not seen Eltham Community Action Group’s campaign against the development of this intersection on social media, you may have noticed the red ribbons tied around trees on and around the Fitzsimons/Main Road roundabout.
These are the trees currently marked for removal.
Nillumbik Council issued a press release on October 22 stating their disapproval of the upgrade in the face of opposition from residents and community groups with ties to the Shire.
“While Council recognises that congestion is a significant issue at the intersection and supports State Government efforts to improve this issue, Council does not support the planning process to deliver this project”.
In their last Community Update in April 2019, MRPV indicated construction would begin in 2020.
The Diary asked MRPV if there was any room for additional discussion and design changes to the project between now and 2020, to prevent the destruction of trees at the roundabout.
A spokesperson from MRPV responded:
“The Fitzsimons Lane upgrade will improve congestion, making it easier and safer for the community to travel through and around the area.
“We recognise that the greenery surrounding the Eltham Gateway is a key feature of Nillumbik’s unique landscape and we’re committed to minimising this project’s impact on the environment.
“We’ll continue to keep the community up to date as the planning stage progresses.
“We will consult with the community throughout the life of the project, ensuring that we continue to hear and consider their feedback on this important project,” they said.
MRPV has told the Diary it will be releasing revised designs — which save more than 100 trees in the vicinity — in the coming weeks.

 

What goes around comes around


THE REUSE SHOP at Nillumbik’s Recycling and Recovery Centre in Plenty reopened on October 25.
In an effort to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, the shop takes items delivered to the Recovery Centre that cannot be recycled, but are in good condition, and prepares them for sale on site.
In August 2018, the shop had to close while the intersection between the Recovery Centre and Yan Yean Road took place as part of the State Government’s Major Roads project.
With works now complete, the ReUse shop announced its reopening on Facebook, on October 18.
The reopening is yet another plus for Nillumbik residents and businesses in a month which has seen the tables slowly begin to turn in the war on waste.
On October 6, Nillumbik announced they had made a short-term agreement with KordaMentha, SKM’s receivers to send waste and recycling to the (then) newly reopened Laverton North recycling facility, with kerbside recycling services returning to normal on October 7.
Nillumbik Shire Council Mayor Karen Egan expressed Council’s joy in seeing normality resume.
“This is exciting progress for our residents, who are enthusiastic recyclers and have been waiting patiently for proper services to resume,” she said.
On October 10, Cleanaway Pty Ltd, who acquired SKM’s senior secured debt of $60 million from the Commonwealth Bank in August, announced the acquisition of all SKM assets — which includes three recycling facilities in Victoria.
Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal commented on the acquisition.
“The Acquisition provides Cleanaway with a strong recycling platform in Victoria and Tasmania as part of our Footprint 2025 strategy and our mission of making a sustainable future possible.
“The recycling sector is undergoing significant structural changes with a move to increase recycling within Australia to support a transition towards a circular economy.
“The Acquisition provides us with the infrastructure to capitalise on the growth opportunities created by these changes.”
Nillumbik Council has also confirmed the current arrangement to send recycling to Laverton North remains in place.
At State level, there are a number of policies and strategies in development to further enhance our ability to “reduce, reuse and recycle”.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are currently developing a circular economy policy which aims to repurpose our waste though repair, recycled goods, and energy generation, in an effort to divert as much waste as possible from landfill.
An initial issues paper and a series of workshops occurred between July and September, with the final outcome and report expected to be released later this year.
Advisory body Infrastructure Victoria released an evidence-based report on October 20 which looked at Victoria’s waste and recycling industry and has outlined a number of solutions for the future.
One possible solution which has sparked interest in national press is the possibility that Victorian’s may end up separating rubbish into six or more bins (organics, plastics, paper, glass, metals and other are given as examples) to reduce the need to co-mingle which, the report suggests, will allow for cleaner waste transport streams which would reduce the risk of contamination and potentially stop recyclables being sent to landfill.
Although the circular economy and the proposal for additional recycling bins is still a long way from becoming a reality, at least the light at the end of the (waste)tunnel is a little bit brighter.
In the meantime, Warrandyte and surrounds should simply continue to do what we do best; take advantage of the monthly Repair Café, fossick and visit the shops like ReUse in Plenty.

