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Residents are advised to contact Customer Service on 8470 8888 for assistance.

Journalists are welcome to contact:

Geoff Setty
Senior Media Advisor
Phone: 8470 8603
Email: Geoff.Setty@darebin.vic.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASES

Council is calling on the Federal Government to provide adequate resources to meet the needs of people seeking asylum who live in Darebin and other local government areas.

As a result of the Australian Government making significant funding changes to the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) program, including the withdrawal of income support for people awaiting assessment of their claim for protection, asylum seekers are struggling emotionally and financially.

Darebin City Council Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said it was vital the Federal Government provides adequate income and case management support for people seeking asylum while they pursue suitable and sustainable employment.  Darebin is working with other councils and established the Local Government Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum (the taskforce). This taskforce has the purpose of coordinating a Victorian local government approach around an effort for advocacy, alongside local area responses to asylum seeker policies.

“We know that people studying full-time will have their support cut and this will impact people who are learning English or training in order to get a job to support their families,” Cr Le Cerf said.

“It doesn’t make practical sense, and will further undermine people’s ability to live with dignity and self-worth in our community.”   

Darebin agencies are expecting to see an increase in asylum seekers needing material aid and other forms of support in the wake of the initial round of cuts to the SRSS and these will likely increase over the next months. 

Darebin City Council joins other local councils in Melbourne in asking the Federal Government to work with local government areas to improve the services to Asylum Seekers by allowing local governments to respond to area needs.

“If the Federal Government commits to assisting community service and volunteer organisations, this will assist people seeking asylum to live safely in local communities and contribute to their communities and to Australia.” Cr Le Cerf said.

With the first cut to the SRSS program taking place on August 16 2018, Darebin City Council is calling on the Federal Government to urgently reinstate funding to the SRSS program. The Council is also part of a northern alliance of councils, which will better share and coordinate approaches to the issues facing people seeking asylum following the cuts to the SRSS program.

“These are people who have come to Australia seeking freedom and safety.  Some have been held in detention; some have previously been prevented from working as a visa condition. By working with local governments and reinstating funding, the Federal Government will help these vulnerable people and this will see them adhere to its national and international obligations in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention. We are requesting the Government reconsider its position and recommence funding to the SRSS program immediately.”

Also enclosed is a copy of the Joint Statement against changes to the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) for People Seeking Asylum.

Media Release - 19 September 2018

Darebin City Council is calling on the Victorian State Government and the State Opposition in the lead up to the State Election in November to commit to fixing the Darebin’s rail and road issues.

Darebin City Council is calling on the Victorian State Government and the State Opposition in the lead up to the State Election in November to commit to fixing Darebin’s rail and road issues.

Darebin City Council has long advocated for a better road and rail solution for its community from the Victorian State Government.

 

Darebin City Council is advocating for two key outcomes.

 

Firstly, the removal of five level crossings on the Mernda train line between Thornbury and Reservoir stations, particularly at Bell Street, Oakover Road, Murray Road, Cramer Street and High Street, Reservoir.  

 

Mayor Le Cerf said Council believes the removal of the four level crossings in Preston needs to be done as a single project, both in terms overall fiscal responsibility as well as providing the best outcome for the community.

 

“To remove only the Bell Street level crossing would not provide the required improvements to transport and traffic issues and would fail the State Government’s own test of future proofing additional level crossings that are already identified as needed,” she said.

Removing all four crossings concurrently would result in improved traffic flow and is considerably more cost effective and efficient than a just removing one crossing now.

“The Murray Road level crossing should have been included in the State’s top 50 planned level crossing removals, because it is within a Principal Activity Centre, carries major bus routes and 20,000 vehicles per day use it,” Cr Le Cerf said.

Secondly, Council is strongly urging the State Government as part of the level crossing removal to fund an effective roads package at Reservoir, which Council says is essential to deliver promised improvements to the shopping centre and traffic flow.

 

“Darebin City Council was disappointed the May Victorian State budget did not include funding for this package of works, but will continue to campaign on behalf of the community for a firm commitment for this rail and road package,” Cr Le Cerf said.

 

“Darebin City Council wants a substantial commitment to fund the required road improvement package at High Street in Reservoir to accompany the level crossing removal.  As well, it wants the best value for money project delivered for Preston where all four level crossings are removed as a single project.”

The Mayor outlined the approach the Council will take to ensure the voices and concerns of the community is heard during the coming months.

“Our community has consistently told us how frustrated they are by the log jams created by the level crossings on the Mernda train line between Thornbury and Reservoir stations, particularly at Bell Street, Oakover Road, Murray Road, Cramer Street and High Street around Reservoir station itself”, she said.

“The roads around these streets are a mess and we believe there is a comprehensive and logical solution that will address the level crossings and the traffic issues, and we are calling on both the State Government and the Opposition to commit to fixing this problem. This includes the removal of the levels crossings at these intersections and better designed roads to move the high volume of traffic more efficiently.”

From next week Council will be activating the local Darebin community and asking people to contact local members and Ministers and Shadow Ministers to demand a funding commitment. This will take the form of online and face-to-face petitions, emails, community information and support from high profile community advocates.

Darebin City Council wants a comprehensive road and rail solution that ensures the community thrives.

“For example, Reservoir is growing and we must also consider safer options for pedestrians and cyclists whilst improving our transport system. To make positive change we need the help of residents and commuters to engage with their candidates and let them know we need to have our worst level crossings removed, our roads around those crossings improved and safer options for both pedestrians and cyclists,” Cr Le Cerf said.

The City of Darebin will hold activation sessions at the Reservoir Rail Station and Preston Station Car Parks from September 17, and will have online and in person petitions to provide the community with the forum to have their voices heard.

“Reservoir and Preston deserve sustainable solutions. We are calling on residents and commuters to help us by letting candidates know what needs to be done.

“Council’s position provides a long term, cost effective solution that will create connected and safe communities, allowing retailers, commuters and residents to benefit from improved public spaces and reduced travel times.

“We all want to get home to our families and homes safely and quickly, so let’s work together to speak up and tell our candidates that we have to have our roads fixed and four level crossings removed.” Cr Le Cerf said.

The wider community can show their support for these significant infrastructure projects that will significantly improve our community by signing the petition.

The Darebin Advocacy Map and more information is available upon request.

Darebin Advocacy Programme 2018

Media Release - 18 September 2018

A highlight of the Hindu calendar, the Ganesh Chaturthi event will again be celebrated at the Darebin Arts Centre (DAC) and Bundoora Park on Saturday 15 September.

Reflecting our commitments to cross-cultural and interfaith connections, Council extends an open invitation to the Darebin community to join in this holy occasion.

This celebration marks the birth of Ganesh, the Hindu elephant headed god of wisdom and prosperity and the remover of obstacles.

The celebration sees Darebin Arts Centre transformed into what the local Hindu community affectionately refers to as ‘The Temple’ for a day. The ceremonies will begin at 10am with almost 500 people attending to perform darshan (prayers) and bhajan (sacred music).

Following this ceremony, the statue of Lord Ganesh will be transported by devotees to Bundoora Park for further rituals, prayers and a ceremonial immersion of Lord Ganesh in the lake. Darebin’s Ganesh statue will be created by artist Ken Evans from recycled materials. This is in keeping with a significant movement in India towards more environmentally friendly festivals, and mirrors Council’s commitment to protecting the environment.

Mayor of Darebin Cr Kim Le Cerf said “It’s tremendous to be able to band together as a community and recognise our rich diversity. We are proud of our many religions and welcome this opportunity to support our Hindu community as they celebrate Ganesh Charturthi.”

Event details

What: Ganesh Chaturthi
When: Saturday 15 September 2018, 10am – 4pm
Where: Darebin Arts Centre and Bundoora Park

Media Release - 12 September 2018

An important support and referral program for women in the sex industry or trafficked for sexual exploitation has received a grant from Darebin City Council.

Established in 1998, Project Respect works with licensed brothels in the Greater Melbourne Region to provide information and support for women in the sex industry. Project Respect runs workshops to a broad range of social, community and welfare services, which includes sections on human trafficking indicators, support and referral pathways.

As part of its Community Grants Program Darebin City Council has awarded Project Respect $4000 to:

  • Deliver capacity building workshops, which will build the knowledge and responsiveness of services to identify and respond to human trafficking, as well as build their capacity to provide tailored support and services for women in the sex industry;
  • Continue to grow and develop partnerships with social, community and welfare services within the Darebin area to develop warm referral pathways from women in the sex industry; and,
  • Provide outreach services to the two licensed brothels in Darebin.

Rachel Reilly, Executive Director Project Respect said: “The contribution from Darebin City Council to our organisation is appreciated and vital for our group. Funding is used for the workshops, which are developed specifically to counter the effects of human trafficking and as such are a necessary component of our work. We were fortunate enough to receive funding in the last round of community grants, and the additional funding this year, allows us to build on the work already completed.

“We have significantly strengthened our relationships with service providers in the Darebin area and have a place on the Darebin Family Violence Network. The strengthening of these relationships and engagement in the networks is crucial to continue to grow the capacity of service providers to support women trafficked and women in the sex industry,” Ms Reilly said.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said: “Project Respect serve the community by ensuring a safe space for all women, particularly those who may be in dangerous situations through human trafficking. We are pleased to support this group to see an end to trafficking and putting women in dangerous situations.

“With Project Respect supporting 15 women currently who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation, the work this group do, and the funding we supply them, is vital. We look forward to hearing of the successes of this group and others who work to stop trafficking and exploitation” Cr Le Cerf concluded.

Media Release - 11 September 2018

City of Darebin residents had the highest pokies losses in more than 12 months according to damning figures released on Friday.

Monthly data from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation show that pokies venues in Darebin took more than $7.6M last month.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf said it was disturbing the new financial year had opened with an 8.5 per cent increase on losses in the Darebin local government area.

The figures show that residents lost $600,000 more to poker machines in the month of July 2018 than for the same period last year.  A huge $7,675,768 was lost in the month of July 2018 compared with $7,075,482 for the same period in the previous year. 

 “Our council is dealing with the dire consequences of pokies.   Our communities are suffering from gambling harm and it’s only getting worse. As community leaders we want reform. We call on the State Government and opposition parties to commit to $1 maximum bets, clamp down on losses disguised as wins and reduce venue opening hours,” Cr Le Cerf said.

Alliance spokesman and Director Tim Costello said the new VCGLR data shows Victoria is headed for record pokies losses in 2018.

The figures for the month of July 2018 show that Victorians lost $239.037 million over the month, an increase of 3.9 per cent or $8.911 million on the $230.126 million lost in July 2017.

This means in the first seven months of 2018, Victorian pokies losses have jumped by $81.13 million or 5.48 per cent to $1.562 billion and are on track to set both a calendar record in 2018 and, if the trend continues, a financial year record in 2018-19.

“Successive Victorian Governments have become reliant on the easy money of gambling taxes but this has got to stop,” Mr Costello said.

“With the state election just three months away we need the major parties to come up with new policies which will reduce pokies losses.

