Work is in full swing on Bulleen Road from this weekend to shift lanes west and create the space needed to build the new North East Link tunnel entrance. From 8pm tonight, Friday, November 24, until 7pm, Tuesday, December 5, Bulleen Road will be closed in each direction between Thompsons Road and Trinity Grammar as crews work around the clock to build a new section of Bulleen Road.
For the next 11 days, motorists are being urged to plan ahead for up to 30 minutes’ extra travel time at peak times — and should seek alternative routes while crews carry out important work to build the new section of Bulleen Road.
If you’re driving between the Eastern Freeway and Manningham Road, allow extra travel time for the detour via Manningham and Thompsons roads.
Access to all homes, businesses, the Veneto Club, local schools and sporting grounds will remain open during this time, with traffic management in place on either side of the full closure.
Closing the road fully now will allow crews to get this important work done and allow the road to remain open when tunnelling works commence next year, reducing disruptions.
When the road re-opens in early December, traffic will use the new lanes on Bulleen Road.
And in good news for locals, Bulleen Road will be open in time for Veneto Club’s 50th birthday celebrations next month.
MEMBERS of Fernwood Fitness Bulleen and the broader community celebrated health and well-being at the end of October with a special event at its home in Bulleen Plaza, marking the women-only gym’s 20th anniversary.
Throughout the day, events unfolded, honouring those with remarkable 20-year continuous memberships who shared their tips for going the distance.
Carmel, an original member, and a testament to the club’s appeal, reminisced about her early days.
Encouraged by her daughter to join, Carmel vividly recalls her first workout.
“It made me feel energised and happy to be working out,” she said.
For Carmel, the consistent commitment stems from understanding exercise’s profound impact on her life, fostering strength and a sense of well-being.
Drawing a parallel, she equates exercise to a daily ritual, stating, “Exercise is like brushing my teeth”.
The true highlight for Carmel lies in the friendships forged within the fitness community.
Penny, another dedicated member, echoes the sentiment of making fitness an integral part of life.
With a mindset of “don’t think about it, just do it,” Penny seamlessly integrates gym sessions into her weekly routine.
Stress relief and improved sleep are her fitness dividends, and she vividly recalls her first step into the world of BodyPump.
Like Carmel, she values the camaraderie and connections formed inside and outside the gym.
Shirley, also a big fan of BodyPump and nearing her 93rd birthday, attests to the dual benefits of exercise — physical mobility and social interaction.
“It’s a club atmosphere.
“It’s like extended family.
“It’s a community — you walk in, and someone always says hello.”
Inspired by her osteopath, Lorraine embarked on her Fernwood Bulleen journey and hasn’t looked back since.
Reflecting on her initial experience of one-on-one training, she emphasises the mental well-being aspect of exercise.
“Exercise makes you feel good, mentally.
“If I don’t come, I feel down. “[Exercise] lifts your spirits.”
Fernwood Bulleen is a family-owned franchise.
The current franchisees, Michelle and Ric Caldwell, have been running Fernwood Bulleen for nine years and offer various programs, including group fitness, small group training, reformer Pilates, and personal training.
Michelle said they love supporting their members to be healthy and strong in a safe women-only environment.
“Today has been a wonderful celebration of our beautiful community of members.
“We’re always keeping up with the latest fitness research and adapting our programs to provide the best fitness advice to our members.”
The anniversary celebration was not just a recognition of years spent in pursuit of fitness but a heartfelt acknowledgment of the enduring bonds and shared accomplishments within the Fernwood Bulleen community.
Manningham Council has announced its 2023 Manningham Civic awardees who go above and beyond for our community through volunteer or paid work.
The Civic Awards, held in September each year, shine light on the incredible and selfless people in Manningham who give so much of themselves to the community without expecting anything in return.
To the award recipients, helping others and volunteering their time comes from a deeper sense of purpose.
“It’s what we are born to do.
It’s what life is all about.
“Nothing in this world gives more of a sense of achievement,” says Dennis Clarke, Manningham Citizen of the Year.
Manningham’s Mayor Cr Deirdre Diamante attended the award ceremony last month and thanked the winners for their service to the community.
“Manningham is home to remarkable people who go above and beyond for our community.
“I feel privileged to recognise and celebrate their achievements on behalf of Manningham and to share their inspiring stories,” Cr Diamante said.
The five category winners are:
Citizen of the Year
Dennis is a pillar within the community through his work with Doncaster RSL as the Senior Vice President, Secretary of RAEME Vietnam Southern Chapter (previously Inaugural President), Anzac and Poppy Appeals, active participant of committees such as VVAA Box Hill Committee, ALPGA, VACC, RACV and more.
As well as the many hours volunteering and working for committees, Dennis spends time calling other Vietnam veterans, talking to them, checking in on their mental health and making sure that they are okay.
Though he considers himself extremely lucky, Dennis’ own traumatic experiences from the Vietnam War influenced his sense of purpose to unite, acknowledge and take care of others with similar experiences.
Dennis championed mental health for war veterans before awareness was prevalent in society. His compassion for people who are struggling and his determination to help those in need is an example of how important Dennis is to the RSL community and Manningham more broadly.
Dot Haynes OAM, Doncaster RSL Secretary, told the Bulletin, “Dennis does so much for so many and is a high achiever for the members and community.
“Doing maintenance when there is no one around at the Doncaster RSL as well as initiating some of our events, especially ensuring our ANZAC, Remembrance and Vietnam services and Appeals get much support from others as well.
Doreen Stoves Volunteer of the Year
Frank has been volunteering for Manningham organisations for over 30 years.
He has dedicated himself to those groups including, Manningham Uniting Church, LinC Manningham Inc., MannaCare nursing home, Outback Links, Blaze Aid and planting trees for the Tree Project.
Janet van Leerdam, a fellow LinC Manningham Inc., member, nominated Frank for the award.
“Frank is a selfless person who has been giving to others for many years, especially since retirement.”
Sports Volunteer of the Year
Caroline has devoted her energy to the Committee of Doncaster Dolphins Masters Swimming club in various roles such as, club Registrar, Recorder, Secretary and President.
Community Organisation of the Year
LinC Manningham Inc
LinC Manningham Inc. is a community organisation made up of volunteers from various Christian churches within Manningham.
It provides house cleaning, social support to new migrants and women affected by domestic violence, home cooked meals, decluttering homes, gardening, goods from Eastern Emergency Relief, or even the little things like taking clients out for a coffee or to do their shopping.
Young Volunteer of the Year
Shin Thant (Berry) Eain
Berry is committed to making a difference and is determined to bridge the gap between local and international students within her school and also wider community.
Berry is an incredible role model to her peers and an advocate for student voice.
“As a young teenager and a female student (in Myanmar), I never had the privilege to explore concepts like human rights and democracy.
“I intend to grasp any opportunity that is presented to me and make the most out of my experience here as a proud international student by volunteering and helping those who may experience the same circumstances as me,” Berry said when describing her inspiration.
Highly Commended Community Organisation
Doncaster Junior Football Club
DJFL fosters the importance of sportsmanship, diversity, teamwork and pride in local community whilst also consistently working towards a community culture that enriches friendships and fosters joy in sport.
“Hundreds, if not thousands, of children have transitioned through the club over its 50 plus year history.
“Each child has brought with them an extended family who have visited and contributed to the club culture.
“All of them have benefited from the club’s environment and in turn the community it has created,” Michelle Taylor, who nominated the club, said.
Manningham Council is exceptionally proud to have such outstanding local heroes and recognises their invaluable contributions to the local community.
Photos: SANDI MILLER
Featured: Conveynor Brenda Ibels and Judge Paul McDonald Smith with Best in Show piece Ocean Might, Apollo Bay
THE SECOND Eltham Art Show 2023 (EAS) was held in early September.
Bigger, better, and across two locations, the Eltham Art Show is making strides towards becoming the fine jewel in the crown that is Nillumbik’s art heritage.
Utilising the Eltham Community and Reception Centre (ECRC) and Residents’ Gallery at Montsalvat, it showcased the best 2D and 3D works from artists within Nillumbik and those without who have been influenced by the Shire’s art heritage.
With more than 500 pieces of 2D art and around 40 3D pieces on show and for sale, the profits from the show will be reinvested into local community causes and efforts supported by Rotary International.
With the calibre of the submission so high, and the professionalism with which the works were curated and displayed; it was a joy to peruse.
Convenor of the Eltham Art Show, Brenda Ibels, opened the show by explaining the intention of its concept.
“The show has been by invitation only.
“It is selected, and it is professionally curated.
“It also provides an opportunity for the Rotary Club of Eltham to continue serving the community, as it has done for 50 years.
“It also highlights the recognition of the heritage of the local and associated art community.
“A heritage which has not only developed in Nillumbik but also spread to become foundations of institutes like the Victorian Arts Society, Twenty Melbourne Painters, and the Woodend Art Group.”
Highlights of this year’s show also included art demonstrations, “working studio” style sessions, and an en plein air challenge run in the weekend leading up to the event.
