News

Melbourne locked-down once again

METROPOLITAN Melbourne braced for bad news on Wednesday, June 2 when the inevitable announcement came that they would have to endure another seven-days of lockdown.
The highly infectious “Kappa” variant of COVID-19 arrived in Melbourne via a hotel quarantine breach in South Australia, in early May.
In in the last week of May, the outbreak reached 60 cases, encompassing exposure sites numbering more than 350 across Melbourne and Regional Victoria.
Locally, there have been no reported cases in Warrandyte, although a burger bar in Doncaster Shoppingtown and a popular petrol station in East Doncaster were listed as exposure sites as part of the outbreak.
Following the announcement, Acting Premier James Merlino highlighted just how frighteningly contagious the Kappa is.
“To date, the approach has been to track the spread through friends, family and workmates.
“People spending time together for minutes and hours — not seconds.
“What we’re seeing now is something else — something even more serious. “At least one in 10 current cases have caught this virus from a stranger. “People brushing against each other in a small shop.
“Getting a take-away coffee from the same cafe.
“Being in the same place, at the same time for mere moments.
“Just walking past someone you’ve never met can mean the virus is jumping to a whole new network.
“And when you don’t know someone — you don’t know their name or where they live — you’re looking for one person in 6.6 million,” he said.
Local businesses, such as Warrandyte IGA and Grand Hotel Warrandyte were both impacted by the 2020 lockdowns, both financially and emotionally.
This latest lockdown is throwing new challenges at Melburnians on a daily basis, as we go to press, there are more than 70 active cases related to this latest outbreak and recent news that the Delta variant of COVID-19 — which is also highly infectious — has also been detected.
As we enter the final five days of the extended lockdown, health authorities race to link mystery cases in this outbreak.
For the local Warrandyte economy, lockdown is particularly hard.
Our bustling restaurant and café strewn high street is eerily quiet and new rules around the mandatory requirement to check in with the Government QR code system is causing additional queues at cafes and supermarket entrances.
It is now mandatory for all customer facing retail businesses to record whoever enters their premises, even if it is only for a few minutes — businesses can take paper records if a customer is unable to use the QR code system, and businesses who are found in breach of following the new mandatory QR code tracking rules could face a fine.

Five reasons to leave home

Under the new lockdown rules, locals have to, once again, adhere to:

  • 10 kilometre radius
  • Some school students on remote learning
  • Limits on weddings and funerals
  • Playcentres, gyms, entertainment venues, hair and beauty and tourism closed.
  • Community sport cancelled
  • Restaurants and cafes restricted to take away service
  • Visitor restrictions on aged care facilities and hospitals

There are now five reasons to leave home; essential shopping, exercise (two hours maximum per day with one other person), care and caregiving, authorised work, and vaccination.
As of Friday, June 4, the lockdown of late May changed slightly — once again Melbourne and Regional Victoria (RV) were separated by rules and although the “ring of steel” has not been reinstated, retail businesses close to Melbourne are being asked to check IDs of all their customers to ensure people aren’t, effectively, breeching Melbourne quarantine.
Checking into the Government’s QR code system will now also be mandatory anyone who enters any retail premises for any duration, even if it is less than 15 minutes.
The Acting Premier acknowledged this was going to be tough, but stated it was necessary.
“No one wants to be here.
“And I know this news is tough for every Victorian, every family and every business in this state.
“But the Chief Health Officer has no choice but to give this advice.
“And the Government has no choice but to follow it.
“If we don’t, this thing will get away from us and people will die.
“No one wants to repeat last winter.
“To stop that from happening, we need every Victorian to follow the rules, to get tested and to get vaccinated when it’s your turn.
“We can do this, but we need to do it together,” he said.

Some good news

While we settle into the second week of lockdown, Years 11 and 12, as well as any student taking a Unit 3 / 4 VCE or VCAL subject have returned to the classroom at this most crucial time and some outdoor businesses, such as landscaping, gardening, painting, et cetera have been reclassified as “authorised” businesses for the extended lockdown.
The State Government has also added an additional $209 million to its business support package, raising the funding to nearly $450 million to support businesses impacted by the lockdown in the form of a series of grants.

New support package for businesses
The aptly named Circuit Breaker Business Support Package aims to help up to 90,000 businesses affected by the current lockdown.
However, there is a catch, one of the requirements for accessing the Business Costs Assistance Program funds is that the business must be registered for GST, as of May 27, 2021. As many businesses know, if your annual turnover is below $75,000 then registering for GST is optional.
Not-for-profits which have an annual turnover between $75,000 and $150,000 and meet the other grant requirements can also apply for the Business Costs Assistance Program. The package is divided into three initiatives:

  • Business Costs Assistance Program •
  • Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
  • Support for events operators

In its original form, the package would see $190M funnelled into a second round of the Business Costs Assistance Program, offering grants of $2,500 for eligible businesses directly affected by the lockdown’s industry restrictions; this includes restaurants and cafes, event suppliers, accommodation providers, and non- essential retail.
A new round of the Licenced Hospitality Venue Fund will see $40.7M provided to businesses with a liquor license and food certificate, distributed in grants of $3,500 per premises.
With the extension of the lockdown and an additional $209M package, eligible businesses, who find themselves in a second week of lockdown will have access to additional funds.
Businesses which are still unable to open will be able to apply for a $5,000 grant while licenced hospitality venues applying for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund, who find themselves still unable to operate, will be able to apply for $7,000 per premises.
It is important to note, if you were unable to open for the first week of lockdown but are now able to operate, you will still be able to claim a share of the business support package, but only for the original amount.
For operators in the events industry who have been impacted financially by the lockdown, they will have access to a share of a $20M support scheme.
At the announcement, Mr Merlino said this new package will help businesses stay open in the long term. “The circuit-breaker action will keep Victorians safe and protect businesses and jobs — but we know it’s not easy shutting your doors and putting your plans on hold.
“This support will help businesses pay the bills and maintain their workforce as best they can, as we work together to get through this challenge,” he said.
Minister for Small Business, Jaala Pulford added: “small businesses are crucial to our economy and beyond dollar and cents, important contributors to local communities — we’re proud to stand with them and their workers.”

Emergency essentials in Warrandyte

Warrandyte Neighbourhood House is launching its new food relief service on Wednesday, June 9.
Any locals who are struggling to keep food on the table during the pandemic can collect an essentials hamper on Wednesdays, at Warrandyte Neighbourhood House, Webb Street, from June 9.
See story Page 14 for further details.

Eligible businesses can visit business.vic.gov.au/grants-and- programs/circuit-breaker-business- support-package for further information and to register for a share of the package — most grants opened for application on Thursday, June 3, and are open for three weeks.

Nillumbik unveils pandemic recovery plan

 By SUSAN FOREMAN

AS WE ALL stand together during the ongoing battle with COVID-19, Nillumbik Shire Council has released a critical new “roadmap” to support the community in its recovery from the pandemic.
The Nillumbik Community Pandemic Recovery Plan 2021-22 was endorsed at last week’s Council meeting, just prior to the Shire going into its fourth lockdown in a bid to contain the latest outbreak of the virus.
The plan outlines Council’s initial response, along with the actions it will take to ensure the Nillumbik community can recover as restrictions continue to evolve and life shifts to a “COVID normal”.
The plan is based on four main themes which guide the recovery process:

  • Inclusion
  • Healthy Environments
  • Healthy Behaviours
  • Employment and Education

The plan’s actions span across several areas of Council, and will be supported by State and Federal Government initiatives, and those delivered by community organisations and local partners.
While this plan addresses the short to medium term approach to recovery, Council says it recognises there will be longer term pandemic impacts, which will be addressed through the Council Plan and Municipal Health & Wellbeing Plan.
Nillumbik Mayor Peter Perkins said Council’s approach throughout the pandemic had been comprehensive and collaborative, and would continue to be so.
“Collaboration is a key principle of any work we do, and is especially the case for pandemic recovery,” Cr Perkins said.
He said Council’s approach is reflected in this plan, which highlights
Council’s critical role in service delivery and in advocating to other levels of government on behalf of our community.
“It will be a critical roadmap as we, alongside our community, navigate what continues to be a highly volatile and unpredictable environment.”
Cr Perkins acknowledged the resilience and resourcefulness of the Nillumbik community, which has come to the fore on many occasions over the years, whether in the face of fire, flood or now, pandemic.
“Nevertheless, the challenges of the past 18 months have been like nothing we’ve previously experienced and have, not surprisingly, taken their toll,” he said.
“Council recognises that pandemic response, relief and recovery are all dynamic.
“Therefore, Council is committed to shift and adjust its approach where required, based on local need and the direction of the State Government.”
The plan was largely developed based on the survey results from the Together in Nillumbik survey, conducted last year with healthAbility, an independent, community health organisation.
To view the plan visit nillumbik.vic. gov.au/pandemic-recovery-plan