“We are saying the next Victorian Parliament must show some spine and heart and address this issue to prevent the needless suicides, family violence, bankruptcy and fraud, which flows when $2.7 billion a year is ripped from the community through addictive poker machines in suburban pubs and clubs.”

Media Release - 30 August 2018

Darebin City Council congratulates the Victorian State Government on its announcement of the investigation of the Melbourne Suburban Rail Loop.

The project would link 10 rail stations, build five new stations and ease congestion to both inner and outer suburbs to make it easy for commuters to move across the city. This infrastructure project is vital for the Northern suburbs. The line, which is proposed to travel underground through Darebin, will potentially include stations at Bundoora and Reservoir.

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said: “For a long time Melbourne has been calling out for solutions to ease the congested roads and issues with travel to and from the airport and city. The Suburban Rail Loop could mean an end to the long travel times and has the potential to take 200,000 vehicle trips off our major roads. It will connect Melbourne to Latrobe University, and make an orbital link, eliminating the need to go into the city to travel outward.”

This proposal connects all priority growth precincts and would offer better access to jobs and a variety of consumer and strategic networks enhancing productivity, liveability and accessibility across Melbourne.

But Mayor Le Cerf added that there are a number of urgent transport priorities in Darebin that need investment by the State Government now.

“While we are thrilled with the decision from the Victorian State Government to announce this plan, concentrated work still needs to be carried out in Darebin and we’re still advocating for a Bell St corridor connecting with Coburg. We look forward to working with the State Government and discussing further east-west public transport opportunities.” Cr Le Cerf said.

The City of Darebin has put forward a compelling case to maximise the benefits from the Level Crossing Removal Authority’s program by removing an additional three level crossings. Council is asking the Victorian Government to expand the Bell Street project by also removing the Oakover Road, Cramer Street and Murray Road level crossings.

Cr Le Cerf said “Our community is clear that they want these extra crossings removed. This is the most cost-effective solution that will bring the most benefits for Darebin and Victoria. Council also believes that the Reservoir level crossing removal should be a top priority for construction.”

The plan for the Suburban Rail Loop will see more people living closer to high productivity jobs outside Melbourne’s CBD. The extensions to the Regional hubs are to be applauded.

“While the plan for the Suburban Rail Link is a long term and ambitious one, it benefits the city and on behalf of the City of Darebin, I’d like to congratulate the State Government for having the foresight to put in such a great transportation network for the future of Melbourne.” Cr Le Cerf concluded.

Media Release - 28 August 2018

Reservoir West Primary was the pilot school for Darebin City Council’s Octopus Schools program in 2017-18, which encourages school children to find safe, sustainable ways to travel to school. Applications to be the second school for the program are now open and will close on August 31 at 12pm.

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said: “The Octopus Schools program was embraced by Reservoir West Primary, which received a new bike shed, 18 bikes and safety helmets for students to use.

“The kids at the school have created a range of unique projects to keep the theories and practices behind the Octopus Schools going. Student leaders have instigated a weekly competition, rewarding students and classes who take the most active trips to school. They’ve also created and drawn decals, which have been painted onto the road, changing infrastructure and ensuring the spaces around schools are safer for kids.  We look for innovative ways to increase the uptake of active transport, changing the streets and routes around schools so kids can walk to school. We are addressing both the physical and behavioural changes through this program.

“It’s amazing for the pupils to see work go from drawings to decals on the ground, and more innovative, wonderful practices from the school besides these.”

Reservoir West Primary has expanded on the initial program and kept a tally of active travellers. The class with the most is awarded a trophy at assembly to keep until the following week.

Flora Kossivas, Reservoir West coordinator said “Our students love getting the trophy and being recognised for being active travellers. Thanks to Darebin Council for supplying the bikes, it’s a tremendous way to maintain program enthusiasm. The student council has also organised spot-prizes to award active travellers using a raffle system, Darebin Council have supplied prizes for this and we couldn’t be happier with the response, it really is a highly interactive and fun program.”

Students also designed helmets of the future for a Ride 2 School day competition, which has helped make Reservoir West Primary School students active, safe and happy.

Flora said: “The partnership with Darebin Council is so successful. With the acquisition of our brand new bike shed and fleet of bikes it is an exciting time for many of the students at our school and a great chance for them to actively and safely travel to and from school. The students, parents and school community have embraced the program enthusiastically and are continuing to support all our initiatives.”

Cr Le Cerf said “We’re looking forward to seeing the applications for the next school and the steps the successful school will take to remain active.”

For more information on applying for the second round, please visit Travel To School or email safetravel@darebin.vic.gov.au.

Media Release - 27 August 2018

Darebin Council announced winners and finalists of the 2018 Darebin Community Awards at a special ceremony at Preston City Hall on Friday 24 of August, which was overseen by Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf.

More than 70 nominations were received from nominees aged from 10 to 89 years young and Mayor Le Cerf said the finalists in each of the five categories were selected from a strong field of nominees, which reflected the rich diversity of our local community.

“It was a privilege to preside over these awards and acknowledge the wonderful contributions so many people contribute to our Darebin lifestyle.”

The awards were held at Preston City Hall with about 300 friends and families of the nominees in attendance.

Darebin Community Awards 2018 winners

More information on winners and special commendations are available upon request.

Citizen of the Year: Norma Salisbury

Norma has worked tirelessly for the Darebin community as a volunteer for more than 32 years and continues to provide support and inspiration at the tender age of 89. 

As a nominator wrote: “Norma excels at the core acts of kindness that is the soul of any community group. From baking the phenomenal morning tea, organising activities, leading the children and parents to dancing to the Wiggles each week, or simply listening to those in need, Norma demonstrates that she is a true foundation of this Darebin community.” Norma is well known through initiating morning teas for parents, instigating the Croxton Uniting Playgroup, and her previous involvement in casework for the Northcote Benevolent Society.

Special Commendation awarded to Cheryle Michael

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Leader of the Year: Alan Thorpe

Alan is a proud Gunai man who has worked and lived in Darebin for 36 years. In 2000 he founded and leads Dardi Munwurro (Strong Spirit), an organisation that delivers healing and mens behavior change programs for all Aboriginal men, including those incarcerated. Alan also coordinates an annual gathering of Aboriginal men from across Australia. Alan volunteers his time to speak with young people, the corporate sector, politicians and government officials across Victoria and nationally, as well as many other activities promoting culture and contributing to community wellbeing. Visit Wikipedia.org/Alan_Thorpe_(footballer) for more information.

Special Commendation awarded to Beverley Murray

Young Citizen of the Year: Lynton Martin

At only 16 years of age, Lynton Martin is head coach for the newly formed Keon Park Stars Junior football club under 10s. The club states he is the number one supporter and a great role model – the kids love him and the parents see him as a great asset to the team

Special Commendation awarded to Osob  Yusuf

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander, Emerging Young Community Leader Joint Winners: Steven Glasby-Ellis and Elijah Augustine

Steven Glasby-Ellis

Steven, is a proud Aboriginal man of the Bundjalung Nation, Jinabara and Wakka Wakka, and he has lived his life in Darebin.   Steven works part-time at the Aboriginal Health Service in Administration. He happily dons a superhero suit and becomes ‘Deadly Dan’ the smoking cessation hero. He was also awarded MR NAIDOC 2018. Steven is hoping to become a personal trainer.

Elijah Augustine

Elijah is a 20 year old Nyul-Nyul, Jabirr-Jabirr and Ngumbarl Saltwater man from the coastline of the Kimberleys, Australia. As a young child he was diagnosed on the autism spectrum and doctors predicted he would never learn to talk. Music and culture have inspired Elijah and he participates in numerous community events and as a volunteer for 3KND broadcasts ‘The Rock Show’ weekly on radio. His love of music and guitar sees him performing at many community events including the 2018 Koorie Idol, where he won 3rd place.

Community Group of the Year – Mums in Darebin

“Mums in Darebin” (MiD) is an online community who shares tips and provides support for local mums. MiD assists by providing a safe, moderated space for mums from all cultures and all walks of life to connect with each other on Facebook.  Several spin-off groups have formed including Dads in Darebin and a ‘Free to a Good Home’ page. There are also several meet-up groups like the ‘Women in Harmony’ singing and musical group, the French speaking group, ‘food trains’ for Mums who need help getting food on the table, last minute baby-sitting groups and so much more. This group provides physical, emotional and material support to women through difficult challenges and changes in their life.  MiD is a community group bringing local families closer together, reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness often felt by mothers, and helps foster the wonderful sense of community we all enjoy as residents.

Media Release - 24 August 2018

The Active Spaces in Darebin program works with real estate agents, property owners and creative businesses to transform areas which have an abundance of vacant shops, graffiti tagging and bill posters into economically stimulated and culturally charged go-to places.

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said “It’s great to increase visitation in areas. Active Spaces helps from the ground up. We assist in finding properties, negotiating rent, marketing, promotion and support, and so much more.

“We are thrilled that at this point, we have over 30 leases for the program, generating over $600,000 in rent, and employing over 150 people in their creative businesses. We are seeing ongoing partnerships between landlords, real estate agents and council departments.”

The current Active Space is Be Kind Textiles at St George’s St Thornbury. Roz Slade, owner of Be Kind Textiles said “We love working with the City of Darebin and are happy to provide classes that focus on mindfulness and sustainability, using art positively as therapy.”

Be Kind Textiles is a combined retail and workshop space that offers a mix of craft supplies, handmade accessories and homewares, with a sprinkle of vintage treasures throughout.

A Previous Active Space, Good Day Rentals Director Kate Forsyth said “Active Spaces provides us so much support, encouragement and resources.”

Property owner and developer Richard Levy said “We contacted Active Spaces and had tenants almost immediately. We’ve seen an empty shell site come alive and provide positivity to the Thornbury area.”

“Active Spaces connects artists, makers and new enterprises with vacant property owners who want to see their shopfronts activated while they seek a permanent lease arrangement. Most Active Spaces enterprises also move on to permanent premises, often in the same area. That way they continue to be part of the local business ecosystem. It’s a win-win.” Cr Le Cerf said.

For more information on the Active Spaces Program please go to: www.darebin.vic.gov.au/activespaces

Media Release - 22 August 2018

As part of its community grants program, the City of Darebin has awarded Friends of Merri Park Wetland $3,500 to contribute to its planting day.

Established in 2014, the Friends of Merri Creek Wetland assists the biodiversity hotspot located in a flood hindering basin off the bluestone lane behind Sumner Avenue Northcote. This group is a subgroup of the Friends of Merri Creek.

Dr Leslie Fraser, Friends of Merri Creek Honorary Life Member, said: “Every year we organise litter clean-ups, hand weeding and planting sessions and other events of an educational and cultural nature based in and around the wetland. The community grant will be used to organise and hold a planting day when we’ll plant climate change adapted species on the southern and western embankments of the basin.”

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said: “At Darebin, we love partnering with organisations that have an eye on the sustainability of our planet, and Friends of Merri Creek Wetland is just such an organisation.”

Dr Fraser said: “We will continue to care for the wetland and hope to turn our attention to areas just outside the fenced perimeter. These are high-traffic areas for pedestrians, dogs, bicycles, baby strollers and the like, and need to have plants filled where there are gaps.