The motivation for many of the artists displaying was the prizes on offer; of the combined 540+ works on display, only a handful of winners could be picked, and these were:
Best in Show Greg Allen with Ocean Might, Apollo Bay — $6,000 prize
Best Contemporary Sheryl Lewis with Hill at Kangaroo Ground — $3,000 prize
Best Oil or Acrylic Fiona Bilbrough with Bumper Harvest — $3,000 prize
Best Watercolour Julian Bruere with Misted Snow Gums, Mt Torbreck — $3,000 prize
Best Sculpture Denise Keele-bedford, with Hard Baked sponsored by Meridian Sculpture — $3,000 prize
Neil Douglas Best Australian Landscape Portrayal Chris White with The Bridge, Beechworth — $2,000 prize
Best Work on Paper Linda Schneider with Evolving Reflections — A Charcoal Reverie — $1,000 prize
Best Printmaking Robert Hails with From a Deck Chair (series 2) — $1,000 prize
Best Emerging Artist Alison Tippett with Radiant Beauty — $750 prize
Best Decorative Arts Jeanette Dyke with Black Star Ring sponsored by Michael Wilson — $500 prize
Masterful Brands Agency Highly Commended $200 + Mentor session for each of the six winners: Raymond Wilson, Old River Gums, Victoria Valley Cherry Manders, Still Life Mary Hyde, Coastal View Pat Reynolds, Quarry Beach, Malacoota James Haramis, Together Sophie Bullen, Romans 13:10
En Plein Air Challenge Nina Volk, Watercolour — prize NGV tickets courtesy of The Victorian Artists Society
Hangers Prize Greg Allen with Ocean Might, Apollo Bay — Mixed dozen wines from Kings of Kangaroo Ground
Montsalvat “Brave Talent” Ellen Jenkins, with John — Hamper value $100
Best Ceramic Marlize Myburgh, with Interrelate — Best Ceramic Certificate
Peoples’ Choice Sarai Meyerink with Reflections — $500
Winner of Best Sculpture, North Warrandyte artist Denise Keele-bedford said she was “flabbergasted” with winning the $3,000 prize.
“Thank you so much to Eltham Rotary for putting on the art show.
It has been interesting following the show.
Last year, they had the inaugural show, and I entered a 2D work.
It’s just fantastic to see that they have taken the initiative to delve into and experiment with the possibilities of a Rotary Art Show.
I congratulate all those who have been involved in putting this show together.
The hanging is superb, and the list of sponsors is amazing. It is fantastic to see all of those sponsors assisting and supporting this show to continue.
It’s great to see so many people here.
So, thank you so much, and congratulations to all the Rotarians and the really hard work that goes into putting a show like this together.
And of course, congratulations to all of the artists for participating — it’s fantastic to see.”
While Eltham Rotary is still debriefing from the event, Ms Ibels spoke to the Bulletin about how they feel the show went.
“We had close to 1,000 people through the door, and while we are still working out the final finances, we are on the right side of the ledger, which is good for the community.
We were very pleased with the show, as was the feedback from the people we spoke to and received comments from.
Including Montsalvat was a trial, and we feel a good combination for community involvement.
A massive plus was the en plein air, facilitated by the Victorian Artists Society.
It brought artists and outside interest to the area.
The group tours arranged for the local retirement villages were also very popular.”
Ms Ibels said for 2024, Rotary is planning for dates between August 11 and 19 to allow four days of viewing. Make sure you clear your diary for that week and come and see some fantastic art in the heart of Eltham.
AFTER SITTING dormant for several years, the Wonga Park Shopping Centre is coming to life with a facility that project developer Mark Etherington hopes will re-energise the community.
“It was the talk of the community about what we needed to get back in here.
“Then the opportunity arose for me to pick it up via the receivers.
“While not the development my business would normally undertake, we had a vision for it to be returned to its former glory and to be the community hub it once was,” Mark said.
He said there was “a fair bit of consultation” with Manningham Council about the undertaking — “the development application, making sure there was buy-in early, making sure there was community consultation about what was needed, or the amenities that were missing”.
He said the “full sweep of offerings” was contemplated from the outset, which includes a café, postal facility, butchers, deli, medical centre, gym, Pilates studio, and a restaurant.
He said he has worked very hard to get services that would be a good fit for the community and a good spread of complementary business that serves the community’s needs.
It is a passion project for Mark — who runs an investment group, which normally deals in large scale property investment around the country.
Being a local, he saw an opportunity to give back to the community by creating something sorely needed since the original shopping centre closed down.
“There have been a number of hurdles along the way, but we’ve never lost the vision to make sure that we delivered the community hub, and that’s where we’ve just about got to now.
“We’ve got some really good, robust tenants that understand the sense of community and that we are going local.
“Most of the tenants are locals; they’ll employ locals and be supported locally.
“They will genuinely give this the opportunity that it deserves to be successful.
“I think a longer-term vision is they’re all long-term tenants, and they understand that they’ve got some exclusivity, which allows them to genuinely get a foothold in the community going forward,” he said.
He said that with the inclusion of My Local GP, the community would get general practice doctors, pathologists, and a dentist. Other tenants are the Little Lofty Café, named after local landmark Mount Lofty; Rump Butchers, which is relocating from Tunstall Square; the Post Office, which will be relocating to the centre; and there will be a grocer or providore.
Upstairs there will be Wonga Health and Fitness Studio, and an Italian restaurant.
“At the moment, we’ve got the restaurant still for lease because we are trying to make sure we get the right operator,” he said.
During the interview, several community members took the opportunity to speak to the developer while he was on site.
One immediate neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she had concerns about the lighting that would be emitted from the centre, as well as privacy concerns with the second-storey gymnasium overlooking her property.
However, Mark attempted to assure her that the planning permit did not allow for internally illuminated signage and offered to enhance screening between the centre and her property.
She later told the Bulletin that she generally was supportive of the project to get the shops back into the community, as she had been particularly concerned about the abandoned site attracting squatters.
“It will be lovely to get a coffee shop back in the neighbourhood, but there was no need to make it two storeys,” she said.
Other community members were effusive in their praise of the centre’s redevelopment.
“Thank you — it is extraordinary,” said one woman. Mark said 99 per cent of the people of Wonga Park and the immediate area are celebrating and happy about this development and community hub coming back to life.
“Unfortunately, I can’t keep everyone happy, but I’ll certainly go to whatever reasonable means I can to help them and address their concerns,” he said.
He said during the permit process, there had been a “fair bit of backwards and forwards” with Manningham Council, including the expectation on the developer to undertake the cost of the redevelopment of community facilities.
Along with the initial pricetag of purchasing the site, and the $2.75 million cost of the redevelopment, Mark said he also agreed with Council to improve the parking at the community hall across the road, as well as a pedestrian crossing between the hall and the centre, pay for the landscaping of Launders Reserve, and put in curb and channel drainage along Launders Road.
He said the Council was meant to go to tender about a year and a half ago for someone to do the construction work on the hall carpark, but hasn’t yet.
“There’s been a number of steps along the way; we have had to go back to get some modifications with Council to extend the trading hours of the gym by half an hour — which required the full town planning application again.
“That’s just been granted, which is great, so now it’s full steam ahead,” he said.
Despite the issues of construction during COVID, the subsequent building supply chain issues, and the “hoops” that Council has made the project jump through, Mark said he is passionate about delivering this community hub for Wonga Park.
“Despite all the hurdles, once we start something, we’re not giving up.”
Mark estimates the final fit-out will take another eight weeks, so look for a grand opening towards the end of October.
THE YELLOW WATTLE is beginning to bloom across the municipality, which means it is nearly time for the 2023 Hurstbridge Wattle Festival. Held on Sunday, August 27, between 10am and 4pm, this annual festival signals springtime in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and is a free, family-friendly event, guaranteed to have something for everyone to enjoy.
Every year, a packed program of music and activities spans nearly one kilometre of the main streets of Hurstbridge.
The 2023 program includes heritage steam train rides between Hurstbridge and Eltham, two stages of live music, over 100 market stalls, BMX and scooter competitions, dog obstacle courses, camel rides, and exclusive event food and wine offers, and much, much more. Hurstbridge Primary School will host the Country Women’s Association Devonshire tea and scones event.
Festival staple, the Wattle Witches, are also back by popular demand. Hurstbridge Wattle Festival brings meaning to the term community festival.
It happens because of the ongoing commitment of almost every community group in Hurstbridge.
The tennis club runs tennis clinics; the Scouts run high ropes and sausage sizzles.
Hurstbridge Men’s Shed, the local childcare provider, CFA, and many Hurstbridge street traders are also involved. Festival Coordinator Carol Jenkinson said last year’s festival was “huge”, and the committee hopes to replicate its success.
“We enjoyed a perfect spring day and saw over 15,000 people visit Hurstbridge and enjoy a grass-roots community festival,” she said.
The Hurstbridge Yarnbombing group will again work with Allwood House and community volunteers to “yarnbomb” significant tress yellow and string up over 500 pom poms.
Every year, new and old Hurstbridge businesses love to see the festival spring to life and bring crowds, and business, to town. Earlier this year, the Wattle Festival was grateful to receive a community event grant from the Victorian Government, which will assist in improving accessibility to, from, and around the festival.
This grant will focus on engaging local entertainment, musicians, and operators, supporting Nillumbik businesses and artists. Hurstbridge Wattle Festival began in 2004 and has become a symbol of Hurstbridge’s community spirit, even during the pandemic.
“The 2020 and 2021 festivals moved online, trying to bring the joy of the festival to our community even during Melbourne lockdowns.
“We celebrated locally by painting Hurstbridge in a sea of yellow, making headlines in The Guardian, but we are glad to be back connecting the community again,” said Ms Jenkinson.
With the Diamond Creek Trail extending to Hurstbridge, there are now even more safe and family-friendly ways to visit the Hurstbridge Wattle Festival in 2023.
There is limited parking in Hurstbridge.
For a great festival experience, the committee encourages anyone looking to attend to run, walk or ride the Diamond Creek Trail in August, or catch one of the free festival busses from Mernda Station or Diamond Creek Station.
The full timetable will be published on our website. Of course, those who wish to arrive in style can reserve a seat on the iconic Festival Steam Train, but seating is limited. Hurstbridge Wattle Festival is proudly supported by the Victorian Government, Nillumbik Shire Council, and Bendigo Bank.
Further information about the festival and the full program can be found at: www.wattlefestival.org.au/2023-festival-program.
By SUSAN FOREMAN NAMES ARE beginning to emerge for inclusion on the ballot paper in the August 26 Warrandyte Byelection.
Last month, member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith MP, announced he would be retiring from Parliament.
