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Taking place over 8 days from 20–27 October, the 23rd annual Darebin Music Feast will encompass 85 events across 20 different venues, thoughtfully curated to showcase a swathe of artists and musicians who represent and reflect the rich and culturally diverse community of Darebin.

Underpinning the curation of this year’s program is a commitment to welcoming and celebrating music makers and lovers of all ages. Over half of the events in the 2019 program are free to attend and nearly a third are open to people of all ages, including the major opening and closing events. As in 2018, attention has been given to ensuring broad representation within the cohort of curated artists, across gender, ethnicity and age.

“I’m so thrilled with what’s on offer in 2019. This year’s program is bold, rich and enticing, and continues the focus on diversity, collaboration and celebration that Darebin Music Feast has become known for,” Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said.

The Feast will kick off on 20 October with a massive outdoor Opening Party, featuring 15 acts across three stages. Mirroring last year’s hugely successful Closing Party, it’ll be all ages, all day and free entry, with a stellar line-up including Alice Skye, Emma Donovan and the Putbacks, Huntly, Jess Ribeiro, Kee’ahn, Raw Humps, Rebel Yell, The Goon Sax, Tiana Khasi, U-Bahn and more!

The Feast for Families program will feature Sounds Exquisite, an interactive sound installation made by Darebin primary school students in collaboration with local arts organisation Playable Streets. Families can drop into the Keon Park Children’s Hub at any time Monday to Friday to interact with the artwork, or head down on Sunday 27 October for the finale event hosted by some of the creators from Playable Streets.

The annual Darebin Music Feast Songwriters’ Award Grand Final returns to Northcote Town Hall on 24 October. One of ten local finalists will take home a prize package of $2000 cash, studio time and more.

As always, Darebin Live guarantees something for everyone with a week-long, back-to-back program of gigs across Darebin’s prestigious music venues. Showcasing an incredible breadth of styles, from punk, alt-rock, indie and folk to jazz, electro and soul, Darebin Live sees community music groups and emerging local talent perform alongside touring national acts.

The hugely successful Event Producer Mentorship program AMPLIFY also returns, this year with a focus on young producers aged 16-25. The 2019 mentorship was awarded to Acacia Coates and Winnie McQuinn, who under the guidance of Woody McDonald have curated Green Noise, an event inspired by sustainable initiatives in the music industry, youth climate strikes and growing environmental activism. Their carefully curated line-up features Jade Imagine, Elizabeth, Empat Lima and The Vovos – all chosen for their passion for and promotion of sustainable practices. A free, all ages event, Green Noise will take place on 27 October, closing out this year’s program with a bang.

For the full 2019 Darebin Music Feast lineup and event details, visit

Media release: 11 September 2019

Bundoora Homestead Art Centre is proud to announce that the winner of the 2019 Darebin Art Prize is Hayley Millar-Baker. As the winner, Hayley will receive a cash prize of $10,000 and her artwork will be acquired into the Darebin City Council’s permanent art collection.

The announcement was made at the exhibition opening on Friday 6 September.

“We are thrilled to add Hayley Millar-Baker’s work Untitled (The circumstances are that a whale had come on shore) into the Darebin Art Collection, which inspires and connects the Darebin community in an appreciation of the visual arts,” Darebin Council Deputy Mayor Cr Susanne Newton said.

“It is a sensational accomplishment and I extend my congratulations to Hayley on behalf of Darebin Council.”

Untitled (The circumstances are that a whale had come on shore) speaks to the murders of the Kilcarer Gunditj clan over the ownership of whale meat in the 1830s. 

The judging panel of the Darebin Art Prize 2019 included Lisa Radford, Lecturer in Art, Victorian College of the Arts; Kimba Thompson, Director and Curator, Blak Dot Gallery; and Renee Cosgrave, Artist and Acting Curator at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.

“This small work holds a room, the technique of layering is subtle, not hidden, and in a generative way only over time, do we realise that the work reveals another history, quietly inviting the viewer to take on her narrative as a Gunditjmara woman, literally allowing us to re-narrate history through her collage," the judging panel said in a statement.

The Darebin Art Prize is a biennial multi-medium award for outstanding Australian contemporary visual art. Artists presented in this major exhibition are still contenders in winning the $1,000 People’s Choice Award. The contemporary artworks are across all mediums, including painting, works on paper, photography and video works, sculpture, ceramics and craft.

The exhibition is showing until 26 January 2019 at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.

Bundoora Homestead Art Centre is the public art gallery for the City of Darebin and is committed to presenting challenging and inspiring contemporary visual arts exhibitions and public programs. The Homestead was built in 1900 and is registered by Heritage Victoria and certified by the National Trust.

 Media release: 10 September 2019

In great news for the community, Darebin Council is thrilled to announce that from this morning Council’s recycling service has been restored, meaning all recycling materials collected will be diverted away from landfill and put to good use.

After weeks of negotiations, Council has been able to secure a recycling service contract with VISY, putting an end to the recycling crisis that has gripped Darebin following the collapse of its previous provider, SKM.

Residential recycling material will now be collected and taken to the VISY Recycling Material Recovery Facility nearby in Heidelberg for it to be sorted and recycled. The contract with VISY will run for four years. Bin collection days will remain the same for our residents.

VISY has a good track record when it comes to recycling. For example, their paper mills recover the fibre from used packaging and recycle it into new cardboard boxes.

Council is grateful to the Victorian Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek for acting quickly to help Darebin cut through red tape to secure VISY as its new provider. Council also remains extremely thankful to our residents for the patience they’ve shown and their willingness to work together to reduce recycling waste where possible.

However, Darebin also acknowledges that while this announcement is great news for our residents, we’re fully aware that we are one of the fortunate councils to find an alternative provider. Many other councils are still left with no choice but to divert their recycling collections to landfill. This is unacceptable and is evidence more needs to be done to fix the recycling sector.

“Council has been hard at work to ensure our residents’ recycling service was back up and running as soon as possible. This has not been an easy task,” Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said.

“Council officers have been hard at work to get this new contract in place following the closure of SKM on 25 July. The deal is the culmination of months of hard work to secure the limited remaining capacity for recycling in Victoria.”

“We know our community is one that cares deeply about the effect they have on the environment, and the thought of sending recyclable material to landfill was distressing.”

“That’s why we’re really thankful to those residents who went the extra mile to reduce their waste and recycling being sent to landfill over the past month. We’re sure this announcement will come as a welcome relief.”

Northcote resident Jacquie Kelly said she was glad recycling services were being restored to Darebin.

“I’ve been storing my recycling at home because I just can’t bear to put my bin out knowing it’s going to landfill. I’ve even changed the way I shop so now I’m buying products with less packaging,” Ms Kelly said.

“It feels good knowing that the next time I put my yellow recycling bin out it’ll actually be recycled.”

Media release: 6 September 2019

Darebin Council is delivering a plan to improve our local biodiversity and ensure all residents live within an easy walking distance of quality open space.

Council endorsed Breathing Space: Darebin Open Space Strategy on 2 September 2019. The strategy is driven by the overarching theme of responding to the climate emergency via three key directions; meeting community open space needs, rewilding Darebin by improving biodiversity, and creating a Green Streets network. 

Darebin is a rapidly growing part of Melbourne, and while it has pockets of significant open space such as Bundoora Park and Edwardes Lake, not all Darebin residents have quality open spaces within walking distance of their home. The now endorsed Breathing Space: Darebin Open Space Strategy sets a target that all Darebin residents should live within 500 metres of quality open space.

The important piece of work will direct Council to improve the quality of open spaces and parklands, and also the overall amount of public open space. This will maximise habitat areas for local species while also making the City of Darebin a greener place to live, work and play. 

Council gathered feedback from the community regarding how open spaces could be improved in Darebin in March last year, with the draft Open Space Strategy released for further public consultation last November, and a final round of community consultation on the revised draft was held in July this year.

To plan for the projected population increase and expand the amount of open space available per person, the new Breathing Space: Darebin Open Space Strategy outlines several actions Council can take to increase the amount of open space it manages, as well as improving what public open space is already available.

This can be achieved by adding new plants, shrubs and trees with a focus on indigenous species, and investing in better lighting, pathways and plantings at Council’s existing public open so they can cater to a wider range of people, for a broader range of activities, during both the daytime and into the evening.

“Open space is central to quality of life. It brings our diverse community together, provides a home for our precious local species and allows us to take part in everything from active recreation to quiet contemplation,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

“Here in Darebin we are lucky to have a wealth of natural beauty in our parks, creeks and streetscapes making up over 790 hectares of public open space. But we are also under pressure. Like the rest of metropolitan Melbourne, we are growing, and our population is increasing as more people choose to call Darebin home.”

“As Darebin grows we want to maintain the beauty of our green and natural spaces and safeguard the liveability our open spaces give us. This strategy gives us the framework to do that,” Cr Rennie said.

To read Breathing Space: Darebin Open Space Strategy, visit  

Media release: 3 September 2019


Some of Darebin’s most outstanding citizens have been recognised in the 2019 Darebin Community Awards for their tremendous, selfless work in making society a better place.

The special awards ceremony was held at Preston City Hall on Friday, 23 August. Council received more than 50 high calibre nominations reflecting the rich diversity of the local community for the eight awards on offer, including the new Sustainability and Lifetime Achievement awards. 

Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said the Darebin Community Awards are about celebrating people or groups in our community who show leadership and care.

“It’s a privilege to present these awards to some of our truly inspiring community members. Their wonderful contributions to our society deserve to be acknowledged,” Mayor Rennie said.

“It’s important that we recognise people who are making outstanding contributions and showing excellence in their field.”

The winners of the 2019 Darebin Community Awards are: 

Citizen of the Year - Miranda Sharp
Miranda Sharp established the Melbourne Food Hub, an innovative template for a truly community-based local food which forges productive links between the existing farmers' markets, numerous small enterprises and local residents in order to support farmers, educate the community, create a meeting place for the neighbourhood and promote health and wellbeing. 

Young Citizen of the Year – Emily Hughes
Emily Hughes is a founding member of the Darebin Young Citizens Jury. She led the Jury’s 2019/20 budget submission process which included speaking at the public submissions hearing, while also playing a critical role in the Jury’s submission to the Mental Health Royal Commission, as well as supporting the development of the Darebin Youth Services Strategy.

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Leader of the Year - Trevor Gallagher
Trevor Gallagher is a Gunditjmara Elder and has worked as an Aboriginal cultural educator for many years with people from all ages and all cultures. Since 2014, Uncle Trevor has been leading community walks along the Darebin Spiritual Healing Trail. This includes his own contribution to the Trail – a stone sitting circle where people are encouraged to share stories of their own identity.

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Emerging Young Community Leader - Sianna Catullo
Sianna Catullo is a proud Narungga woman raised on Wurundjeri Country a former volunteer who now works with Spark Health, a social enterprise who specialises in health promotion and Aboriginal community engagement. Sianna took a leading role earlier this year advocating for the issues around Aboriginal Flag copyright and its impact on Clothing The Gap.  She has also been selected as one of 12 participants for the Indigenous Marathon Project and is in training to run her first marathon in New York.

Community Group of the Year - Transition Darebin
Transition Darebin is a community group which fosters a sustainable and resilient community by harnessing the diverse skills of our community to undertake projects around food, sharing and saving resources and re-skilling.

Lifetime Achievement Award - Chris Dureau 
Chris Dureau has had over 30 years' experience in the International Aid and Development sector. His career has seen him develop and deliver on-the-ground programs in developing countries all over the world, like Timor Leste. In recent years Chris has led Friends of Baucau, a community-led organisation that utilises an asset-based development approach to assist local communities in the District of Baucau in Timor Leste.

Sustainability Award (Business) – Moon Rabbit
Moon Rabbit is an environmentally innovative social-enterprise cafe at the Bridge Preston. The café has never had disposable takeaway cups as has calculated that they have prevented more than 10,000 takeaway cups from ending up in landfill.

Sustainability Award (Individual) - Lori-Ann Dalton
Lori-Ann Dalton is the founder of Minimal Waste 3078, a community group which looks for waste solutions and cultural change in collaboration with local businesses. In 2018/19, Lori-Ann has used that group as a vehicle to engage with local traders to empower them to shift the throw away culture by promoting waste free options to customers.


Media release: 23 August 2019

The Preston community has voiced its expectations to the unique identity of the Preston Market will be kept, while creating a diverse, sustainable and liveable new neighbourhood around it. At the Planning Committee Meeting on 19 August, Councillors noted the release of the Preston Market Quarter Identity Study and Preston Market Precinct Engagement Report – two key documents about what the local community thinks about the beloved privately-owned precinct.

One of the strongest messages from the community has been around protecting the unique character of the market, so Council commissioned specialist consultants to complete the Preston Market Quarter Identity Study. This technical report identified the tangible, and intangible elements that are required to maintain the unique identity and character of Preston Market.

The Preston Market Precinct Engagement Report summarises the most recent phase of community engagement, which marked the completion of an extensive four phase community engagement process. The engagement has been valuable for understanding insights from community groups, residents and businesses.

The State Government’s Victorian Planning Authority is currently preparing new planning controls for the precinct. They have advised that both the Identity Study and community engagement report will be considered, alongside a raft of other studies and reports.

This work has also directly informed Darebin Council’s decision on 19 August where it called for the State Government and developer to make sure the planning controls that are in development, as well as any management arrangements achieve the local community’s expectations around how the market precinct should evolve into the future, while staying true to its multicultural and working class roots. 

Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said that the community engagement involved almost 2000 participants and included interviews, pop ups, deliberative urban design workshops, online engagement and meetings with key groups such as traders and local community groups. 

“This was all about putting people at the heart of the planning process and ensuring that we were able to involve our community in a meaningful way, in the future of Preston Market. The engagement program was, in its depth and scope, the largest effort of its type in the Council’s history of planning projects. While there are a range of views, strong themes emerged from the engagement,” Cr Rennie said.

She said the local community loves Preston Market and has high expectations that Darebin will work to safeguard the market’s identity as welcoming, inclusive and affordable into the future.

“We all love the market and want the new community around it to be diverse, sustainable, connected and welcoming,” Cr Rennie said.

The findings of the Preston Market Quarter Identity Study indicate that the market’s community appeal and unique character is significantly dependent on the diverse multicultural traders, the wide range of affordable goods, the neighbourhood of covered streets, intersections, stalls, sheds and small shops, and the wide walkways that act as public space.

The Preston Market Precinct Engagement Report found that for a number of issues there was a high level of consensus among members of the community around the future direction of the precinct. These were:

 Maintaining the character of the market
 Creating new green, open spaces
Making the precinct pedestrian-centred
Embedding principles of sustainability across the site

The engagement also highlighted where community members have a variety of views, including building heights. The most consistent concern was in relation to overshadowing that may be caused by buildings.

In line with these findings, and the findings of previous phases of engagement, Council has endorsed key objectives around planning for the future of the site and it will now ask the state government and developer to incorporate these into planning controls, design and management plans. These are:

That the market retains its unique feel of covered streets, intersections, sheds, stalls and small shops that create a place of welcome, exchange and diversity.
The vibrant mix of traders, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, are supported before, during and after redevelopment to keep the market accessible, affordable and multicultural.
The surrounding precinct is developed to feature strong sustainability principles, showcase excellence in design and improve the look, feel and safety of the area.
The value that is created through the redevelopment is shared with the wider community through the creation of community spaces, affordable housing, social programs and facilities and employment opportunities.

Over the coming weeks before the State Government’s Victorian Planning Authority releases their Draft Framework Plan expected in September, Council will seek support from the State Government and developer to achieve the best possible outcome for businesses, traders, workers, residents, and members of the community who rely on Preston Market. 

To find out more about the Preston Market Precinct, please visit
Media release: 22 August 2019

Darebin residents, old and new, are invited to be officially welcomed onto Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung country at a special event in the Darebin Arts Centre precinct on Sunday, 1 September 2019.

Ngulu Nganjin - Everyone’s Voice will be a new annual event on the Darebin calendar to recognise and celebrate First Nations people and the wider Darebin community.

This free and dynamic First Nations program, which is co-designed by the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee and Darebin City Council, will feature a Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Welcome Ceremony with Uncle Bill Nicholson and the Djirri Djirri Dance Group.

Well-known Aboriginal actor and Elder, Uncle Jack Charles, will be the host for the event which will also include a live music program headlined by young vocal prodigy, Isaiah Firebrace, featuring local primary school students.

At just 17 years old, Isaiah won The X Factor in 2016, and represented Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest the following year, where he finished ninth. His debut single It’s Gotta Be You was the highest streaming song of any Australian artist in 2018.

Leading up to Everyone’s Voice, Isaiah has been holding a series of workshops with students from eight Darebin primary schools, who have been busy learning Isaiah’s new single Spirit, which they will perform on stage at the event. Attendees are encouraged to download the song lyrics from Council’s website so they too can join in on the day.

“I’m really looking forward to performing on stage with the kids. We’ve had a lot of fun over the past few weeks learning the words and signing together. It’s going to be a really fun day,” Isaiah Firebrace said.

Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said Ngulu Nganjin - Everyone’s Voice reinforces Darebin Council’s commitment to respecting and celebrating First Nations peoples.

“This is a special opportunity for all of Darebin’s diverse communities to join together and be welcomed onto Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung country, to share stories and voices and to raise awareness and understanding,” said Mayor Rennie.

“The input from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is fundamental to the spirit of the event,” said Charles Pakana from the Aboriginal Advisory Committee.

“This event is a celebration of the culture and history of First Nations peoples and it’s also an opportunity for all people who call Darebin home to join together and celebrate.”

For more event information and to download the lyrics to Spirit, please visit

Ngulu Nganjin - Everyone’s Voice
Sunday 1 September 2019
12.00pm to 3.30pm
Darebin Arts Centre and Ray Bramham Gardens — corner Bell Street and St Georges Road, Preston

Media release: 22 August 2019

The City of Darebin is demanding the State Government step up to the plate and acknowledge the serious failure in policy that has led to the environmental catastrophe Victoria finds itself in, with tens of thousands of tonnes of recyclable material from dozens of councils destined for landfill.

It has now been over 18 months since China adopted its National Sword policy and effectively stopped importing low quality recyclable materials, throwing the sector into chaos. Since then State and Federal Governments have refused to act

On 25 July Victorian recycler SKM closed its doors to the more than 30 councils, including Darebin, with whom it has contracts, forcing tens of thousands of tonnes of recyclable material to be dumped in landfill with no other alternative.