“The grant is tremendously useful for building our group. We see so many people attend our planting days and these are suitable for all ages, including families with young children. Everyone loves to help nature by planting grass, shrub, trees and then checking back over time to see how they’re thriving.”

Cr Le Cerf said: “The large turnouts at these planting days show that our residents care about the environment and we like partnering with community and future focussed organisations.”

Media Release - 20 August 2018

Darebin City Council is calling on the State Government to move the $511.4 million of Landfill Levy money out of the State’s coffers and spend the money on environmental projects where it is critically needed.

“It’s no secret that we are in a state of climate emergency and need urgent action” said Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf. "Yet the State Government has $511.4 million of environmental money in its bank account, just sitting there, gathering interest. It needs to spend it on critical environmental projects now.”

The Landfill Levy is a fee paid to the State Government on all waste disposed of at landfills in Victoria by councils. Funds from the Levy must be used by the State to address greenhouse gas, climate change, waste management or environmental issues and to help fund key environmental agencies.

 “We all know there’s a War on Waste. Globally the recycling industry is in trouble and wasteful single-use plastics and micro beads continue to pollute our land and oceans. In Victoria more than one-third of the average household waste bin is made up of wasted food. All these issues need attention.

“When there are so many crucial environmental issues facing Victoria, the State needs to explain why so much Landfill Levy money remains unspent. It must commit to spending it.”

The Landfill Levy began in 1992 at only $2 per tonne, but in 2010, shot up more than 300 per cent in one year - from $9 to $30 per tonne. Since this time the Levy has increased rapidly and eight years later it sits at $64.30 per tonne.

“This is money that Council pays to the State Government for every, single tonne of waste we take to landfill. That’s ratepayer’s money the State is just sitting on and not using. Council can’t withhold the Levy, because that’s illegal, so we need to take a different approach”.

Darebin Council is now preparing to form an advocacy group with others on this issue.

”We’ll be calling on the State this year, an election year, to commit to spending the remaining Landfill Levy funds in the coming year on climate change, waste and environmental projects - transparently, honestly and urgently.

“There are a lot of important environmental projects that need to be implemented in Victoria. The State has $511.4 million to do this. All we’re asking is that it spends it”. Cr Le Cerf said.

 Media Release - 16 August 2018

We’re in a state of emergency - Australia’s first Council-led Climate Emergency Conference announced. Darebin City Council is taking a leadership role in climate change by hosting Australia’s first council-led Climate Emergency Conference.

To be held at Northcote Town Hall on 11 and 12 September 2018, Council has engaged the support of renowned international and Australian experts to discuss the climate emergency and to call on business and government to take urgent action.

Over two days, a series of plenary discussions will address scientific understandings, social dynamics, learnings from disaster management and corporate responsibility.

The free conference offers 18 presentations from climate and social experts, including Paul Gilding – author of the ‘The Great Disruption’, Jeremy Heimans, founder of GetUp!, and author of "New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World and How to Make it Work for You" and Kate Fitzgerald of Emergency Management Victoria.

The event follows the adoption by council of its Climate Emergency plan, a world first for local government. The plan focuses on mobilisation and leadership; energy efficiency; renewable energy and efficiency; zero emissions transport; consumption and waste minimisation; fossil fuel divestment and adaption and resilience and engaging the community and the creation of the Darebin Energy Foundation.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said the focus on climate emergency is not only an important issue to Councillors and community members but also addresses the Council’s social responsibilities.

“We recognise we are in a state of climate emergency. We need to reverse our environmental footprint to avoid dramatic impacts on our community. We see this as a problem for all levels of government and we’re proud to be the first council in Australia to lead the climate emergency discussion,” Mayor Le Cerf said.

“It’s about starting the conversation and mobilising a plan of action to reduce our impact, at both an institutional and individual level,” Mayor Le Cerf said.

Darebin Climate Emergency Conference will be held at Northcote Town Hall on 11 – 12 September. It is free to attend, however registration is required.

Conference Emergency Conference details:
When:  Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 September 2018 (all day)
Where:  Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, Northcote
Cost:  No cost, registration required, visit Darebin Climate Emergency Conference to register.

Jeremy Heimans’ Presentation
Date:  Tuesday 11 September 2018, 6.30pm
Venue:  Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, Northcote
Cost:  No cost, registration required, visit Jeremy Heimans' Darebin Climate Emergency Conference to to register.

Media Release - 16 August 2018

On Monday 13 August, Darebin City Council adopted its Council Plan - Action Plan for 2018-19. The plan outlines the actions Council will carry out this financial year to make its ambitious, strategic and future thinking vision a reality.

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf explains “Our council plan is set for four years, and our vision is to make Darebin a ‘greener, bolder, more connected city’. The action plan puts the rubber to the road and this year sees so many highlights. We will develop a play space at Bundoora Homestead and implement recycling activities to increase recycling in the city.

“There is so much to be excited about living in Darebin. We are going to plan the future development of the Preston central precinct, which will guarantee the neighbourhood continues to thrive. We are looking to improve public safety by continuing to work on the Gender Equity map in tandem with the Victorian State Government and housing another Octopus school, giving kids a safe way to walk to school.”

There is a lot more that Darebin City Council will be carrying out, including, in consultation with the community, start of a detailed design for the Multi-Sport Stadium in Thornbury. Additionally, Council will continue to focus on the greening of services and parks with the planting of 2100 street trees and 300 park trees in the next year, including the planting of 500 indigenous plants. This means an increase of 19 per cent on the previous year.

Cr Le Cerf said “We are very happy with our Solar Savers program. We will see the first roll out of our Streets for People program, which shall create a high priority pedestrian and cycling environment along with the beautification of several key areas in the municipality, we want to make sure Darebin’s streets are safe and cycle and walk friendly. We are keen to continue to be more transparent and accessible and so the preplacement of the website will be more user-friendly, this year will be something I’m sure most web visitors will be very grateful for.”

The Council Plan - Action Plan for 2018/19 details investments from the City of Darebin into walking and cycling, alongside upgrades to major parks across the municipality.

“There are in excess of 200 separate actions in the Action Plan, so I’d like residents to keep an eye out on our website for quarterly updates. These will deliver better services across the board for our community.

“I acknowledge that this is an ambitious agenda, but we have great staff of people who are striving to deliver the action plan”.

Media Release - 15 August 2018

Ryan Johnson is your typical 28 year-old. He skateboards and is an avid electronic music fan and producer/composer. Ryan though has a very different day job. He’s a School Crossing Supervisor. Every morning and afternoon, he gets to a school crossing and helps young people cross the road safely.

“I really enjoy the work, it’s important for the local community and also for me. I get to spend time outside and talk with the kids and parents. The past year of doing this work has had me happy and given me time to focus on what I love, my music.” Ryan said.

Ryan doesn’t only enjoy the hours and time with the community but it’s also reflecting positively on his social circle “My friends think it’s great, they think it’s pretty funny because most young people don’t do this kind of work. It’s great for anyone with another focus, like a creative. It really leaves my whole day open to get whatever you need done, while still providing a healthy income.”

“Best of all I can jump on the skateboard and be at the school in seconds, it really helps provide a great quality of life. I’d recommend anyone who wants a bit of responsibility with a bit of sun and you always know you’re an important part of the community.” Ryan concludes.

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said “We’re looking for Crossing Supervisors, people of all ages, with a positive sunny disposition who want to give kids and families a smile on their way to school are welcome to apply. Someone like Ryan, while not typically thought of as a Crossing Supervisor, is making the kids happy and providing a nice level of consistency in their lives. It doesn’t matter what your background as long as you want to provide a helpful ear to children and help them and their families cross the street.”

Darebin City Council are currently accepting applications for School Crossing Supervisors from all appropriate ages and people. They need to be dedicated, like kids and want to contribute to younger members of society’s lives, visit Council Jobs for details.

Media Release - 10 August 2018

Darebin City Council has commenced a formal independent review of all services and programs it provides to older people. The review will be completed by distinguished Victorians Dr Rhonda Galbally and Peter Allen who will complete the evaluation and provide a report with recommendations to council.

Dr Galbally said “I’m thrilled to be working on a report which gives older people a say in how aged care is being undertaken. Together with Peter, we are looking forward to providing vital feedback to Darebin City Council. We want to make sure Darebin remains an Age Friendly City.”

Dr Galbally has spent a lifetime working in leadership for the public health and community sectors. She has worked as Chair of the Royal Women’s Hospital, the Chair of the National People with Disability and carers Council and Chair of the Independent Advisory Council for the NDIS amongst other relevant roles.

“This open, consultative process will take into account the changes in federal funding to the aged care sector. The area of aged care is always a sensitive one, and we look forward to receiving honest feedback from all sectors in regards to these changes.” Dr Galbally concludes.

Peter Allen has more than 20 years’ experience in the Victorian Public Service with a variety of senior positions including Under Secretary of Human Services and Deputy Secretary at Community services. Additionally he has worked as Director of Social Policy and Research at the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Mr Allen said “This review is being undertaken in response to the changing needs of older people and changes in funding by the Federal Government. I look forward to seeing the results and working alongside Dr Galbally in which will be an important paper to shape aged care services in the Darebin area for years to come.”

“Council is committed to ensuring older people in Darebin are active, valued and supported to live the way they choose and this report will be the first step.”

The review will focus on the question of how do we create an Age Friendly Darebin? The Panel will consider input already received from the community over the past 12 months, and all community feedback received through upcoming consultations on the discussion paper and draft report.

Council currently spends over $13 million each year delivering targeted aged care services like in-home care, delivered meals and help around the house. Of the $13 million almost $6 million comes from Federal Government funding and $6 million from Council resources. In addition, Council also funds and provides a range of programs, classes, events and facilities for older people.

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said, “Whether you are an older Darebin resident, approaching retirement, or have ageing parents or loved ones – this review is relevant to you. We need to hear all perspectives on how we can achieve an Age Friendly City for older people today and in the future.”

“Council will not be making any decisions in relation to the review until the Panel’s final report has been received in April 2019.” Cr Le Cerf concludes.

More information about the Review is at Growing Older.

Media Release - 13 August 2018

Darebin City Council is inviting the community to attend one of our ‘Council Meet and Greets’ to talk about important issues and share their vision for the City with local Councillors and Council staff.

These meetings aim to encourage and improve community participation and enhance transparency says Mayor, Kim Le Cerf.

“Meetings will be scheduled in different parts of the municipality to provide an accessible avenue for the community to have a conversation with their local Councillors and staff about matters that are important to them and the City’s future,” she said.

“Some of the best ideas come from the community we serve. The get-togethers are an opportunity for us to listen to these ideas and be more open and accountable for the decisions we make,” the Mayor said.

Meetings will take the form of drop-in sessions where community members can discuss any issues with staff or Councillors. No bookings are required.

Meeting schedule:

Latrobe Ward: Councillors: Cr Gaetano Greco, Cr Susanne Newton
Thursday 13 September, 7pm-8.30pm
Address: Darebin Arts Centre, corner St Georges Road and Bell Street, Preston

Rucker Ward: Cr Kim LeCerf (Mayor), Cr Trent McCarthy, Cr Susan Rennie
Wednesday 19 September, 7pm-8.30pm
Address: Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, Northcote

Future meetings will be promoted via advertising in local media and online at www.darebin.vic.gov.au/wardmeetings.