 

Bag ban to stop litter before it begins

By SANDI MILLER

THE VICTORIAN Government has now banned single-use, lightweight plastic shopping bags across Victoria.
Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio said the Labor Government would consult closely with businesses and the community on how best to implement the policy.
“Banning single-use plastic bags will slash waste, reduce litter and help protect marine life in Victoria’s pristine waters,” she said.
The trick for all of us will be to avoid adopting behaviours with an even greater environmental impact, such as relying on heavier single-use plastic bags.
Plastics in the environment break up into smaller and smaller pieces over time, becoming increasingly difficult to manage.
They can end up in our waterways, lakes and oceans — contributing to litter and posing a significant hazard to our marine life.
As seen in last month’s Diary, when local photographer Denise Illing captured a photograph of a platypus tangled in rubbish, our local river-dwelling creatures suffer from the pollution that ends up in the Yarra.
Reducing the number of plastic bags we use is an important part of addressing the overall impacts of plastic pollution.
The phasing out of bags in supermarkets is now well established, and local supermarket owner Julie Quinton has said that people are getting much better in remembering to bring their own bags.
Warrandyte Riverside Market has prepared stallholders for the ban, and has been suggesting market goers bring their own bag for some months in the lead up to the ban.
Dick Davies from the Market committee said they are taking the ban very seriously, with committee members checking compliance at the market.
“Any concerned customers can also report non-compliance to the market office marquee in the Stiggant Street car park,” Dick said.
He said customers also have a responsibility to bring their own bags and reusable coffee cups.
“Even plastic or cardboard cups labelled ‘eco-friendly’ are not bio-degradable if the appropriate disposable or recycling facilities are unavailable,” he said.
He said the market has attempted a number of times to provide reusable ceramic coffee mugs but “has run into problems meeting the required food hygiene criteria”.
“Our best advice to shoppers is ‘Bring your own bag and cup’”, Dick said.
The 2015/16 Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index reported that Victoria has the lowest litter count in the country for the fifth year in a row.
Let’s keep it that way.

 

New Research Pavillion kicks goals


CRICKET AND FOOTBALL in Research has a shiny new home, with the opening of the $3 million Research Park Pavilion.
Eltham MP Vicki Ward opened the pavilion on behalf of Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek.
She said she understood the importance of having such a community facility in Research.
“To be able to have every gathering that people want to have, at a venue in Research, is just fantastic,” she said.
The redevelopment project took almost 10 years from conception, and replaces the ground’s ageing infrastructure, and followed a huge turnout to a pivotal council meeting in 2017, which was attended by almost 300 club members in a show of support.
On the strength of the community engagement in the project the Council adopted the two-story option, rather than just a single-story pavilion.
The expanded clubrooms allow for a social space both for the resident clubs, but also for the whole community.