A petition has been launched by Darebin Council calling on the Victorian Government to take urgent action to find a solution to the recycling crisis gripping Victoria. The petition urges Victorian Government to recognise the crisis for what it is, and to begin immediate action to rectify it.

The petition also calls for the introduction of a container deposit scheme, and the establishment of an independent Victorian Waste Authority to address both the urgent short-term recycling issues plaguing the state and preventing more recyclable waste going to landfill, as well as finding long term solutions to establish a secure and robust recycling market and industry in Victoria.

The Victorian Waste Authority should be funded by the landfill levy revenue the State Government has amassed, and should be comprised of leading market developers, research and development specialists, industry commentators, local government representatives and others.

“Darebin is acting to address the recycling crisis. We have introduced a requirement for recycled content be incorporated into asphalt on local roads,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

“But the quantities that one council can use are relatively small. It’s like trying to put out a bushfire with a water pistol. These issues need joint action and for the State and Federal Governments to work together with local councils to create a sustainable recycling industry.”

The petition, which was launched yesterday afternoon, already has more than 300 signatures from concerned Victorians.

Sign the petition here:

Media release: 9 August 2019

An astounding $223,596 per day has been lost on Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) in the City of Darebin over the past financial year. The 12 EGM venues in Darebin recorded a total of $81.6 million in losses, equal to $620 for every adult in the municipality.

The latest data showed Victorians lost an overall $2.698 billion on EGMs in the 2018-19 financial year, the second highest amount of losses since they were introduced to the state.

This amount is a $3.5 million increase on last year’s losses, and only slightly lower than the all-time record of $2.707 billion in losses recorded in 2008-09.

Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said Council’s bold and ambitious Electronic Gaming Policy 2018-2022 was introduced to combat the harm caused by gambling and reduce its impact.

“Every year in Darebin people lose over $81 million to poker machine gambling, and many of these people are the ones who can least afford it,” Cr Rennie said.

“We know gambling is a major driver of household debt and contributor to family violence. We need stronger regulations from the State Government to protect our community from the harm caused from these insidious machines.”

Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman, the Reverend Tim Costello, said EGMs lead to the loss of much more than just money in the Darebin community.

“Pokies dens are designed to fleece people regardless of socio-economic background or geography, and especially target people who may be feeling isolated or lonely. That’s predatory behavior,” Rev Costello said.

“The Royal Commission into Financial Services exposed predatory behaviour in the banking industry and the community has rightly been up in arms about it. Darebin residents should be shouting from the rooftops about how the poker machine industry preys on people living in their municipality and seek an end to this exploitation.”

Rev Costello said it was time the Victorian Government responded to gambling harm as a public health issue akin to smoking.

“Smoking in bars was once pervasive in Victoria, not unlike the scourge that is poker machines, he said. “You couldn’t go out without coming home stinking of cigarette smoke. Now we can go out and enjoy ourselves without the effects of passive smoking,” he said.

“We call on the Victorian Government to outlaw the predatory and addictive features on poker machines that trick people into believing they are winning when they are actually losing money. These losses disguised as wins and near misses are just abuse of punters and are frankly immoral.”

Media release: 30 July 2019

The City of Darebin is calling on the State Government to extend its current exemption under Section 186 of the Local Government Act 1989 so it can appropriately deal with other recycling providers in the wake of SKM’s capacity issues.

“The Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has repeatedly said the State Government is working with local councils to renegotiate contracts with recycling providers, which is why we are urgently asking the government to extend Darebin’s exemption under Section 186 of the Local Government Act to do just that,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

“We are unable to begin immediate negotiations with other recycling providers without an exemption which allows for contracts to be negotiated past June 2021, so at the moment the State Government is actually hindering us – not helping us – to renegotiate our contract.”

“The longer this waste crisis goes on, the more recyclable material will end up in landfill, and the more Victorian councils will have to pay the State Government through the landfill levy.”

Recycling from Darebin households was sent to landfill for four and a half weeks in February and March this year, when the EPA found the SKM sites to breach of safety requirements. This not only resulted in valuable recyclable material being landfilled but cost the Darebin community an extra $87,000 - of which $65,000 was paid to the State Government landfill levies.

Media release: 26 July 2019

Darebin is a step closer to becoming an Age Friendly City after adopting a major report into how Council can better support older members of our community.

Council commissioned the Age Friendly Darebin Review in May last year in response to the Federal Government’s planned changes to Commonwealth Home Support Program funding. Since then, in response to lobbying from Darebin Council and others, the Federal Government extended current funding arrangements of home support services until June 2022. The independent panel appointed to conduct the review, Dr Rhonda Galbally AC and Peter Allen, have now finalised their report and presented it to Council.

The Age Friendly Darebin Review’s 98 recommendations (the majority of which were accepted by Council at a meeting on 22 July) will see many new initiatives implemented, new and improved services, increased advocacy, and Age Friendly principles embedded in Council’s plans and strategies.

Some of the major new services and initiatives recommended include an innovative service to assist older people to navigate the complexities and challenges of the national My Aged Care system, and a new volunteer program to address social isolation.

The report also recommends a new gardening service to assist older people to maintain their gardens or lawns, via a volunteer program or another service model, subject to a future report for consideration by Council.

A new Service Improvement Plan will make additions and improvements to existing Council aged care services to better address social isolation and promote independence and inclusion. This will include trialling the provision of services to people receiving Home Care Packages.

A Senior Citizens Groups Action Plan will also be prepared to consider future funding and infrastructure needs for senior citizens groups.

Several Age Friendly recommendations suggest inclusion of older people in the planning and review of Council approaches through co-design. The Participatory Information Project is one way that older people will be able to influence Council communications so that they better align with their needs and preferences.

Over 1,000 people participated in the first-round consultation for the review, with 773 people providing feedback which was used to inform the independent panel as they were making their recommendations.

Does Council Care convenor Robin Vote said she was “very pleased” with the outcome of the review.

“Does Council Care is totally supportive of the whole report and its recommendations. We’re particularly interested in the range of pilot projects which will be implemented, and wish to congratulate all the staff involved,” Ms Vote said.

Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said the Council would seek to make services and programs more readily available to older members of the community.

“This extensive review into aged care services in Darebin will transform the way we support and involve older people in our community. We will implement new services, improve our existing services, so that older people live their lives well, are healthy and socially connected, and live independently within our own community,” Cr Rennie said.

“I would like to thank our distinguished panel, Dr Rhonda Galbally AC and Peter Allen, for their contribution. I look forward to seeing Council implement as many of their findings as possible.”

To read the full report and 98 recommendations, please visit

Media release: 24 July 2019

The Darebin community will be given a final chance to give their feedback on Breathing Space: The Darebin Open Space Strategy before Councillors consider endorsing it.

The comprehensive strategy has been developed through two rounds of community engagement with a wide range of individuals, groups and organisations. Council gathered feedback from the community regarding their vision for open spaces in Darebin in March last year, with the initial draft Open Space Strategy released for further public consultation in November. Now the public can have their say on the final draft of the Breathing Space: The Darebin Open Space Strategy.

In previous rounds of engagement, local people indicated how important open space is to their health, wellbeing, sense of connection and quality of life.  There was overwhelming support for the idea of more and better open space, greening of local streets and for better protections for local biodiversity under threat.  

Darebin is a rapidly growing part of Melbourne with pockets of significant open space such as Bundoora Park, the Darebin Parklands and Edwardes Lake. However, not all Darebin residents have quality open spaces within walking distance from where they live. Breathing Space: The Darebin Open Space Strategy sets a target that all Darebin residents should live within 500 metres of quality open space.

Should the strategy be endorsed, it will outline several actions Council could take to improve not only the quantity of open space, but also the quality of open space in Darebin, helping Council plan for the projected population increase while also ensuring that quality of life is protected.

“Open space is vital to how we live, work and play in Darebin, so it’s important to look at ways we can maximise the space we’ve already got while exploring new ways in how to create more. I encourage everyone to have a read of Breathing Space: The Darebin Open Space Strategy and provide their feedback,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

The community has until 13 August to provide feedback on the draft strategy via the You Say Darebin webpage.

To read the draft copy of Breathing Space: The Darebin Open Space Strategy and to have your say in the final round of consultation, please visit

Media release: 24 July 2019

Dozens of outstanding initiatives and services have received funding from Darebin Council, following the announcement of recipients for the 2019 Community Grants program.

In total, 100 projects have been funded, sharing in $749,000, including 17 three-year partnership grants. In addition, 52 groups and organisations have received almost $100,000 of in-kind venue hire.

“Darebin Council is very committed to funding community groups and projects. The extraordinary projects that will be funded by these grants will make life easier for many in our community, open pathways for those who are disadvantaged, and help make Darebin a greener, bolder, and more connected city,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

“These grants reflect our diverse community, with significant funding going to multicultural organisations and programs. There are also grants to environmental groups and cultural organisations. Congratulations to all of those who were successful in their applications.”

Earlier this year Council changed its Community Grants Program to ensure all community groups across Darebin had a chance to apply for funding. As a result, Council boosted its grants pool by $172,861. Council is providing more small and medium grants than ever before to improve equality, include those who are marginalised or disadvantaged, support community actions to address the climate emergency, and to further develop Darebin’s thriving arts scene. For the first time the three-year partnership grants were assessed by an expert independent panel.