His successor for the Liberal candidacy, Nicole Ta-Ei Werner, was announced following a preselection battle.
Since then, other parties have been weighing up their options.
A source from within the Labor party told Warrandyte Diary that the party has yet to decide on their intentions for the seat.
Victorian Greens have announced that the current Deputy Mayor of Manningham, Cr Tomas Lightbody, would be contesting the seat for the Greens.
Minor parties and independents are beginning to emerge, the Freedom Party’s Greg Cheesman has confirmed he is looking to contest the seat, a group calling themselves the Warrandyte Movement are putting up an independent candidate in Vern Hughes, and Raymond “The Snake Man” Hoser announced he would run as an independent.
There are also a host of other whispers about minor parties, Teal and other independents making plans to run.
Keep an eye on the Warrandyte Diary and Manningham & Nillumbik Bulletin over the coming weeks for the full card of starters.
Passing the Liberal baton
The Liberal Party have already preselected their new candidate, which itself was contested by nine hopefuls, among them Manningham Councillor Andrew Conlon, the former Institute of Public Affairs executive director John Roskam, former Eltham candidate Jason McClintock and KPMG director Sarah Overton.
A 22-year-old law student and champion rower, Antonietta di Cosmo also contested the Liberal ticket alongside former political staffer Jemma Townson.
The victorious contender is Nicole Ta-Ei Werner, a 32-year-old former food relief worker for Empower Australia, the charitable arm of Pentecostal church Planetshakers.
Liberal leader John Pessuto announces Nicole Werner at the Warrandyte Candidate.She was also the Liberal candidate for the seat of Box Hill in last year’s State Election and, since then, has been working in the office of Senator Jane Hume.
She said she was “humbled and honoured” that the members chose her as the Warrandyte candidate.
The election is said to be a test of the Liberal party leader John Pesutto, who has overseen infighting and internal divisions, most notably over the expulsion from the party room of Moira Deeming after she attended an anti-trans rally also attended by neo-Nazis.
Ryan Smith was one of those who opposed the expulsion motion. Nicole and Ryan sat down with the Diary as they passed the baton.
Ryan said he was pleased they chose a local person as the new candidate.
“I think she’s the right person,” he said. “There were nine people who put their hand up, five weren’t locals, and I would have been disappointed if the party had selected a non-local.
“So, I’m happy that we got one of the four, and I’ve seen Nicole campaign very enthusiastically and really connect, particularly with many of the younger people.
“I think that party had seen what work she had put in over the last election.
“So, I’m hoping to see that again,” he said.
Nicole had an 8.9 per cent swing against her in Box Hill at the 2022 State Election, but she remains optimistic about a different result in Warrandyte.
“It was my first run as a candidate, and I’ve learnt from that.
“There are setbacks in everybody’s career and life, but I’m a fighter, so I’m back to fight — I want to fight for the people of Warrandyte,” she said.
Nicole said her passion for politics goes back to her family’s story.
“My parents moved from Malaysia for a better life for the family — with quite a backstory as well.
“My maternal grandmother is illiterate; she can’t read or write, she was born into poverty in Malaysia, and her family was too poor to send her to school.”
She said her grandmother was an amazing woman.
“She survived WWII by hiding in the jungle as a child, and as the eldest daughter, the family sent all her siblings to school, but not her; she stayed home to do the housework.
“She tells stories of dropping all her younger siblings at school, and she would peer through the window and try to catch bits of learning where she could.
“She worked as hard as possible to send my mum and her other children to school.
“My mum grew up in that environment, with a degree of poverty, and decided at age 22 to move out here.
“And this is so many migrant stories; you move here for a better life, you make a fresh start for your family.
“Mum recently told me the story where she’s a new migrant, first-time mother, she’s been working two jobs just to get ahead and they have just bought a house, and she is pregnant with me the first child, and she put a hand on her belly, and she said that she would say to me, ‘I want you to be a leader and I want you to change the world’.
“I think that’s always been ingrained in me that there is this hunger and desire to make a difference to the community.
“Politics for me is about that more than anything else,” she said.
She said she is from a multicultural, multi-faith family; her father is Buddhist, her mother is agnostic, her brother is atheist, she has Islamic family members, and she and her husband are Pentecostal Christians.
That is what makes Victoria great, it’s a multicultural multi-faith society, and I will always defend the right for people to have the freedom to worship if they choose to or not, and the religion they choose to practise or not,” she said.
Nicole paid tribute to the job that Ryan has done for the electorate over the last 16 years.
She said people told her she had some big shoes to fill.
“Ryan told me they’re not big shoes, we all do things differently, so they’re just different shoes.
“But he leaves an amazing legacy and has been a beloved local member, and so it does for me mean that they are huge shoes to fill because everyone you speak to just adores Ryan.”
Ryan said he had the same issue when he took over from Phil Honeywood in 2006.
“That was 18 years [that Phil had been in office], but you don’t do it the same; you just do it how you think you need to do it.”
Nicole said she would do a lot the same as Ryan in terms of helping the individual constituent.
“The gold standard is ‘Have I helped this person, have I advocated this issue, have I helped this family?’.
“And that is what I want to do, be someone that helps people and fights for people,” she said.
Ryan said the times sometimes force you to act a certain way.
“When Black Saturday happened, bushfire became the overarching focus of the community for several years, we would have meetings at the community church with over 600 people just to get information on what to do, and so bushfire prep became sort of my thing for a while because I knew the community cared about it, I knew how fragile our situation was in regards to fire.
“But then, when I started, the health of the Yarra River was a big deal — there were E.coli levels through the roof, and the runoff from people’s septic tanks was horrible.
“And so, with those different focuses of the community, drives you to act in a certain way which is different to what my predecessor did, in a different way to what my successor will do as well, the times call for a certain type of person, a certain type of action and a certain way of approaching something,” he said.
Nicole said that living in nearby Blackburn and studying in Donvale, she understood the electorate’s needs.
“This is an incredibly diverse electorate in its population demographics and landscape so that I will campaign on local issues pertinent to each area.
“In Doncaster East and Donvale, there are issues like over-development that people are worried about, and then in areas like North Warrandyte, Warrandyte, Park Orchards there is the Green Wedge as far out as Chirnside Park, and that is an important issue to the locals there,” she said.
But she said some issues transcend geography and demographics, such as the cost of living, noting a conversation she has had with a resident in Park Orchards who has to sell their house due to mortgage stress.
“And when I was working in food relief, we saw a rise during the pandemic, and where we were feeding 3,000 people and in 11 months, we gave away a million meals.
“And that for me was such a wake-up call in the sense of how government decisions impact individuals’ lives,” she said.
Greens: Tomas Lightbody
As a young person, Tomas Lightbody says he is keenly aware of the impacts of climate change and the need to phase out fossil fuels like coal and gas.
He said he has also seen how the current housing crisis has left countless Victorians forced to choose between food and rent as renters across the state grapple with mounting rent rises.
If elected, he says he would fight to stop new fossil fuel projects like the disastrous “coal-to-hydrogen” project currently being considered by Labor and push for solutions to the housing crisis, including a big build of public and affordable housing and rent controls.
“Having grown up a Donvale local, I understand the preciousness of our local communities and environments in this seat and feel the urgency with which we need to protect them,” he said.
He says he also understands the importance of supporting those doing it tough amidst the rising cost-of-living.
He said he was inspired to put his hand up for Council in 2020 to be a voice for the young, diverse, and queer communities in his electorate.
And now, he’s ready to be that voice in the Victorian Parliament.
“If elected, I’ll push the Victorian Labor Government to go further and faster on climate change and housing affordability so that we can protect our precious environment and look after people doing it tough,” he said.
During his time on Council, Tomas has secured a local community net-zero target of 2035, increased funding for tree planting, and greater protection for trees on public lands.
He has also fought tirelessly for better public transport, including increased bus links between local activity centres, given there are currently no buses between areas like Wonga Park and Park Orchards, and Warrandyte.
In the Victorian Parliament, Tomas plans to fight for proper funding for maintenance and bushfire mitigation efforts in the Warrandyte state forests and increase infrastructure safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
The Victorian State Election last year saw the Greens experience their strongest election results ever, with voters electing Aiv Puglielli as their Upper House MLC for the North-Eastern Metropolitan region, which takes in the seat of Warrandyte.
“Support for the Victorian Liberals is currently in freefall, and with Labor potentially not even standing a candidate at all, this byelection will be incredibly unpredictable.
“Every vote for the Greens this byelection sends a message that people want progressive action and that Labor and the Liberals can’t keep going with business as usual and just expect to keep their seats,” Tomas said.
The Warrandyte Movement
A group of local people in Warrandyte is fielding an independent candidate.
The group is called The Warrandyte Movement, and their candidate is Vern Hughes.
The movement describes itself as a group of Warrandyte people, active in local community, arts groups, and small businesses, who want to start somewhere in getting a different kind of politics.
Vern has been described as a community leader and social entrepreneur.
He was the founder of the Social Entrepreneurs Network (Australia and New Zealand) and is a former Director of the Co-operative Federation of Victoria.
He has worked in community health, disability, church, and co-operative and social enterprise organisations for 40 years.
He is also a historian who has written extensively on the history of social movements and community organisations in Victoria.
“I have accepted the invitation to stand as a candidate for The Warrandyte Movement because we all need to do what we can to change politics in Victoria.
“In approaching me, the group wants someone who could play a leadership role, if elected, in spreading the movement across Victoria,” he said.
Vern went on to say he was delighted to accept the challenge.
“We don’t need Left or Right — they have created deep division and cynicism in the community.
“We need a new politics that is about local communities, empowerment of people, and deep integrity.”
Vern says Warrandyte has been traditionally held by the Liberal Party, describing the electorate as a diverse bunch of “small c conservatives”.
“That is, they want to conserve their community, their environment, their jobs, and businesses, in financially sustainable ways.