The then Mayor, Peter Clarke told the Diary that Council had to decide between a $1.2m single-storey pavilion, or an $1.7m double-storey.
“What it achieved was the financial viability of the clubs, because the clubs earn money out of that space as well as lease it out.”
He said the facility fills a need in Research for a community hub, and Council is encouraging community groups to use the space during the week.
“You do these things once and you do them really well — there is no good doing two-thirds of the task.
“This will last for 30–40 years — it’s a good investment in the future,” Cr Clarke said.
The two-storey redevelopment at the park, which is home to the Research Junior Football Club (RJFC) and Research Eltham Collegians Cricket Club (RECCC), has allowed for greater participation across the community.
Current Deputy Mayor Bruce Ranken, who is also the social infrastructure portfolio councillor, said the new pavilion was long overdue.
“The previous sports pavilion on this site was ageing and no longer fit for purpose,” Cr Ranken said.
“Council listened to what the community had to say and now we have this modern all-inclusive facility.
“This project shows what can be done with people power.”
Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan said the upgrade included the addition of two much-needed female change rooms and facilities for female umpires.
“This wonderful new facility is a win for our whole community and, importantly, caters for the growing number of females in sport,” she said.
“Both the football and cricket clubs have had increasing numbers of female members over the past few years.
“But the growth of female participation in sport locally has been restricted by the lack of facilities and I’m pleased we are smashing these barriers here in Research,” Cr Egan said.
Paul Northey from Research Junior Football Club said that the new facilities would be fantastic for their 15 junior football teams — including four girls’ teams — and “would be an asset for the whole community for generations”.
Chris Cunningham from the Research and Eltham Collegians Cricket Club who play out of the facility said that the stadium would allow access for their 10 junior teams, including two girls’ sides, six mixed seniors’ sides, and a veterans’ team, an over sixties team and an all-abilities side.
Nillumbik Council contributed $1.69 million to the project as well as $265,000 for the upcoming car park works.
The State Government provided a total of $950,000, with $650 through the Growing Suburbs Fund, a $100,000 grant from Sport and Recreation Victoria and $200,000 in funding through a State Government election commitment in 2014.
“We went into every bucket,” Ms Ward quipped.
The football and cricket clubs raised $130,000 for the pavilion.
The pavilion features an upstairs community hall with kitchen, bar and meeting rooms overlooking the grounds.
Downstairs are four player change rooms, umpire change rooms and an accessible toilet and lift.

Grant awarded to fight deer


THE VICTORIAN Government has awarded grants of $30,000 to local Landcare groups to continue their work in protecting the local environment.
Part of this year’s grants program is supporting the work of Friends of Warrandyte State Park and Andersons Creek Landcare, both member groups of the Middle Yarra Landcare Network who received a grant of $10,900.
These groups are working to protect the last populations of Variable Billybuttons and Musk Daisy-bush from sambar deer in Warrandyte State Park and Manningham (see story below).
Sonja Terpstra MP, Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region , congratulated the successful recipients of the 2019–20 Victorian Landcare Grants.
“It is projects like these that make a significant contribution to both the environment and the economy,” Ms Terpstra said.
She said the annual grants program delivers “critical funding to Landcare and other environmental volunteer groups who make significant contributions to caring for the environment through on-ground works, education and capacity building projects.”
In a statement to the Diary, she said over the past four years, the Victorian Government has provided “more than $149 million to protect Victoria’s biodiversity, supporting native and threatened species through a range of on-ground initiatives and funding”.
Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith said more needs to be done with respect to deer management.
“A large number of residents have contacted me in relation to the huge number of deer in the area, which is rightly being seen as a danger to both drivers and our sensitive environment,” he said.
Mr Smith said he raised the deer issue with the Environment Minister Lily d’Ambrosio 10 weeks ago, but has “yet to receive a response from her acknowledging the growing problem”.
“With the Minister failing to respond to my electorate, and with the Deer Management Strategy update almost eight months late, it is clear this concern has not even made it on to her to-do list.
“Any contribution to our committed volunteers is welcome, but this funding is a drop in the ocean when measured in the context of a problem that is reaching epic proportions.”
Ms Terpstra said the funding focuses on protecting and managing a range of native plants and animals, threatened species and habitats through collaborative planning, increased engagement and alignment of natural resources, scientific, educational and community sectors.
The Christmas Hills Landcare Group also received $19,000 as part of an ongoing program to eradicate woody weeds and to hold a talk to “Learn About Owls” in the Christmas Hills area (see story below).
Landcare is a key component of the Victorian Government’s plan Protecting Victoria’s Environment — Biodiversity 2037, which sets out the strategy to stop the decline of native plants and animals and ensure the environment is healthy, valued and cared for.
Ms Terptra conveyed her congratulations to the grant recipients.
“It is projects like these which make a significant contribution to both the environment and the economy.”
She also said investment in Landcare in the Warrandyte area was important “so that local communities can enjoy our precious natural environment for years to come.”