Council received an enormous number of high-quality applications for this year’s program, particularly in the three-year partnership grants with almost $2 million requested by 57 organisations. 

Some of the great projects funded in this year’s Community Grants Program include a social meals programs for older adults, a community garden at Oakhill Kindergarten, a Muslim women’s leadership project, a youth legal outreach service, as well as new and expanded programs from Action on Disability in Ethnic Communities.

One of the other projects funded is the Koori Youth Circus, which will be run by Circus Oz in partnership with MAYSAR (Melbourne Aboriginal Youth Sport & Recreation), and will receive $44,700 from Council for three years. Circus Oz General Manager Tahlia Azaria said the program will build a pipeline of young talented Indigenous performers.

“This three-year partnership with the City of Darebin will give our Koori Youth Circus program the space to further grow and develop. A greater number of young Koori youth will be able to freely access this supportive, welcoming environment where they will learn circus skills that will help to build their confidence and sense of belonging not only to the community of Darebin, but also to the wider circus and arts community,” Ms Azaria said.

Another project funded is the Islamic Museum of Australia’s Muslim Youth Network which will receive $25,000 for three years to give young Muslims a voice and sense of empowerment to create their own identity as Australian Muslims. General Manager Maryum Chaudhry said it was “wonderful” to have the City of Darebin support their initiative.

“The grant enables us to continue our work with young Muslims by offering workshops to support personal and professional growth. Critically, the program also provides a platform for them to have a voice in the local community. The support from Darebin clearly signals Council’s genuine and ongoing commitment to empowering young people, our future leaders,” Ms Chaudhry said.

Good Samaritan Executive Director Felicity Rorke said the $50,000 it will receive for the next three years will go towards creating a cleaning social enterprise to train and employ women who have experienced family violence.

“We are delighted to partner with the City of Darebin to deliver our social enterprise which we believe will enable women who have experienced family violence and homelessness to re-enter the workforce and continue their journey towards self-sufficiency. We are thankful for the council's vision to support our community towards sustainable community impact,” Ms Rorke said.

While Council is pleased to have funded many great programs and initiatives, unfortunately some projects and groups with great ideas missed out on funding. We will continue to offer other forms of support to non funded community groups, including office space or venue hire where possible and information about other funding opportunities that may help them continue their valued work in the community.

The 2019 Community Grants Program is being delivered alongside the $265,000 of community submissions which were funded in this year’s Darebin Annual Budget.

For more information on the successful grants please visit

Media release: 16 July 2019

Darebin Council is adding its voice to the chorus of other leading local government organisations like the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association in urging the State Government to reconsider its proposed reforms to the Local Government Bill 2018.

Darebin Council will write to Victorian Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek to express its deep concerns regarding the significant changes to the Local Government Bill 2018 which were announced last month. At a Special Council Meeting on Monday, 8 July, Councillors discussed the State Government’s proposed changes, the lack of consultation, and the unreasonably short deadline to provide feedback on the significant reforms.

Council has particular concerns with the proposed standardised electoral structure of single-member wards for all Councils, and the introduction of a petition process requiring 25 per cent of voters to dismiss a Councillor.

“Council finds it particularly difficult to understand the State’s rationale in moving all Councils to a single-member ward structure. Darebin does not believe this leads to greater community representation,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

“Of the past 12 Victorian Electoral Commission local government representation reviews, only one recommended a council continue using the single-member ward structure. The application of a blanket approach across all Councils does not allow for the consideration of factors that are specific to each municipality, and this has the potential to impact on the fair and equitable representation of voters.”

For the City of Darebin, the last VEC representation review in 2007 recommended that Darebin Council move away from single-member wards to the current structure of three three-member wards in order to provide the community better representation. This review was conducted by experts in voter representation and informed by public submissions. 

Darebin also has serious concerns that the move to single-member wards will have a detrimental impact on the diversity of people elected to Councils, such as the representation of women. Victorian Councils with the three three-member wards structure saw women elected at a rate of 43.9 per cent, while Councils made of up of single-member wards saw women elected at a rate of just 33.9 per cent. This is a stark difference. 

Single-member wards result in poor outcomes on other levels too. There are currently 59 single-member wards in the eight Councils with this structure. Of those wards, 16 were uncontested in the 2016 council elections, meaning there was no choice of alternative candidate for the people of those communities.

“The Minister must explain how these proposed changes will lead to better community representation, when the available evidence would appear otherwise,” Cr Rennie said.

Council also finds the proposed petition process for a community-initiated Commission of Inquiry problematic. The process to attain support from 25 per cent of voters is onerous, while the dismissal of a democratically elected official is a serious issue and should be one which sits with the Minister.

As the State Government’s proposed changes were announced without warning and with only one month provided for feedback, the City of Darebin strongly urges the Minister to extend the consultation period and to outline what the new Bill will look like and what ramifications it has for Councils.
Media release: 10 July 2019

Darebin Council has adopted a new set of built form guidelines for Fairfield Village which, if approved by the Minister for Planning, will safeguard the community village feel of the area. These guidelines would protect heritage buildings and ensure future development in the area is done responsibly with respect to the Fairfield Village character.

Darebin Council adopted the Planning Scheme Amendment C161 at its June 24 Council meeting.

Fairfield Village is known for its distinct local village feel which comes from its accessibility, strong local business presence, the low-scale character of its traditional buildings, and its open space areas, especially around the railway station reserve. Importantly, the precinct also provides a strong sense of community for local residents.

 “These guidelines will maintain the integrity of Fairfield Village for years to come. This is a great outcome for residents, traders, and visitors to the precinct. I’d like to thank all those who engaged with Council over the years to help get us to this point – your submissions have helped protect the Fairfield Village we all know and love,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

The next step is that Darebin will request the Planning Minister to formally incorporate Amendment C161 into the Darebin Planning Scheme.  

The Planning Scheme Amendment proposes to introduce a Heritage Overlay and a Design and Development Overlay to guide high quality development and to protect the heritage buildings within the Fairfield Village Activity Centre. The Fairfield Village Activity Centre includes parts of Station Street, Wingrove Street and Railway Place.

For more information on Planning Scheme Amendment C161, please visit
Media release: 8 July 2019

Darebin Council has announced it will soon begin two pilot programs to make it easier for people experiencing homelessness to access housing and wellbeing services.

For many people experiencing homelessness, it can be challenging to bridge the gap between them and a homelessness service. In recognition of this, Council will fund a two-year assertive outreach program to help join the dots. As the Council for Homeless Persons describes it, “Assertive outreach is a persistent and purposeful approach used with people who do not present to, and/or have difficulties engaging with, housing, homelessness or health services. For example, engaging and delivering services to people who are sleeping rough, or living in rooming houses, squats or caravan parks.”

A specialist worker will visit and respond to individuals sleeping rough to connect them to services they need, including housing and healthcare. An outreach service seeks to address both the immediate wellbeing needs of the person, while also seeking to facilitate longer term, safe housing outcomes.

Council will undertake an expression of interest process to appoint and fund a homelessness service provider to deliver the assertive outreach program. It’s expected the outreach pilot program will commence later this year, and will cost $210,000 per year ($157,000 of which has been included in the 2019/20 Council Budget).

Council will also pilot a six-month shower access program for people experiencing homelessness to use at Reservoir Leisure Centre, and, subject to agreement with the YMCA as the operator, the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre. Council is currently developing the program structure, procedures and referral processes, and will work closely with the homelessness and emergency relief sector to consider all aspects required to ensure the program is a success.

“Homelessness is a significant and complex issue that cannot be resolved solely through the interventions of local government, but Council can play a role by supporting the homelessness sector respond to identified gaps,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

“Within the municipality of Darebin, there has been an increase in the number of people sleeping rough in the last four years. There is also an unknown number of women and children living in emergency accommodation such as refuges, and short stay hotel rooms to escape family violence. Our new programs will offer some relief and help those experiencing homelessness to access the services they need.”

Homelessness has complex and diverse origins. Many people who become homeless have experienced serious disadvantage throughout their lives. 

Family violence is the single biggest cause of homelessness in Victoria and Australia. 42 per cent of homeless Victorians said they were homeless due to family violence, while a further 39 per cent said they were homeless due to financial hardship or housing issues. 

The 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census noted there are 972 people in Darebin experiencing homelessness, with 80 of these being rough sleepers. 
Media release: 8 July 2019

Darebin Council is inviting the whole community to come along to our Aboriginal Flag Raising Ceremony at Mantra Bell City in Preston on 8 July to mark the beginning of NAIDOC Week.

NAIDOC Week runs from 7-14 July, and is an important time on the national calendar, celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This year’s NAIDOC theme is ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future’. These were the three key elements of the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. This year’s theme also celebrates the importance of working together for a shared future.

“NAIDOC Week provides a unique opportunity now for all Australians to hear the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and to share in understanding the true account of our nation’s history,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

“It is a time for all of us to begin the walk together towards a future based on justice and respect, which gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a greater voice and representation in decision-making within Australia’s democracy.”