“They want to conserve families as the bedrock social unit and support everyone to find belonging and stability.
“As conservative-minded people, they are wary of Big Business and Big Government.
“They want bureaucracy kept to a minimum, and they want creativity and initiative to flourish.
“In this sense, I will be a Conservative Independent in Warrandyte.
“The Warrandyte Movement is a movement for the renovation of democracy and government for the 21st century,” said Vern.
Snake Man stands
Raymond “The Snake Man” Hoser has announced he will be running for election in the upcoming byelection as an independent.
He said he would be running on a centrist platform of ethics, economics, law and order, and environment.
Having written books on wildlife, wildlife smuggling, government corruption, and police corruption, and is the self-proclaimed “world’s foremost snake expert”.
He said most people in Warrandyte know The Snake Man as the 24/7 snake catcher “who rocks up at all hours to relocate deadly snakes”.
Raymond has been a Melbourne snake catcher for over 30 years and says he has trained dozens of others across Melbourne and Australia.
Raymond says that only with a strong independent elected to the seat will the local area be properly represented.
“We need representation from a person with a proven track record of running a successful business, honesty, ethics, and an environmental protection record that is the best in Australia”.
At the State level, he says he will seek to cut the excessive size of the bloated public service and the culture of cronyism.
Raymond warns of major party stooges nominating as “independents” or what he called “fake independents”, with Liberal or Labor preference flows, with the sole purpose of disrupting the independent vote to ensure a Liberal win.
Raymond says: “I am needed to deal with the snakes in the Victorian parliament”.
Byelection date announced
Mr Smith’s resignation took effect on July 7.
The Victorian Electoral Commission has announced the byelection will be held on Saturday, August 26, with a two-week early voting period expected to kick off Monday, August 14.
Nominations will officially open in the coming week.
The electoral roll will close shortly after, so make sure your enrolment details are up to date.
THE NEED FOR food relief is surging due to what CareNet founder Kellie Wishart calls an “imperfect storm”, but the local food relief charity says it cannot keep up with the demand because it lacks the warehouse space to enable it to meet demand.
She said that while Manningham and Nillumbik are one of the more affluent areas of Melbourne, with the rising cost of living and incomes not matching those rising costs, there is an increase in people coming into financial hardship and food insecurity.
“We have a lot of refugees and asylum seekers, and we have a lot of seniors, but with the interest rate rises, and the cost of living, the cost of utilities, the cost of food, it’s not a perfect storm, it’s an imperfect storm, of life being very expensive to make people’s basic needs,” Kellie told M&N Bulletin.
She said demand for food relief is growing at a concerning rate.
“We’re seeing even mortgage holders come to us and say they just can’t afford food at the moment — they need help — we’re seeing a new part of the community tipping into food relief for no other reason than the rising cost of living.”
As a result, Kellie’s charity, CareNet, has never been busier; she said CareNet has gone from moving 300 kilograms of food per fortnight in 2019, to now moving 3,000 kilograms a week.
“Our food mostly goes across Manningham, Banyule, and Nillumbik.”
She said food from CareNet gets distributed through agencies like Adjani Living and Learning, DonCare, Greenhills Neighbourhood House, Diamond Valley Community Support, Warrandyte Rotary Op Shop and United Minds.
“We also have a developing network of satellite pantries.
“Currently, we are at Warrandyte Neighbourhood House, Wonga Park Community Cottage and have a mobile pantry as well,” Kellie said.
She says she uses innovative ways of distributing food relief because CareNet recognises, particularly for people who don’t identify as needing social services or have never experienced this kind of hardship before, they find it very “shame-triggering” and embarrassing to walk into a food relief service and receive help.
“This is partly why we use models like the mobile pantry and the satellite pantries because they’re more discrete.”
CareNet is also developing a social enterprise around reducing food waste, but it will also increase food accessibility and affordability for the community.
“It’ll be like a shop model because food affordability is a really big thing, and we want to make that accessible to all people without triggering shame,” Kellie said.
“CareNet does three things, we provide innovative models of food relief to the community, we provide food rescue, and we build capacity through partnerships with the community by assisting other food relief agencies to source enough food to resource their programs.”
She said people need more than a bag of pasta and pasta sauce and baked beans; they want fruits and vegetables, they want dairy and meat — and that’s something that CareNet is able to provide.
“The Doncaster East and Templestowe Village branches of Bendigo Bank bought us a refrigerated van this year, which has been an incredible help and resource for us, and we use that to go out to local supermarkets and pick up their excess stock, to divert it from landfill and to resource food relief efforts.
“I tend to steer away from the term food waste because it sounds like it’s garbage.
“The truth is that a good portion of what we’re rescuing is actually just excess stock; sometimes we get whole boxes of produce that haven’t even been opened,” she said.
However, Kellie says CareNet is struggling to meet the need, not because of a lack of food, but because they don’t have enough space to store it.
“We have had seven supermarkets reach out to us in the last four weeks, and we’ve not been able to take any of those opportunities.
“We’ve got the volunteers to pick it up, we’ve got the vehicle to pick it up, we’ve got the partners to be able to give it to, but it is the cold store — that is the constraining factor.
“The work is now of a scale that we need to move into a warehouse because we’re having eight to 10 pallets dropped per week at our front door,” Kellie said.|
“A very short-term solution for us would be to put a refrigerated container at the front of our building, but that would be only a very, very short-term solution because it still doesn’t help us with our ambient food storage.
“We have identified a property that would be perfect for us.
“We have seen it, we’ve identified it, but we cannot afford it.”
She said that applying for funding through grants takes time.
“We are faced with this issue right now because we knew we would outgrow this building within months”.
You can help Kellie has set up a GoFundMe page to accept donations to allow them to continue to provide food relief for everyone that needs it.
They have set a series of fundraising goals:
$30,000 to purchase a refrigerated container to increase cold storage
$80,000 to move into a warehouse
$125,000 will achieve the above, plus buy an electric pallet jack
$200,000 will achieve all of the above, plus launch a sustainability social enterprise store.
$360,000 achieves everything, plus gives security on a three-year lease.
YARRAMBAT Park Golf Course’s inaugural Rainbow Golf Cup Day was a huge success, completely selling out whilst bringing together LGBTQIA+ golfers and allies of all ages and abilities.
The event was held in early February and was a space where everyone was welcome to come and enjoy a day of golf, prizes, refreshments and fun. Belgravia Leisure’s National Disability and Diversity Manager, Jeff Walkley, said Belgravia Leisure proudly welcomes, supports and includes all people into the facilities, programs, services and employment it offers to communities across Australia and New Zealand.
“We do this by engaging with each community to better understand local priorities and preferences, and through collaboration and partnership, we act to welcome all to leisure and sport.
“People from the LGBTQIA+ community are actively welcomed and supported by us, as are all others,” Jeff said.
The format of the golfing day was Ambrose (nine holes), where each player hits off the tee, the best shot is selected, and all other players pick up their ball and place it alongside the best ball.
Each person then hits a second shot from the same spot.
The best shot is again selected.
This continues until the ball is in the hole.
This inclusive golfing format is perfect for complete beginners, and equipment was available upon request ensuring no one missed out on the fun.
With 72 golfers in attendance, Ali Berechree, Community Inclusion Officer at Yarrambat said the event was a hit with the local Yarrambat and surrounding community.
“The event was a big success with our two golf pros Brock Gillard and Matt Allen walking the course, giving tips and drives during the Ambrose.
“After the round, we had a Welcome to Country, speeches from partners including Proud 2 Play, Rainbow Golf and Nillumbik Shire Council.
“On behalf of the Belgravia Foundation, we put on a BBQ, tea and coffee station that everyone enjoyed,” Ali said.
She said Belgravia Leisure supports the LGBTQIA+ communities of Australia and New Zealand and commits to embracing diversity, inclusion, acceptance, and equal opportunity for all genders and sexualities.
The event was proudly hosted by Melbourne Rainbow Golfers in partnership with Proud 2 Play, Belgravia Leisure, Golf Australia and Nillumbik Shire Council.
A BOLD SCULPTURE with intricate detailing that plays with line, light and shadow has been announced as the public artwork to feature in the revitalised Eltham Gateway.
The sculpture has been created by Nillumbik artist Maureen Faye-Chauhan and celebrates the Shire’s unique bushland and the Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people.
Wurundjeri Elders have chosen the title for the sculpture, Gunga winhanga warr bundha ba winhanga warr djurring in traditional Woi Wurrung language, meaning “Take what you need and not what you greed”.
The artwork announcement comes as landscaping works started this week on the Eltham Gateway project, which will see both sides of Main Road rehabilitated and landscaped with significant plantings of native vegetation.
The project is a collaboration between Council, Major Road Projects Victoria, Eltham MP Vicki Ward, and community group The Southern Gateway Renewal Group. Made of weathering steel and measuring more than 2 metres tall and 5 metres wide, the sculpture will be located north of Main Road between the flower stand and the Diamond Creek Bridge.
Maureen said she is passionate about the bush.
“Walking through the bush, it changes every day, you see the different forms of branches and rocks.
“It’s the exploration of form that has formed the basis of the artwork.
“The strongest idea that resonated with me for this project was working around the beautiful manna gums on site, exploring the significance of the trees for the Wurundjeri people,” she said.
The multi-dimensional twisted structure blends the shapes of the fallen twisted boughs of the manna gums, with that of a scarred tree form — created when First Nations people removed the bark for canoes, shields and other items.
“These acts did not destroy the tree, or the environment around it.
“The Wurundjeri idea that you take what you need and not what you greed is something we can all learn from,” Maureen says.
The artwork was realised through digital 3D modelling and will be made of 52 steel facets with linear cutouts allowing for a delicate play of light and shadow.
It is being fabricated at Alustain in Campbellfield, owned by another Nillumbik local, Brett Morrison. Once in place, the artwork will be illuminated at night with the opportunity to change colours for significant events.