Landcare focuses on fencing out the deer

By ARTUR MUCHOW,
Middle Yarra Landcare

EACH YEAR local Landcare groups have the opportunity to apply for project funding from the State Government’s Landcare budget.
This year we are fortunate to have received nearly $11,000 in total for a substantial effort to protect specific native plants badly impacted by the growth in deer numbers.
The funding will be invested mainly in fencing material and plants.
This work is designed, in the short term, to limit sambar deer on Parks Victoria land and will enlist the support of Manningham Council.
Deer are browsing, trampling and rubbing threatened indigenous plants and their habitat, causing erosion, preventing natural regeneration and spreading weeds.
In the longer term we await the new Victorian Deer Management Strategy, now reported as due out later this year to address the problem at its source.
Friends of Warrandyte State Park (FOWSP) and Andersons Creek Landcare, member groups of the Middle Yarra Landcare Network (MYLN), will share the funding and co-ordinate their work to build fences and replant
destroyed species.
Between them, the two groups have 250 volunteer members, many of whom have special knowledge and skills to apply across the two Landcare groups and importantly to share with all volunteers.
Together they will co-ordinate on all aspects from planning right through to monitoring outcomes.
This year’s project will also cater for volunteers who enjoy particular activities such as monitoring and plant identification, especially important in this project.
There will be plenty of tasks for those who enjoy being physical, with fence building a big focus.
We are constantly told by volunteers that they love the involvement with Landcare because they are outdoors doing something to contribute to preserving the natural habitat, while meeting new people.
Volunteers of all ages are always needed, regardless of their experience level, so please join in.
Andersons Creek Landcare runs on Wednesdays 10am–12pm and FOWSP every Thursday 9am–12pm.
Contact both groups through Facebook to participate either regularly or occasionally.

Funding for Christmas Hills Landcare projects

By DON EVANS

Christmas Hills Landcare THE CHRISTMAS HILLS Landcare group received $19,000 in grants to allow landowners to protect and respect the local environment.

There are two parts to this project — the first builds on a long-running staged program of woody weed removal in remnant forests on private land in Christmas Hills that commenced in 2011.
To date, this program has treated woody weeds on 50 private properties covering a total of 669 hectares, and this new grant will enable us to treat woody weeds in 99.7 ha of remnant vegetation on 10 properties.
Complementing woody weed control works that Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria are also doing locally, this work will continue to improve the quality of our remnant vegetation, and the function of the habitat corridor it forms connecting Kinglake National Park to the Yarra River corridor and Warrandyte State Park.
This is all for the benefit of the rich diversity of flora and fauna Christmas Hills supports.
The second part to this project also builds on a long-running program of helping local landholders to better understand, and connect to, the natural environment of which they are custodians.
Specifically, this grant will enable local landholders to learn about the range of owl species that are believed to occur in and around Christmas Hills.
It will do this through a flight display of live owls that will give landholders the opportunity to meet some of the local species face-to-face, coupled with information on what landholders can do on their own properties to support owls.

The whys and wherefores of bylaws: Pets


Photo: Anthony Edge

HAVING A PET is a privilege and a responsibility.
There are rules around pet ownership that must be adhered to.
These rules ensure that both your pets and other members of the community are able to live together.
These rules are administered by our local councils, and while they differ slightly across all municipalities across Victoria, they all follow State Law, largely the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
Manningham’s Acting Director City Planning and Community, Niall Sheehy and Nillumbik CEO, Carl Cowie gave the Diary the lowdown about pet ownership in their municipalities.

Getting a pet

What some people may not be aware of, is that from July,1 2019, any person or business who is advertising to sell or give away a dog, cat, puppy or kitten will need to be enrolled on the Pet Exchange Register.
“The dog or cat must be advertised with the animal’s microchip number and source number, which has been generated by the Pet Exchange Register,” said Mr Sheehy.
The Pet Exchange Register allocates this unique source number to animals which ensures sellers are transparent about where an animal comes from.Sellers must ensure animals are microchipped before they change owners and animals must be microchipped before 12 weeks of age.
Once someone takes ownership of a new pet, they  should contact Council to register their animal as soon as possible.
Pet registrations are due to be renewed each year on April 10, but all puppies and kittens must be registered by three months of age — this is not the same as microchip registration.
The registration fee gives you more than just a lost and found service for your pet.
It is also funds:

  • facilities such as dog parks, dog poo bins and pounds/shelters
  • animal management staff to attend to nuisance complaints, investigate dog attacks, patrol parks/beaches/streets, and collect and return stray animals to owners
  • events such as pet expos and discount microchipping days
  • information such as responsible pet ownership publications, websites, and online courses
  • domestic animal business audits (e.g. to check animal welfare standards in pet shops, breeding facilities, boarding kennels etc)
  • management of dangerous and restricted breed dogs
  • dog bite prevention education programs for kindergarten and primary school children
  • emergency animal welfare preparedness
  • research into a range of dog and cat welfare issues

In Manningham and Nillumbik there are limits to the number of pets and/or livestock per household can have.
Residents can have two cats and two dogs per household without needing a permit.
There are also limits on other animals that can be kept.
In Nillumbik, without a permit a person must not keep more than:

  • 5 reptiles* or rodents
  • 10 large birds
  • 25 small birds
  • 1 rooster
  • 24 poultry

on any land throughout the municipality.
Keeping some animals may require additional licences.
*You are able to have up to five reptiles without a permit, however, you may need to obtain a licence from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to keep most species of reptiles in captivity.
In Manningham, the numbers vary slightly:

  • 13 domestic birds
  • 8 mice
  • 4 rabbits
  • 8 guinea pigs
  • 4 chickens, ducks, geese or pigeons

If you wish to exceed these limits, you may apply for an excess animal permit.
In Manningham, a permit is required to keep any emu, ostrich, goat, sheep, cow, pig, bull, or horse in an area less than two acres (8000 sqm).
And in either municipality, a person must not keep any livestock on any land in a residential zone or any land of an area less than 4000sqm.
A pet pig, for example, is considered livestock, so depending on the land zoning and size, a permit may be required.
Mr Cowie told the Diary if residents are seeking to keep animals outside these categories there is a vast array of laws that impact on having exotic or native animals as pets.
“In general, Agriculture Victoria is responsible for the legislation, regulations and standards that governs ownership of these pet types,” he said.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 protects the welfare of all animals, including amphibians.
Council is responsible for any issues that relate to breaches of containment, cleanliness, smell or noise nuisance that may come from exotic and native pets.
If you want to keep a native animal, for example a dingo, possum, or kangaroo, a private wildlife licence would be required.
These can be obtained through DELWP.

Dog laws

There are several areas of conflict where dog owners come into conflict with other community members.
One is persistent barking.
If a dog in a neighbouring property is too noisy and unreasonably disturbs you, the first step is to make contact with the dog owner to alert them that their dog is causing a nuisance.
If the barking persists and is deemed to be unreasonable, you can contact council to intervene.
The other area of conflict is dog waste.
Mr Sheehy told the Diary that for the enjoyment of the whole community dog owners need to carry a waste bag and pick up after their dog in public.
“Failure to do so could result in a $200 fine,” he said.
He said Manningham Council provide free poo pouches to dog owners.
“These pouches are often handed out by Council Rangers at our parks and reserves”.
Mr Cowie said Nillumbik Shire Council’s Amenity Local Law, states that a person in charge of a dog in a public place must have dog poo bags (or another receptacle to pick up their dog’s excrement) with them.
“They must ensure their dog’s excrement is collected and disposed of appropriately.
“Additionally, if requested by an authorised officer, the owner must present the bags (or other receptacle) they have with them to collect their pet’s waste,” Mr Cowie said.
There are many places to take dogs to run off-leash.
Manningham has 81 off-lead dog areas, including 28 sporting grounds and the popular Warrandyte River Reserve.
Nillumbik have 13 off-lead areas, including two dedicated off-lead dog parks.
One is in Diamond Creek and the other in Hurstbridge.Mr Cowie said off-lead areas throughout the municipality can be located on the Nillumbik website.
However, there are no Council-managed off-lead areas located in North Warrandyte.
Off-lead does not mean a dog can run amok.
Every off-lead dog area has its own signage and guidelines that must be adhered to and they all require off-lead dogs to be under effective control,” said Mr Sheehy.
Effective control by command means the dog must be:

  • Within 25 metres of the owner.
  • The owner is able to see the dog at all times.
  • The owner can recall the dog immediately when needed.