A NAIDOC themed yarnbombing installation will also be installed at Preston Library. Community members were asked to submit their knitted and crocheted pieces in the colors of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags to be used in the installation. A smoking ceremony conducted with Elders from Gurwidj Neighbourhood House will be held at the completion of the yarnbombing project at 10.30am on July 16. A morning tea will follow.

Council’s NAIDOC Week Aboriginal Flag Raising Ceremony will run from 10am-11.30pm at Mantra Bell City, 215 Bell Street, Preston, on 8 July.

To find out more information about NAIDOC Week events in Darebin please visit

For more information on NAIDOC Week, please visit

Media release: 27 June 2019

Darebin Council adopted its Annual Budget for the 2019–20 financial year at the Council meeting held on Monday, 24 June. The Budget contains all of the projects which will be funded by Council over the next 12 months.

The Budget included funding for a whole host of exciting new initiatives as well as continuing Council’s core services. Some of the highlights of the Budget include employing an Aboriginal maternal and child health nurse, commencing construction on the multi-sports stadium at John Cain Memorial Reserve, a refurbishment of the Edwardes Lake Park athletics track, planning for works to upgrade Reservoir Leisure Centre and Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre, and a new homelessness outreach pilot program.

The Budget also sees the delivery of the construction of six new play spaces, provide support for our older community, ongoing renewal of footpaths and shared paths, planting new trees right across the municipality, continuing efforts to double the amount of solar power generated in Darebin, and completion of the Merri Creek pedestrian bridge at Beavers Road.

Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said the Annual Budget would allow Council to continue providing valuable resources, assets and services to more than 160,000 people who call Darebin home.

“Darebin is a great place to live and work, and thousands more people make it their home every year,” Mayor Rennie said.

“This growing population puts additional pressure on Council services such as maternal and child health, leisure facilities, parks, libraries, roads, recycling and waste services. With this in mind, we will continue to invest in the infrastructure we need to ensure we thrive, live sustainably and build better connections between people.”

Council received 85 community submissions on the Budget supporting over 180 initiatives and projects, many of which were included in the final Budget passed by Councillors. These initiatives include the recruitment of a biodiversity officer, upgrades to Keon Park and H.P. Zwar Park, investigating the works required to upgrade the skate park at Edwardes Lake Park, and an outreach partnership program for children and youth.

“Thank you to everyone in the community who put forward their brilliant submissions for this Budget. Your feedback really helped us and many suggestions were taken on board by Council and have been funded in this Budget,” Mayor Rennie said.

The Darebin Annual Budget 2019-20 can be viewed online.

Media release: 27 June 2019


Ten iconic Darebin landmarks have been lovingly recognised in This Place 2019 by some of our most creative residents. Now in its third year, This Place 2019 celebrates all that is great about our where we live.

The project randomly pairs a talented and artistic local with a famous Darebin location. The artist is given five weeks to create a piece of work that shines a new light on some iconic places in the Darebin area. The ten new works, inspired by place, shed a new perspective on the fabulous and forgotten places in Darebin. Who better to do this than the artists, writers and creators who call this place home.

The commissioned artists and writers for This Place 2019 were:

  • Emeritus Professor, Latrobe University, Judith Brett
  • Photographer, David Wadelton
  • Comedian and writer, Kate McLennan
  • Poet, Luke Beesley
  • Singer and songwriter, Charles Jenkins
  • Writer, Larissa Dubecki
  • Writer, Maryrose Cuskelly
  • Playwright, Angus Cerini
  • Visual artist, Warren Crossett
  • Writer and podcaster, Katherine Collette

The This Place 2019 artists buried themselves in local history, stories, folklore and interviews to research the Darebin neighbourhood we all know and love.

The places they used as inspiration for This Place 2019 were Separation St, The Nest in Darebin Parklands, Mount Cooper in Bundoora, Edgars Creek, Broadway in Reservoir, a piece from the Darebin Arts collection, Bell St, The Plaza Theatre, Arts Projects Australia, and the cannons in Westgarth.

“We all love living in Darebin, and This Place breathes life into some of the forgotten locations in our neighbourhood. I’d like to thank all the artists who were able to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences about these iconic Darebin landmarks,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

Each of the newly created works can now be read, heard and seen on the Darebin Arts website.

Media release: 27 June 2019

An innovative product that allows wheelchair users to head off road and to the beach has won the $20,000 grand prize in Darebin City Council’s annual competition Pitch It.

The competition gives local students, entrepreneurs, businesses, not-for-profits and social enterprises the opportunity to create and scale new and innovative socially focused ventures in areas such as sustainability, equity, inclusion, diversity or health and wellbeing.

Five local start-up businesses, out of a total of more than 40 entries, had 10 minutes to pitch their business idea to win the top prize.

The grand prize winners were the team behind Gecko Traxx – an innovative, portable and affordable wheelchair accessory which enables off-road terrain and beach accessibility for manual wheelchair users.

Gecko Traxx co-founder Ryan Tilley said the $20,000 grand prize will allow him to scale up his business, taking the prototypes from his garage to a factory production line and into the hands of customers.

With a background in industrial design and mechanical engineering, Ryan started his career in furniture making, before realising that he could be “doing so much more with my skills than designing pretty objects.”

Working with Gecko Traxx co-founder, social entrepreneur and wheelchair user Huy Nguyen, the pair has solved Huy’s need for a portable way to access the beach.

“Pitch It for us was about the networks you gain from meeting all these amazing people during the accelerator program – the other teams, but also mentors and facilitators. That’s what provides the most value. It was great to get another set of eyes and thinking on what we’re doing.”

The four other finalists were Silfresh Sustainable Packaging, Helios Health Systems, Mums on the Move, and The Sharing Tree.

Darebin City Council Mayor Susan Rennie said Council is proud to have run Pitch It for the past three years to help foster an environment where diverse businesses and industries can thrive.

“Entrepreneurial start-ups have the potential to become the major employers of the future and to improve our way of life. All of the top five businesses are an example of this, and I congratulate Gecko Traxx for taking out the top prize on the night.”

Media release: 17 June


Tonight Darebin Council voted unanimously to withdraw its draft Parking Strategy which was released for community feedback in May.

Darebin Council Mayor, Susan Rennie said “Darebin Council strongly believes that community input is critical to good decision making, and we know our community shares our commitment to tackling complex issues.”

“The decision not to proceed with the strategy is a clear demonstration that this Council will always listen to our community and respond to their feedback.”

As a result of the decision not to proceed, the focus groups that had been scheduled this week have been cancelled. In addition, the meeting scheduled for 20 June to hear community submissions will not go ahead. Everyone who has registered to attend will be notified directly this week.

Darebin Council Mayor, Susan Rennie said “On behalf of the Council, I would like to sincerely thank everyone in our community who took the time to share their views. We hope you will continue to engage with other Council projects as they arise.”

Media release - 11 June 2019

The biennial Darebin Art Prize is back in 2019 celebrating the outstanding work of contemporary Australian artists. Darebin Council is delighted to once again host this $10,000 acquisitive art award at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.

Artists across Australia are invited to submit their artwork to this esteemed prize, with entries due 6 July, 5pm. Details and application forms are available at:

“The Darebin Art Prize presents exceptional contemporary art. The winning work becomes part of the Darebin Art Collection which inspires and connects the Darebin community in an appreciation of the visual arts. The prize pool includes not only $10,000 to the winning work, but also a $1,000 People’s Choice Award,” Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said.

“Darebin Council is proud to support the work of living Australian artists. We’re anticipating a competitive process attracting artists from all stages in their career, from emerging to more established artists”. 

The judging panel will include Lisa Radford, Lecturer in Art, Victorian College of the Arts, Kimba Thompson, Director & Curator, Blak Dot Gallery, and Renee Cosgrave, Artist and Acting Curator at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.                                         

The Darebin Art Prize is one of many Darebin initiatives supporting and encouraging arts practice in our community. In 2017 the winning work was a photograph by Melbourne artist Claire Lambe titled ‘She never speaks about herself, she could be anything’.

The Darebin Art Prize will take place at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre 7 September 2019 to 26 January 2020. An opening celebration will be held on Friday 6 September 6-8pm.

Bundoora Homestead Art Centre is the public art gallery for the City of Darebin and is committed to presenting challenging and inspiring contemporary visual arts exhibitions and public programs. The Homestead was built in 1900 and is registered by Heritage Victoria and certified by the National Trust.
Media release: 4 June 2019

Darebin Council has been awarded a prestigious local government award for its Schools Yarning Conference for students.

On Friday 31 May, the annual HART Awards (Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together) were announced by Reconciliation Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association, recognising Victorian partnerships and initiatives that contribute to local reconciliation outcomes.

Darebin was named as the winner of the HART Awards Local Government – Schools and Early Years category for the Schools Yarning Conference.

The conference was held in 2018 and celebrated the 2018 NAIDOC theme ‘Because of her we can’. The event featured more than 300 Year 5 students from ten Darebin schools, who came together to learn about Aboriginal history and culture across nine interactive, cultural, sporting and storytelling workshops throughout the day, led by 27 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators.

Darebin was also proud to be recognised for its ongoing commitment to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and reconciliation process after receiving a highly commended acknowledgement in the 2019 HART Award for Local Government.

In the past year Darebin has implemented new and ongoing initiatives to build Aboriginal perspectives and culture into the lives of community members.

