News

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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Market under threat

THE ELTHAM Craft and Produce Market has been a staple of the Eltham community for 44 years but its future is now under threat.
Founded in 1978 along the driveway of the Living and Learning Centre on Main Road, the Eltham Craft and Produce Market has served as an outlet for locally and homemade crafts and produce.
I remember going to the market as a young boy, buying heat packs at the start of every winter with my parents and sister.
We would walk from home to the market and as you entered Alistair Knox Park, the aromas of the food trucks would draw you in.
Soon, aromas mixed with music, conversation and laughter — the sound of a happy and connected community.
These are memories that I hold dear to my heart, and now, it may all come to an end.
On Sunday, February 21, 2021, possibly the last Eltham Craft and Produce Market took place.
Following conversations with the Market organisers Bianca and Di, and Wingrove Ward Councillor, Geoff Paine, I learned the market is under threat of discontinuing due to the complicated process of obtaining licenses and the grounds to continue hosting the market.
The main issue revolves around having a committee properly in place and obtaining a permit to use the area behind Eltham Library.
The market has been using the location between Panther Place and Library Place since October of 2004, an area with great parking and easy accessibility for anyone to visit.
Both stall holders and market goers expressed their sadness over the potential discontinuation of the market and its end will have a long-lasting impact in the Eltham community.
Market organisers are asking Eltham residents and market goers to lobby the local community and market regulars to let Nillumbik Shire Council know that they want the market to stay.
The Warrandyte Diary and WD Bulletin will have further updates on this story as it develops.

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Groove on the Green

After a year of lockdown and isolation, February 6 saw Warrandyte emerge to remember its Year of Wonders, at a photo exhibition and live event held at Taffy’s hut at the newly opened Lion’s Park (see page 22 for a selection of the Year of Wonders photographs).

While the exhibition was a celebration of the wonderful creativity that abounds in our photographic artists, what was discovered over the course of the evening is the amazing potential for our new Village Green as a gathering space and place for all manner of purposes.

However, this Green may be short lived, as it is planned to be incorporated into an extended playground in Stage 2 of the site development.

Yarra Ward Councillor, Carli Lange attended the event and said, “it was clear — the vision for Lions Park upgrade had come to life”.

“The new, treasured and beneficial open space in front of Taffy Jones Hut has become a connection for all — families, groups, couples, individuals, everyone!

She said the grassed area between the playground and the Lions Park extension was a “Groove on the Green” — enjoyed by everyone.

She said the green had potential to be a picnic area, a game field, a social buzz and an audience arena.

She said many locals had spoken to her to say “thank-you” for this flat grass area to host presentations, speeches, entertainment, shows, rehearsals and galleries — a much needed connection point for all.

“Many locals said ‘Please, please, keep this new grass area — just as is — please keep it open, flat, grassed’,”Ms Lange said.

Warrandyte Resident Doreen Burge noted how well the new Green was utilised during the event, and said the extension of the playground, “seems very short-sighted given the possibilities for this lovely lawn and its proximity to the natural stage of Taffy’s Hut”.

Warrandyte Historical Society made a submission to Council in December, saying the Stage 2 upgrade would: “result in an overdeveloped Park with insufficient space for simple activities, such as sitting or playing on an open grassed area”.

“We feel that an extension to the playground is unnecessary given the many new features of Stage 1 that can be utilised by older children.

“We are concerned that the open views to and across the river will be compromised by the addition of more play equipment.

“We feel the current grassed area is an asset to this new park and would be well-utilised by families and all age groups if it were to become a permanent feature.

“It would be disappointing to see this area covered with play equipment.”

Karen Mew who coordinates Pottery Co, which backs onto the space told the Diary they are planning a series of events in the area, including Indigenous talks and music events.

This grass area will be the start and part of many community events of Taffy’s Hut, but to do that we need to keep our green.

Ways to stay connected

THE BRAWL between the Australian Media and digital platforms, moderated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) through the News Media Bargaining Code turned an ugly corner this morning as Facebook pulled all Australian news content from their platform.

All content deemed “news” both domestically and internationally has been pulled from Australia and has also impacted pages such as Bureau of Meterology (BOM).

While mainstream media platforms have the budget and personnel to weather the storm and find alternative ways to connect to their audiences, small community publisher – such as the Warrandyte Diary are less fortunate.

For many, who have been adapting to an increasingly digital landscape, Facebook’s action sends them back to the dark ages.