Keeping our community safe

By STEPHEN BENDLE

WE HAVE ALL heard a lot about vaccines lately.
They have been around since the late 18th century when used to fight smallpox.
There is a pretty strong push for all Australians to get the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they can.
Some in our community might choose not to; but to avoid future lockdowns, protect the vulnerable among us, ease the stress on our health system and enjoy the wonders of international travel again, we are being encouraged to line up and get the jab.
There are a million websites to review, but the Diary thought we would go straight to those in our community who know best, our doctors, starting with Dr Garth Cooze, GP at Warrandyte Medical Centre, just prior to the latest outbreak.
“It is understandable that some people are apprehensive about a vaccine which has not been around for a long time.
“It is important to note, when making decisions about COVID-19 vaccination, that the risks posed by the vaccinations are infinitesimally small and are by far outweighed by their inherent benefits.
“Vaccinations have been hailed by infectious disease experts as one of the safest forms of medicine.
“As we are heading into the winter months, we face a significant and very real threat in this country, as we have seen across Europe, of virus surge in the community again.
“This virus, as with most respiratory viruses, thrives during the colder months.
“In light of this, it is important not to be complacent — this pandemic, is still very real and we remain in a precarious position (notwithstanding Australia’s clear successes).
“Our principal exit strategy remains en-masse vaccination.
“I would urge people not to delay or be complacent with this.
“We encourage members of the community to get vaccinated, to protect ourselves, our families and also the wider community.
“This will pave the way to some sustainable semblance of normality.”
Dr Paul Proimos from Goldfields Family Medical Centre told the Diary their practice is proud to be part of the biggest vaccination rollout in Australian history.
He encouraged all locals to be vaccinated as soon as they can.
“Goldfields Medical Centre commenced their COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in April and are currently working through our waiting list.”
The Diary also asked one of Warrandyte’s most celebrated scientists, Professor Doug Hilton AO, who is the Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne and Head of the Department of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne.
Coincidentally, when we spoke to him, he had just received his first vaccine.
“For me, growing up in Warrandyte meant being looked after by the whole community, which was such a privilege.
“In 2021, by the far the best way we can look after everyone in our community is to get vaccinated.
“The vaccines against Sars-Cov-2 are among the safest and most effective vaccines ever developed.
“The side-effects that have been reported so prominently in the media are incredibly rare — much rarer than the side-effects of medicines we use routinely.
“Please get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible — through your GP or at a mass vaccination centre.
“Both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines will reduce your likelihood of getting infected by Sars-Cov-2 and they will reduce the severity of illness if you are infected.
“A single dose of either vaccine is more than 80 per cent effective at preventing admission to hospital and preventing death from COVID-19.
“The second booster dose will greatly increase this protection.
“In addition, both vaccines greatly reduce the chance of passing the virus on to someone else.
“Vaccination is a win for you and a win for the community,” said Doug.
For further information about vaccines, where to get tested or current exposure sites, visit: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

A symbol of community spirit and optimism

By JAMES POYNER

JOAN DENISION’S fence post Iso Chooks have returned to the streets of Eltham, Warrandyte, St Kilda, and beyond, as a symbol of community spirit.
Last year, Joan, who has a passion for art and fashion, began painting chicken characters on old fence palings.
These cheerful Iso Chooks became an overnight success and what started as a distraction for her street soon saw Joan painting thousands of Iso Chooks which now adorn gardens and shop fronts all over Eltham.
The Diary asked owners of Iso Chooks to send in pictures of their proudly placed pictoral poultry.
Marg and Michael Weston’s “Three Tenors” from the Woodridge area of Eltham told us a little about the journey their three Iso Chooks have been on.
“We are a very theatrical and musical family and love working in and attending the Opera.
We couldn’t resist calling our chooks The Three Tenors (they cost $10 each). Each of our four adult kids have an Iso Chook, so they are bringing smiles in St Kilda, East Malvern, Ivanhoe and Elizabeth Bay NSW.
Another was gifted to a dear friend in Windermere, Tasmania and is greatly loved down there!”
Joans Chooks are also being given to new Australian Citizens at Nillumbik Citizenship ceremonies.

Arundel Road residents cheesed off at rat-runners

RESIDENTS OF Arundel Road in Park Orchards have applied to Council to have their road closed to through traffic.
At the May 25 Manningham Council meeting, Council supported, in principle, the permanent closure of Arundel Road (west) to through traffic at the intersection of Park Road.
A petition from residents was tabled at the meeting, where Council then heard that traffic volumes have increased during the Knees Road roadworks, as motorists look to avoid congestion linked to the works.
Extensive traffic management devices were installed along the section of road when constructed in the 1990s, however residents are still experiencing traffic concerns and dangers.
Residents of Arundel Road have raised extensive concerns and objections to the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Knees Road and Arundel Road and are extremely concerned about Arundel Road being increasingly and dangerously used as a rat-run; particularly by school parents and residents avoiding traffic congestion.
Council officers held an on-site meeting with residents prior to the council meeting.
Residents at the street-meeting requested the permanent closure of Arundel Road at Park Road, indicating that the closure of the road would prevent through traffic using this section of Arundel Road making it safer for pedestrians to walk along the road pavement.
Several reported near misses and three accidents of children being hit by cars rushing along Arundel Road have occurred.
In the most recent incident in April, a child was struck on his bike at the intersection of Park Road and Arundel Road by a driver using Arundel Road as a cut through.
Residents told council officers that the street is too narrow and has chicanes and speed humps to deter this traffic — this is unfortunately not enough of a deterrent.
Residents have noted parents running late for school drop off/pick up rush at dangerous speeds down Arundel Road and residents believe the new roundabout at Arundel Road will only compound this issue.
The street was originally a private road and was set up and built accordingly, as well as originally designed as a “no through road”.
Other mitigation and pedestrian safety measures were considered, including the construction of a footpath along one side of Arundel Road.
Residents said they rejected this idea as they did not wish to change the streetscape or impact existing vegetation.
Cr Carli Lange has been advocating for the residents of Arundel Road, she told the Diary: “The residents are asking for the opportunity to provide a delegation to represent the street in the consultation process and have strong support in the street for this Road Closure solution”.
The road closure would include a turnabout area, to facilitate large vehicle movements, such as waste collection vehicles.
The implementation of the road closure is still contingent on a report being obtained from the Department of Transport and agreement from emergency services agencies.

Community rejects Taroona Avenue plan

RESIDENTS were left with more questions than answers last month when the plans for a long-delayed shared path upgrade along Taroona Avenue advertised a very different concept to what was originally proposed three years ago.
The original plan involved an asphalt path with a kerb running the length of Taroona Avenue, except for a section of boardwalk near the small oval.
The updated plan is a shared pedestrian/bicycle path running the length of Taroona Avenue, separated from the road by kerb and channel.
The Diary asked Council a number of questions last month regarding the updated plans, questioning the appropriateness of the new plans in reference to the character of the area and the confusing documentation regarding the apparant removal
of trees, including the two mature manna gums at the corner of Everard Drive, which were to be retained in the initial plans
Council was unable to get a response to us in time for the May 2021 edition of Warrandyte Diary, but has now supplied a reply.
Manningham Mayor, Cr Andrew Conlon told the Diary the path is now part of Council’s Bicycle Strategy Plan 2013.
“This is an exciting project as it delivers on Council’s long-term Bicycle Strategy Plan 2013, working towards providing a fully integrated and continuous trail.
“We started engaging with our community in 2017, asking for feedback on the layout and design.
“After considering the feedback, including concerns with the impact on vegetation, we have reworked the design and layout and have more
recently gone back out to nearby residents with an updated design.”
“The proposed design is for a 2.5m wide shared path that avoids all large significant indigenous trees along the roadside, with eight sapling trees identified for possible removal.
“We are keen to ensure that the final design fits with the aesthetics of the local area following feedback from the community.”
“A detailed arboriculture assessment to determine the ecological value and impact of the works on adjacent trees and referenced a Cultural Heritage Management assessment for the area is now underway.
“Improving our liveability, providing safe and accessible connections that encourage recreation and minimises reliance and use of vehicles continues to be a key activity of Council”, Cr Conlon said.
Despite what council says, it is
clear that residents are not happy with the proposed plans with local cyclists exacerbated at the absurdity of having a fully engineered curb and channel shared bike path along a 200 metre stretch of road which only really gets busy on market and community sports days — when both sides of the road become a car park.
A number of concerned residents have flagged the danger of the path crossing the road at First Street.
The crossing is half-way down a hill and in a blind spot for any oncoming vehicles.
Warrandyte Community Association has informed the Diary it is seeking to meet with council on the community’s behalf with president, Terry Tovey calling on council for further consultation.
“The current proposal seeks to do too much with what is a constrained roadway with the consequence that
no one is happy with the result. “Identifying Taroona Avenue as part of the bicycle network seems misguided when there are much more urgent bicycle link priorities, such as that between Warrandyte and the Yarra Trail from Beasley’s
Nursery.
“The Council needs to look for a less
intrusive solution for Taroona Avenue which better protects the streetscape and environment and which meets the community’s continuing need for adequate parking and safe pedestrian access,” he said.
Ensuring our cyclists are safe on the roads is important, but the real missing link is the connection between Warrandyte High School and the Mullum Mullum Trail at Beasleys.
The Diary, the WCA and the broader community request Council makes linking Warrandyte safely to the Mullum Mullum trail its priority.

New support package for businesses announced

THE VICTORIAN Government has announced a $250.7 million business support package which includes finances for small to medium-sized businesses and sole traders.
The aptly named Circuit Breaker Business Support Package aims to help up to 90,000 businesses affected by the current lockdown.
The package is divided into three initiatives:

  • Business Costs Assistance Program
  • Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
  • Support for events operators

Of the package, $190M will be funnelled into a second round of the Business Costs Assistance Program, offering grants of $2,500 for eligible businesses directly affected by the lockdown’s industry restrictions; this includes restaurants and cafes, event suppliers, accommodation providers, and non-essential retail.
A new round of the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will see $40.7M provided to businesses with a liquor license and food certificate distributed in grants of $3,500 per premises.
For operators in the events industry who have been impacted finically by the lockdown, they will have access to a share of a $20M support scheme.
At the announcement, Acting Premier James Merlino said this new package will help businesses stay open in the long term.