These include brokering stronger relationships with both the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee and the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Culutual Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, delivering the Acknowledgment of Country in Woi Wurrung language by Mayor Susan Rennie, campaigning to rename the Federal electorate of Batman, and committing to change Council’s acknowledgement of January 26.

“We are proud to have received the HART Award for the Schools Yarning Conference and our highly commended acknowledgement in the Local Government category. By sharing the experiences and stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people, we are working towards reconciliation,” Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said.

Council is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations striving for a future based on justice, respect and understanding.” 

For more information on the HART Awards, please visit

Media release: 4 June 2019

Darebin households will soon be able to sustainably empty food waste into their green waste bin, reducing their overall impact on the environment.

Starting in spring this year, Darebin residents will be able to put their food waste into their food and green waste bin which can then be put out for collection. The food and green waste bin will be collected by Council and taken to the Veolia recycling facility in Bulla, where it will be processed and transformed into valuable compost to be used by Victorian farmers.

Introducing the food waste recycling service is one of the biggest ways Council can work with community to quickly reduce carbon emissions. Calculations show that the introduction of food waste recycling to existing green bin users could reduce emissions by up to 1,600 tonnes in the first year and many more after that as more users get involved.

Food waste makes up approximately 38 per cent of Darebin’s kerbside household waste sent to landfill, so eliminating food waste and recycling it through the new food waste service will be able to significantly reduce the amount going to landfill.

Council conducted a six month trial of the service last year. The feedback from the trial has been used to develop the final model which will be rolled out later this year. General waste bins will continue to be collected weekly, while recycling bins and food and green waste bins will continue to be collected fortnightly.

Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said all types of food waste could be put into the food and green waste bins, including bones, meat, citrus, fish and bread.

“Darebin households with a green waste bin will be able to put their food waste into this bin to be turned into compost,” Cr Rennie said

“People who already compost at home are encouraged to continue doing so. This additional service will be able to accept all food waste – even that which is not usually compostable at home such as bones and meat.” 

“Residents who don’t currently have a food and green waste bin will be able to sign up if they wish to, in line with the normal green waste service eligibility and charges.”

Residents will receive further information about the introduction of the service closer to the spring start date.

Media release: 23 May 2019

Darebin Council is seeking community feedback on its proposal to lease a Council-owned site at 1 Spring Street, Preston, for a pilot project aimed at preventing youth homelessness.

The three-year pilot program would aim to house six young people at risk of experiencing long term homelessness, in a unique model which would provide tailored on-site support and care.

At the Council Meeting on 20 May, it was agreed Darebin would begin the statutory process to lease the Council-owned land at 1 Spring St, Preston for a period of three years to Kids Under Cover, a not-for-profit youth homelessness prevention organisation. If Council decides to proceed with the lease following the statutory process, Darebin will work with Kids Under Cover to deliver the project.

The pilot program, to be known as Village 21, is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, and seeks to create a cluster studio model with on-site support for six young people, aged 18-21 years, for whom the likelihood of experiencing homelessness within the first 12 months of leaving out-of-home care is likely.

Many young people are ill-equipped with the skills to live independently, with 39 per cent of out of home care leavers ending up homeless in the first year after turn 18. The Village 21 program is designed to interrupt this spiral of disadvantage.

Residents of the program would be supported by a live-in mentor and an Anglicare Victoria support worker. Anglicare Victoria would be engaged by Kids Under Cover to provide case management for the residents for the duration of the pilot.

The Department of Health and Human Services is funding the project through the Accommodation for the Homeless program.

The Council-owned land at 1 Spring St, Preston is currently vacant. If Council decides to proceed with the project seven fully-furnished temporary living units (produced in regional Victoria using natural fibres and achieving a 6 star energy rating) would be placed on the site.

Jo Swift, CEO of Kids Under Cover, acknowledged the support of both the City of Darebin and the State Government in their support of the Village 21 project.

“Kids Under Cover is proud to be able to leverage our 30 years of experience providing accommodation to prevent youth homelessness and to work with our long-term partner Anglicare Victoria, and we endorse this project and the City of Darebin’s foresight in considering this opportunity.”

“We applaud the State Government and their investment in this initiative, recognising the real need of 18-21 year-olds leaving out-of-home care.”

It is anticipated that at the end of the project the young people involved would have increased independence by being employed or engaged in training, have obtained a rental reference, and gained the life experience to live independently.

“We are committed to making sure Darebin is a place where everyone can find a home, and where young people are supported to live well. If it proceeds, this project would be an opportunity for Council to support real change in young people’s lives, while supporting the pilot of a new housing model,” Cr Rennie said.

The Darebin community will have the chance to make submissions on the Council proposal to lease the land to Kids Under Cover between 28 May and 27 June 2019.

More information will be available from 28 May on

Media release: 23 May 2019

Darebin is proud to announce Andy Murdoch as the winner of the 2019 Mayor’s Writing Awards.

The annual awards were held on 16 May, where the panel of expert judges, made up of Sian Prior, Susan Johnston and Lefa Singleton Norton, awarded Mr Murdoch the $2000 prize for his short story, Butterfly.

The judges’ comments noted they were drawn into the “deceptively simple story by its satisfyingly poetic rhythm”.

“The deftly drawn vignette tells us a great deal about the relationship between these two delineated and clearly drawn characters. The scene feels as if it has occurred in many scenarios before this one; both people relegated to accustomed positions, a familiar push and pull. These events are a catalyst foreshadowed not only by the final line, but the thrumming tension throughout,” the judges said.

Two pieces also received $500 highly commended prizes – Stella Bridie’s story Beginner’s Luck, and You Should Be So Lucky written by Jasmijn Van Houten.

This year’s theme was Lucky, with more than 100 entries received incorporating the theme into short stories of 1000-words or less.

“Darebin is home to so many talented writers that we always know the Mayor’s Writing Awards will be competitive,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

“I wish to congratulate Andy for his outstanding piece, and would urge all those writers who entered to continue being inspired by the world around them and enter the Mayor’s Writing Awards again next year.”

All of the winning works will be published in the Darebin Arts magazine n-SCRIBE 14 in November this year.

Media release: 21 May 2019

The next stage of community engagement for the Victorian Planning Authority’s (VPA) review of the Preston Market Precinct planning controls, being undertaken alongside the City of Darebin, is now underway.

Wide-ranging community engagement was undertaken throughout 2018, with a number of activities sparking meaningful discussions about priorities for the precinct’s future.
As a result of this engagement, five guiding principles for the future of the precinct were created in consultation with a Community Reference Group:

A thriving fresh food market
A diversity of land uses and vibrant amenity
Culturally diverse character and adaptable community spaces
Sustainable, liveable and accessible precinct
Flexible and efficient car parking and access.
This next round of engagement will be an opportunity for members of the community to understand what scenarios are being considered and help the VPA and City of Darebin progress the preparation of draft structure plan for the precinct.
The precinct takes in 4.6 hectares of privately-owned land bounded by Murray Road in the north, Cramer Street to the south, the rear of the High Street buildings to the east and the Preston Station car park to the west.
Melbourne’s overarching planning strategy, Plan Melbourne, designates the precinct as a Major Activity Centre, which will accommodate new homes, jobs and infrastructure. Planning the precinct effectively is vital because, like many areas throughout Melbourne, Victoria and Australia, Preston is facing a time of transformational growth.
The suburb’s population is growing fast - by 2041, Preston’s population is forecast to almost double in size to 68,000 people. Good planning can ensure that this growth is accommodated in a sustainable way that brings new amenities, community infrastructure and open space.
“The Preston Market precinct is a much-loved local destination, which is well-placed to become a vibrant, sustainable neighbourhood next door to a train station,” VPA Executive Director of Inner and Middle Melbourne, Peter Sagar, said.
“Council is working alongside the VPA to ensure the voices of the community and traders are heard when it comes to the future of the market and the broader precinct,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.
“We want to ensure planning for the market focuses on the potential of the entire area. That’s why I’m excited to announce that Council is currently finalising the purchase of the property at 421 High Street.
“The 421 High Street shop will eventually be demolished to become a vital pedestrian link that will unlock central Preston, and ensure High Street, Preston Market and the Preston Station are integrated into a walkable, liveable future neighbourhood.
“In the immediate to medium term, before the precinct is redeveloped, the building at 421 High Street will remain. Council is currently investigating possible uses that could benefit the broader community,” Cr Rennie said.
In July 2017, following advocacy from Council and the community, the Minister for Planning tasked the VPA with reviewing the current planning controls for the Preston Market precinct, designating it as a strategic development site of state significance. Council and the VPA have agreed to work together to undertake the review of the planning controls.
Council and the VPA urge all interested members of the public to make the time to attend a consultation session. Feedback gathered will be used to further inform and guide the planning controls review.
Interested community members can participate in the consultation phase by visiting the engagement pop-up stall at Preston Market on 24 May (between 11am-2pm) or on 1 June (between 10am-1pm), or by attending the community drop-in session on 3 June at Preston City Hall from 4:30pm-7:30pm.
You can also complete the online survey which can be accessed here and learn more about the project by visiting
Media release: 16 May 2019

Darebin Council is disappointed in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s (VCAT) decision to support the Darebin RSL’s planning permit to add an additional 15 electronic gaming machines (EGMs) to the venue, bringing the total number of machines up to 80.