Maybe this is a good thing.

Maybe this is a chance to get away from the dancing cat memes and incessant trolling, but Facebook’s action caught everyone off guard and media companies across Australia and now pivoting to reconnect with their audience.

Warrandyte Diary and WD Bulletin are still here and now has even more ways to keep you engaged, informed and up to date.

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Head to Google News to find the Warrandyte Diary and catch up with our latest content from the Diary and WD Bulletin.

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An of course the Warrandyte Diary and the WD Bulletin are available in print and available from locations all over Warrandyte, South Warrandyte, Warranwood, Wonga Park, Kangaroo Ground, Park Orchards, Research, Eltham, Templestowe, and Donvale.

More to come…

We are actively working on more ways to connect digitally, so watch this space for exciting new announcements about ways to catch up on local content.

Council facilities during COVID restrictions

MANNINGHAM and Nillumbik Councils have advised a series of closures of council facilities, following the Victorian Government’s announcementof the return of Stage 4 COVID-19.
Essential services will continue, but the following council facilities will close to the public for the duration of the lockdown period unless otherwise specified:

Council Offices
Shire Offices in Civic Drive, Greensborough, and Manningham Civic Centre in Doncaster will be closed to the public.
However, both councils will be operating call centres during usual business hours.

Waste Disposal
Nillumbik’s The Recycling and Recovery Centre will be closed on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 February but will reopen on Monday February 15 for essential workers.
The Reuse Shop will be closed for the entire lockdown.
Manningham’s Green Waste Centre has been closed indefinitely, but Green Waste Drop Off sessions planned for next weekend is still set to proceed.
Waste collection services including kerbside landfill, recycling and green waste collections will continue as normal as well as booked hard waste collections.

Sport and Leisure
All sports stadiums including Aquarina Aquatic and Leisure Centre, Eltham Leisure Centre, Mullum Mullum Stadium as well as outdoor basketball and netball courts, tennis and lawnbowls facilities golf courses, BMX tracks, and mini-golf courses are closed.
The Diamond Valley Sports and Fitness Centre is already closed for redevelopment.
Playgrounds, skate parks, ovals, fields and parkland will remain open, including the Tom Kelly Athletics Track.
All community sport is cancelled for both training and competition.

Arts and Community Facilities
Edendale Community Environment Farm, but essential workers will continue to care for our animals.
Library branches including the mobile library and return chutes.
Members can continue to borrow from the eLibrary collection and place holds.
Facilities such as Manningham Art Gallery, Manningham Art Studios, Eltham Community Reception Centre, council operated halls, libraries and venues for hire, council buildings leased to community groups, are closed.
Eltham and Panton Hill Playhouses, except for children of essential workers.

Health Services
Maternal and Child Health Services will operate as usual, with the exception of first-time parent groups who will have a telehealth option.
Immunisations will continue with COVID-safe practices in place.
Services for older and vulnerable residents continue to operate.
Community transport will operate for medical and health-related appointment only.

More information
Residents and businesses can find more informaition regading council services and facilities via your Council’s websites nillumbik.vic.gov.au, or manningham.vic.gov.au.
For up-to-date information about the Victorian Government restrictions, go to the DHHS website.

Volunteers recognised in Community Awards

SOME WONDERFUL volunteers have been recognised in various Australia Day awards across the country.
Our own local volunteers were recognised in ceremonies held in Menzies, and in the electorate of Menzies, which incorporates Manningham.
Federal Member for Menzies, Kevin Andrews awarded 20 individuals for their contribution to their local communities.
“They are people who just selflessly go about their own quiet ways of contributing to the community —people who don’t seek recognition, but deserve recognition — and I believe this is an important day for us as a broader community to recognise those people who quietly build the community in which we live,” Mr Andrews said.
He said over the almost 20 years of holding the awards, there have been almost 1,200 people recognised.
The Menzies Awards also recognise community groups who enhance the lives of the people of Menzies.
“It is through those community groups that we are such a strong place, such a wonderful place to live, because of that unseen work that so many people do, which is the glue of the local community that we build together,” he said.
Cr Andrew Conlon, Mayor of Manningham, which makes up a large part of the Menzies electorate, said that it was wonderful to be able to express gratitude to those in the community who have selflessly served the greater good and have made a positive difference to someone else’s life.
Cr Conlon said they were “great examples of what it means to be an Australian”.
The individual awards went to; John Barnes, Steve Buys, Gee Wing Chung, Colleen Danaher, Ross Dawson, Zakir Fakhri, Malcolm Ferguson, Ila Franklin, Trish Hargreaves, Sue Hudson, Alston Jerome, Tony Louey, Adrian Mullins, David Ryan, Christian Sharkey, Liz Stewart, Stuart Steiner, Ron Twining, and Cheryl Watt.
The 2021 Community Organisation Award was presented to the Women’s Friendship Group, who was presented with an Australian Flag, which had previously hung at Parliament House in Canberra.