“The circuit-breaker action will keep Victorians safe and protect businesses and jobs – but we know it’s not easy shutting your doors and putting your plans on hold.
“This support will help businesses pay the bills and maintain their workforce as best they can, as we work together to get through this challenge,” he said.

Minister for Small Business, Jaala Pulford added “Small businesses are crucial to our economy and beyond dollar and cents, important contributors to local communities — we’re proud to stand with them and their workers.”

Businesses can visit https://business.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/circuit-breaker-business-support-package for further information and to register for some of the package — at this stage, most grants will be open for application from Wednesday, June 2.

Return to lockdown

Updated 31/5/2021 2pm

Another day in lockdown

DAY FOUR of Victoria’s May circuit-breaker lockdown and we have seen the outbreak grow by about five cases per day, every day.
But a new case at an aged care facility in Maidstone has seen this figure jump to 11 new cases for today, bringing the total to 51 in this outbreak, note earlier today Vic Health reported 5 additional cases, but between then and the 12:15pm press conference, 6 additional cases were identified and added to the daily figure.
Testing and vaccination continue to be very high, with the Sunday/Monday reporting period logging 43,874 tests and 16,752 doses of vaccine administered.
Worryingly, the list of exposure sites continues to grow with the list of 300 exposure sites (at time of writing).
Although the list contains shopping centres, supermarkets, and public transport, there is still no sites near Warrandyte.
Given our previous experience with lockdowns, and with 51 active cases in this outbreak and hundreds of exposure sites, it is hard to imagine we only have three more days of lockdown to go.
However, lockdown brings familiar scenes back to Warrandyte with quiet roads, and ovals and parklands brimming with families and individuals who are — mostly — respecting the social distancing and mask wearing rules.
While we must all feel for those businesses who are not able to operate at the moment, on Sunday, the State Government announced its support package which will hopefully lessen the burden, you can read the story here.

Local exposure site added to list

United Service Station, Doncaster East has been added as a Tier 3 exposure site.
Tier 3 means monitor for symptoms and get tested if any arise.
So, anyone who visited the servo between 4:50pm and 5:30pm on Saturday, May 15 please monitor for symptoms.

 Five reasons to leave home

Current restrictions include:

  • Five-kilometre radius
  • Schools shift to remote learning
  • Limits on weddings and funerals
  • Playcentres, gyms, entertainment venues, hair and beauty and tourism closed.
  • Community sport cancelled
  • Restaurants and cafes restricted to take away service
  • Visitor restrictions on care facilities and hospitals

There are now five reasons to leave home; essential shopping, exercise (two hours maximum per day with one other person), care and caregiving, authorised work, and vaccination.
The Epping cluster may feel like it is a long way away from Warrandyte, but everyone is impacted by the restrictions, local supermarket owner Julie Quinton spoke to the Dairy about the reintroduction of restrictions earlier this week, and asked customers to respect the rules, to protect her staff and the larger community.

“We ask that customers please follow the government guidelines and also wear masks when shopping at Quintons, so we may all help protect one another.
“We also ask that people check in with the QR code when entering our store, as well as sanitising their hands, observing the electronic customer counter at our door, social distancing and following our one-way aisles, to best enable social distancing,” she said.

There has also been a resurgence of panic-buying, with Quinton’s having to reintroduce limits on some purchases, such as toilet paper.
The other corner stone of the Warrandyte community, The Grand Hotel, had it tough during 2020s lockdown, but has been able to maximise its new beer garden to full effect over summer.
General Manager, Peter Appleby, spoke to the Diary about the challenges of lockdown and compliance.

“It’s been a horrible 12 months.
“When we locked down last year, we had already started work [on the beer garden] and we stopped work on that under lockdown rules, and as we learnt more about post COVID we were hearing outdoor spaces would be a factor in getting open with a larger capacity.
“So we picked up the tools again and we reopened about three weeks after you were allowed to, and got the beer garden not quite finished but in a workable state.
“That was great for us because the rules were 10 people per room, maximum two rooms — we were never going to open for that it was simply not viable,” he said.

But with an outdoor space, the pub could have 50 people outside which was much more workable.

“Opening up at the end of October, the weather was fantastic, and it certainly worked for us and we’re pretty proud of what we have achieved, it looks great.”

Peter went on to talk about the support they have had from the community and about the challenges of adapting to COVID rules – such as masks and QR codes.

“The support from the community has been amazing, it has been really well received.
“One of my sayings last year was ‘control the controllable’, get told to wear a mask, we wear a mask, we have to ask our customers to respect that.
“Our staff are trying to do the right thing, we don’t want to shut down again,” he said.

On Wednesday, Acting Premier James Merlino said, “these new cases underscore the importance of people coming forward for testing”.
A message the public responded to, as testing numbers and waiting times at COVID-19 testing sites saw a significant increase.
State Government also replenished pleas for all those who are eligible for Coronavirus vaccination to get vaccinated, which now includes those aged 40–49 — but those eligible must use the coronavirus hotline to book their vaccination appointment, which saw the hotline crash on Thursday, May 27, after 77,000 people tried to call the hotline in 15 minutes.

Municipal restrictions

The lockdown also means some council run facilities and services are closed or working in a remote setting.

Manningham and Nillumbik council have provided the Diary with a run-down of what is and is not open.

Manningham:

Aged and Disability Services

OPEN

Service remains open, including meal delivery service.

Homecare including personal care will continue.

Social Support Programs will continue online and over the telephone.

Arts and Venues

CLOSED

Arts and venues are closed as well as venue hire.

OPEN

MC Square.

Business, events and grants

CLOSED

Holding events on Council land and busking.

Citizen Connect

OPEN

Please call us on 03 9840 9333 if you have any queries.

Early Childhood Services

CLOSED

Playgroups and toy libraries.

OPEN

Find a childcare service.

Find a kindergarten or pre-school.

Parenting seminar series – open through new online format.

Immunisation

OPEN

Service remains open.

You must book a session to attend and observe public health directions.

Maternal and Child Health services

OPEN

All services are open.

Parks / Recreation

OPEN PENDING CLARIFICATION FROM DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Athletics Track.

BMX Track.

Slipping Track.

Public Tennis Courts.

Public open space/ovals.

Outdoor gym equipment.

Parks and playspaces.

Rieschiecks Reserve.

CLOSED

Aquarena.

Stadiums.

Sports Clubs and Pavilions.

All casual bookings for use of facilities (built and open space) are cancelled.

Social and Community Services

CLOSED

Manningham youth services.

L2P learner driver mentor program – still taking referrals.

Waste Services

OPEN

Waste and recycling services.

CLOSED

Garden waste centre – permanently decommissioned

Nillumbik:

CANCELLED

Roving Performance
The Roving Performance in Eltham as part of our Arts and Culture Strategy consultation on Saturday, May 29 has been cancelled.

POSTPONED

Art Bus Tour
The Art Bus Tour on Saturday, June 5 will be postponed.
All ticket holders will be contacted with next steps shortly.

Celebrating the Platypus in the Diamond Creek
The Celebrating the Platypus in the Diamond Creek event on Sunday, May 30 at Edendale Community Environment Farm has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 4.
Further details will be available on Council’s and Edendale’s social media pages, and at https://nillumbik.vic.gov.au/platypus

Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) pop-up consultation
Planned to take place on Tuesday, June 1 at Eltham Lower Park, this pop-up has been rescheduled to the same location on Tuesday, June 15 from 2:30pm–5:30pm.

Friends of Edendale community planting day
Planned as part of the Celebrating the platypus in the Diamond Creek event on Sunday May 30, the community planting for platypus will also be postponed.

“Meet and greet” with local deer controllers and businesses
This event, which was due to take place at the Hurstbridge Community Hub on Sunday, May 30, will be rescheduled soon.

Nillumbik ‘Unmuted’ Business Breakfast
The Nillumbik ‘Unmuted’ Business Breakfast in Yarrambat scheduled for Wednesday, June 2 has been postponed.
A new date is yet to be confirmed.

Wiser Driver program
The upcoming Wiser Driver program, which was due to hold its first session on Monday, May 31, is postponed until further notice.
Registered attendees will be contacted.

TEMPORARILY CLOSED

Lisa May and Emine Charlwood exhibitions
These exhibitions at the Eltham Library Community Gallery are closed until at least June 4.
The exhibitions will reopen in line with DHHS requirements.

The Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Art
This exhibition at Montsalvat is closed until at least June 4.
The exhibition will reopen in line with DHHS requirements.

 A developing situation

The Diary will continue to update this story as more details emerge.
As the cluster grows more exposure sites are added to the list.

Visit the website below for the latest exposure sites:
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites

If you need to get a COVID-19 test, visit the Vic Health website for the latest testing sites and approximate waiting times.
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/where-get-tested-covid-19

For a full list of what businesses can and cannot operate from midnight tonight, see the attached pdf.

Masks and gathering restrictions return to Melbourne

Story updated 26/05/2021 10:11am

AS OF 6pm on Tuesday, May 25, mandatory mask wearing is back for everyone in metropolitan Melbourne.
Melbourne residents will have new restrictions on private indoor and outdoor gatherings and masks are mandatory — unless with a valid exemption — in indoor settings.
On Wednesday 25, the cluster has grown to 15 active cases with a growing list of exposure sites across Melbourne and in Bendigo.
In the 24 hours between May 25 and May 26, there were 26,180 tests and 15,858 vaccine does administered.
At the Wednesday, May 26 Coronavirus briefing, Acting Premier James Merlino highlighted the importance of getting tested by foreshadowed more restrictions may be on the horizon.