At a planning committee meeting on Monday, 13 May, Council agreed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Council had opposed the granting of the planning permit because it went against the Darebin Electronic Gaming Machine Policy 2018-2022 and would cause additional gambling related harm to the community.

Darebin adopted its Electronic Gaming Machine Policy 2018-2022 in December last year, which at the time was heralded as “Australia’s strongest gambling reform policy” by The Pokies Play You group.

Research shows four out of five weekly poker machine users experience harm which not only impacts them, but their partners, families and community as well. Gambling is a major driver of household debt, family breakdown and contributes to causing family violence.

A 2018 community survey showed 86.8 per cent of respondents agreed that gaming machines are too widely accessible in the local community and 70.2 per cent felt that they are a serious problem in the community.

“We are extremely disappointed in the VCAT decision to allow more of these machines into our community,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

“Every year in Darebin people lose $80 million to gambling, and many of these people are the ones who can least afford to lose it.”

“Darebin will not stand idly by and accept this. We will continue our efforts to reduce gambling related harm in our community which is why Council will appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.”
Media release: 14 May 2019

Darebin school students have been invited to attend a special Daytime Council Meeting on Monday, 20 May, to get a detailed look at local government in action.

The Daytime Council Meeting is part of Darebin’s commitment to involve children and young people in the local democratic process. Darebin will hold another Daytime Council Meeting later this year on Monday, 2 September.

Students from local schools will attend the daytime meeting, with each school having been invited to submit questions to Council. Consideration has also been given to including items on the meeting agenda that may be of interest to young people.

These include looking at the proposed Youth Services Strategy 2019-21, a pilot program to temporarily house a small number of young people at risk of homelessness, and a food waste recycling service for residents.

“Children and young people play an important part of the social and cultural makeup of Darebin, however their voices and opinions are not always heard,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

“We know children and young people are passionate change makers who are at the forefront of progressive thinking, and who can provide positive contributions to local conversation on key issues that affect them and their local community through the democratic process.” 

The next Darebin Council Meeting will be held at 1pm in the Shire Hall, Preston, on Monday, 20 May.

Media release: 14 May 2019

The City of Darebin strongly supports the State Government’s announcement today that the Bell Street, Cramer Street, Oakover Road and Murray Road level crossings will all be removed by 2021.

“Darebin Council has strongly advocated to the State Government for all four level crossings to be removed for many years, so today’s announcement is really great news for Preston and the wider Darebin community as whole,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

“Removal of all four level crossing will go a long way to helping revitalise the central Preston area.”

“The elevated rail will open up an incredible amount of space for our residents, and presents an exciting chance to develop new precincts and community infrastructure such as pedestrian connections and green open space.”

“The new station to be built at Preston also presents an opportunity for better integration with the Preston Market site, as well as the wider Preston precinct.”

“We look forward to seeing further details of the project when they become available, and will continue to advocate strongly on behalf of our community to ensure the best outcome is achieved.”

Media release: 7 May 2019

Residents and homeowners who want tips on how to make their home more sustainable are encouraged to register for the Speed Date a Sustainability Expert event to be held in Darebin on May 26, where leading green home designers, architects and other sustainability experts will provide free advice to the public during 20-minute ‘dates’.

How can I keep my home cool in summer and warm in winter without high energy bills? How can I renovate my home to make it more comfortable year-round? Should I look at installing batteries with solar?  Can my garden help in making my home more liveable?

All these questions, and more, will likely be asked during the event which is run by Renew, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes sustainable living, and is part of Council’s program to support residents and home owners cut their carbon emissions and costs.

Speed Date a Sustainability Expert will include experts on:

Sustainable architects and building designers
Solar and home battery storage
Energy efficiency, energy efficient appliances
Sustainable garden design, permaculture, green roofs and walls
Small-space gardens
Water efficiency

John Hassall, of Darebin-based Greenly Landscapes, will be one of the available experts. Greenly specialises in rooftop gardens, vertical gardens and other biophilic structures. 
“Plants are just so important, especially as we shift to higher-density living,” Mr Hassall said.

“Not only can they make a building look beautiful, but they can also create habitat and biodiversity, they produce oxygen and purify the air. Having a green roof or a green wall, there are thermal performance benefits for the building as well as other environmental benefits such as stormwater management.”

Dan Mathews recently renovated his Northcote weatherboard cottage, spurred by advice and ideas he’d received at several Speed Date a Sustainability Expert events in Melbourne. The sustainable addition incorporated passive solar design, opened the cottage to connect it with the garden, used lightweight timber construction and low-VOC paints and flooring.

“I learned a lot from the experts at Speed Date a Sustainability Expert about what was possible to improve my home and make it more sustainable,” Mr Mathews said.

“It was really helpful. The event is free and I encourage people who want to go green at home to come along and get advice.”

Donna Luckman, Renew CEO, said Speed Date a Sustainability Expert was an informative and fun event.

"We encourage people to bring plans on their laptop, tablet or in hard copy. Registration is essential," Ms Luckman said.

Speed Date a Sustainability Expert
When: Sunday, May 26, 2pm - 4pm
Where: Darebin City Hall, 284 Gower Street, Preston 
Cost: Free, however spots are limited so bookings are essential.

Media release: 6 May 2019

Darebin Council is offering Three Year Partnership Grants to not-for-profit organisations who have a proven track record in the provision of quality programs and services which align with Darebin’s priorities.

Successful Three Year Partnership Grant applicants will receive approved funding, up to the maximum grant value, each year during the three year grant period (2019 – 2022).

Three Year Partnership Grants are available in four streams:

Environment and Sustainability (Up to $40,000 per year) - total pool $80,000
Equity, Inclusion and Wellbeing (Up to $50,000 per year) – total pool $160,000
Youth Partnerships (Up to $25, 000 per year) - total pool $50,000
Key Cultural Organisations (Up to $8,000 per year) - total pool $64,000

Improving the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, improving gender equity, supporting creative industries, sustainable food, improving biodiversity, or providing training and employment pathways for young people are just some of the possible projects which could qualify for the grant funding.

Applications are now open and close Friday, 31 May at 11:59pm.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the Three Year Partnership Information Booklet (available online) and discuss their application with a Council Officer.

“The Three Year Partnership Grants program will invest more than $350,000 in not-for-profit organisations to enable them to deliver programs and projects which Council believes will make Darebin a greener, bolder and more connected city,” Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said.

For more information regarding the Three Year Partnership Grants and other grant opportunities, please visit
Media release: 3 May 2019

Darebin City Council is seeking nominations for the 2019 Darebin Community Awards, which recognise the outstanding contributions and achievements of inspiring local community members.

Nominations are now open, and will close on 31 July at 4pm. The Awards will be presented at a special ceremony on Friday, 23 August, 2019 at Preston City Hall.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Susan Rennie, said the Darebin Community Awards are about celebrating people or groups in our community who show leadership and care.

“It’s important that we recognise people who are making outstanding contributions and showing excellence in their field,” Cr Rennie said.

Council is seeking nominations for the following 2019 Darebin Community Award categories:

Citizen of the Year
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Leader of the Year 
Young Citizen of the Year
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Emerging young Community Leader of the Year 
Community Group of the Year
Sustainability Award
Lifetime Achievement Award

The 2019 awards see the introduction of two new awards to celebrate sustainability and legacy within our community.

The new Sustainability Award recognises environmental work and ongoing commitment to sustainable practice and can be awarded to an individual or group. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises the outstanding contribution and exemplary leadership over many years of service to the community. 

“The inclusion of the Lifetime Achievement category will celebrate and honour an individual who has dedicated their life to making our community a better place,” Cr Rennie said.

“We are thrilled to continue the recognition of leaders and emerging leaders in our community with the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Leader of the Year and the Emerging Young Community Leader of the Year award categories, which were introduced in 2018.”

“If you know a person or group that’s made an outstanding contribution to our community, now is the time to nominate them,” Cr Rennie said.

This year Council has introduced an online nomination form. Nominations can still be submitted via hard copy by post or in person at any Darebin Customer Service Centre.

For more information, please visit or drop in to a Customer Service Centre or library to obtain a nomination form for the Awards. 

Alternatively telephone Customer Service on 8470 8888 or send an email to

Media release: 1 May 2019

Darebin’s creativity will be on show when Darebin Arts Centre holds its Open Day on Sunday, 5 May. Everyone is welcome to come along to find out what goes on behind the scenes of this dedicated arts centre.

Explore the new-look foyer which has just re-opened following a three-month, $1.2 million refurbishment, which has included improvements to accessibility. Reinvigorating Darebin Arts Centre is one of the 16 Big Actions in the Darebin Council Plan 2017-2021.

“Darebin is home to so many talented and creative musicians and artists, which is why spaces like Darebin Arts Centre are so important to our city. Come and see what this great performing arts centre looks like backstage and engage with some of Darebin’s brilliant artists and musicians,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

Enjoy a barista coffee on the house as you take a guided tour from one of Darebin Arts Centre’s expert venue staff, or sit back and enjoy Colombian musician Oscar Jimenez playing a preview of his upcoming performance Sonidas del Norde at 11.45am. The full concert, comprising a pan-Latino ensemble of musicians, will be co-presented by Darebin Arts and Multicultural Arts Victoria at Darebin Arts Centre on 1 June.