Media Release - 10 August 2018

Established in 2015, WeCycle looks to house unwanted and discarded bicycles with members of the community who otherwise couldn’t afford them. In 2018, WeCycle received a grant of $2000 from Darebin City Council.

Gayle Ilievski, WeCycle co-founder said, “The money provided to us from the council will be used to purchase a range of items for bicycle recipients including, but certainly not limited to vital safety components; helmets, locks and lights. It’s amazing that what started as Craig Jackson and I started working in our backyard as a small interest, has grown to a team of volunteers who have joined us to grow this project.

“We are open every Saturday from 10am to 3pm for clients to come and find a bike of a suitable size and type. Cycling is a great way to get fit while seeing this great city.”

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said, “WeCycle is a progressive and wonderfully inclusive initiative and is ideal for our Community Grants.  Many people that are struggling to afford a bike will be helped through WeCycle.”

Gayle said, “We have excellent partners like Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Mind Australia, Women’s Refuge, Foundation House,  Good Cycles and CERES and of course the City of Darebin who we hope to continue to work with through the Community Grants program. We continue to encourage women to join our team.  We continue to apply for the grant every year, as we need assistance with the cost of public liability insurance and to keep the project afloat.”

Mayor Le Cerf concluded, “We are thrilled to continue to support WeCycle.”

For more information visit the WeCycle website.

Media Release - 10 August 2018

The Islamic Museum of Australia received a $3,000 community grant from Darebin City Council used to support Community Week, a program of events for kids and families in the museum during the school holidays and the forthcoming gala dinner.

Ali Fahour, General Manager of the Islamic Museum of Australia said, “We want to continue to offer compelling events and experiences, for people of all ages. It’s about welcoming people and running activities to engage the community, and the funding greatly assists us in opening up our doors to the wider community.”

The week, which took place in the July school holidays, saw 13 activities over the week, engaging in excess of 300 people. Mr Fahour continues, “It was really popular; we saw a mix of workshops, guest speakers and highly interactive activities.”

Partnering with the City of Darebin, the Islamic Council of Victoria and the Board of Imams - Victoria, the peak organisations of the Muslim community, all religious faiths are welcome to the Museum.

“We focus on all communities regardless of their background, it’s important to acknowledge that people from all walks of life are welcome here. Ninety per cent of our visitors are non-Muslim, our program is completely inclusive and we’re very proud of that. We are looking at building this as a program that’s more than just a one-off event; it will be an annual event held during the July school holidays.”

 “We want to grow the program every year, to extend our reach and engagement. We believe the more we can bring different people together, the stronger the Australian community becomes. We’re going to use some of the funding for our Gala Dinner on October 20, which celebrates the contributions of Muslims to the Australian way of life. It promises to be a tremendous event.” Mr Fahour concludes.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf is delighted to see the Community Grant funding put to good use. “The Islamic Museum of Australia is a tremendous facility, and we are thrilled to be able to fund their exhibitions and events. They leave a lasting, positive impact on all who visit and we look forward in continuing our partnership with them in the future.”

Media Release - 2 August 2018

The Raleigh Street Childcare Centre has received a funding boost totalling $40,000 to complete its refurbishment through a grant from Darebin City Council.

Having already undergone a front yard redevelopment in 2016 and undertaking an internal building renewal in 2018, the funding will allow for the remaining outdoor play space to be upgraded and enhanced by the end of the current financial year.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf talks about making sure infrastructure is in place for the next generation, “Council enjoys seeing public submissions for funding like the Raleigh Street Childcare Centre. We know how important it is to maintain and improve facilities for the younger members of our community. We expect the kids will love the new space!”

The funding boost from council will allow the childcare facility to provide a high quality outdoor play space and will complete the final stage of the site renewal works.

Justine Rouse Centre Director said “We are so grateful to the Council for the support and strong commitment to early childhood development in making this budget decision. We thank the Council for recognising the importance of high quality facilities to give the children the best possible start in life. On behalf of the community, including the little ones who will benefit from these upgrades, we thank you again.”

Cr Le Cerf concludes “We look forward to seeing the works completed and the children using these upgrades happily for decades to come.”

We will keep you updated on the completion of the playground in the future.

Media Release - 30 July 2018

On Monday night, Council declared a Special Charge Scheme, which will allow nearly 500 Darebin households to install solar at no upfront cost before Christmas this year.

Council’s award-winning Solar Saver program helps Darebin residents by paying for the cost of their solar system and installation costs. Households pay Council back in small increments over 10 years, while saving more than enough on their electricity bills to offset the cost of the solar system.

Social housing provider Northcote Rental Housing Cooperative are participating again, with a further six properties to have solar installed later this year. Jen Jewell-Brown is a part of the cooperative and had panels installed in a previous round of the Solar Saver program. She reports:

“I’m already saving $10 to $20 a week, and one of our members says her bill has halved!”

By the end of this year, nearly 1000 households will have benefitted from this award-winning program.

The success of Solar Saver also means that ordinary householders are helping Council achieve its ambitious target of doubling solar capacity in Darebin by 2020 – a key commitment in Darebin’s Climate Emergency Plan.

Soozah, another participant in the program, says she enjoys contributing to local renewable energy:

“I love my solar panels. I love the feeling of being part of the new direction of power generation. I am so pleased that Darebin Council is progressive enough to have pioneered this scheme.”

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said “Darebin is a leader in responding to the climate emergency. Programs like Solar Saver help on so many levels – not only creating clean local energy but making our community more resilient to extreme weather and rising energy prices. We want a whole city approach to combating climate change and Solar Saver is only the first step.”

Expressions of interest for Solar Saver are now open to all households and organisations in Darebin.

To find out more and register go to www.darebin.vic.gov.au/solar or call Council on 8470 8888 or on 8470 8470 for languages other than English.

Media Release - 26 July 2018

To encourage the next generation of leaders, Darebin City Council is inviting local schools to attend council meetings in 2019. This will mean three meetings during 2019 will move from a Monday night to during the day.

Councillor Susan Rennie who proposed the change said, “We are encouraging the next generation to become passionate about issues that affect them, and are welcoming schools to view the democratic process first hand. Inviting students to our council meetings will assist them in finding out about how councils work. It will assist us by letting us tap into vital young minds, giving us greater understanding of what they are passionate about.”

The motion to invite the schools passed unanimously and council is looking forward to seeing school students’ visit.

“This innovative program could be very valuable across numerous learning streams,” Cr Rennie said.

Be it Law, Social Studies or English, students can learn all about democracy and how it influences their lives. We are very excited about offering this program to schools and seeing students at our meetings.

Schools in Darebin will be engaged in the selection of dates and times.

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said “Darebin Council sees itself as one that encourages people to reach their potential and we’re thrilled that this motion was passed unanimously. We can’t wait to welcome students in 2019. With the changing nature of working hours, this will also allow other residents in our community an opportunity to participate in our meetings.”

Media Release - 25 July 2018

Darebin City Council is thrilled to make a significant investment in its community through the Darebin Community Grants Program.

The Program aims to support community projects and activities that address 2017-2021 Council Plan priority areas including building social inclusion, addressing climate change and enhancing the well-being of City of Darebin residents.

These aims are achieved through provision of cash grants and venue hire subsidies to local not-for-profit groups and organisations.

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said “It’s tremendous to see the community request funding and we are happy to supply these to all worthwhile and forward thinking groups and venues. The funded projects are enhancing the way we live in Darebin.”

“Successful organisations cover all walks of life in the City of Darebin, from Arts Access Victoria – Flow Festival, to health education and wellness programs, to the Islamic Museum of Australia and so much more. The projects, venues and ideas from our community are all inspiring and progressive. We see workshops being delivered, festivals being undertaken and sustainability increase in our area.”

Ali Fahour a recipient for the Islamic Museum of Australia said “The Islamic Museum of Australia is delighted to receive this grant. This will help enhance the participatory program of events we offer including panel discussions and art based activities, enabling us to continue to share and celebrate the contribution of Muslims with the community.”

For the 2018/19 Community Grants Program 188 applications were received with 96 approved for cash grants and 61 approved for in-kind venue hire support, with a total investment of $319,316.

“Enhancing the community in this way assists with morale and contributes to the Darebin way of life and we look forward to distributing these community grants every year.” Mayor Le Cerf concludes.

Successful and unsuccessful 2018/2019 cash and venue hire subsidy applications will be available from www.darebin.vic.gov.au/communitygrants or can be requested by calling the Community Grants Officer on 8470 8504.

Media Release - 23 July 2018

Darebin City Council is today joining with four other mayors and The Alliance for Gambling Reform on the steps of State Parliament in a united call for the next Victorian Government to embrace meaningful gambling reform.

The five mayors joined with Alliance spokesman and director Tim Costello, who welcomed the unprecedented commitment of local government leaders to the vital community cause of addressing Australia’s world record levels of gambling harm.

“Successive Victorian Governments have been intimidated by a ruthless industry and become reliant on the easy money of gambling taxes but Mayor Le Cerf and the City of Darebin are saying this has got to stop,” Mr Costello said.

“Councils are at the coal face of gambling harm and are not conflicted by the tax revenue or intimidated by an industry which has exerted way too much power over our major political parties, leaving Australia with the largest per capita gambling losses in the world.” 

Mr Costello says “the next Victorian Parliament must show some spine and heart” and address this issue to prevent the needless suicides, family violence, bankruptcy and fraud, which flows when $2.7 billion a year is ripped from the community through addictive poker machines in suburban pubs and clubs.

City of Darebin recently proposed a motion to the MAV State Council calling on Vision Super to investigate divesting its shares in Woolworths; if it doesn’t dramatically change its business to no longer be the world’s biggest suburban poker machine operator, it takes $670 million a year from Victorian gamblers alone. Darebin Council also resolved to assist all local clubs and community groups divest themselves from support from poker machines.

Darebin Mayor Kim Le Cerf said, “The community harms from poker machines greatly outweigh any perceived benefits. The untenable situation is highlighted by AFL clubs now starting to eliminate these highly dangerous and addictive machines. In Darebin, poker machines strip $81 million per year mostly from our disadvantaged neighbourhoods. They are responsible for growing levels of inter-generational poverty that both major parties continue to ignore.

“As community leaders we want reform. We call on the State Government and opposition parties to commit to $1 maximum bets, clamp down on losses disguised as wins and reduce venue opening hours,” Mayor Le Cerf concludes.

The Darebin community lost $81m in 12 venues in 2016-17.

Media Release - 24 July 2018

Chosen as one of only 20 women to travel overseas with the Vital Voices Engage Fellowship, Darebin Cr Susanne Newton feels incredibly inspired and fortunate.

Cr. Susanne NEWTONVital Voices exists to inspire and create amazing women leaders of tomorrow. The organisation originally developed as an adjunct to the United Nations by Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton stemmed from a UN conference in regards to the status of women. The fellowship will take Cr Newton to Florence in November and Massachusetts in March of next year.