Mayor Ben Ramcharan says the sculpture will become a contemporary landmark for the gateway to Eltham and the Green Wedge Shire.
“This unique piece really brings to life a key entrance to our Shire — public art that is easily accessible to our community is so important,” Cr Ramcharan says.
“The sculpture will provide us an opportunity to reflect on the ancient history of this land and the Traditional Owners as well as the environment that so many of us in Nillumbik hold so dear.”
Eltham MP Vicki Ward says, “The wonderful, organic, inclusive feel of this sculpture will really resonate with locals, and offers a real sense of arrival, of coming home, of being welcomed to Eltham.”
Maureen first began working with contemporary jewellery, then specialising in small sculptural forms.
This will be her biggest work yet.
Maureen’s works are in The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the National Gallery of Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia, and have been included in exhibitions around the world.
ID Landscaping, formerly known as Indigenous Design Landscaping, has been engaged to complete the landscaping works.
Work has started on clearing weeds, the installation of fencing along the creek, and preparing the ground for pathways and boardwalks.
For project updates visit Nillumbik Council’s website: nillumbik.vic.gov.au/eltham-gateway.
A NEW, permanent Disc Golf course will open at Ruffey Lake Park in early February.
The course has been closed for two weeks during January to complete the upgrade.
The new course will feature 18 holes with nine launch pads and a practice basket, and new course signage.
With a dual design, players can complete the course in two laps.
Manningham Mayor Deirdre Diamante said Council is aware the disc golf course at Ruffey Lake is well used.
“This upgrade will improve that experience for both our growing disc golf community and our visitors.
“We’re investing in a facility that supports our community to be outside, active, and connected,” she said.
The previous six-hole course was run as a trial in Ruffey Lake Park, and has now been upgraded to a permanent 18-hole course as part of the Ruffey Lake Park Landscape Masterplan 2021.
Manningham Council is delivering the upgrade in partnership with the Victorian Government.
Ruffey Lake Park’s public course is suitable for beginner through to advanced players of all ages and is free to play with no bookings required.
Discs can be borrowed from the Doncaster Library at 687 Doncaster Road, Doncaster. For further information, go to manningham.vic.gov.au/disc-golf.
MAJOR WORKS are back up and running after the summer break on the North East Link, and 2023 is shaping up to be a massive year for the major road project.
Acting Premier Jacinta Allan announced the first pieces of the enormous tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are now being built, ready to arrive later this year.
Ms Allan said the project brings many big and important benefits to Melbourne’s northern suburbs communities.
“With tunnel boring machines on the way, locals are going to see a huge amount of construction as we get ready to start tunnelling in 2024.”
She said five road headers, including some used on the Metro Tunnel, are being refurbished to dig a section of the North East Link tunnels in Bulleen.
CEO of the North East Link Authority (NELA), Duncan Elliott, explained that crews were currently building the launch site box.
“This is basically a large concrete launch site for the TBMs, and they’ll launch [from Watsonia] and have a six-and-a-half kilometre journey south to Bulleen.”
The launch box will be 40 metres deep and 200 metres long and will include more than three Olympic swimming pools worth of concrete and 1,700 tonnes of steel.
There are 379 piles that will anchor the sides of the box with steel reinforcement.
“Parts will come in later this year to assemble the TBMs, and we look to launch them in 2024,” he said.
Member for Ivanhoe Anthony Carbines said the project has been talked about for a long time.
“It is exciting to be preparing for the arrival of our TBMs — this is another important step in removing congestion from local roads.”
Away from the tunnels, Ms Allan said there’s also a range of works going on across the footprint of the North East Link project, including works at Lower Plenty Road to begin excavating tunnel ramps; realignment of Bulleen Road to make room for the new Yarra Link Green Bridge; and the major interchange connecting an upgraded Eastern Freeway to the tunnels — making sure traffic can keep safely moving on this busy road during construction.
She also highlighted the construction of Melbourne’s first dedicated busway, “which will become a big boost to bus public transport services for the northern suburbs”.
As well as the 34 kilometres of walking and cycling connections and new recreation and sporting facilities for this part of Melbourne.
“And then there’s also the Bulleen Park and Ride facility that will be completed by the middle of the year,” she said.
M&N Bulletin asked Ms Allan what support was being provided to affected businesses and institutions like Heide Art Gallery.
She said from the beginning NEL has had extensive and ongoing conversations with households, businesses, and with cultural organisations like Heide about how some of the construction disruption is impacting the local community.
“We do understand the construction of a project of this size and scale will have an impact on different parts of the local community, and will move along the corridor as work progresses.
“There’s a range of different support measures that are in place depending on whether you’re a trader, a business, or a householder, and we’ll continue to have those discussions on a one-to-one basis, tailored to what those individuals are looking for support during the delivery of the project.”
She said at the end of the project, there will be many benefits that come from getting trucks off local roads, “and we’re already seeing the additional sporting and recreational facilities that have been constructed as part of the project, and we’ll continue to have those discussions and conversations with the local community”.
Member for North-Eastern Metropolitan Region Sonja Terpstra said there is much to look forward to on North East Link this year.
“From the completion of Bulleen Park and Ride to the completion of the TBM launch box — this project is going to be a game changer for so many Melburnians.”
North East Link is a significant employer, with 2,200 workers already on the project, including 160 apprentices, trainees, and cadets, who have worked more than 143,000 hours.
Over the life of the project, North East Link will create 10,000 local jobs.
Ms Allan said the Labor Government is investing more than $20 billion in Melbourne’s northeast to improve the transport network, including North East Link, Hurstbridge Line Upgrade, Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade and removing 21 level crossings. M&N Bulletin asked Ms Allan, considering the North East Link was set to deliver major local traffic improvements, if the works conducted at Fitzsimons Lane Project, which saw the destruction of the Eltham Gateway, were premature.
She said she did not believe that it was.
“The interface with the North East Link project was considered as part of that project [Fitzsimons Lane], but it was seen as a project that we needed to support.
“We needed to improve the ability for traffic to move in and out of the Eltham community to make sure it could be done in a safe way.
“And that project is now being delivered,” she responded.
The North East Link tunnels and freeway upgrades will be complete in 2028. NELA forecasts travel times will be reduced by up to 35 minutes and the project will take 15,000 trucks off local roads.
The project is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.
FOLLOWING the severe weather event and subsequent flooding in October, two pedestrian bridges across Diamond Creek are scheduled to be replaced in the coming weeks as the damage sustained has been deemed too severe to repair.
Flood-damaged sections of two pedestrian bridges across the Diamond Creek in Eltham will be removed this week.
Other structural components, such as the abutments and footings, will be retained at both locations.
The bridges, next to the Susan Street Oval and near the Eltham Skate Park, were too severely damaged in the October severe weather and flooding to be repaired.
Pedestrian detours are now in place via the bridges on Bridge Street, Brougham Street, or Diamond Street.
The bridge next to the Susan Street Oval will be replaced with a bridge of similar size and materials.
To prevent further damage, it will be raised higher than the previous bridge, above the 10-year flood level provided by Melbourne Water.
Design work to reconstruct the bridge is underway.
Nillumbik Mayor Ben Ramcharan said the bridges were unsafe and needed to be removed.
“The October floods had a significant impact on our infrastructure along the Diamond Creek, including our shared paths, bridges and open spaces.
“We appreciate that the bridge closures are inconvenient and frustrating for trail users, and I want to reassure you that we will be working as quickly as possible to replace them,” he said.
Cr Ramcharan said Council would be advocating the Victorian Government to replace the second bridge near the Eltham Skate Park as part of its recent $32.8 million election commitment to build a new shared-use path along the Hurstbridge rail line from Montmorency to Eltham, to ensure it is delivered as soon as possible.
THE STATE Government is undertaking a major review of the bus network in Melbourne’s north and northeastern suburbs as part of a plan to develop a modern, faster, reliable and environmentally sustainable network for local communities.
The review will undertake online consultation with the communities spanning local government areas, including Manningham, Moreland, Darebin, Banyule and Hume, to understand current travel behaviours better.
Consultation is now underway following the launch of an online survey and will run until Sunday, October 16.
Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said the government is thoroughly examining how it can improve local bus services in growth areas, implement bus reform, improve accessibility, and deliver better outcomes for passengers.
“We are focused on delivering a modern, productive, environmentally sustainable bus network that increases the number of people choosing to take the bus.”
He said this engagement will give a better understanding of how people currently use their bus services and what would encourage them to use buses more — including where, when and how they would like to travel.
This information will help inform future planning for bus reform in these areas of Melbourne and provide insights and learnings that might be applied to other metropolitan or regional networks.
These areas were selected for their diverse transport profiles, including servicing major, business, retail and educational precincts such as Latrobe University’s Bundoora Campus.
These reviews are part of the implementation of Victoria’s Bus Plan, released in June 2021, which sets out how the Labor Government will shape the bus network in ways that increase the number of people choosing to take the bus by delivering simple, safe, reliable and comfortable journeys.
This includes examining new and innovative ways of delivering bus services, such as demand responsive services.
Network reform will be guided by four new bus network categories that clearly define a route’s role, purpose and function within a network.
Category 1 — Rapid Routes. These are the high-speed networks, which deliver faster, more frequent services on strategic bus corridors with on-road priority, such as dedicated bus lanes, and a limited number of stops to ensure travel times are fast.
Category 2 — Connector Routes Typically, these routes connect suburbs to key transport hubs, employment and education precincts, and shopping centres.
Category 3 — Local Routes These are the local streets of our bus network, which provide local access to nearby shops and services and have a lower frequency and shorter span of hours.
Category 4 — School Routes These routes meet the demand created mostly by high school students travelling to and from school.
The Zero Emission Bus Trial saw a $20 million Victorian Government investment, and all new buses will be zero emissions from 2025. Demand Responsive Transport (FlexiRide) has been introduced in Croydon, Lilydale, Rowville and other locations across Victoria.