“These new cases underscore the importance of people coming forward for testing”.
“We are concerned by the number and the locations.
“I cannot rule out taking some further action.
“The next 24 hours are going to be critical if we are going to have to make any further changes,” he said.

The restrictions are a reaction to an error in the contract tracing investigation of a Wollert man who, after undergoing hotel quarantine in South Australia, subsequently tested positive in early May.
On the original investigation, the wrong Woolworths supermarket was listed as an exposure site.
As the new cluster — currently at five — is gnomically linked to the earlier Wollert case, and following the correction to the Woolworths exposure site, the new restrictions have been introduced to help contain a potential Coronavirus outbreak.
Presently, private indoor gatherings will be limited to five and private outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30.
Masks will also be mandatory in indoor settings, which expands mandatory masks from public transport, health facilities, airports and ride share vehicles, to indoor spaces such as supermarkets, pubs, wedding venues, and schools.
A present, there are no further restrictions in place.
The Diary asked local supermarket owner Julie Quinton about what these new restrictions mean for her staff and the community.

“We have instructed our staff that it is now mandatory for our staff, from 6pm tonight, to wear masks when working at Quintons IGA.
“So as to help protect them from any possibly infected people.
“We ask that customers please follow the government guidelines and also wear masks when shopping at Quintons, so we may all help protect one another.
“At this stage we will be allowing leniency, however, we will be monitoring the outbreak and may adjust our conditions of entry accordingly.
“We also ask that people check in with the QR code when entering our store, as well as sanitising their hands, observing the electronic customer counter at our door, social distancing and following our one way aisles, to best enable social distancing,” she said.

The good news is all current active cases in this cluster have been linked, but as Melburnians are all too aware of, we still have a long way to go.
The Diary will continue to update this story as more details emerge.

As the cluster grows more exposure sites are added to the list.
Visit the website below for the latest exposure sites:
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites

If you need to get a COVID-19 test, visit the Vic Health website for the latest testing sites and approximate waiting times.
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/where-get-tested-covid-19

Festival brings us “together again” this October

IT IS WITH huge enthusiasm that Warrandyte Festival Committee has recently been discussing the return of its much-loved local weekend.
Warrandyte’s unique festival has enjoyed a proud history, dependably entertaining and celebrating the local community since 1977.
Life, of late, has been utterly transformed due to Coronavirus, with many organisations now having to “reimagine” day-to-day activities and one-off events.
Because the untimely emergence of Coronavirus brings with it the horror of cancellation, the when, what, and how of staging a large event needs careful consideration.
The option to crank up a full festival weekend later this year, then attempt to pull that off again in March 2022 is an effort even beyond these committed volunteers.
They are good, those festival-party-people, but not that good — but there will be a celebration this year.
Warrandyte: Together Again will be staged at Stiggants Reserve from Friday evening, October 22 through Saturday, October 23 only — there will be no Sunday activities.
Festivities kick off on Friday night with a short-film extravaganza.
Seating will be suitably spaced, so tickets will be limited — you will need to get yours quick once they go online.
Saturday will feature a solid music programme: kids’ and community choirs and the full thrust of an epic Battle of the Bands.
Two major acts will play the Main Stage between 7pm and 10pm on Saturday night.
Front-of-stage real estate will be prime seating, so don’t forget your picnic blankets (although there will be limited takeaway food and drink for purchase).
There will be dedicated fun for the kids: circus activities and the like.
And there is a wee rumour that “light magician” Hugh McSpedden is planning something special.
Anyone that has had the privilege of seeing one of Hugh’s “spectacles” won’t want to miss that.
Service providers will, as usual, showcase their range of opportunities and the involvement of local community fundraising stalls will be welcomed.
More details of what’s on offer will unfold as preparation for October develops, so keep a lookout in the Diary for updates.
A fully gold-plated edition of Warrandyte Festival — with favourites like the parade, billycart derby and duck race — is on the agenda for March 2022.
In the meantime, festival organisers are working hard on getting everyone together again.
So, tell all your friends and we will see you in October, Warrandyte!
We’ve missed you.

Council pushes back against Christmas Hills land sale

THE NILLUMBIK Council meeting in April considered a request by Melbourne Water to make amendments to the Nillumbik Planning Scheme to facilitate the sale of land in Christmas Hills.
As the Diary reported during the community consultation phase in 2018, Melbourne Water has determined the proposed Watsons Creek Water Catchment is not necessary and so is seeking to subdivide and sell off the land that has been set aside for that project.
In its Land Use Survey, Melbourne Water divided the land into 43 parcels, which they seek to dispose of following rezoning, of which 22 lots would be below the minimum subdivision size in the Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ).
Melbourne Water has indicated it is also seeking to provide controls on lots under the minimum lot size and with significant vegetation/bushfire constraints to prevent future development.
Council is looking to ensure the undersized blocks are unable to be built on in the future.
However, Cr Karen Egan noted that some people who purchased land in the last land sale were caught by a similar provision, when they purchased the land expecting to build their dream home in paradise, but then discovered they were unable to obtain a building permit.
She advocated for a community education program around the sale to ensure no one gets caught like that again.
Councillors met with Melbourne Water representatives in March for a briefing about the requested changes to the planning scheme.
The briefing raised several points including traditional owners’ rights, bushfire management, inappropriately sized blocks, and the future of the Mechanics Institute and tennis courts.
In a letter to Council on March 31, Melbourne Water said the Mechanics Hall and the tennis courts are currently within Public Use Zone 1 (PUZ1).

“This zone cannot be retained on the land due to the surplus nature of the land with respect to Melbourne Water’s ownership.
An alternate zone is required.”

The letter said the community has indicated a desire to retain both the Mechanics Institute Hall and the tennis courts as publicly available assets.

“Melbourne Water has proposed to facilitate this through the Masterplan and rezoning which supports Council purchase and ownership of this land through application of the PUZ6 (Local Government).
However, if Council are unable to purchase the land an alternate zoning (not a public land zone) will be required that still facilitates use by the community.”

Melbourne Water then suggested the Mechanics’ Institute Hall should come within Rural Conservation zoning as the property is privately owned.
At the April Council meeting, representatives from Christmas Hills Landcare, CFA and other groups used public question time to request Council meet with them about the land sale and the impacts on the existing community.
Mayor Peter Perkins advised the groups that Council would indeed facilitate a future meeting with the Christmas Hills community representatives.
Deliberations were then made at the April Ordinary Council Meeting regarding Council’s role within the divestment.
Sugarloaf Ward Councillor, Ben Ramcharan moved a motion rejecting the proposed amendments to the planning scheme.
“We know the land is going to be sold, it has to be sold, that is a fact and what we need to do is work with the Community, Melbourne Water, and the Land Planning Service to limit the impact of this on the local environment and local community,” Cr Ramcharan said.
The tennis courts were built using bushfire relief funding and are very well valued by the Christmas Hills community, and are managed by a committee of management and run as a not-for-profit.
“It is about the community meeting together in a community space,” said Cr Ramcharan.
A spokesperson for the Christmas Hills community, David Evans said the tennis courts are already managed by the Mechanic’s Hall committee, and their hope is the courts could be incorporated into a title that includes the hall.
“The courts could not be gifted to the committee as it is a private entity, so we hope that the Council could be some sort of intermediary in that respect.
The Council officer’s report noted Melbourne Water’s proposal would cause a huge impost on council in facilitating often complex planning applications, be a financial burden on council with an increased population requiring additional infrastructure, such as roads, and highlighted the additional work that CFA will need to undertake in mitigation works.
Council unanimously voted on a three-point motion.

That Council:

  • Does not support the proposed amendment to the Nillumbik Planning Scheme by Melbourne Water to facilitate the divestment of its land at Christmas Hills in its current form for the reasons identified in this report.
  • Authorises the Mayor to write to the Minister for Planning and local MPs requesting that the Christmas Hills Tennis Courts be retained by Melbourne Water or gifted to Council in order to protect it as a valuable community asset.
  • Directs officers to work with councillors and the Christmas Hills community to prepare a submission to the future Government Land Planning Service Advisory Committee process in consideration of the proposed amendment.

The motion will, in effect, remove Council from overseeing the planning scheme amendment and will see them only as a submitter to the Government Land Planning Service Advisory Committee (GLPSAC).
However, Council has agreed to advocate on behalf of the Christmas Hills Community during any future consultation.
Doug Evans told the Diary the community was happy that the Council chose not to support Melbourne Water’s proposal.
“We hope we can find a position both Council and the community can support and speak together with one voice when GLPSAC have their submission phase.”