“This is a great opportunity to learn more from the leaders and my peers. To meet people from all around the world is a wonderful opportunity. To truly expand my horizons and bring my learnings back, and apply them to my work at the council, is an opportunity I truly cherish.” Cr Newton said.

Cr Newton is familiar with the program and its principles already having spent a year working in Uganda for the United Nations Women, the UN Agency for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. “The year illustrated to me that we could be doing more to encourage women to be a part of public life and serve the public.”

Cr Newton looks forward to gaining a greater understanding of leadership practices from the year as part of the Vital Voices team.

“I really want to bring my new knowledge to the City of Darebin and my organisation Women’s Melbourne Network. I enjoy leading from the front and working collaboratively with all. We have a strong female leadership team at Darebin who are keen to hear all about my travels and the course.”

The program identifies strong female leaders and enhances their training and practices, and partners with them to make their unique and progressive vision a reality.

“I’m looking forward to travelling the world and learning from leaders, expanding my thinking and continuing to see strong female leadership in the City of Darebin.”

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said “It’s a great opportunity for Susanne to take the next year to explore leadership on a grander scale and she is to be congratulated to be chosen.”

Media Release - 20 July 2018

Darebin City Council is very disappointed the Office of Geographic Names under the naming rules for places in Victoria has decided against renaming Batman Park to Gumbri Park.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said “Darebin City Council is committed to renaming Batman Park. We will now start again and look at new options for names for the park in partnership with the Wurundjeri Council.”

The proposal to rename the park followed extensive community engagement by Council with the residents and in partnership with Wurundjeri Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Aboriginal Corporation (Wurundjeri Council). The proposed renaming of the park originally started when Aboriginal leaders approached Darebin Council to consider renaming.

The Wurundjeri Corporation, as the Traditional Owner representative body, were invited by Council to provide a name and subsequently put forward three names for consideration by the Darebin Community. The proposed names Billebellary, Be Be Jern and Gumbri represent influential Elders who have great spiritual and cultural significance for the Wurundjeri community.

Following the community consultation process with residents of Darebin, Gumbri was chosen as the preferred name and formally endorsed by the Wurundjeri Corporation and Council.

Mayor Le Cerf continues “While there were some diverse views on the renaming of Batman Park, the overwhelming majority had a preference towards Gumbri as a name for the park. This was not about replacing one name with another, but is about giving visibility to the world’s oldest living culture.”

“This project reflects Darebin Council’s commitment to recognition and respect for the original owners of the land, acknowledgement of our shared history and recognition that the land is vital to the cultural, spiritual and physical identity of the Wurundjeri people.” Mayor Le Cerf concludes.

Wurundjeri Council acknowledges the work of Darebin City Council and their commitment to reconciliation.

Media Release - 17 July 2018

Darebin City Council has partnered with ice sports expert Ross Fisher through the Australian Skate Company, to bring to Darebin a state of the art community ice skating arena.

Located in Blake Street Reservoir, ‘iceHQ’ contains an NHL sized skating rink complete with public changing rooms, skate hire, a pro-shop, café and function room. The venue will offer recreational skating to the public. It will also host ice hockey competitions in partnership with Ice Hockey Victoria, as well as figure skating, speed skating and curling. A school skating program will also be offered.

This facility originated as an indoor basketball stadium, and has been transformed into a unique, fun and vibrant space where people can practice a different kind of physical fitness.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf explains “We commenced work with the Australian Skate company on this project way back in 2011. It's great to see the former Sullivan Stadium transformed into iceHQ, hosting recreational skating as well as competitive ice sports. I hope this new facility in Reservoir will be a fun family-friendly destination for the Darebin community and beyond.”

The official opening of iceHQ takes place at 10AM on 21 July at 1 Blake St, Reservoir. Robin Scott, Federal Member for Preston will be in attendance as will a council representative. All are welcome.

Darebin City Council is thrilled to increase its level of community consultation, by inviting the community to a drop-in session on July 21, organised by the Pender’s Park Community Committee. The session, which takes place between 10 am and 12 pm, will include some light catering and entertainment for the kids.

The upgrade of Pender’s Park, located in Thornbury will be designed by the community, building on feedback received in December 2017 and directly resulting from the July 21 event.

Mayor Kim Le Cerf explains “We are looking to the community to create a master plan for their park and develop this as a community hub. Community feedback tells us the public have asked us to create a space that is safe, accessible with up to date facilities. We look forward to building a park that the entire community can utilise. This entire project is a community led process, to make sure we really bring them the park they want.”

As identified in the new Council Plan titled Darebin 2021 and the Play Space Strategy 2010-2020, Council has committed to developing a master plan for Pender’s Park including an all abilities play space.

Mayor Le Cerf continues, “The feedback tells us the new improved play space needs to be an all age’s universally accessible play space while the park will enhance the community’s connection to nature. We are striving to make Pender’s Park a destination for all that live in and visit Thornbury. Once the drop in session is complete, the Pender’s Park Community Committee, made up of community members, can develop a master plan for the park to be endorsed by the Council.”

Alongside the drop in session online consultation will also be launched at yoursaydarebin.com.au/penderspark. This will launch on July 12 and will be online for approximately six weeks.

Mayor Le Cerf concludes “We look forward to developing a space that’s representative of our warm and welcoming community where all feel safe.”

The vision, design principles and ideas for the Pender’s Park redevelopment are available at yoursaydarebin.com.au/penderspark.

Media Release - Wednesday 11 July 2018

Darebin City Council in partnership with Northland Shopping Centre Management – Vicinity Group, has developed a 10-week program with Northland retailers to help find employment for young people.

Applications are now open for two “First Step” programs, one for 16-18 year olds and the other for 19-22 year olds. 20 young people take part in the scheme during term three of the school year.

Darebin Council is working with Target and Coles, Northland to develop a training schedule that prepares the participants for employment and builds resilience, and self-esteem.

The training sessions will be delivered by Darebin Council and the Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education - PRACE at the new Darebin City Council community space – The Hub which gives young people free access to support workers, legal assistance, health professionals, and employment services.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said this initiative was a clear demonstration of Council’s commitment to combatting youth employment as one of its top priorities.

“Darebin Youth Services’ successful application for $40,000 funding from the VICHealth Bright Futures program has enabled it to develop and implement the ”First Step” program,” Cr Le Cerf said.

“By hosting the learning sessions at The Hub, young people will have regular mentoring and become aware of available services and be more closely connected to the community.”

As part of their training, the twenty-hours paid work experience will be hosted by retailers, with a development plan that identifies a clear learning pathway to become a successful employee. The program will align with retailer recruitment periods so participants can apply for fully paid positions at their mentoring retailer.

The Program starts 7 August, with applications closing Sunday 29 July.

For application details and further information visit Darebin Youth Services.

Darebin City Council has continued its outstanding greening record by passing two greening initiatives at council on Monday July 2.

The first of the initiatives is the Sustainable Melbourne Fund’s Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUA) which assists in facilitating zero carbon businesses and increases business resource efficiency. The EUA is an agreement between a property owner, a bank and local government that facilitates a building upgrade to improve energy efficiency or install solar panels. There are three businesses currently interested in the program.

Sue Wilkinson, Darebin City Council CEO said “We are thrilled to be taking part of this initiative which has been so successful for Melbourne City Council and its surrounds. This program has successfully upgraded older buildings and can be used by tenants and building owners of commercial and industrial property to collaborate on energy, water and waste projects that will reduce the impact to the environment and reduce operating costs.”

The Sustainable Melbourne Fund (SMF) designed and implemented the EUA program for the City of Melbourne, the first municipality to offer EUA’s. The SMF are now the Third Party Administrator for the EUA program, engaging actively with the finance and property sector as a trusted intermediary for building owners.

“Financially this project makes sense to business tenants, as EUAs allows these tenants to contribute financially to the project where it makes sense to do so and they can help shape the project and building to best suit their unique needs. EUA finance offers 100% project finance, very competitive interest rates and long term finance.” Ms Wilkinson continues.

Darebin City Council already has interest from two businesses for the EUA to assist in enabling the installation of solar panels or other similar energy efficiency work. One of these businesses is interested in commencing with work in the near future.

“We’d like to see all smaller businesses respond positively to this initiative and green their buildings, lessen their carbon footprint and ultimately receive the benefits that are on offer from the SMF.”

To illustrate Darebin City Council’s commitment to a healthier environment, the Council’s own buildings are being progressively upgraded. This is to ensure these buildings achieve a high level of Environmental Sustainable Development.

“At Darebin we see environmental initiatives as a must for future generations. This starts with us as a council and the upgrades to our buildings will decrease our own carbon footprint and encourage more businesses to think green for the future.” Ms Wilkinson concludes.

Media Release - 4 July 2018

Darebin City Council welcomes the Australian Electoral Commission’s (AEC) decision to rename the Federal Electoral Division of Batman to Cooper.

“While we were surprised that the electorate isn’t being named after respected Wurundjeri Elder Simon Wonga, we are thrilled with this important step towards recognition of First Nations people,” said Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf.

“William Cooper was a distinguished leader in the Aboriginal community who fought for justice, land rights and representation.”

“This is a landmark decision, showing that at a national level we are recognising our First Nations people. We thank the Australian Electoral Commission for listening to the community’s concerns about the name Batman and his legacy – and for following due process,” said Cr Le Cerf.

Elders from the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council (Wurundjeri Council) stated, “Firstly, we would like to thank Darebin City Council for their continued support, having approached AEC on behalf of Wurundjeri Council suggesting that the Batman electorate be renamed after a great Wurundjeri leader, Simon Wonga”.

“Wurundjeri Council are delighted that the electorate will no longer be named after John Batman. William Cooper is a well-known and respected Indigenous leader, who worked tirelessly for aboriginal rights and is certainly deserving of this recognition. We applaud the decision to rename the electorate after a deserving First Nations representative,” they said.

Cr Le Cerf said the AEC’s decision comes after many years of community discussion and campaigning.

“I want to thank everyone involved for their work, in particular the Wurundjeri Council Elders, who proposed that the electorate be named after Simon Wonga and the federal member for Batman Ged Kearney MP,” said the Mayor.

Darebin Council will continue to explore opportunities to recognise Simon Wonga.

Media Release - 20 June 2018

Darebin Council reaffirmed its commitment to refugees and asylum seekers this week, funding a new employment pathways program and becoming a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Agencies Solidarity statement for World Refugee Day.

It has provided $50,000 to the Brotherhood of St Laurence to deliver the Employment Pathways for People Seeking Asylum Program in Darebin. The program responds to an identified gap amongst people seeking asylum who had been granted work rights but lack the opportunity to receive tailored employment support.

Council recognises that lifelong learning and securing good quality work is a key determinant to wellbeing. This employment readiness program will support participants to identify, plan and pursue pathways to employment, volunteering and study,

The program aims to increase the confidence of participants in their own skills and capabilities related to education and employment and maximise their economic and social contribution to our community.

In endorsing the UN statement, Darebin joins Mayors around Australia invited to participate in an initiative to highlight the work cities around the world are doing to promote inclusion and bringing communities together to support refugees.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf said this initiative builds on the work of the 2017 Global Mayors Summit during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

“As a member of the Australian Standards for Welcoming Cities and as a signatory of the Refugee Council of Australia’s Refugee Welcome Zone Declaration, Council is proud to support the Solidarity Statement #WithRefugees,” Cr Le Cerf said.