Captain Adrian Mullens
Warrandyte CFA

Captain Mullens has given over 36 years of volunteer service, including eight years as Captain and over 25 years as a senior officer in the CFA.
Captain Mullens has responded to and commanded numerous life-threating emergency situations resulting in the protection of life and property, including the Warrandyte Fire in 2014, for which Captain Mullens was the Incident Controller and successfully contained the fire, which had great potential of causing devastation across Warrandyte.
Adrian commenced with the CFA in 1984, has attended numerous fires throughout the state and indeed Australia, his strong and experienced leadership style ensures his crews are well able to protect the Menzies community.
Adrian told the Dairy he was humbled to accept this award, but stressed that it is a team effort, and the award acknowledged the work of the whole brigade.
“We have seen with the different leaders over the years, the brigade has got bigger and stronger — it is a matter of us working as a collective team,” he said.

WO1 David Ryan
Warrandyte RSL

David Ryan deployed as an active Regimental Sergeant Major with the Victorian Army engineers during the 2019/2020 bushfire crisis.
Utilising the experience gained in a 32-year career in Army Reserve including in East Timor, border protection operations and numerous exercises in Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines, he produced outstanding results, helping to coordinate relief operations for the Victorian community.
As President of the Warrandyte RSL for the last four years, David has excelled in providing remembrance and social activities for the Warrandyte and Menzies community.
Following the ceremony, David told the Diary he felt it was good to have people recognised for the contribution they do to the local community.
“But it is always humbling and hard to accept, but it is an honour to be recognised for the work you do over the years.”

Christian Sharkey
Wonga Park Scout Group

Christian joined Wonga Park Scouts as a volunteer in 2013, since this time he has been supporting young members actively encouraging them in their endeavours.
Christian assists with numerous activities, ensuring the smooth running of the group, does a great job in planning and running events for the Youth members, and often fills in for other leaders when they are not available.
Each year, Christian plans and leads the families in assisting at several local community activities including Anzac Day ceremonies, he provides significant time and commitment to the group.

Stuart Steiner
Wonga Park Scouts

Stuart joined Wonga Park Scouts as a volunteer in 2013.
During this time, he has worked tirelessly assisting young members mentoring them in a variety of different skills and knowledge.
He provides guidance and support to youth in reaching their potential.
Stuart is also instrumental in maintaining the scout hall, providing
significant time and commitment to the group.
Each year Stuart plans and leads several family hikes for the entire group ranging from day hikes to weeklong hikes.
He ensures all of the aspects of these hikes, from gear to transport, food and navigation all run smoothly.

Ron Twining
Templestowe RSL

A Templestowe resident for more than 30 years, Ron Twining has served as a Justice of the Peace in Manningham since 1983 and has attended to the needs of local residents for more than those three decades.
A former criminal investigation branch squad detective of Victoria Police, Ron is currently President of the Templestowe RSL and has conducted Anzac and Remembrance Day services for the past 18 years.
A much-loved neighbour and member of the local community Ron’s commitment to Manningham in many areas has been outstanding.
Spending 13 years in Victoria Police as a senior detective, he also made great contributions in commerce in 20 years as national general manager of an Australian transport company.
Ron has been a proud recipient of the Victoria Police Medal, the Australian National Service and Australian Defence Medal, and in 2017 he was the Manningham Citizen of the Year.

Cheryl Watt
Doncare

Cheryl’s connection with Doncare commenced close to 30 years ago when it was a much smaller organisation, in her typical capable style she looked after administration and finance.
As the organisation grew, she introduced the idea that in the better interest of Doncare, the growing complexity of the business required an accountant, Cheryl remained to support the accountant.
Close to 10 years ago, Cheryl made the transition to social support for seniors’ program and very quickly became integral in the many lives of Manningham seniors, arranging opportunities for them to enjoy hundreds of social activities, assisting them to make friends and avoid social isolation and loneliness.
She has an amazing ability to organise and run the programs, encourages the people around her, has an amazing sense of humour, and is a great listener.
Cheryl was not able to attend the Ceremony, but the award was accepted on her behalf.