Country Club in crosshairs over kangaroo cull

OUTRAGE and immediate action from the local community and local wildlife protection groups brought about a stay-of-execution for the kangaroos at Heritage Golf and Country Club, on Tuesday, April 27.
With mere hours’ notice, owners of properties adjacent to the golf club on the edge of Wonga Park were informed a kangaroo cull would take place on the grounds that evening.
This information was immediately shared on various community group and wildlife protection social media pages.
The information was shared widely, Warrandyte Diary has recorded 221 comments across 27 shares of its post with many comments expressing distaste at the advertised action, there was also some debate around the issues of dealing with wildlife populations, as Melbourne’s suburban growth continues to place settlements in wildlife territory or push populations into green wedge areas.
The Heritage Golf and Country Club’s own Facebook page received 838 comments on their most recent post with people protesting the kangaroo cull.
Local wildlife protection group Save the Kinley Kangas (STKK) mounted an on-site protest, on the evening of Tuesday, April 27 and through combined community action were able to postpone the cull.
A further demonstration was scheduled for Wednesday, April 28 but this was called off at the last minute when demonstrators were able to get assurances the cull would be postponed for the time being.
STKK is a team of highly skilled veterinary and wildlife experts that mobilised with the community in response to a proposed cull of the kangaroo mob on the Kinley development in Lilydale.
The Diary spoke with STKK representative Alyssa Wormald.
“We worked collaboratively with the developer to produce a high-level relocation proposal for the Kinley kangaroos, based on proven best-practice methodology,” she said.
Ms Wormald told the Diary they had heard about the Heritage Golf Course cull, via social media, at 2pm that afternoon and that the cull was a financial decision and not about population control.
Ms Wormald also informs the Diary that while the cull is temporarily postponed, the kangaroos are still at risk.
“Our understanding is that this is a poorly considered financial move to sell the carcasses for pet food.
“According to long term residents and staff, the kangaroos cause no trouble and are beloved by locals and guests alike.”
7 News reported the General Manager of the Club intends to go ahead with the cull as soon as they can.
“We hope to convince them that it would be a great PR move to cancel the cull and show they are a club that respects wildlife and the community by working with us to resolve any genuine issues with the kangaroos,” she said.
The Diary also asked the group about how the response would have played out if notice had been days or even weeks in advance.
“It’s deeply concerning that culls are allowed to go ahead with so little notice and no community consultation.
“It is extremely distressing to the many people who care about these local mobs.
“If we had known about it in advance, we could have reached out to the club to provide our assistance pro-bono.
“We could have worked together towards a really positive outcome for all involved.
“As it is, we have offered our services to the club but we have had no response, possibly because they have been bombarded with communications from concerned community members.
“It is essential that wildlife be considered in future planning, preserving habitat and green corridors wherever possible.”
The Diary then asked Alyssa about how we manage wildlife in the face of suburban development.
“If wildlife cannot be adequately accommodated, relocation must be the next step.
“The State Government has an outdated resistance to the relocation of kangaroos based on flawed research.
“We know experts like ours can safely and humanely relocate kangaroos and this should always be the first option.
“The government makes it extremely difficult to gain approval to move native macropods yet there are no restrictions on moving introduced farm animals that are environmentally damaging.
“It is non-sensical,” she said.
The Diary also reached out to Heritage Golf and Country Club for comment but are yet to receive a response.
STKK report that they have negotiated a cease-fire while talks take place to find a solution.
The Diary continues to monitor the situation.

Fitzsimons Lane roundabout

An update and Call for Action

A group of outraged Eltham residents are continuing their campaign to get Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) to pause construction work on the proposed “upgrade of the Fitzsimons Lane roundabout”.
The approaches to this roundabout are the northern gateway to the areas bushland landscape character, which they are calling on to be conserved.
The objectors to the project say the scale of this upgrade is totally unnecessary.
Diary readers will have read about project workers cutting down and chipping all trees on the roundabouts on February 15, 2021, during a COVID lockdown.

Eltham locals Vicky Shukuroglou and Nicole Johnstone became so disturbed at the pattern of refusal of access to information and poor community consultation they decided to call a meeting at the Eltham Golf Club on March 31.
They said the community was being systematically manipulated by MRPV through the implementation of a mis-directed corporate stakeholder management strategy and wished to canvas and respond to these concerns.

The March issue of the Diary reported about the claims of deficit in consultation, the overkill scale of the design, inaccuracies in the traffic modelling figures and the dismissive response to an expertly prepared alternative, lower impact design submitted by Eltham Community Action Group.

Protest Action continues

Those attending the March meeeting were treated to presentations by three engineering experts on the alternative plan and on traffic modelling together with a paper on the legal issues surrounding the process and interaction with MRPV.
Speakers told the meeting “this is not a normal road upgrade”, as its inclusion within the scope of the greater North East Link Project means that the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade falls within the grand scale thinking, funding and legal Great Wall boundary of the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009.
The Fitzsimons Lane Bridge is the next upstream Yarra River crossing to the Bansksia Street Bridge and therefore to the North East Link, hence why they consider Fitzsimons Lane should be “fixed” too.
In a paper, Interpreting the Fitzsimons Lane Traffic Forecasts, presented to the March meeting, Civil Engineer Denis Johnston contends the MRPV traffic forecasts do not justify the upgrade.

This paper is available on the website below.

The report discusses:

  1. the MRPV assumed a traffic volume growth rate of more than three times the average growth rate forecast in the NE Link modelling.
  2. MRPV officers said they did not account for the traffic relief of the NE Link opening in 2027 – when asked why, officers said  ‘the business case people said not to’.
  3. MRPV did not account for the reduction in traffic flows on Fitzsimons Lane that will occur when the NE Link opens in 2027 (approximately 25 per cent in peak periods according to the NE Link modelling).
    Figure 1 from the paper demonstrates this upgrade cannot be justified on traffic volume grounds.

After 2027 the reduced traffic flows can be handled efficiently by the existing roundabout.
The alternative design which is kinder to the environment, does not include a retaining wall up to five metres in height, is safer for cyclists would be a cheaper and better solution.

Further Action

The wrap up message from the meeting was to renew community protests to call for better conversations and transparent governance, as the refusal by authorities and Government to seriously listen to the community justifies a “Call for a Pause”.

A revamped website now provides further details and contact list for protest submissions: www.elthamroundabout.wixsite.com/my-site

Fact Sheets

Meanwhile MRPV has released a series of Fact Sheets outlining different aspects of the project.

A Fact Sheet on the design process has outlined the recent changes they have made to the project design during the course of 2021.

“Design refinements that have further reduced impacts to trees include:
• minimising the works and footprint of the intersections where possible
• project-wide design changes to avoid impacting underground services
• realignment of the Porter Street eastern section (saving over 10 trees including two river red gums and four sugar gums)
• maintaining the kerb line and minimising earthworks on the eastern side of Fitzsimons Lane at the main road intersection
• reduced retaining wall footprint at the Main/Fitzsimons intersection.”

They have also released pamphlets on Environmental Impact, Dust, Noise, and Business Support during construction.

The documents can be found at roadprojects.vic.gov.au/projects/fitzsimons-lane-upgrade/factsheets

Fitzsimons Lane River Peel relocation

ONE OF THE City of Manningham’s most recognisable landmarks is about to move to a new home.
The River Peel sculpture will be relocated as part of the Fitzsimons Road Upgrade, being delivered by Major Road Projects Victoria.
The artwork is currently situated at the Fitzsimons Lane and Porter Street roundabout, which is being redeveloped to remove the roundabout and install traffic lights.
River Peel will be carefully dismantled and temporarily placed into storage before being reinstalled further along Fitzsimons Lane, close to the Yarra River crossing.
Manningham Mayor Cr Andrew Conlon described the River Peel as an “iconic local artwork signifying the unique river landscape and orcharding past of the local area of Doncaster and Templestowe”.
He said the relocation of River Peel from the roundabout to farther along Fitzsimons Lane will allow residents and visitors to continue to enjoy this sculptural piece in Manningham.
Work to remove the sculpture from its current home will begin on April 8, with the relocation expected to be completed by the middle of the year.
River Peel was created in 2001 by artists Michael Bellemo and Catriona Macleod.
It draws on the local heritage and surrounding landscape, imitating the Yarra River as it bends and turns through the area, and an apple peel to reflect the history of orchards in Doncaster and Templestowe.
MRPV has worked closely with Mr Bellemo and Ms Macleod, Manningham Council, Parks Victoria, Department of Transport, and Wurundjeri as the Registered Aboriginal Party to agree on the relocation site for River Peel.
The move will ensure the sculpture continues to be a gateway piece to Manningham on Fitzsimons Lane.
The Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade will redevelop four intersections along Fitzsimons Lane, which is a major thoroughfare connecting Melbourne’s northern suburbs with the city and eastern suburbs, and is used by more than 60,000 vehicles every day.
Major Road Projects Victoria Program Director Dipal Sorathia said the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade has been designed to respond to the area’s growing transport needs, while also respecting the heritage of the local community.
“We’re proud we’ve been able to help find a new home for River Peel, which ensures it keeps its status as an important Manningham gateway piece for decades to come.”
He said, once completed, the road will be safer for all road users and provide drivers with faster, more reliable journeys.

Community objection

The project remains a focus of strong community protest.
The large-scale removal of trees at the Main Road and Fitzsimons Lane intersection — during the February lockdown — has not sat well with many residents, who felt the timing was a smack in the face for objectors.
Three residents local to the roundabout have become alarmed at MRPV’s interaction with local Councils and the community during the design stage and early works.
Vicki Shukuroglou and members of the Johnstone family convened a well-attended meeting at the Eltham bowls Club last week to report on meetings with MRPV and to plan further protest action.
Local engineers told the meeting they had presented calculations and plans supporting their contention that the 25 per cent reductions in traffic volume (14,000 vehicles per day) resulting from the North East Link have not been factored into the 6-8 lane design, only to be told the MPV design supports the business case for the Project.
Other speakers highlighted gaps in the environmental approvals and processes.
Ms Shukuroglou called for this meeting be the beginning of a call to “Pause this Project”.
A full report of the meeting will be published in the April WD Bulletin.
MRPV said in a statement, the project is the first in a multi-billion-dollar pipeline of road upgrades in Melbourne’s north as part of Victoria’s “Big Build”.
The statement said the project is generating much-needed jobs as part of the State Government’s COVID-19 response.
MRPV remains committed to delivering the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade by the end of 2025.