“Council recognises the contribution of refugees and asylum seekers to strengthening community cohesion, economic development and diversity. Our Council Plan is committed to specific actions to advocate, engage and uphold the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees.”

“Solutions to the refugee crisis start at a local level and we can all play a part ensuring that refugees can live in safety, become self-reliant and contribute and participate in the local community.”

World Refugee Day is on June 20.

Media Release - 18 June 2018

Darebin City Council has demonstrated its strong ongoing commitment to its community by increasing its funding for Neighbourhood Houses and community organisations.

Under the new arrangements seven Neighborhood Houses across Darebin will receive an additional $20,000, phased in over two years, which will give these important organisations greater certainty and stability for the long term.

The decision relates to Neighbourhood Houses in Darebin and the Darebin Information and Volunteer Resources Service (DIVRS) who receive funds each year from Council as a contribution to their overall operations.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf said the model aligns the term of funding agreements to the existing building lease terms and aims to give organisations the ability to plan ahead and offer increased services to the community.

“Neighborhood Houses are absolutely critical to our community. They provide essential services to the broader community in the form of health and wellbeing. I am thrilled that Council is able to help these wonderful centres by providing not just increased certainty but also increased funding over the long term ,” Cr Le Cerf said.

“Councillors were united in their backing of this initiative and I look forward to working with the houses in the years to come to see the benefits of Councils increased support.”

Manager of Span Community House, Colleen Duggan, said the Neighbourhood Houses of Darebin and DIVRS were delighted to gain the extra and ongoing support from Council. 

“This increase in funding will allow the organisations to strengthen and expand the activities and services that we offer the community,” she said.

“The houses, which offer a variety of support and programs for all community members, look forward to the ability to plan and put in place activities that benefit their communities on an ongoing basis.”

Recipients of the new funding are:

  • Alphington Community Centre
  • The Bridge – Preston and Thornbury
  • Jika Jika Community Centre
  • Reservoir Neighbourhood House
  • Span Community House
  • Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education (PRACE)
  • Darebin Information and Volunteer Resource Services (DIVRS)

Media Release - 15 June 2018

Darebin City Council will examine an innovative long term leasing approach to provide affordable housing on council-owned land.

Data from Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services shows that over the past 10 years, the proportion of rental properties that are affordable for lower income households has fallen from 27 per cent to just 8.2 per cent.

Council has voted to start community consultation and statutory processes to lease land in Townhall Avenue, Preston for an Affordable Housing project.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said affordable housing was a critical issue in the municipality, and Council was committed to increasing supply through multiple avenues.

A recent Victorian government parliamentary committee inquiry into the Public Housing Renewal Program found there were more than 82,000 adults and children waiting for social housing.

As part of its decision, Council will work with the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (LMCF) to explore the leasing opportunity. LMCF is an independent community philanthropic foundation with a long history of supporting homelessness and affordable housing projects. It will contribute an expert advisory committee, a $1 million dollar grant and a $2 million loan via Social Enterprise Finance Australia (Finance) towards an Affordable Housing project.

“We need to continually look at how Council-owned land can be best used and this is an exciting opportunity to explore a new approach to affordable housing and work with the philanthropic sector,” Cr Le Cerf said.

In addition to exploring how Council can contribute to increasing affordable housing numbers, the Mayor said that Council would continue its advocacy efforts to the State Government.

“We remain firm in our belief that the supply of affordable housing is a responsibility of all levels of government. We will be continuing to push the State Government to increase supply and protect existing public housing stock,” she said.

The lack of affordable housing options can have significant impacts on individuals, families and communities. These include lost productivity and wages, issues with workforce attraction and retention and harmful outcomes for health and social inclusion.

Media Release - 15 June 2018

Darebin will be an even better place to live, work and visit after a $4.065 million boost to capital works in the 2018/19 City Council $180.2m Annual Budget for the ongoing delivery of services.

Upgrades to some of the city’s sports pavilions, increased street lighting, improved drainage and better roads are amongst the highlights of the increased investment.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said this was a confident budget that seeks to balance the demand for services and infrastructure with affordability and sustainability.

“This budget reinforces our commitment to continue our progress to realising the ambitious goals and objectives of Council Plan 2017-2021,” Cr Le Cerf said.

“This year we also had an extensive community consultation campaign to raise awareness of the budget and provide opportunity for input. It’s very pleasing that we had 157 submissions, 27 of which were heard by Council’s Submissions Committee.

“I’d like to thank the members of the community who took the time to pop in at an information session, at one of our market stalls or to write a formal submission. Your feedback showed Council’s plans were strongly aligned with community expectations and the submissions we received helped us focus our efforts even more sharply.

“Council has listened to the community input and acted accordingly.”

In response to community submissions, Council amended the final budget to fund much needed improvements to the pitch at Mayer Park, plant 1000 more trees, install more drinking fountains than ever before, increase support for refugees and for improvements pedestrian access to the Northern School for Autism.

Among the community focused projects and services in the budget are:

  • Approximately 23,000 immunisations
  • Library services for 650,000 visitors each year
  • 140,000 hours of aged care services
  • Maintenance of 60 sporting ovals and fields
  • Support for 1000 solar systems to homes and businesses
  • Collection of 5.5 million bins, 11,300 tonnes of green waste and 14,000 tonnes of recycling collected each year

This year’s budget capital expenditure increase included a range of items including:

  • Road rehabilitation - $450,000
  • Street lighting - $250,000
  • Drainage upgrades
    - Wilson Boulevard , $398,000
    - Byfield Street, $182,000
  • Pavilion upgrades
    - WH Robinson Reserve, $500,000
    - Pitcher Park, $150,000
  • Master plan implementation
    - Robinson/Capp, $147,000
    - Oldis Gardens, $41,000

“On behalf of the Darebin City Council I would like to thank the community for its input into the budget and we are looking forward to seeing these great projects come to life during the next 12 months,” Cr Le Cerf said.

Media Release - 13 June 2018

Darebin City Council is disappointed by the decision by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) to approve an additional 15 gaming machines and extended hours at the Darebin RSL.

Council is now appealing the decision on the grounds that the additional machines and a 2am closing time will impose further hardship on the community, which is one of the most disadvantaged areas of the municipality, already experiences high gambling losses.

Mayor Kim Le Cerf said the Council would continue to fight to protect the local community.

“With a relatively high level of disadvantage in Preston, when we considered the social and economic impact assessment, more machines and longer opening hours is the very last thing our community needs,” Cr Le Cerf said.

Cr Kim Le Cerf said electronic gaming already ripped out more than $80 million of the Darebin community every year, with more than $4.4 million lost at the Darebin RSL last year.

“The research is clear, people who gamble experience a lower quality of life and are twice as likely to suffer anxiety and depression. There is also a clear link to poverty, stress, reduced work performance and family violence,” Cr Le Cerf said.

Documents commissioned by the Council revealed the proposal would create a venue with the third highest weekly poker machine expenditure of all RSL clubs in Victoria.

Council will now lodge an appeal with the Victorian Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT). Council expects both the review of the gaming license and planning decisions will be heard jointly.

Media release - 7 June 2018

Darebin Council is calling on all artists who live, work or study in our city to submit a two-dimensional artwork for the A1 Darebin Art Salon exhibition at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said the exhibition – being held for a second time after its successful inaugural event two years ago – was a celebration of the creative talent in Darebin.

“We are an immensely creative community,” the Mayor said. “The Art Salon is a wonderful opportunity for emerging and established artists of all ages and backgrounds to showcase their work.”

Apart from receiving exposure in the community, one winning artist will be given an opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre. A second will receive the People’s Choice Award.

“I encourage local artists to enter their work,” Cr Le Cerf said. “They can use any media, from works on paper, painting and anything that can be hung on the gallery’s walls, from mosaics to tapestries, so long as it doesn’t exceed the size of A1.”

The judging panel for the competition will be artist Shannon Smiley and Claire Watson, Senior Curator at the Homestead.

Submissions close on Thursday 21 July at 5pm.

Visit www.bundoorahomestead.com for more information or call 9496 1060.

Patrick Francis - Italian Woman - Winner A1 Darebin Art Salon contest

IMAGE
Winning work of the 2016 A1 Darebin Art Salon by Patrick Francis: Italian Woman (after Vincent Van Gough) 2014, acrylic on paper

www.bundoorahomestead.com
7 Prospect Hill Drive | Bundoora VIC 3083
Thurs- Sun 10am-5pm

Media Release - 28 May 2018

The Preston Market is an icon of our community. The value of this much-loved landmark goes beyond simply what is sold beneath the roof.

A thriving Preston Market is vital for this community and last night the Darebin City Council reiterated its commitment to preserving the long-term viability of Preston Market.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf said Preston Market is a part of the fabric of the local community and woven through the lives of so many who live, work and visit here.

“We love Preston Market and we are deeply committed to see it continue to operate and thrive into the future,” she said.

“There are several ways Council can help to achieve this, including working with the Victorian Planning Authority to review the planning controls for the site.

“Our aim is to ensure Council is a strong voice when advice is given to the Minister on the most effective and appropriate planning controls to guide development on the site and preserve the long-term viability of the market.”

Heritage

The Mayor said Council recently explored the possibility of protecting the market through the use of heritage controls and commissioned a heritage study that was peer reviewed and also obtained expert legal advice.

The study provided important information about the historical, cultural, and social significance of the market to the local community.

“We feel strongly this information needs to be taken into consideration by the VPA as part of their review process and incorporated into developing the most effective suite of planning controls to provide the best outcome for the site and protect the market operations into the future.

“Council has also made the decision not to seek heritage protection for Preston Market at this time, but rather to focus on the current review of planning controls and community engagement. To get the best outcome it’s important that the study and advice is considered holistically and incorporated into the broader review.

“It’s important to understand that a heritage overlay does not protect the use of the land being used as a market. And, based on the information provided, the building is unlikely to meet the technical requirements for heritage, but even if a case could be made to apply a heritage control this would not compel the market to remain a market,” Mayor Le Cerf said.

Council will make the study and associated reports available on its website on the 22 May.

“We know this issue is an important one for many in our community, so we will be meeting with key stakeholders to go through the study in more detail.

Community consultation so far

Phase One of community consultation on the market has recently finished. 

“This round of consultation was about understanding the character and uniqueness of the market with the aim of developing a vision for the site,” the Mayor said.

“We were really pleased with the level of participation in the consultation and that so many community members provided input. 

“Council will now continue to work with the VPA on the second phase of the community engagement, which will run until around mid-July. This phase includes seeking feedback on different options or scenarios for the market site.

“A community reference group has also been selected and over the next three months will be asked to explore issues and opportunities in more depth and provide feedback.

“Council is absolutely committed to supporting the long-term future of the Preston Market. We want the market to stay and thrive,” the Mayor said.

For more information visit www.darebin.vic.gov.au/prestonmarket.