Nillumbik awards

Nillumbik announced their Australia Day awards at a ceremony in Eltham on January 26.
Mayor Peter Perkins said the award recipients and their achievements — and those of others nominated — underlined a strong legacy of community service in Nillumbik.
“Today’s award recipients highlight the strength of commitment to helping others that exists in our community,” Cr Perkins said.
“While their ages and backgrounds may be diverse, this unwavering commitment to bettering the lives of those around them is the thread that draws them together.
“It is also a reflection of an attitude among the broader Nillumbik community.
“I congratulate and extend my heartfelt thanks to today’s award recipients — and to all those in our community who work so selflessly to help improve the lives of others.”
Cr Perkins said the theme of this year’s ceremony resonated strongly with the community.
“Today is an opportunity for us all to reflect, show respect and to celebrate as we are all part of the story – and this is especially so after the year we’ve just been through.

Josh Allen
Nillumbik’s 2021 Citizen of the Year

Through his work with the CFA as a member of the Diamond Creek Fire Brigade, Josh has been involved in the response and recovery from significant events including the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and the Christmas Day flash floods of 2011.
A member of the Rotary Club of Diamond Creek, Josh’s work in the community has been notable for his energy and enthusiasm, along with his ability to collaborate with various local groups and services, including the Men’s Shed, Lions Club and Diamond Creek Traders’ Association.
He was instrumental in securing the W-Class Tram, which now occupies such a prominent place in the new Diamond Creek Regional Playspace and operates as a community café.

Peter Talbot
Volunteer of the Year

An active member of Community and Volunteers of Eltham (CAVE) for 20 years, he has also been Liaison Officer for Eltham High School and Eltham Lions Club President.
Over this time, he has been tireless, despite his own health setbacks and challenges, in driving fundraising efforts for various important community causes.

Jan Aitken
Senior Citizen of the Year

Jan Aitken has been fundamental to the development and success of the Nillumbik Reconciliation Group.
For 13 years as President, she has worked to connect communities through passion, warmth and a commitment to Reconciliation.
Numerous other community organisations, including schools and individuals have also benefited from Jan’s dedication to giving over the years.

Finn Deacey
Young Citizen of the Year

Over the past year Finn has balanced the completion of his Year 12 studies with his commitment to volunteering for a variety of community organisations.
These include the Eltham CFA, Nillumbik’s FreeZa Group, Nillumbik Unplugged and Eltham Life 3095.

The Rotary Club of Diamond Creek
Community Group of the Year

Despite all the challenges of 2020, the club managed to push ahead with a range of initiatives and projects to help those in need of support.
These included the Second Bite project (providing food to the disadvantaged) as well as a range of arts and education initiatives.

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Groove on the Green

AFTER A YEAR of lockdown and isolation, February 6 saw Warrandyte emerge to remember its Year of Wonders, at a photo exhibition and live event held at Taffy’s hut at the newly opened Lion’s Park (see page 22 for a selection of the Year of Wonders photographs).
While the exhibition was a celebration of the wonderful creativity that abounds in our photographic artists, what was discovered over the course of the evening is the amazing potential for our new Village Green as a gathering space and place for all manner of purposes.
However, this Green may be short lived, as it is planned to be incorporated into an extended playground in Stage 2 of the site development.
Yarra Ward Councillor, Carli Lange attended the event and said, “it was clear — the vision for Lions Park upgrade had come to life”.
“The new, treasured and beneficial open space in front of Taffy Jones Hut has become a connection for all — families, groups, couples, individuals, everyone!
She said the grassed area between the playground and the Lions Park extension was a “Groove on the Green” — enjoyed by everyone.
She said the green had potential to be a picnic area, a game field, a social buzz and an audience arena.
She said many locals had spoken to her to say “thank-you” for this flat grass area to host presentations, speeches, entertainment, shows, rehearsals and galleries — a much needed connection point for all.
“Many locals said ‘Please, please, keep this new grass area — just as is — please keep it open, flat, grassed’,” Ms Lange said.
Warrandyte Resident Doreen Burge noted how well the new Green was utilised during the event, and said the extension of the playground, “seems very short-sighted given the possibilities for this lovely lawn and its proximity to the natural stage of Taffy’s Hut”.
Warrandyte Historical Society made a submission to Council in December, saying the Stage 2 upgrade would: “result in an overdeveloped Park with insufficient space for simple activities, such as sitting or playing on an open grassed area”.
“We feel that an extension to the playground is unnecessary given the many new features of Stage 1 that can be utilised by older children.
“We are concerned that the open views to and across the river will be compromised by the addition of more play equipment.
“We feel the current grassed area is an asset to this new park and would be well-utilised by families and all age groups if it were to become a permanent feature.
“It would be disappointing to see this area covered with play equipment.”
Karen Mew who coordinates Pottery Co, which backs onto the space told the Diary they are planning a series of events in the area, including Indigenous talks and music events.
This grass area will be the start and part of many community events of Taffy’s Hut, but to do that we need to keep our green.