Staying local to honour their service this Anzac Day

AFTER LAST year’s lockdown saw Anzac Day commemorations much changed, Victorians will be able to honour the sacrifice of our service men and women in person this year.
While attendance at the Dawn Service and March to the Shrine of Remembrance is to be limited this year, local services will be held at local RSLs across the state, including Warrandyte.
The Victorian Government has worked closely with RSL Victoria to ensure veterans and their families could march this year, but encourages Victorians to stay local on Anzac Day.

Chief Executive Officer of RSL Victoria Jamie Twidale said RSL Branches and local councils across the state are gearing up for an Anzac Day that will see the whole Victorian community commemorate in a COVID Safe way.“This Anzac Day — as we have done every year for over a century — we will remember them — Lest we forget.”

RSL sub-branch, local government and community services are being planned, so finding a service close to home is an easy, meaningful, and a COVID Safe way to remember those who served.
The Anzac Day March can proceed safely with 5,500 people, in line with the application submitted by the RSL and approved under Victoria’s Public Events Framework.
The traditional Dawn Service and Commemorative Services will also be held with smaller numbers in partnership with the Shrine of Remembrance, and streamed for all Victorians to watch on Facebook.
The Warrandyte RSL has advised that the traditional Anzac Day march and service will proceed on Sunday, April 25.
The march will step off at 10:30am in Yarra Street, from the carpark opposite Whipstick Gully Road.
A service will be held at the cenotaph in the RSL Memorial grounds at the conclusion of the march at 10:45am.
Secretary of the Warrandyte RSL, Del Caulfield said there will be limited reserved seating available from the RSL balcony for elderly or disabled veterans or those with restricted mobility.
Attendants will also be available to anyone requiring assistance on the day.
“Regrettably due to COVID-19 restrictions, the community morning tea which usually follows the service cannot be provided,” she said.
The Lions Club of Warrandyte will instead offer a sausage sizzle within the RSL grounds with all proceeds going to the Lions Club of Warrandyte.Police have confirmed that Yarra Street, will be closed between Whipstick Gully and the Warrandyte Bridge for the duration of the march.

42K Media will again be working with the Diary to produce a Livestream of the Warrandyte service.
Details on how to view the stream will be made available in the week leading up to the event.
Readers can also share their show of remembrance from home by taking part in #lightupthedawn on social media, while observing the traditional minute’s silence from their driveways, front yards, or balconies.
Anzac Day, April 25 — one of our most important national days — began as a commemoration of the landing of Australian and New Zealand forces at Gallipoli in 1915 during World War One.
It has grown to become a reflection on the service and sacrifice of all Australians who have served in conflict or on peacekeeping operations.
On Anzac Day, donations to the Anzac Appeal are encouraged through anzacappeal.com.au.
To reserve seats or for any further information about the local service please phone Del Caulfield on 0481 307 696 or leave a message at warrandytersl@gmail.com.

 

New dog on-lead area around Warrandyte Lions Park

MANNINGHAM COUNCIL has made changes to dog controls in the Warrandyte River Reserve to ensure dogs remain on lead near the Warrandyte Bridge including the recently upgraded Lions Park area.
The change has been introduced to support safety for residents and visitors to this area and those enjoying the newly upgraded community facilities within the reserve.
Dogs must be on lead within the newly designated on lead area, which is a 260-metre section of the Warrandyte River Reserve, between 183 Yarra Street and the Warrandyte Bridge.
The new on lead area is in accordance with Council’s resolution in September 2020, which introduced Order Number 4 Dog and Cat Controls across Manningham.
This order was introduced in line with the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
There are still sections within the Warrandyte River Reserve that are designated as off lead areas.
In Manningham, dogs are only permitted off lead in designated areas providing the dog is kept under control at all times.
Dogs must be on lead within 15 metres of:
• public barbecue facilities
• children’s play equipment
• organised sporting events
• approved community functions or public outdoor meetings.
There can be penalties for owners who let their dog off their lead in areas where it is not permitted.
It is important to note that dogs are not permitted within the Federation Playspace area of this reserve.
For more information, on dog controls including on and off lead areas, visit manningham.vic.gov.au /changes-to-dog-on-lead-areas
or call 9840 9333.

Will gives back to the life savers

GOOD FRIDAY is a special day on the calendar for Warrandyte CFA volunteer Firefighter Will Hodgson.
It is the day he gets to give back to the place that saved his life.
Will told the Bulletin that if it were not Paediatric Surgeon Nate Myers at the Royal Children’s Hospital, he would not be here today.
Born with a diaphragmatic hernia, Will’s initial prognosis was not good.
“It means that there were a whole heap of organs sitting in my lungs,” he said.
He said even today it is a technical operation, but in 1976 “it was a huge deal”.
Born in Box Hill Hospital, the doctors there struggled to keep Will alive.
“Every time they took me off a ventilator, I just dropped my bundle,” he said.
He said Box Hill admitted it was beyond them so, while Will’s mother Debbie stayed on the Maternity ward at Box Hill, Will’s father Ian went with him to the Mercy to try and get some answers.
The Mercy too ran out of ideas, telling Ian that Will was not going to make it.
“They asked him if I wanted to be baptised,” said Will.
Eventually, Mr Nate Myers from the Royal Children’s was called in to take a look and told Ian that he had an idea of what was wrong with his baby son.
“I went to the Children’s and, thanks to Mr Myers, I came out the other side healthy”.
Will spent the next six months at the Children’s and then next five years with follow up appointments, travelling in from North Warrandyte.
Will said that he is grateful for the life that the Children’s Hospital has given him.
“The best thing for me is to acknowledge the sun going up in the morning and going down at night, because you have been lucky enough to be given a life — through one specialist who has been able to identify it — and so now I am here.”
Will has since dedicated his life to helping others.
Following the Pound Bend Fires in 1991, at the age of just 15, Will decided to volunteer with the North Warrandyte Fire Brigade and then when he started his own family he moved across the river to Warrandyte, and transferred to Warrandyte CFA.
From the start, he made it a priority to get out to shake tins for the Good Friday Appeal, and when North Warrandyte didn’t shake tins, he went out with South Warrandyte.
“I jumped across to South Warrandyte to shake tins, with Mark Kennedy and Greg Kennedy, and I do remember us being underage, but we were shaking the tin and that is all that mattered,” he said.
Will has collected money each year since, and even last year when restrictions made it impossible to shake tins, Warrandyte CFA set up a virtual tin shake, raising around $4,500 for the RCH.
“I think the online collection was a good thing, because when Warrandyte shakes a tin, it shakes a tin in Bulleen, so we are just picking up commuters, but being online gave an opportunity for the Warrandyte community, if they wanted, to donate through the Warrandyte Fire Brigade.”
They will have the best of both worlds this year, with the virtual tin shake online while brigades will be out collecting at intersections across Manningham: Warrandyte at Bulleen and Manningham Roads, North Warrandyte at Reynolds and Blackburn Roads, and South Warrandyte at Mitcham and Springvale Roads.
So, if you are out and about on Good Friday, chip in for a great cause, and if you are not, hop online to give to “the kids”.
www.virtualtinshake.com.au

Community roadworks forum

Following the commencement of the roadworks at Eltham Roundabout, residents say there has been ongoing controversy and community concern about the Major Roads Project’s upgrade, and the associated planning and consultation processes.

Vicky  Shukuroglou, along with other “motivated residents” have organised a forum in response to strong community interest.

Vicky told the Diary that there are “huge gaps in publicly available information and the many challenges associated with Government planning processes”.

She said numerous communities right across Victoria are experiencing these issues.

“We feel there is an urgent and widespread need for change and we believe that this will only be realised through awareness raising and community empowerment.

“We invite anyone to attend to learn more and share views in respectful, factual conversation.”

The forum is to be held next  at 7pm Wednesday evening, March 31 at the Eltham Bowls Club, Susan Street Eltham.

Places are limited, so register your attendance at: roundaboutforum@fastmail.com

FIRE RESTRICTIONS are scheduled to end later this month in Country Fire Authority (CFA) areas of Manningham and Nillumbuk.
A statement from the CFA said, in the latest Australian Seasonal Outlook, above average summer rainfall has led to a reduced bushfire risk for autumn.
These conditions have led to a reduced fire activity in both grasslands and forests this summer.
Victoria will continue to experience milder conditions and lower bushfire potential over the coming months.
CFA District 13’s Fire Danger Period will end at 1am on Monday, March 22 in the following Municipalities:

  • City of Knox
  • City of Manningham (CFA area)
  • City of Maroondah (CFA area)
  • Yarra Ranges Council (CFA area)

At 1am, on Monday, March 29, the Fire Danger Period (FDP) will end for CFA District 14, which includes the following Municipalities:

  • City of Melton
  • City of Wyndham
  • Shire of Nillumbik
  • City of Whittlesea
  • City of Hume
  • City of Banyule

CFA District 13 Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Colin Brown said the grass is too green in some areas within the District for fire to be sustained.

“Meanwhile other areas may see low intensity fire sustained with low flame heights and controlled with minimal effort,” he said.

A/ACFO Brown emphasised that while the FDP is coming to an end in some areas, it is still important to remain vigilant.

“We’re urging everyone to stay safe, whether you’re living in or travelling to high bushfire risk areas,” he said.