Media Release - 22 May 2018

Last night Darebin Council took an important step towards creating a better future for its older community by resolving to conduct a broad ranging review of how the Council can create an age friendly city.

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said “Darebin Council is absolutely committed to creating an age-friendly city where older people are valued, supported and empowered to live well in our community.

“We need to look at how we should be addressing issues of social inclusion, transport and facilities, as well as vital health and support services.

“We know that the people using Darebin Council’s existing services for older people strongly value those services, and are concerned about the federal government’s changes. That’s why we need a broad ranging review and consultation process.

“We also need to look at potential new services, programs and facilities which may help create an age friendly Darebin.”

Darebin Council currently contributes about $6 million per year to services for older people, providing services to about 3,300 clients in 2016/17. The Council is looking to maintain this investment in the health and wellbeing of older people, while also ensuring resources are used in the best way possible.

The review comes in the context of major changes to federal aged care systems and federal funding. From mid-2020 the federal government will stop its block funding of Victorian aged care service providers such as Darebin Council. Instead, individual clients will make individual choices about service providers and the federal government will provide funding accordingly.

Dr Rhonda Galbally AO and Mr Peter Allen have been appointed by the Council as the independent expert panel conducting the review.

Dr Galbally said ”This review is a real opportunity to hear from the Darebin community -- and consider the big picture of how can Darebin truly empower and support its older people to live well in their community”.

Mr Allen said “We want to investigate the issues and hear from Darebin’s older people about the services and programs that need to continue, as well as new services and programs that may be needed”.

The review will include two public consultation phases and will commence with a discussion and options paper to be released in August, followed by a preliminary report in late 2018. The final recommendations of the panel will be considered by the Council in March 2019.

Media Release - 22May 2018

 

Brief information about the appointed members of the Creating an Age Friendly Darebin review panel:

Rhonda Galbally AO is well known as a leader and advocate in the fields of health development, disability, ageing and social policy. The many distinguished positions she has held include the Chair of the Association of Philanthropy (now Philanthropy Australia); CEO of the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth), the cofounder and CEO of Our Community Pty Ltd, the Chair of the Royal Women’s Hospital, the Chair of the National People with Disability and Carer's Council, and Principal Member (chair) of the Independent Advisory Council for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Dr Galbally was inducted on to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2005 and has previously received the Prime Minister's Outstanding Achievement Award at the National Disability Awards.

Peter Allen is currently based at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), where he was Deputy Dean between 2009 and 2015. Previously he had more than twenty years in the Victorian Public Service, with senior positions including Secretary of the Department of Education and Training, Secretary of the Department of Tourism, Sport and the Commonwealth Games, Under Secretary in the Department of Human Services, and Deputy Secretary, Community Services. Previously he was Director of Social Policy and Research at the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Mr Allen has also served as Founding Chair of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority and as a distinguished member of a number of councils and boards.

Darebin youngsters got a head start on a community call to help shape the vision for a new suburb in Preston East which could house up to 20,000 residents in the next 30 years.

Council will hold a consultation day and free workshop with local artists at TW Blake Park on May 20, where the community can try their hand at designing their ideal neighbourhood out of cardboard boxes.

Bordered by Albert and Bell streets, Northland Shopping Centre and the Darebin Creek, the area will be reshaped to house more than half of Darebin’s forecast population growth, transforming large industrial sites to walkable, sustainable neighbourhoods with diverse employment options.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf said input from the community was vital to set the vision and help inform planning controls and developer contributions to shape the new precinct.

“We want to ensure high quality, sustainable carbon buildings with room for families, and neighbourhoods with a mix of busy, active spaces and quiet streets,” Cr Le Cerf said.

“We know higher density living will make improved services and public transport links viable, and we have a goal for more than 10,000 jobs in the area in the long-term, as part of a Victorian Government employment plan for the area.”

An online survey has been set up to hear what features the community would like to see, and what would make the new neighbourhoods in Preston East appealing places to live.

Have your say on the vision for Preston East and concepts for the upgrade of TW Blake Park at www.yoursaydarebin.com.au or attend the art workshop and consultation day from 9am-12pm at TW Blake Park on Murray Road, Preston, on Sunday 20 May. 

Media Release - 9 May 2018

Darebin City Council has moved one step closer to enabling another 481 Darebin households to install solar through the latest round of its Solar Saver Scheme.

This brings the number households taking part in the scheme to almost 1000 and is part of the Council’s goal to double solar in Darebin under the Darebin Climate Emergency Plan.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said Council last night moved it intended to declare a special charge to allow participants to repay the cost of solar panels over 10 years.

“One of Council’s first acts was to declare that we are in a state of climate emergency. Last year we followed that by releasing what we believe to be a world first for local government - the Darebin Climate Emergency Plan,” Cr Le Cerf said.

“Objectives in the plan include our target of doubling solar capacity in Darebin by 2020. As of February this year we are at 23.4MW and well on the way to our target of 38MW by 2022.”

While these figures include installations on Council buildings, another big contributor to this target is a partnership between Council and the Darebin community. Under the program households are able to install solar on their own roofs, through a Council-appointed provider, at no up-front cost.

Almost 500 households have participated in previous rounds of the program and Council is hoping to help 2000 households over two years during the current phase of the program. Most ratepayers taking up the opportunity to install solar through this program can typically expect to save $100-500 per year after their repayments.

In the past the program has been open only to pensioners and low income households, but is now open to all Darebin residents and businesses. Through the scheme, eligible participants can purchase a good quality solar system and pay it off, interest free, through a special rates charge over 10 years.

Solar Saver will continue over the next three years. The current round of Solar Saver is full, however participants can register now for the next round, which will get underway in the middle of this year.

Register your interest at www.darebin.vic.gov.au/solar.

Media Release - 1 May 2018

CERES Fair Wood has won the Darebin Pitch It sustainable business pitch competition held at Preston Market recently.

CERES Fair Wood has won the Darebin Pitch It sustainable business pitch competition held at Preston Market recently.

Five local start-up businesses, out of a total of more than 50 entries, had 10 minutes to pitch their business idea to win the $20,000 prize.

The competition gives local students, entrepreneurs, businesses, not-for-profits and social enterprises the opportunity to create and scale new and exciting sustainability-focused ventures in areas such as new energy technologies, food innovation, security and social business.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said Council’s unique Pitch It program plays an important role in fostering innovative business ideas.

“CERES has a significant connection to Darebin and it’s great that it continues to explore interesting new ways to work with local communities on all aspects of sustainability,” Cr Le Cerf said. 

CERES Fair Wood battled it out with four other finalists. Their winning pitch not only aims to supply socially and environmentally responsible wood, it also includes building awareness around what is happening in the global timber industry with the resources of CERES Education. The final was an example of Darebin ingenuity.

Pitch It Winners - CERES Fair Wood

CERES Fair Wood General Manager, Chris Ennis, said the award was the culmination of two years work with award-winning architect, Paul Haar, to establish a social enterprise focussed on selling local farm-grown timber.

“Working with Paul, I came to understand that by choosing imported timber I could be impoverishing Indigenous peoples, endangering species, polluting rivers and changing the climate and just by buying timber grown by local farm foresters I could be doing the exact opposite . . . and that was how CERES Fair Wood started.” Chris said.

The four other finalists were:

  • Medical Connect
  • Refillr
  • Pollinator Protectors
  • MUVi

Media Release – 2 May 2018

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf has officially opened The Hub, Darebin Youth Services new space at Northland.

Named as the result of a youth community competition, the bold and bright purpose-built centre was co-developed by Council’s Youth Services and Northland Shopping Centre and is located at the north-east corner of the shopping complex.

The Hub is designed to become a launch pad for youth programs that focus on education and employment, health and wellbeing, and community participation.

“Here in Darebin alone there are 22,000 young people in the 12 to 25 age range representing 12 per cent of our population. They are a hugely important part of our social and cultural makeup, and are often at the forefront of making positive changes in our community.” Cr Le Cerf said.

“The Hub enables Council to deliver a range of programs in partnership with local service providers with a focus on education, employment, health and wellbeing and community participation.”

Merri Outreach Social Service (MOSS), a community based service which provides assistance to young homeless people will be based at The Hub once a week and will co-deliver a new program providing support and advice to young people in need.

The new centre features a music studio equipped with the latest electronic production technology, an education space and large general purpose area with a large kitchen and colourful break-out spaces

It also includes offices equipped to house a range of services such as health practitioners, legal services, housing specialists and education and employment providers.

Guests at the launch included representatives from Northland Shopping Centre, Northland Precinct Action Group, Securecorp, Victoria Police, Vicinity and members of Darebin’s Young Citizens Jury.

For more information or appointments visit facebook.com/DarebinYouthServices.

Media Release – 30 April 2018

Darebin City Council yesterday endorsed its draft Budget for 2018/19 and is now seeking feedback from community to find out if it’s got it right.

Darebin Mayor, Kim Le Cerf, says the proposed Budget would enable Council to carry out much-needed service improvements and sustainability initiatives while also being fiscally responsible.

“The Budget we’ve proposed has a strong focus on making Darebin more sustainable and liveable through major investments in solar energy, open spaces and community facilities. Yet we’ve also kept average rates rises at 2.25% – in line with the State Government’s cap – so we feel we’ve struck a pretty good balance,” said the Mayor.

Mayor Le Cerf says the next step is to engage with Darebin residents to find out if the proposed budget is in line with the community’s priorities.

“Setting the budget is a very important process – and the decisions we make have major implications for Darebin. So it’s crucial we hear from a wide cross-section of the community to find out if they think we’ve got it right,” said the Mayor.

To do this, Council has organised three listening post sessions where people can chat with their councillors, learn about the budget process and have their say on the proposed budget for 2018/19.

The listening post sessions will take place at:

  • Reservoir Community and Learning Centre, 11.30am, Saturday 28 April
  • Preston Shire Hall, 6pm, Tuesday 1 May
  • Northcote Town Hall, 6pm, Thursday 3 May.

Residents can also view the draft Budget and make submission by visiting yoursaydarebin.com.au/budget or emailing annual.budget@darebin.vic.gov.au.

For more information visit darebin.vic.gov.au/budget.

Media Release - 11 April 2018

Darebin Council says the Victorian Government’s decision to strip council of its public housing decision making powers at Walker Street further disadvantages low-income families reliant on public housing.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said the proposed redevelopment of the Walker Street public housing estate in Northcote would leave existing residents in limbo as the government plans to sell off public land to developers.

“Late last year council highlighted that more than 40 families would be displaced ‘by design’ from the Walker Street Public Housing Estate in Northcote, despite a public pledge by the Minister for Housing that all residents would have the right to return,” Cr Le Cerf said.

“Documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show the number of three-bedroom apartments proposed at the redevelopment will be reduced from 52 down to just five.”

The Department told Council it was planning to redevelop the ageing Walker Street public housing estate into a vibrant, better-connected, mixed-tenure neighbourhood as part of the State Government’s Public Housing Renewal Program.

“Darebin has one of the highest population growth rates in the state and it is extraordinary that the Victorian Government is not taking the opportunity to provide substantially more public housing in our City,” said Cr Le Cerf. 