No flies on this young entrepreneur

WARRANDYTE teenager Jett Appleby (15) is taking the first steps in what
could be the beginnings of an entrepreneurial journey.
In December 2020, Jett launched Thebinsronus, a community focused bin-run enterprise in which, for a very modest fee, Jett will put your bins out, and bring them back in, every week.
The Diary sat down with Jett, at his home in Warrandyte, to talk about this new community service.
I started off by asking him what motivated him to start his venture.
“We’ve all got to start somewhere, it would be good to build up a portfolio,
future employers would probably like that.
“Plus if I feel good about myself, being able to get involved in the community and I make some cash along the way as well,” he said.
Jett also spoke about the other ideas he had.
“I thought about washing bins for a bit but I don’t think it is something I
want to do.
“I had some other ideas — like mowing the lawn, but that was immediately crossed off.
“There was mowing the lawns, there was washing bins, there was washing cars but this seemed the most suitable.”
The rolling hills and large blocks which characterise the Warrandyte landscape can often make the weekly walk to the street an arduous task and the community were invested in Jett’s service from the moment he pressed send on his first Facebook post.
“I think it was the night I posted the ad, about two hours after I posted.”
Jett’s client base, is still relatively small, covering about 12 streets at the bridge-end of town.
His business is still in its very early stages, and while there is no immediate plan to extend his operation, it would appear the demand is there.
“Most of the feedback I get is ‘expand to other areas’ because these are people who want the service in their area.
“But it takes time to expand and that is most of the feedback I really get.
“I don’t think I can expand to everyone, but you never know.”
Jett’s approach to this new venture is pragmatic and, after speaking to him, I come away with the impression that if this project was to not work out, he would simply move onto something else.
But Jett has taken the time to think about marketing and setting himself up as something more professional than the more common teenaged job enterprises.
“Thebinsronus, I am trying to brand it as one word, except to make it shorter we are using the letter r instead of the word ‘are’.
“I just want to seem a bit more professional.”
Father, David, also sees great potential in Jett’s enterprise.
“I am delighted to see that he has got this enterprise and I am very proud of him.
“I think it is great and the fact that he is getting out there and doing work is great, character building and providing a genuine service for a modest fee.
“I think it is a good idea, I can see it taking off it was done really professionally,” David said.
If you would like a break from the bin-run, and support community enterprise, get in contact with Jett via his Facebook page
facebook.com/thebinsr or via phone/text on: 0478 583 505

Construction to commence on Fitzsimons Lane intersections

DESPITE COMMUNITY objection, work is about to commence on redevelopment of the “Eltham Gateway”, the intersection of Fitzsimons Lane with Main Road in Eltham and Porter Street in Templestowe.
Contractors BMD Construction are setting up to begin construction on the Fitzsimons Lane Major Roads project.
The project will upgrade key intersections along Fitzsimons Lane to reduce congestion, improve safety and provide better walking and cycling connections for the 60,000 people who use it every day.
A statement from Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) said that the roundabouts cause delays, which can create risks for all road users.

“People travelling along Fitzsimons Lane will benefit from better and safer journeys travelling through these upgraded intersections.”

Local activists, Eltham Community Action Group (ECAG) have been vocal in their objection to the project.
The group has tied red ribbons around each of the trees earmarked for destruction.
They presented the State Government with a 2,900-signature petition against the project, calling the works an unnecessary overkill, which will see “hundreds” of trees removed in the process.

“A massive, signalised intersection (the three roads having 10, 8 and 8 lanes at the lights) will form an area of bitumen and concrete roughly the size of the MCG oval and destroy forever our iconic entrance to the Green Wedge Shire,” they said in a statement.