There are further guidelines that help people to act as responsible dog owners and avoid causing concern to other users of a park.
Guidelines include:

  • A dog is at least 15 metres away from permanent barbecue facilities, children’s play equipment, organised sporting events, approved functions or public meetings.
  • A dog’s owner has a leash on hand at all times.
  • A dog is not threatening of worrying any other user of the park.
  • A dog’s owner brings their dog under immediate control if any aggressive behaviour or threat is displayed to another person or animal.
  • A dog’s owner stays alert and focused on the dog at all times.
  • A dog’s owner brings a maximum of two dogs to the park at one time.

There are rules around some breeds of dog which require special registration and cannot be imported or bred.
These include pure or cross bred American Pit Bull Terriers (or Pit Bull Terriers), Perro de Presa Canarios, Dogo Argentinos, Japanese Tosas, and Fila Brasileiros.
Rules have been removed for owners of greyhounds.
As of January 1, 2019, all pet greyhounds are no longer legally required to wear a muzzle in public, including retired racing greyhounds.
A greyhound adopted through Greyhound Racing Victoria’s Greyhound Adoption Program must always be on lead in any public place, but like other dogs, all greyhounds still need to be under effective control by their owner.

Cat owner responsibilities

There is no cat curfew in Manningham.
However, Council recommends that cats be confined to their owner’s properties.
Nillumbik Shire Council has an order requiring cats to be confined during the specified hours of 7:30pm to 6am and restricts the presence of cats in certain public areas (e.g. parks or reserves).
The curfew time remains the same all year round — including during daylight saving time.
Mr Sheehy said as per Victorian state law, cat owners are responsible for ensuring their cats do not wander onto a private property at any time.
“Stray cats may be seized, notices of objection may be served and further non-compliance may result in penalties being issued,” he said.

Vaccinating pet rabbits

Having pet rabbits can require additional precautions when kept in close proximity to feral rabbit populations.
A new strain of rabbit calicivirus, RHDV1 K5 (also known as K5); was released in Victoria in March to help land-owners control pest rabbits.
Anyone who owns pet rabbits should make sure that their vaccinations are up-to-date to protect against the virus.
Domestic pet rabbit owners can take the following extra precautions to protect pet rabbits from K5 infection:

  • Prevent contact between pet and pest rabbits.
  • Don’t cut grass from areas where pest rabbits may be foraging and feed it to pet rabbits.
  • Wash hands with warm soapy water between handling rabbits.
  • Insect-proof the hutch with fly and mosquito proof wire or keep pet rabbits indoors.

Choosing the right pet

No matter what pet you choose, the most responsible choice is one that fits in with your lifestyle.
Remember that puppies and kittens won’t be small and cute forever, so don’t get a puppy if you don’t want a dog.
They are a commitment for up to twenty years.
Ask yourself:

  • What type or breed will you choose?
  • What size dog?
  • How much time do you have for grooming and training?
  • What is your financial position?
  • Will it be kept inside, outside or both?
  • Why do you want a pet?
  • Where you are going to buy it?

Both male and female dogs and cats can be de-sexed at three months of age.
By de-sexing your pet you are promoting responsible pet ownership by preventing unwanted litters.
Council provides a discounted registration fee for dogs and cats what have been de-sexed.
When choosing the type of pet to suit your needs, consider the amount of time the animal will be alone, the time you can commit to grooming and care.
When considering a cat, think about whether there are native birds and animals in your area and whether you will have an enclosure for your cat.
In general, fine-boned oriental cat breeds are very active companions while the larger heavy-boned breeds tend to be more sedate and less inclined to hunt and wander.
And when considering a dog, remember that a cute pup is going to grow up — six months down the track your dog could grow to be much larger than expected.
Consider going to a rescue shelter when looking to adopt a new member of your family, there are many older dogs who deserve a second chance.

For more information, see your relevant council’s website, DELWP, or the Department of Agriculture, or get down to the Nillumbik Pet Expo in Diamond Creek on Sunday, October 20 and talk to Council officers about responsible pet ownership.