CFA District 14 Assistant Chief Fire Officer Christian Thorley also reminded people that even though the fire conditions are favourable, vigilance is still required.

“Please monitor the conditions on hot, dry and windy days, as we may still see some days of elevated fire risk,” he said.

While the Fire Danger Period will come to an end, it is still important that residents check the local conditions are safe for any burn-off they were considering undertaking.

“You must register your burn-offs, check weather conditions and follow local council laws and regulations.
“Registering your burn-off ensures that if somebody reports smoke, the incident will be cross-checked with the burn-off register, which will then prevent CFA crews wasting resources and showing up at your door,” AFCO Thorley said.

Landowners can now register their burn-off online at firepermits.vic.gov.au.
Burn-offs can also be registered by calling 1800 668 511 or emailing burnoffs@esta.vic.gov.au.
When conducting burn-offs, remain alert and always have resources on hand to extinguish the fire.

Keep your burn off safe and legal

Check fire restrictions in your area and always register your burn at www.firepermits.vic.gov.au.
Check and monitor weather conditions — particularly wind.
To avoid unnecessary calls to emergency services, notify your neighbours beforehand.
Leave a three-metre fire break, free from flammable materials around the burn.
Have sufficient equipment and water to stop the fire spreading.
Never leave a burn-off unattended — stay for its entire duration.
If your burn-off gets out of control, call 000 immediately.

Featured image courtesy CFA Media

Information Warrandyte shuts up shop

INFORMATION WARRANDYTE closed its doors during the COVID lockdown, and now operator Doncare has decided not to continue operating from the Warrandyte Community Centre site.
Originally the Warrandyte Citizens Advice Bureau, the service commenced operations in 1986 in the Old Post Office and, since November 1991, has been situated at the Warrandyte Community Centre, operating as Information Warrandyte Inc.
In 2017, Information Warrandyte, in partnership with Doncare, commenced delivery of Emergency Relief services following discussions about the provision of local services in the Warrandyte area.
After suffering some significant hurdles in 2019, Information Warrandyte sought the support of Doncare to continue operating.
Doncare provided the following statement:

“Following lengthy discussions with Manningham Council, in March 2020 the Committee of Management agreed to wind-up Information Warrandyte’s Incorporated Association due to the lack of recurring funding.
At that time, with the support of the outgoing committee and subsequent funding from Manningham City Council, Doncare committed to not only continue the services offered from this site, but to expand and build a strong and robust connection to the Warrandyte community.
Of course, no-one could have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic and its profound impact on the Australian economy and society.
Like many other Community Service Organisations, Doncare faced a wide range of sustainability-related implications as the impacts of COVID emerged.
The financial implications on our fundraising due to the temporary closure of the op shops and cessation of fund-raising events and initiatives has been detrimental to our income streams.
While the Op Shops have since reopened, due to a reduction in volunteers and the current economic crisis, the recovery to Doncare’s income has not eventuated, thus, to remain afloat Doncare has implemented cost-saving measures, including reducing its paid workforce from the top down.
Sadly, the stretch on Doncare’s resources has meant that we are not able to adequately resource a second site.
Therefore, with a very heavy heart, Doncare will not be operating from the Warrandyte Community Centre.
Doncare strives to provide innovative, high quality, person-centred services and we pride ourselves on developing initiatives that place the organisation in a robust position to respond to community demand in Warrandyte.
While our plans to deliver services from the Warrandyte Community Centre have been hampered by COVID-19, we continue to provide services to members of the Warrandyte community from MC2 in Doncaster.
Whether we are supporting socially isolated seniors with volunteer supported recreational activities, or paying their winter bills, helping disadvantaged kids get to school or to camp, providing counselling to teens or families, helping women and children escape family violence, or simply being a source of community connection, Doncare’s presence in Manningham, and particularly Warrandyte continues.”

Information Warrandyte has a long and proud history, and some volunteers had provided their valuable service for decades.
One volunteer, Joyce Wilks provided this reflection on the legacy of Information Warrandyte:
“It was run by a voluntary Committee of Management and at their peak they had as many as 38 volunteers.
Most Information Warrandyte volunteers completed a 50-hour accredited training course, and a few volunteers were also accredited to offer Tax Help for eligible low-income clients.
Many volunteers were very loyal, and even after moving away from Warrandyte they continued to come in weekly to do their shift.
Three volunteers put in over 30 years of service.
However modern technology and smart phones took a toll on Information Warrandyte with less visitors and clients needing their services, so the decision was made to disband after serving the Warrandyte community for 34 years.
A final get together was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic until March 2021 when many of the volunteers enjoyed catching up with each other at Petty’s Orchard for morning tea.”

New hope

The good news is that all is not lost.
Manningham Council is actively working to re-establish a service for the Warrandyte Community.
Manningham Yarra Ward councillor, Carli Lange told the Diary:
“Many community groups would love to utilise the space and to work together for the benefit of the community.
“Manningham Council will conduct an expression of interest and looks to have a vital support facility for its community”.
Support services continue to be available from Doncare at their Doncaster facility at 687 Doncaster Road.
The Diary will keep across the issue and will provide updates on the reinstatement of welfare services for our community.

Your daily coffee — at what price?

IN EARLY FEBRUARY, café and restaurant workers in Adelaide’s Chinatown started protesting about wage theft and unfair working conditions.
The public protest was in response to a video recording of a young worker asking her boss to pay her what she was entitled to — the recording then shows an alleged assault between the worker and her employer.
Needless to say, it sparked the protests.
We have all heard about wage theft at some of our most well-known restaurants (and other large companies) in Melbourne, which led me to wonder — what is happening in our own backyard?
We use our consumer power to support businesses and industries doing the right thing — whether they use free-trade coffee, free-range eggs, or discounts when you bring your own cup.
But what about the more obvious issue of treating the often-young workers that serve us and make our coffees also ethically (and legally) by paying the right wage?
We all want to support our local businesses — there are 190 registered food businesses in Manningham.
Wouldn’t you prefer to support those businesses doing the right thing?

What is wage theft?

Wage theft is basically not being paid what you are entitled to as stipulated under your relevant industrial award.
It also includes underpaying penalty rates, superannuation, overtime and other entitlements.
Making unauthorised deductions from an employee’s pay is also considered wage theft.
It is a “practice” found in businesses big and small.
The practice is so extensive that it has become some kind of warped business model — a business model based on exploiting people — in particular our young and vulnerable people.
I spoke with Tim Kennedy, the National Secretary of the United Workers Union (which covers hospitality workers).
He said the problem is the norm in the hospitality sector — which employs mostly young people.
“What we found over a long period of time is that wage theft is not an aberration it’s a systemic operational tool.”
How has it become the norm?
Mr Kennedy said: “This was less of a problem about a generation ago — when unions had right of entry and could check that workplaces were doing the right thing.
“Once these rights were removed there were no checks.
“So no one’s been checking for a whole generation and that’s why we have the problems we have now.
“Now it’s a race to the bottom.
“We’ve seen what big businesses have done — they’ve set up systems to systematically steal wages from their employees.
“It’s a sophisticated well-resourced and super profitable system.”

Warrandyte is not immune

It is everywhere.
Sometimes — despite all the fresh air, wildlife and majestic gum trees — bad things happen in Warrandyte too, just like everywhere else in Melbourne and beyond.
The experiences of local young people shed a light on what has become the norm in Warrandyte and surrounding areas.
However, some Facebook users were shocked to even think that this could be happening in Warrandyte.
“I would expect they all pay the correct rate”, said one person.
“Is there any reason as to why you suspect they aren’t?”, asked another.
Even council expects businesses to be doing the right thing.
Manningham Mayor, Cr Andrew Conlon said:
“We expect all businesses, including restaurants and cafés, to comply with the requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009, which include fairly paying employees at a rate no less than the national minimum wage.”
Despite expectations, wage theft is happening.
Meanwhile comments (public and private) were posted about young people’s experiences.
As one parent said:
“It is the norm it seems, to not have staff on the books and to pay below minimum wage.
There are also no penalty rates paid.”
And a young person wrote:
“I don’t want to say it publicly from fear of losing my job.
They don’t pay weekend or holiday rates, and don’t like it when we take breaks.
They didn’t pay me for my trial shift.”
And another young person said:
“I used to get paid $8 an hour.
People are in such denial that it would ever happen it Warrandyte.”
Even people with extensive hospitality experience have rarely worked for venues paying the award rates.
“I worked in Hospo for 15 years and I think I only got paid the legal wage at one café.
I worked in a few Warrandyte cafes and restaurants and all paid cash in hand and nowhere near the correct amount.
One Warrandyte café even paid me $11 an hour, but being 17 at the time, you don’t really think to report them or tell anyone.”
Fear of losing their job, not knowing what they should be paid, compounded with living in a small town makes standing up for yourself difficult.
And if you do ask questions, it has been people’s experience that their shifts have dried up.
Said one local: “If the employee does question pay or conditions, suddenly they have no more shifts as there are 20 other unsuspecting keen-as kids wanting a job; they just keep turning them over.”
And by another person, “Unfortunately I doubt very much will change as there are always so many kids trying to find work, that they’re easy to replace.”

What should a young person be paid?