ECAG said they commissioned and presented their own alternative design that would keep the roundabout and many of the trees, but despite agreeing it was as effective as the official designs, MRPV rejected the compromise.
The statement from MRPV said following community consultation last year it removed two traffic lanes from the Eltham approach.

“We have also removed the bus priority lanes from all approaches to reduce the footprint of the Main Road and Fitzsimons Lane intersection.
“This change has reduced the number of trees that will be impacted, whilst ensuring the community and road users will still benefit from reduced congestion and improved safety.”

A construction worker who is working on the project told the WD Bulletin that he is concerned that lack of communications with the public by MRPV will see construction workers potentially come into conflict with protesters when tree removal begins.
ECAG is urging anyone with concerns about the project to visit elthamaction.org.au and write to their local member.
More information about the project plans from MRPV can be found at roadprojects.vic.gov.au/projects/fitzsimons-lane-upgrade

Running into 2021

Photo: Gavid D Andrew Photographer

WARRANDYTE’S celebrated community running event, Run Warrandyte, is toeing the line for a celebration of sport, health, and community as the event committee makes final preparations for its 10th anniversary run.
Preparation for this event is a year-long process and the uncertainty of Coronavirus restrictions has made planning for 2021 trickier than usual, but the Run Warrandyte Committee has sculpted an event to allow walkers, joggers and runners, of all abilities, to celebrate Warrandyte’s bush setting and the spirit of community in a COVID-Safe way.
Run Warrandyte committee representative, Michelle Bean, spoke to WD Bulletin about the challenges and changes to this year’s event.

“COVID created a challenge to our committee this year, as we had to come up with an event that would fit in with restrictions and also be flexible and adjustable to any potential lockdowns we might be back in on the February 28.
“We feel we have created something that fits those requirements,” she said.

Currently set to occur on Sunday, February 28, the event will be capped at 500 participants with an option to switch to a 30-day virtual option if Melbourne or Victoria is forced into another lockdown.
Michelle also notes a number of other, significant changes which will ensure this year’s event remains COVID-Safe:

  • No on the day registrations.
  • Separate start and finish lines.
  • Staggered start times (every 15 minutes).
  • No event village
  • No spectators

COVID-Safe measures such as hand sanitising stations, COVID Marshalls and face masks will also be a feature of the 2021 event, but Michelle says this will not take away from the fun of the day.

“We still plan to create a fun, community event, where our runners can run their favourite distances and receive their free 10-year celebration medal and backpack.
“We will also have spot prizes and goodies provided by some great local businesses and as always appreciate our sponsors: Charlie Bins, Warrandyte Ringwood Osteo’s, IGA, Harding Swift Caravan Services, The Grand Hotel and Project Clothing.
“We are excited to also announce a new 21km event and interest in this has been strong.
“This is alongside the regular 2.2km, 5km, 10km and 15km distances,” she said.

Staying hydrated and COVID-Safe

One of the biggest challenges for event organisers, and event caterers is how to provide food and drink in a convenient but COVID-Safe way.
Staying hydrated while exercising is important, and with high temperatures a distinct possibility for February 28, ensuring participants have access to water is vital.
The simplest method is to provide disposable, sealed containers, like bottled water, but this adds unnecessary waste to the environment and goes against Run Warrandyte’s mission to be as eco-friendly as possible.
Michelle told WD Bulletin Run Warrandyte has secured a partnership deal with a Victorian based company, who will provide water in containers made from plants.

“We are excited to announce our event partnership with the eco-friendly company Just Water.
“Just Water takes Spring Water that is sourced from Mt Warranheip in Ballarat, Victoria and packages it in plant based, eco-friendly cartons, made by Tetra Pak.
“The packaging materials and processes result in 75 per cent less harmful emissions, primarily C02, compared to a standard PET plastic bottle.
“The design of the carton was created to remain flat until it is filled with water, meaning Tetra Pak use only one truck to transport the cartons, compared to the same number of plastic bottles needing 13 trucks.
“Just Water and Tetra Pak will be providing water on course and at the finish line in 2021 to keep our event COVID-Safe for our runners.
“Being an eco-friendly event is super important to us and with this in mind, we feel Just Water and Run Warrandyte are a great fit,” she said.

Visit the Run Warrandyte website for more event details and to enter the 2021 event.