“Even more alarming is the proposal to transfer ownership of these sites to developers. If this happens, the land that is currently owned by the public will be lost forever, much like our electricity assets sold off in the 1980s.

“This redevelopment is a once in a generation opportunity to secure significant social benefits for current and future residents and the surrounding community, but it’s critical that the government gets it right.

“Council urges Housing Minister Foley to stand by his personal pledge and direct the Department to increase the number of three-bedroom units proposed so that no families are needlessly displaced,” Cr Le Cerf said.

“Currently some families are crowded into apartments that are too small for them and the redevelopment needs to ensure they are appropriately accommodated.

“We want to work in partnership with the government to significantly increase public housing at Walker Street and ensure that public land remains in public hands.”

Over the coming 20 years Darebin faces a population growth of 40,000 with changing demographic and diverse housing and affordability issues.

Media Release - 4 April 2018

Darebin City Council is conducting an online survey to find out what the community thinks about its network of open space – and to hear ideas on how it can be improved.

The survey runs from now until Wednesday 18 April and is happening as part of Darebin’s Open Space Strategy review.

For the purposes of the review, open space refers any public space, large or small, that includes parks, nature reserves, playgrounds, shopping strips or creek corridors.

The survey should take around 10 minutes to complete and includes a range of simple questions to gauge how people feel about Darebin’s existing network of open space and how they’d like to see it develop in the future.

It also features a mapping tool allowing people to create a wish list of areas they’d like to see become part of Darebin’s open space network.

The feedback gathered through the survey will help Council develop a draft Open Space Strategy, which will then be available for further community feedback.

To complete the survey, or for more information, visit darebin.vic.gov.au/oss or call 8470 8516.

Media Release - 5 April 2018

The Darebin Nature Trust is seeking expressions of interest from people with expertise in ecological management and environmental conservation to join its interim advisory board.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said the Trust has been established as part of the council’s response to the climate emergency.

“The climate emergency, a growing population and increasing development pressure are all placing more stress on existing parks and urban ecosystems.”

“The interim Board will be active for 12 months to guide the development of the Trust and strengthen the development of our Open Space Strategy.

“The Trust will develop initiatives to help the city adapt to the climate emergency. It will focus on strategic land acquisition and the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity and remnant bushlands to prevent the extinction of local flora and fauna.

“It will also ensure that all residents live within 500 metres of a park and that we continue to grow our urban forest,” Mayor Cr Le Cerf said.

To apply

To apply, read the Terms of Reference at www.darebin.vic.gov.au/naturetrust and submit an Expression of Interest form to public.places@darebin.vic.gov.au or mail it to 274 Gower Street, Preston VIC 3072.

Applications close Sunday 15 April, 2018. Contact 8470 8516 for more information.

 

Media Release - 21 March 2018

People who live, work or study in the City of Darebin are invited to submit a story that responds to the theme, ‘the table is a meeting place, even the simplest meal is a gift’ for the 2018 Darebin Mayor’s Writing Awards.

Now in its fifth year, the Awards aim to inspire local writers to tell their unique stories of family, food and community.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf says the theme celebrates Darebin’s diversity.

“The City of Darebin is so rich in food rituals, culture and traditions. Works will be accepted from professional, emerging writers and those who simply love writing.”

The winner will receive a $1500 cash prize and there are two $500 prizes for highly commended finalists.

The winning pieces will be published in Darebin’s annual magazine n-SCRIBE which features the works of local writers and is set to be released later this year.

How to enter

To be eligible you must live, work or study in the City of Darebin.

Entries can be submitted in any genre but must be under 700 words.

Online submissions via the Darebin Arts website open on 14 March and close on 24 April. Visit www.darebinarts.com.au for guidelines.

Meet the judges

The three-member judging panel includes writer, editor, publisher and reviewer Louise Swinn; writer, community worker and Preston local Susanne Johnston; and editor, writer and dancer Adolfo Aranjuez.

Adolfo Aranjuez is editor of film and media periodical Metro, editor-in-chief of gender and sexuality magazine Archer, and a freelance writer, speaker and dancer. Previously, he was editor of Award Winning Australian Writing and deputy editor of Voiceworks. Adolfo’s nonfiction and poetry have appeared in Right Now, Overland, Meanjin, The Manila Review and Peril, among others. He has been a judge for the John Marsden Prize, the Scribe Nonfiction Prize, the Meanjin Tournament of Books, and City of Yarra’s Storytelling Competition.

Louise Swinn is a writer, editor, publisher and reviewer. Her work appears regularly in The Age, The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. Louise was one of the founders of Sleepers Publishing, the Small Press Network, and the Stella Prize.

Susan Johnston is a writer with a background in community work. She has worked with newly-arrived migrants and refugees, with children in residential care, and in India, as part of Australia’s international aid program. She has also been a sandwich hand, an extra in an Indian film, a drug and alcohol support worker and an exchange student in Denmark. In 2011, Susan’s first manuscript Bangalore Bakery, was selected for the QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program. Her manuscript Wildgirl was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2016.

Darebin Council reaffirmed its commitment to promoting human rights and the health and wellbeing of the city’s LGBTIQ community.

The rainbow flag, which has flown above Preston Civic Centre since May 2017 in support of marriage equality, will be preserved and placed into the Darebin Heritage Library Collection in perpetuity. It will be accompanied by a story that captures the Council’s contribution to the historic fight for marriage equality.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said the rainbow flag is an important international symbol of pride for the LGBTIQ community and their allies.

“Being the closest level of government to the community, we believe that we have an important role to play in challenging homophobia and transphobia by promoting social inclusion and human rights.”

“The LGBTIQ community have told us how much they appreciated seeing the flag in a highly visible place and we are thrilled to demonstrate our ongoing support.

“In addition to adding it to our Heritage Collection, we will fly the rainbow flag in Darebin on dates of significance like the Midsumma Festival and the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia each year.

“We will also explore other ways to permanently recognise and celebrate our diverse LGBTIQ community loudly and proudly in Darebin,” Mayor Cr Le Cerf said.

Darebin Council has a longstanding commitment to promoting the health and wellbeing of the LGBTIQ community. On 15 May 2017, Council decided to fly the rainbow flag on its municipal office until the law preventing marriage equality was changed building on formal resolutions to advocate in support of marriage equality. Council resolved to advocate in support of marriage equality prior to this in July 2015 and December 2016.

Media Release - 8 March 2018

Darebin Council endorsed a new policy and action plan at its meeting on Monday 26 February 2018 to eliminate single-use plastic products at festivals and events located at Council venues and properties.

The policy, which applies to all council owned buildings and venues, aims to reduce the alarming damage single-use plastic products are causing says Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf.

“Single-use plastic products have serious environmental, social and economic impacts. Eight million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in freshwater and marine environments every year and by 2050, plastic in the ocean will outweigh fish .”

“This plastic breaks down into tiny pieces which are increasingly being found in food consumed by humans and animals.

“When you think that a tiny three percent of plastic bags end up being recycled, it is even more important that we eliminate their use altogether.

“Our policy takes things a step further than the single-use plastic bag ban that will be implemented across the state this year. It extends to other types of single-use plastic products like plastic cutlery, cups and straws.

“We’ve already started to successfully implement the ban at our own events, starting with Carols in All Nations Park last year. The response from both residents and the business community has been overwhelmingly positive and it will be implemented at future events like the Kite Festival and Darebin Food and Wine Festival.

Cr Le Cerf said the initiative was particularly relevant in light of recent ructions in the recycling industry due to overseas import bans on some recycled products.

“The current instability of the recycling industry in Australia demonstrates why proactive planning and action around waste is a must for councils, and we’re getting on the front foot at Darebin.  Initiatives like this aim to reduce the content going into the waste chain, and form part of an overall review of our waste management practices to build in ongoing sustainability.”

Taking action to address some of the really problematic items that enter the waste chain was one of the many ways Council would address the climate emergency said the Mayor.

“This is a small but important part of our climate emergency response. Together with initiatives like our flagship solar savers program, sustainable transport and environmentally sustainable design initiatives, it shows that the local government sector has a vital role in leading and executing practical change.”

Implementation of the new policy is supported by an action plan to help local community groups and organisations transition and comply with the new policy over a two-year period.
 
Media Release - 28 February 2018

Darebin Council’s innovative, community-driven approach to parks is getting under way with two new Project Control Groups who will lead the transformation of both Penders Park and Mayer Park in Thornbury through new master plans.

The Project Control Groups, comprising community members and chaired by a councillor, will lead the park design work with their local community and present outcomes back to Council for consideration.

Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said the new approach came about by listening to what the community wanted, being prepared to relinquish the usual way of doing things and trusting that residents know best when it comes to their local parks.

“Our new community led approach to developing these master plans is a big part of our commitment to engage more deeply and effectively with the community by handing significant decisions over to them.”

“We believe this model has many advantages over traditional consultation approaches. It turns things upside down by placing local people in the driver’s seat.

“Members of the Project Control Group are selected to represent the local community’s diversity. What they have in common is a passion for their local park and a desire to improve it.

“They’re taking on a big task on behalf of their community - we’re really excited to have them on board and to see the design concepts they come up with,” Cr Le Cerf said.

Penders Park
Darebin Council last night endorsed the formation of a group of local people who will form the Project Control Group creating a new master plan for Penders Park in Thornbury through a new and innovative community-led design approach.

Council officers will provide support and guidance to the Project Control Group and Rucker Ward Councillor Trent McCarthy is the chair.

Mayer Park
Darebin Council also endorsed the development of a master plan for Mayer Park in Thornbury that will be created through the same community-led design approach.

Councillor Susan Rennie was endorsed as Chair of the Project Control Group. Community members will be appointed through expressions of interest which open on 2 March 2018 and close on 25 March 2018.

For more information, or to submit an application, please visit yoursaydarebin.com.au or call 8470 8888.
 
Media Release - 28 February 2018

Darebin Council last night knocked back a planning application seeking to increase the number of electronic gambling machines and increase opening hours at the Darebin RSL located on Bell Street, Preston.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said the Council was unanimous in its decision to refuse the application to protect the health and wellbeing of the local community which already has high gambling losses in one of the most disadvantaged areas of the municipality.

“People who gamble are twice as likely to suffer anxiety and depression and experience a lower quality of life. The harms associated with it include poverty, stress, reduced work performance and family violence,” says Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf.

“With a relatively high level of disadvantage in Preston, when we considered the social and economic impact assessment, more machines and longer opening hours is the very last thing the community needs.

“Losses per adult in Preston each year are $869. That’s $232 more than the rest of the municipality. The proposal to increase the opening hours by a massive 27% would see these gambling losses dramatically increase.

“We looked at two neighbouring pokies venues in Preston with longer opening hours and the same number of machines proposed in this application. The losses at these venues are more than double what they are at the Darebin RSL today.

“Council was also concerned that the proposed design gives children a direct view from the play area into the gaming lounge and that the reduction of 31 car spaces would unfairly impact on neighbouring businesses and residents.

“The applicant also failed to comply with public notification requirements stipulated under section 52 of the Planning and Environment Act,” the Mayor said.

Punters lost more than $4.4 million at the Darebin RSL last year.

Media Release - 13 February 2018