FlexiRide is an on-demand bus service with no fixed route and only operates when booked. Passengers can book a trip from a location near their home to be taken to a range of popular destinations, such as to make rail connections. Rapid Running is being successfully trialled on Route 246 along Hoddle Street between Clifton Hill and Elsternwick, with plans for up to 10 more routes before the end of 2023.
The Rapid Running trial has no fixed timetable and a 10-minute “turn up and go” frequency between 7am and 7pm on weekdays.
This means buses will operate with the traffic along the route and no longer slow down or wait at bus stops if running ahead of schedule.
New FlexiRide proposal for Greensborough
The State Government recently announced it will be establishing a FlexiRide bus service for the Greensborough area and are currently seeking community and commuter engagement so the Department of Transport (DOT) can better place the FlexiRide hubs.
The survey is open until October 23.
Minister for Public Transport, Ben Carroll said the Government is investing in buses for Banyule and Nillumbik.
“We are listening to the community on how we can improve services, improve accessibility and deliver better outcomes for all passengers,” he said.
The introduction of the new service would also require minor changes to bus routes in the Greensborough area.
Both Route 514 Glenroy — Eltham via Greensborough and Route 517 Northland — St Helena are planned to end at Greensborough, with the discontinued sections set to be replaced by the new FlexiRide service.
Route 518 Greensborough — St Helena West will also be replaced by FlexiRide, with locals able to take advantage of a more accessible service.
All other local bus services, including school specials, will remain unchanged.
For students who attend St Helena Secondary College, the Department of Transport will work towards a solution.
Member for Eltham, Vicki Ward encourages those who use buses in the Greensborough area to engage with this survey.
“We want to hear from the community about changes we are making to the local bus network to ensure locals can continue to get where they need to go easier than ever before,” she said.
MEMORY CAFES are safe spaces for those diagnosed with dementia and other brain disorders and their primary carer to come together with fellow sufferers, connect, and share information.
The success of the Memory Café program at Hurstbridge Community Hub has seen the service expand.
Two new Memory Cafés are about to open in Eltham and Diamond Creek, which are scheduled to begin in late September.
When someone is diagnosed with dementia, the word Alzheimer’s immediately springs to mind.
There are many forms of dementia.
What they all have in common is the sense of confusion that is created for the sufferer and their primary carer(s).
As the condition progresses, there can also be a steady increase in social isolation.
It’s a time of gradual but considerable change, and navigating the complex systems of government and other services can be difficult.
The Memory Café at Hurstbridge provides a weekly meeting that aims to cater for the needs of the person with dementia and their primary carer.
Some participants may not have a dementia diagnosis but are experiencing memory loss or impairment.
This group has been running successfully for several months, each Monday afternoon from 1:30pm to 3pm.
Health Ability runs the administration of the café.
It is staffed by staff and volunteers, all of whom have professional and/or personal experience in dementia.
While those with dementia or memory loss gather in a group to play games and talk, the carers form a group and share everything from information sessions to personal experiences.
As a carer, you can learn about the services other carers have used, overcome obstacles, and find ways to look after yourself.
Carer burnout is a common problem.
The adage “a problem shared is a problem halved” is based on the belief that if you tell someone about a problem, it is easier to deal with.
In this carer group, you may find someone who has faced the same difficulty and how they’ve overcome it.
If no one has faced that problem, they may still guide you to a source of help and support.
The advantage is that you can discuss the person you care for without needing to talk about them in their presence.
They are in another space enjoying a cuppa, cake and the company of others.
You are also amongst people who genuinely understand what you’re experiencing and are non-judgemental in their approach.
The success of the Memory Café in Hurstbridge has led to the creation of two new groups in Eltham and Diamond Creek, providing choices for carers and participants.
The two new cafes will run fortnightly until numbers are large enough to go weekly.
From Tuesday, September 20, the Eltham Memory Café will meet at St Margaret’s Anglican Church Hall, 78 Pitt Street, Eltham, from 1:30pm to 3pm.
From Wednesday, September 28, the Diamond Creek Memory Café will meet at St John’s Anglian Church Hall, 61 Main Street, Diamond Creek, from 1:30pm to 3pm.
The Hurstbridge group will continue to meet weekly on Mondays (except on public holidays) at the Hurstbridge Community Hub, Graysharps Road, from 1:30pm to 3pm.
Health Ability administrates the Memory Cafés; for further information on this and other services, visit healthability.org.au.
IT HAS BEEN a long road for Manningham Council at Macedon Square following opposition from local traders around the proposed Streetscape Upgrade.
Following the initial release of concept designs in August 2020, the majority of traders in the Macedon Square precinct were opposed to Council’s concept designs.
An alternative “Option C” was put forward via petition to Council by Macedon Square Traders Association (MSTA), with current Association President and owner of Egons Bakery, Gary Cyganek, presenting as the spokesperson for the disgruntled traders.
At the September 2021 Ordinary Council meeting, councillors voted to pass that a “modified Option B” be taken forward, in line with the presented Officers’ Report.
With no acknowledgement of the petitioned Option C as having any influence on the, then, final decision, and analysis of the Officers’ Report indicating that of the 192 responses to the Macedon Square Streetscape Upgrade received, only 62 were in direct response to whether or not Option A or B was the preferred option, traders petitioning for Option C felt snubbed and have since expressed a lack of confidence in both Manningham Council as an organisation and Ward councillors Dierdre Diamante and Cr Stephen Mayne.
As we go to print, Manningham Council has arranged a set of community consultation meetings on the subject of Macedon Square, with the first meeting set for September 14 at the Manningham Uniting Church.
The M&N Bulletin understands that the first meeting is designed to address the breakdown in communication that has occurred and to re-establish trust before consultation continues on how to use the allotted $3.5 million to “upgrade” the shopping centre. M&NBulletin recently spoke with business owners at Macedon Square about the messy situation that has developed.
Macedon Square is a vibrant shopping centre; despite being sandwiched between an ALDI and a Woolworths Supermarket, the strip has retained many traditional local shops, such as a bakery, butchers, and green grocers. The focus of the traders recently has been around the narrowing of Macedon Road to accommodate the additional car parking spaces needed to offset the removal of parking and the proposed installation of a park on one side of The Mall.
Mr Cyganek and Monika Simonetti are business owners in Macedon Square and represent the traders opposing the plans.
Ms Simonetti, whose shop is opposite where extra parking spaces would be created and, ultimately, the roadway narrowed, described the community of Macedon Square.
“There are a lot of shops here that want to be here forever; they are not just thinking about it as a transition, and they do care about the local community and how good we can do for them as well.
“You are always trying to improve and ensure the shoppers can be happy in the environment.”
She recounted numerous incidents and near-misses with cars trying to negotiate the car park at dusk or during busy periods.
She also said that the trial sitting area set up during the Coronavirus lockdowns was not well utilised and that the concept runs contrary to the current behaviour of the shopping centre visitors.
“[In summer] it was too hot, and in winter it would be way too cold.
“We’ve been here a long time.
“People just want to come in, do their shopping, and leave again.”
Mr Cyganek added that trying to make Macedon Square a “destination” place within Manningham — such as Warrandyte or Templestowe Village — runs against the nature of the shopping centre.
“People are never going to come to this place as a destination because it doesn’t have the architecture for it.
“It’s really a boring strip shopping centre, which needs to be functional.
“Get their goods, go to the post office, go to the newsagent, go to the chemist, get their stuff and then go back home.”
In reaction to Manningham Council’s inaction, Mr Cyganek and several other traders erected signage on their shops illustrating their grievance with Council.
Still, these signs — some of which have been described as confronting — are only one aspect of the situation.
The protest about the road narrowing and the re-shuffling of the car parks is easy to focus on, but to take the conversation forward, the Bulletin asked Mr Cyganek and Ms Simonetti what Council can do to update the centre and keep the traders happy.
“Pretty much everything except the roads and the park,” said Ms Simonetti.
Mr Cyganek added a general safety upgrade of the centre was desired, including resurfaced footpaths, better bollards to separate the pedestrians and shopfronts from the cars, a reassessment of the drainage, and the trees in the centre to combat slippery leaves and bird droppings,stating many of the issues they are facing now are a result of what occurred during a centre upgrade in 1997.
While Mr Cyganek has support from many business owners, some business owners find his methods — the use of signage on shopfronts around the centre — provocative.
Kris Rowe, Proprietor of Helloworld Travel, spoke to us about her discomfort around Mr Cyganek’s use of large, confronting signs.
“He’s putting up ridiculous, intimidating signs — I don’t think that these signs are appropriate for a shopping centre.”
Ms Rowe told the Bulletin that there are safety and congestion issues within the shopping centre.
“Cars have been crashing into buildings here for years.
“The pathways and everything in this centre is incredibly dangerous.
“The [traffic] flow is terrible, they get caught up in the lights, and they will try and duck around [the car park] the wrong way, illegally, to get out.
“The pathways are falling to pieces, are dangerous for elderly people — this centre needs upgrading badly.
“We are happy to go back and plan, but the way it is now is not good, is not safe, and it is not practical.”
Despite their clash, both Mr Cyganek and Ms Rowe both express concern around business and visitor safety in the centre and that an upgrade is needed, but the needs of the shops in the centre vary greatly — while the bakers and fruit and veg shop will be looking at hundreds of transactions per day, other businesses like the barbers and travel agents may only need a dozen to have a good day.
The challenge for Council is to develop a design that meets the safety concerns without unfairly disadvantaging traders. M&N Bulletin asked Manningham Council for an update on Macedon Square; Acting Director — City Planning and Community, Lee Robson, provided this statement.