Minimum wages are covered in the Hospitality Industry (General) Award.
There are different pay rates if you are 19 years or younger.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has a pay calculator so you can check what you should be getting.
Employers are allowed to pay you more than the minimum rates.
If I am under 16 and work as a casual at the “introductory level”, I should be getting $12.40 per hour for hours worked before 7pm, Monday to Friday (the evenings attract an additional $2.31 per hour), Saturday the rate is $14.88, Sunday it is $15.63, and public holidays $24.80.
If I am an adult, aged 20 years or older, then the introductory rate is $24.80, $29.76 on Saturdays, $34.72 on Sundays and $49.60 on public holidays.
The introductory level is for the first three months of employment — the absolute basic pay rate, otherwise the minimum rate for an adult employed as a casual (Level 1) is $25.51 ($20.41 if you are employed part- or full-time).
Thereafter, the rates increase depending on your age, your qualifications and the hours and days of the week that you work.
You can see how it can be confusing for young people — especially for a 16-year-old who is starting their first ever job.
And you should get paid for a “trial” shift.
“I worked countless trial shifts over 15 years of hospo jobs and never saw a single dollar for it.
“Hopefully times have changed now,” said one local person.
Unfortunately, things have not changed.

What does it teach young people?

If we accept wage theft in our community, if we accept it as a “they all do it” business model, what are we teaching our young people?
That exploitation is ok.
If you say something, you will lose your job, you will ruin someone’s “business”, you won’t get a good reference.
Silence perpetuates exploitation.
Silence perpetuates injustice.
We teach our young people to be silent in their very first workplace, what will happen in other workplaces, at school, at university, in the family, and in their intimate relationships?
Do we want them to stay silent when things are not fair?
When they are being exploited?
When they are being controlled for fear of the consequences?
I suspect not.

What young people can do

The United Workers Union has developed tools for people in the hospitality industry.
Mr Kennedy said there are two tools available, the Hospo Voice Mobilise App and Fair Plate.
“The Mobilise App is a pay and conditions checker.
“So you can enter what you’re getting paid and see if you’re being paid correctly.
“The app was launched at the end of 2020 and we want young people to get on board,” Mr Kennedy said.
He said it is about empowering young people.
“The power imbalance makes it all the worse for young people.
“So the tools we have developed in Hospo Voice aim to educate young people about their rights in the workplace and how they can deal with that power imbalance.”
The other tool the UWU has set up is Fair Plate.
“On this website, and through the app, hospitality workers can rate places where they work as to whether they respect workers’ rights — it’s a reputational tool.”
He said you can also use this website to find places that are doing the right thing.
“If their first model of the workplace is exploiting you — and this is your first exposure to the job market — it’s a bad exposure.
“Hospo Voice is an advocacy and education initiative and we’re hoping that young people can take some agency through these online tools,” said Mr Kennedy.
Last year the Parliament of Victoria passed the Wage Theft Act (2020) (due to come into effect on 1 July, 2021.
Cr Conlon said Manningham Council is aware of the new Act.“We will work with the Victorian Government to communicate and promote the legislation among local businesses and networks in Manningham,” Cr Conlon said.
How effective will this Act be?
There are potential problems with the Federal Government’s response to this issue.
At the state level, having a criminal response to wage theft, as opposed to a civil response, requires a higher burden of proof.
Mr Kennedy said: “It remains to be seen if a Wage Theft Commission at a state level can be effective, but it is a clear indication from government that wage theft is a really big problem that needs a response.”
Let’s hope the new laws do make a real difference to the working lives of young people.
It is clear that it might cost businesses more to pay staff what they are entitled to, and therefore might cost customers more — paying a fair price for fairly paid work.
But the cost of not doing so — especially for our young workers — is far greater.

Links and resources

Download the Hospo Voice app and read their blog posts for more information:
www.hospovoice.org.au/
Fair Plate website – write a review of your workplace; see if your local café is listed as a fair place to work and eat: fairplate.org.au/
Link to the Fair Work Ombudsman to find out the rights and responsibilities of employers — especially for young workers and students: www.fairwork.gov.au/find-help-for/young-workers-and-students
Find out what the pay rate is using this Pay Calculator by the Fair Work Ombudsman:
calculate.fairwork.gov.au/FindYourAward
A guide for employers employing young people:
www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/best-practice-guides/an-employers-guide-to-employing-young-workers
The Wage Theft Act (2020) is available at:
www.legislation.vic.gov.au/as-made/acts/wage-theft-act-2020 or www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/vic/num_act/wta202021o2020153/

The superpowers of CFA women

HELD ANNUALLY on March 8, International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over a century, with the event’s website claiming the first gatherings were held back in 1911.
The issues of the time were women’s right to work, vote and ending discrimination.
110 years on, while we still continue the fight for gender equality, there is much improvement to be celebrated…and the women of Warrandyte CFA are no exception.
Often referred to as a “bit of a boys’ club”, in fact CFA focuses on being inclusive, no matter the gender.
Currently, Warrandyte CFA has 10 female volunteers, the majority of whom regularly respond to emergency pages day-and-night, or provide active support in other ways.
Women bring the same firefighting and rescue skills as men, with some of Warrandyte’s female members taking on years of specialist training, qualifying them to manage a broader scope of roles during an emergency.
The brigade’s support roles are open to both men and women, and it is not the stereotypical mix you would expect, in fact our current secretary is a man.
The skill set women hold is expansive, with roles in training, recruitment, community education and officer positions.
A few are also CFA staff supporting other volunteer brigades around the state and can be called upon to perform extra duties during large-scale bushfire events and managing emergency warnings from the Incident Control Centres.
Warrandyte CFA recruited its first female firefighter in 1981 when the station moved to its current location on Harris Gully Road.
Prior to that, women who attempted to apply were rejected by the captain of the time; the cited reason being the old station had no female facilities.
According to former Captain, now Deputy Group Officer Shane Murphy, the introduction of women into the brigade promoted positive cultural changes.
“Member’s self-check behaviours and language evolved with female presence”, he said “as a result, more respectful attitudes were adopted towards everyone, not just the women”.
Reminiscing over his first house fire call in the early 80’s he said: “It was a female who was first through the door”.
1996 saw Warrandyte CFA elect its first female Lieutenant.
Kate Murphy, still a current member, was elected by her male and female peers and reflected on the time as “of complete support” and that “equality and diversity was encouraged”.
Since then, and still to this day, women have held several leadership roles at Warrandyte CFA, both in officer positions and within the Brigade Management Team.
It is not uncommon nowadays for women to be captain.
Females are afforded every opportunity within CFA, and it falls to the leadership to ensure members are seen for their capabilities, not their gender.
So, when will Warrandyte see its first female captain?
Mr Murphy said: “On the fireground, it is non-gendered — it is a team operating with a common focus — but if you’re looking for it, you see females everywhere”.
The path has been paved, but women must still demonstrate to our future generations, the importance of “she can be anything she wants”.
The women of Warrandyte CFA are doing this every day.
They strive to protect our community and we recognise the value they offer the brigade.
Volunteer firefighter, Louise Leone said: “I love it when you’re driving past in the truck or getting out at a job — and a little girl sees you.
“You watch her eyes open wide and she’s like ‘hey, she’s a girl like me!’
“It’s the best feeling!”
And therein lies the superpower of the women of Warrandyte CFA.

Breaking ground on trail extension

WORKS BEGAN ON Stage 2 of the Diamond Creek Trail extension following a ground-breaking ceremony on February 6.
Stage 2 of the trail extension will link Wattle Glen to Hurstbridge.
Once the Diamond Creek Trail is fully extended to Hurstbridge, the 5.5-kilometre trail extension will complete a 55-kilometre continuous trail from Hurstbridge to the CBD, incorporating the Main Yarra Trail from Eltham Lower Park.
The trail extension is primarily funded by the Victorian Government with $4M for Stage 1 through VicRoads’ Towards Zero initiative and Stage 2 utilising $5.1M from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) Suburban Parks Program.
Nillumbik Shire Council also contributed approximately $5M to the project through land acquisition for the 14.4 hectares of land the trail is built on.
Once completed, the trail extension will have a concrete-paved path for pedestrians and cyclists and a separate, parallel natural-surface trail for horse riders.
In attendance at the ground-breaking were members of the community, Nillumbik Shire councillors, Member for Eltham Vicky Ward, Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green, and Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.
Nillumbik Shire Mayor, Peter Perkins commended the efforts of all those involved in the trail project.

“That the Diamond Creek Trail project is now well on the way to completion is a great result for our community and a credit to the efforts of others on their behalf – including the Victorian Government, Danielle Green MP the Member for Yan Yean, and Vicki Ward MP the Member for Eltham.
“Our community, in particular the efforts of our Regional Trails Advisory Group and Trailblazers Inc. are also to be commended.
“Their tireless advocacy and passion for this project has been integral to bringing us to where we are today.
“The trail is an important community asset, providing a fantastic outlet for physical activity and a safe transport connection between the urban parts of the Shire and our rural townships.
“Also critical, is that it will attract more visitors to our Shire, boosting our local tourism industry and other businesses,” he said.

Bunjil Ward Councillor Karen Egan said the commencement of Stage 2 works was a major development for not only the townships, but the Shire’s rural community.

“I’m very pleased that work is starting on the final stage of an infrastructure project that is of such critical importance to many sectors of our community, being a shared trail open to all,” said Cr Egan.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio spoke about the benefits to the local economy and the improved quality of life the trail will bring to the area.

“In the past year, many of us have rediscovered the simple pleasure of going for a walk, run or bike ride.
“Through projects like the Diamond Creek Trail extension, we’re giving people more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
“Construction of the trail extension will create as many as 100 jobs over 12 months and boost the local economy by attracting visitors to the trail and surrounding communities.”

Stage 1 of the trail extension, linking Diamond Creek to Wattle Glen is due to be completed and opened to the public in October 2021.

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