“Manningham Council has received a significant amount of feedback about the concept plan for the Macedon Square. We have clearly heard that there are concerns about issues such as traffic congestion, green space, footpath widths and the car parking layout. There has been no further work on the design as it was recognised that we need to get more clarity on the needs of traders, community and Council before we proceed. Even though Council has engaged with many people over many years in relation to this important amenity and safety upgrade, we have listened and recognise that there is benefit in more engagement on the current plan. To make sure we provide a fair and transparent process for feedback, we have engaged an external third party to facilitate a series of meetings with traders and the community. Our goal is to ensure that the traders and community have a say in the upgrade and, that we can collectively find a way to improve the safety and amenity of the area. Council is open to revisiting elements of the concept plan to ensure it achieves a balanced outcome for all Macedon Square users.”
NATIONAL Tree Day made a triumphant return on July 31, with events all around the country hosted by a multitude of groups.
In Manningham and Nillumbik, Councils used the opportunity to include the community in some of their more ambitious planting projects at Ruffey Lake and Challenger Reserve, respectively.
In Diamond Creek, nearly 1,200 indigenous trees and shrubs were planted.
Nillumbik Mayor Cr Frances Eyre thanked the community for “coming out and getting muddy”.
She said the planting will help to improve water quality while strengthening the habitat value of the wetland.
“A shout-out to the wonderful volunteers from Rotary Club of Eltham and Diamond Creek Men’s Shed who helped make the morning a success,” Cr Eyre said.
Wayne Green, Cub Scout Leader for 2nd Eltham Sea Scouts, attended the Nillumbik event and provided the Bulletin with this report:
“Tree Planting Day was awesome today at the Challenger Street Wetlands. Tim and Helen and others from the Council, you were amazing. Thanks, Men’s Shed, for putting on a great BBQ at the end and Rotary, for pointing the way. In attendance were a ton of amazing councillors competing to plant the most number of plants. This whole shebang started in 2003 with a $180,000 grant and is reaping huge benefits for all of us. My family and I love this — and Scouting and Guiding also really appreciate it. What is not to like? Free food. Great weather. Interesting conversation and sore muscles. Walking home, my 17-year-old son hugged me and said, ‘Dad, I love doing stuff with you like this’. He is a great kid, and I am a proud dad, having the opportunity to have such free fun provided by the Council and so many great community groups. As Helen pointed out, today’s planting will help save lizards, butterflies and small birds like wrens. Oh, and a very big thank you to Edendale Farm. The native plants are amazing.”
Manningham Mayor Cr Michelle Kleinert, Deputy Mayor Deirdre Diamante and Cr Anna Chen
At Ruffey Lake Park, over 400 people attended the event to help Council reach their planting target of 1,200 seedlings along the Ruffey Lake corridor, achieving their goal in under two hours.
Manningham Mayor Cr Michelle Kleinert said this year’s event exceeded their expectations.
“We normally see around 200 people at this event.
“We were blown away by the turnout and thank every community member who came along to join the fun,” she said.
Council hosts the annual event, providing all volunteers with the necessary tools, equipment and plants.
Council also thanked the Rotary Club of Doncaster, who provided a free sausage sizzle.
“It’s a very wholesome event.
“It feels good to give back, get outside and be hands-on in the dirt!
“I think that’s why we always see such a diverse crowd; it’s an event that everyone can enjoy,” said Cr Kleinert.
Libs to ditch rail plans in favour of health infrastructure
THE VICTORIAN Liberal and National partieshave announced that if they win the November election, the $35 billion first stage of the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) would be shelved, with the funds to be diverted into the health system.
Opposition leader, Matthew Guy said in a press conference on August 17 that Cheltenham, Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley, Burwood and Box Hill stations would be put on hold until Victoria “can afford it”.
This also means an indefinite delay for the remaining stages of the project, including Doncaster station.
Minister for the Suburban Rail Loop and Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said in a statement:
“Victorians voted for this project, that will create thousands of jobs — and Matthew Guy has finally come clean: the Liberals will cut the Suburban Rail Loop.”
Ms Allan said major projects of this scale take time, like with the City Loop — discussions on that project began in 1929 and construction was only completed in 1981.
Ms Allan said our growing city now needs an orbital rail loop to give effect to the vision laid out in Plan Melbourne. This means that even if the SRL stays on track it will not be ready for decades, but placing it on the back burner will almost guarantee it will not be completed in our lifetime. M&N Bulletin asked both Mr Guy and Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith, what the Liberal Party would be doing to improve public transport in Manningham, and the associated local jobs, to make up for the loss of the SRL.
Mr Smith told M&N Bulletin the Victorian Liberal-National Party is committed to strengthening public transport options across Victoria — particularly for regional communities — and will have more to say on its “comprehensive plans” over the coming months.
“There is no short to medium term plan by the Andrews Government for public transport improvements in Manningham,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith said the Liberal and Nationals’ plan to rebuild Victoria’s health system includes the construction or upgrade of 20 hospitals across Victoria — “delivering thousands of construction jobs and ongoing employment opportunities across these key sectors”. He said it is “nonsense” to suggest that transport infrastructure jobs will be lost “without acknowledging the jobs created on hospital construction and upgrades, as well as the ongoing and broad-ranging health-related roles.”
He highlighted that the Andrews Government’s own documents indicate that services on the northern section of the planned rail line, from Box Hill to Reservoir, via Doncaster, would not commence until 2043/44, some 21 years away.
“There is currently no funding, no timeline, and no detailed plan for the northern section of the rail loop,” he said.
Naomi Oakley, Labor Candidate for the Warrandyte electorate in the forthcoming State Election told M&N Bulletin the Andrews Labor Government has released a comprehensive Business and Investment Case and it shows that the SRL project stacks up.
“The SRL East project is underway and people in Warrandyte are incredibly enthusiastic about the overall project and how it will make their lives easier.
“I speak to people every day who love the vision in this project and know what it will bring to our suburbs,” she said.
Legislative Council Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP said he was “very disappointed” to see the Liberal-National Party take this stance.
“It certainly seems short-sighted.”
He said Melbourne’s population is continuing to grow, expecting to reach a population of nine million in 2056, the size of London today.
Mr Barton said the SRL is critical to the future liveability of Melbourne, and without it, the outer suburbs will continue to get the short end of the stick.
Mr Barton pointed to Doncaster to illustrate just how important the SRL is.
“Doncaster is located in the City of Manningham, which is the only metropolitan municipality that is not connected to rail, relying solely on bus services. This has resulted in overcrowded bus services, forced car ownership, high private vehicle usage, and extensive traffic congestion. The City of Manningham has been waiting for over 130 years for rail services. This is despite governments repeatedly proposing and promising rail for Doncaster for decades. Residents are desperate to be better connected. The SRL will be critical public transport infrastructure that will change the lives of those along the line, better connecting hospitals, universities, and retail.”
Mr Barton fears that by not taking action to address connectivity issues now, Melburnians will be restricted to their cars for decades to come.
“Monash, the biggest university in Australia, would be left without any prospect of a train station. “We cannot let that happen — the SRL is an opportunity that must not be wasted. “When I saw this announcement, I thought ‘why not both?’ — Victorians deserve a functioning and effective health care system and accessible public transport,” Mr Barton said.
Ms Allan said the SRL – to be built in partnership with the Albanese Labor Government — will be a network that connects Victoria’s fastest-growing centres of jobs, tertiary education, a major hospital and research centres and the airport.
“But it’s not just the Suburban Rail Loop — Matthew Guy also wants to scrap — he has also threatened the Andrews Labor Government’s Big Build Program that currently supports 50,000 workers,” she said.
Ms Allan said Level Crossing removals, road upgrades and train line works would all be at risk under the Liberals.
“He’s walking away from the transport connections that these projects deliver, the jobs they offer, and the wages that support Victorian families,” she said.
Ms Allan said SRL East and SRL North will take around 606,000 car trips and 2.2 million vehicle kilometres off our roads every single day by 2056. She said this will result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other environmental benefits. By 2056 it is anticipated there will be more than 230,000 daily extra public transport trips across Melbourne, and an additional 2.4 million walking or cycling trips each day. Government figures suggest the SRL will deliver up to $58.7 billion in benefits to Victoria and will return up to $1.70 to the economy for every dollar spent. On August 18, the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), commissioned by Mr Guy, produced a report that estimated by 2053 costs for the completed rail project, Cheltenham to Werribee, could end up being more than double the initial government estimate of $50 billion.
But Premier Daniel Andrewssaid “one sure way to make sure the SRL would cost more would be to scrap it, delay it, shelve it”.
Council calls for better services in Manningham
Manningham Mayor Michelle Kleinert told M&N Bulletin, Council has always worked with the government of the day to improve public transport options for the Manningham community.
“For years, we have advocated for a station in Doncaster and were incredibly disappointed that Doncaster was left out of Phase 1 of the Suburban Rail Loop.”
She said with Phase 2 of the SRL 30 years away, Council will continue to advocate for better public transport options to allow residents to travel to the CBD and major employment, health, education, and retail centres throughout Melbourne.
“Limited public transport options exacerbate Manningham’s lack of health services and tertiary education options — our young people and people needing to access health services deserve better,” Cr Kleinert said.
With no rail option in sight, she said Council’s Transport Action Plan and draft advocacy priorities include several bus options, including an express bus route that mirrors the SRL alignment.
Part of the Liberal National plan is to introduce an Infectious Diseases Response Centre.
Mr Smith said the centre would benefit Victorians across the state, including those in Manningham. “It will provide acute care to those in need and be a nation-leading training and research facility to protect communities from future infectious diseases.”
He said in the lead up to the November election, the Victorian Liberals and Nationals will be making further significant announcements about plans to fix the health crisis and ensure all Victorians can get the care they deserve.
“We will build or upgrade at least 20 hospitals across Victoria — including hospitals in Melbourne’s east — and will have more to say over coming weeks and months,” he said.
Mr Smith said to support and encourage greater public transport utilisation and as an important measure to attract, retain and reward of the healthcare workforce, the Victorian Liberals and Nationals will provide free public transport for more than 260,000 Victorian healthcare workers.
IN THE 24-HOUR reporting period before July 19, there were 244 new COVID-19 cases reported in Manningham, taking the active caseload up to 1,322.
In Nillumbik, there were 131 new cases, totalling 656 active cases.
These numbers are consistent with what is being reported in our neighbouring Local Government Areas (LGAs) and in LGAs across the state — Coronavirus is everywhere.
There were 12,201 new cases state-wide, with 9,953 of those detected through RAT kits. In Victoria, as of July 19, there are 65,416 active cases of COVID-19 that have been reported.
With pandemic measures significantly relaxed and, in many situations, mask-wearing a recommendation instead of a mandate, vaccination is one of our most effective defences against this virus.
While first and second dose uptake hit 95–97 per cent, the uptake of the boosters (third and fourth doses) has slowed since the end of March, when the eligible population (16+) raced to 64 per cent in three months.
Reporting figures on July 19 indicate in Victoria that 73.5 per cent of the eligible population has received three or more doses; nationally, that figure is 70.9 per cent.
Residents of Manningham and Nillumbik who have been able to and have received at least three doses should be proud as our municipalities are ahead of the curve at 75.7 and 78.2 per cent respectively of those eligible vaccinated.
There is some concern in the community regarding the three-month window between being infected with COVID-19 and getting a booster and the new understanding that the current Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 can cause reinfection of those who have had the virus within 28 days (four weeks).
Reports from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) address this issue.
AHPPC notes in its COVID-19 winter update:
“BA.4 and BA.5 are associated with increased immune escape, and we are likely to see rates of reinfection rise among those who have previously been infected with an earlier COVID-19 variant and those who are up to date with their vaccinations.
Vaccination continues to be the most important protection against severe illness.
Given reinfections may occur as early as 28 days after recovery from a previous COVID-19 infection, the AHPPC advises that the [official] reinfection period be reduced from 12 weeks to 28 days.
People who test positive to COVID-19 more than 28 days after ending isolation due to previous infection should be reported and managed as new cases.”
On July 13, ATAGI agreed with the AHPPC report but still recommended interval between infection and vaccine remain at three months.
“Evidence suggests that BA.4/5 is associated with a higher re-infection rate compared to previous variants, and this is likely to be due to immune evasion,” the ATAGI statement said.
ATAGI explains there is not a lot of data on the additional protection a booster provides in the short term, if it is administered soon after infection, adding:
“Immunologically, a longer time interval between vaccines enhances the ‘booster response’ and subsequent clinical protection, particularly against severe COVID-19 disease.
The COVID-19 vaccines have a modest, short duration of impact against infection and as the primary aim of the program is optimising protection from severe disease, a three-month interval, therefore, remains optimal.”
(Public Safety) Order 2022 (No. 3), which came into effect on July 12 and will be in effect until October 12, states that masks must be carried at all times and people should wear a mask when visiting hospital and care facilities and when using public transport.
All levels of government and healthcare professionals are also recommending that people wear masks indoors in a public place (such as a supermarket or shopping centre) or in a situation where it is not possible to social distance.
In addition, the Victorian Department of Education and Training, Independent Schools Victoria, and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria sent a joint letter to parents and carers stating they are asking students and staff to mask up for the remainder of winter.
“Students won’t be required or expected to wear masks when outdoors, and this expectation won’t stop student participation in the full range of school activities, including music, sport and performances.
We are asking for your support in explaining to your child or children the importance of this simple step that will help keep our schools as safe as possible.
We also ask that you make sure your child (or children) takes a mask to school (and wears it if they are travelling on public transport) or collects a mask when they arrive at school.
We all appreciate how important it is for students to be back at school.
This action will help make sure as many students and staff as possible are protected from COVID and other winter illness.”
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Federal Government reinstated the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments, which, in accordance with the COVID-19 Disaster Payment (Funding Arrangements) Act 2021, which expired on June 30, 2022.
Following a meeting of the National Cabinet in mid-July, the following statement was released:
“In recognition of the risks associated with more infectious new variants through the winter period, the Commonwealth agreed to reinstate the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment to 30 September 2022.
Eligibility for the payment will be backdated to July 1, 2022, to ensure that anyone unable to work owing to isolation requirements in this period, without access to paid sick leave is supported.
Access to these payments will commence from Wednesday, July 20, with existing eligibility requirements to continue.
We have agreed to share the costs of the payment 50:50, between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories.”
These payments are targeted to help those on lower incomes and casual workers maintain a basic income while sick with COVID-19. To apply and to check your eligibility, visit Services Australia at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au.
PARTIES ARE an excellent chance for people to get together, socialise and have fun.
For teenagers, when they may encounter their first experience of alcohol and other drugs, risky behaviour becomes more likely.
This means things like: drinking too much alcohol (sometimes called binge drinking) unprotected or non-consensual sex drink driving — or getting into a car with an intoxicated driver drink spiking drug overdose or alcohol poisoning getting into a fight getting injured Domestic security expert Naomi Oakley is encouraging parents to take greater control of teen parties with the rise of pre and post-event parties seeing teens as young as 14 getting intoxicated at friends’ homes before going on to other events.
She warns that the parents of the host teen could be liable should adverse incidents occur.
“Parents need to step up and ensure that they’re doing the right thing and not allowing the kids to roll out of their house drunk off their faces.
“There is a responsibility when these young ones leave their house after drinking.”
She says parents need to be aware of “secondary supply” legislation, which would see parents fined over $7,000 per offence for supplying alcohol to minors without written consent from parents.
“Even with a note from parents, some parents are not providing any kind of duty of care,” she said.
“What parents need to do is if they are having pre-parties — or any party really — is to make sure that the alcohol is managed properly.”
She recommends having a person that has experience serving alcohol.
“It would be great if you could use someone with a Responsible Serving of Alcohol certificate (RSA), but not everyone has that.”
She said certification could be obtained online for around $60.
“This will give parents an understanding of the effects of alcohol, responsible serving, and that sort of thing.
“When their kids come up to them and want a party, at least they have an understanding of how to observe someone who’s intoxicated, what sort of things that you can have in place to ensure that the young ones are not going to drink too much — such as a responsible person, serving or managing the alcohol; plenty of food and water, and also having a mixture of beer and wine, and moderating any sort of spirits.”
Ms Oakley said that even if the party is not at your house, parents should work together to help manage the party.
These parties are not an opportunity to drop and run to have a night without the kids.
She suggests one responsible adult for every 20 teenagers.
“Things can happen, and parents need to understand they need to make sure they cover every base, so there’s no push back on them, because you’re dealing with young ones, and you should have alert parents with the correct ratio of parents to kids.
“It might be parents serving food, parents monitoring toilets, parents watching the back fence for gate-crashers. You have a list of which parents are present and what they are doing. That might include in your bar setup, and food service.
“You know it’s always a good party when you don’t see security within, and that’s true, providing that you’ve had your parents tasked to do certain things, you have your security at the gate and parents can do something like serving food because then it’s low key.
“But then if they see anything they can get amongst the group, with some food distraction, if they still can’t sort it out, they go and get Security from the front to deal with it.”
She said parent helpers have to commit to remaining sober throughout the night because there is no point in having parents that want to “get on the sauce” because that adds to the chaos.
“If you can afford it, engage security. You should also notify the local police and your neighbours.
“We found that if you have some systems in place for these private parties, then there are strategies to ensure that the guests have a good time — safely.
“At least have parents at the front to ensure the kids have safe modes of transport.”
Naomi said she spent 13 years within Victoria Police and responded to a large portion of out-of-control parties.
“I left the police force to develop a Party Security service.
“What we found is with the events we do, and I’ve probably planned over 5,000 of these events, is if there are some boundaries in place, then the young ones will respond.
“They find it’s not over the top; they just know that we’ve got the systems to ensure they have a good night.”
She said 14 is the new 16.
“Our high-risk age is between 14 and 16 — experimenting with alcohol and other substances — and on top of that, you’ve got cabin fever, COVID lockdowns all that, and you have a lot of young ones who have been pretty anxious over the last few years as well, so there are all these factors.
“But whatever party it is, there is an absolute responsibility for parents putting on these events not only to ensure that there is parental consent for underage drinking but also to manage any party responsibly and provide a duty of care.
“With the planning that we put in place, I do a risk assessment with every event that we do, and that means meeting people at the property, liaising with the parents, and talking about the risk.
“We know the kids are the priority at the end of the day, so it’s essential to red flag all those issues.”
She said that despite all the measures, sexual assaults can still occur.
“The parents are worried that they will be liable when some of those situations happen, but because they have done everything a reasonable person could, it doesn’t come back on them.”
She said she defines any event under 30 people as a gathering, but parents still need to look at strategies for harm minimisation.
“Parents can contact me for advice; it’s not going to cost them anything, or ring me when it gets over that number.
“We say parties are over 40 to 50, and that’s when you need to start considering professional security, not private — there’s a big difference.
“Professional security is a business with the right insurance.
“If you get inexperienced guards, or your uncle, or your mates, or whoever to do it, they may not have the skills to cope when there is a fight, or someone advances on someone without consent — just about every scenario — and gate-crashers on top of that. You can minimise most of your risk with these private events, but there are some things that you also can’t predict, so it’s about just making sure that we have those plans in place to protect our young ones.
“With social media now you just need to let it drop that there’s a party at 47 Smith Street — or Snap Maps are a nightmare, kids can see where there are 200 people gathered — and the word is out.
“It is a legal minefield, and if you are going to consider having these parties, you need to make sure that you have the right systems and staff members in place to assist you with the event,” Ms Oakley said.
Naomi Oakley is the Director of U-Nome Security and provides party security, domestic violence support and safe party education. u-nomesecurity.com.au