Other great activities include exploring the richness of Darebin’s visual arts scene by engaging with local visual artists Helen Kocis Edwards and Kate Gorringe-Smith, as they display mixed media artworks and provide printmaking demonstrations.

Exciting emerging artists Alexandra Alayon, Monique Luzza and Lisa Dallest will also be displaying works from their learnings at Melbourne Polytechnic across painting, printmaking and drawing, while a retrospective exhibition from Christella Demetriou’s prolific life will be held in the Gallery.

Delight in the aural pleasure of local musicians Speak Percussion, as they provide an insight into the process of music-making through their open rehearsal from 12pm.

During lunchtime, not-for-profit organisation Global Sisters will be cooking up a storm in the commercial kitchen, including delicious Somali and Japanese dishes.

These are just some of the activities on offer designed to show off the outstanding facilities available within Darebin Arts Centre as Preston’s home of the arts.

Darebin Art Centre Open Day

Sunday, 5 May 2019
11am – 3pm
Corner St Georges Road and Bell Street, Preston

For more details visit or phone 8470 8282.

Media release: 17 April 2019

Darebin’s proposed Annual Budget for the 2019-20 financial year is now available for public comment. The proposed Annual Budget contains a description of activities and initiatives which will be funded in the next financial year.

Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said the proposed Annual Budget would allow Council to continue making Darebin an even more enjoyable place to live and work for the more than 160,000 people who live here.

“Darebin is a great place to live and work, and thousands more people make it their home every year,” Mayor Rennie said.

“This growing population puts additional pressure on Council services such as maternal and child health, leisure facilities, parks, libraries, roads, recycling and waste services.”

“With this in mind, we will continue to invest in the infrastructure we need to ensure we thrive, live sustainably and build better connections between people,” Mayor Rennie said.

Some of the highlights of the proposed Budget include employing an Aboriginal maternal and child health nurse, commencing construction on the multi-sports stadium at John Cain Memorial Reserve, a refurbishment of the Edwardes Lake Park athletics track, upgrades to Reservoir Leisure Centre and Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre, and a host of other sports grounds upgrades across the municipality.

The draft Budget also plans to construct six new play spaces, implement findings from the Age Friendly Darebin review, renew footpaths and shared paths, plant 5,200 trees, continue efforts to double the amount of solar power generated in Darebin, and complete the Merri Creek Bridge between Arthurton and Beavers roads.

Council will hold three information sessions to discuss the proposed Annual Budget with the community. Drop in between 7.00pm and 8.30pm at any of these sessions listed below:

  • Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, 17 April
  • Keon Park Children’s Hub, 1-7 Dole Avenue, Reservoir, 18 April
  • Acacia Meeting Room at Darebin Arts Centre, Corner Bell Street and St Georges Road, Preston, 24 April

Council staff will also be at six pop-up stations located across the city:

  • Northcote Plaza, 11am-2pm, 18 April
  • Preston Market, 10am-1pm, 20 April
  • Station Street, Fairfield, 1pm-4pm, 24 April
  • Northern Pipe Trail 4pm-6pm, 1 May
  • Edwardes Street, Reservoir 10am-1pm, 2 May
  • Bundoora Farmers Market 8am-12pm, 4 May

Anyone who is unable to attend a session can still have their say via our online budget submission process. The proposed Annual Budget 2019-20 can be viewed online at

Residents will be able to make a formal submission to Council on the proposed budget, and be able to present their submission at the Hearing of Submissions Committee Meeting on Thursday 23 May.


Submissions on the proposed Annual Budget will close on 9 May.


Media release: 11 April 2019


The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) has had its funding extended from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2022, representing a significant win for home support services in Darebin. This includes services such as personal care, domestic assistance, and delivered meals.

Darebin Council, along with the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), had strongly advocated for an extension of the Commonwealth program on a block funding basis.

The announcement of the funding extension in the 2019/2020 Federal Budget comes as a welcome relief to Darebin Council as it means the Council can certainly continue providing existing services to older people until June 2022 at least.

“We welcome this announcement from the Federal Government that block funding of these essential services will continue. We care deeply about our older residents, and we are glad the Federal Government listened to our concerns,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

It is understood that the ALP, if elected at the upcoming federal election, is also planning to extend CHSP block funding although the length of extension is not yet confirmed.

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 that $13 million, almost $6 million comes from Federal Government CHSP funding, while another $6 million is funded from Darebin. Council also funds and provides a range of programs, classes, events and facilities for older people.

The Federal Government had previously planned to remove block funding of these services and replace it with a competitive market. Because of these previously announced reforms, Council commissioned an independent review last year into its aged care services, and how they would be affected should the funding finish mid-next year as originally expected.

The Age Friendly Darebin draft report has now been released for public comment.

The draft report can be read here:

Media release: 9 April 2019

Preston-based co-founders of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Dimity Hawkins and Dave Sweeney, will be honoured by the City of Darebin with a mural at Preston Library as an enduring inspiration for active citizenship on local and global issues.

ICAN was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2017 in recognition of its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of nuclear weapons, while drawing attention to the catastrophic consequences that any use of these weapons would cause.

In order to acknowledge this trailblazing achievement by two of our local residents, Darebin has commissioned a prominently-located public mural celebrating ICAN’s founders and their 10-year campaign against nuclear weapons.

“We are very proud that two of our local residents have been part of founding a group which has been awarded such a prestigious honour,” said Darebin Mayor, Cr Susan Rennie.

“For many Australians, nuclear weapons are not a distant, abstract threat, but a lived reality and Council is honoured to be able to recognise Dimity Hawkins and Dave Sweeney and the tremendous campaign they have staged to help rid the world of nuclear weapons.”

Mr Sweeney said the mural would send an important message to the Darebin community for decades to come.

“ICAN is about taking local action to achieve something better for the world. This is a really important message to send to our kids. Council’s initiative celebrates this and helps change the story from one of horror to one of hope,” Mr Sweeney said.

The mural will celebrate ICAN, while also paying tribute to Yankunytjatjara Elder, Yami Lester, whose activism was an inspiration and call to action for the ICAN founders. Mr Lester was tireless in highlighting the suppressed history of nuclear testing in Australia.

A total of 12 atmospheric nuclear tests were carried out by the British in Australia between 1952-1957. The fallout from one of those tests blinded Mr Lester when he was a child. Additional tests in our region by the United States government between 1946-1963 and the French government between 1966-1996 added to the significant health risks and environmental contamination.

“The fallout from some of these tests were carried across vast areas of Australia and even registered as far away as our Pacific neighbours,” Dimity Hawkins said.

“For some Australians, this legacy lives on in our children and grandchildren.”

“Our local council’s generosity in honouring not only the work of ICAN, but also the legacy issues of nuclear testing is so appreciated, and deeply touching.”

Local artist, Hayden Dewar, was commissioned to create a mural that captures the spirit of the great ambition to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Mr Dewar is a Melbourne-based muralist and visual artist who creates portrait-based murals and artworks in his own contemporary surrealist/imaginative realist style.

Darebin Council has proudly endorsed the ICAN Cities Appeal which recognises the role of local governments to help build support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

“The City of Darebin is deeply concerned about the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose to communities throughout the world,” said Cr Rennie.

“We firmly believe that our residents have the right to live in a world free from this threat.

“Any use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or accidental, would have catastrophic, far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for people and the environment.

“Following the adoption by the United Nations in 2017 of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, we call on the Australian Government to sign and ratify it without delay.”

The mural is currently being completed and will be officially opened on 16 April, 2019. The free public event will begin at 5pm in the Preston Library forecourt, 266 Gower Street, Preston.

Media release: 2 April 2019

Passionate gardeners from across Victoria will be lining up to take guided tours of some of Darebin’s abundant and productive food gardens and getting expert advice from local horticulturalists during the annual Backyard Harvest Festival this May.

Across 19 sustainability-focused garden tours and workshops, talented hosts will provide tips on a diverse range of subjects, including seedling propagation, keeping chickens, quails and bees, fruit tree maintenance and grafting and natural pest management.

Four new gardens have been added to this year’s program, along with two workshops especially designed for families and children – a first for the Festival.

The Productive Gardening with Kids Workshop at Poppy’s Patch in Reservoir will show how budding gardeners can have fun while meaningfully participating in gardening activities.

Children will also enjoy the Bee a Pollinator Native Bee Workshop in Preston, which will teach families the importance of native bees and increasing biodiversity. Attendees will make their own bee hotel to take home for their garden.

Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said the vibrant gardens and sustainable gardening workshops meant there was something to interest all green thumbs during the Backyard Harvest Festival.

“Past participants have said they not only learnt new techniques, but also formed new friendships, which has helped build a strong sense of community around homegrown and homemade food,” Mayor Rennie said.

Tours and workshops run from between 60-90 minutes, and cost $10 ($5 concession). Take advantage of our $8 ticket ($4 concession) offer when you buy tickets to three or more events in the one transaction.

Where possible events which are a comfortable riding distance apart have been scheduled to follow one another, so why not leave the car at home and plan a fun day out riding between gardens.  

The Darebin Backyard Harvest Festival will run across three weekends, from 4-19 May.

For more information on other sessions, and to buy tickets, visit

Media release: 28 March 2019

Darebin City Council is calling on not-for-profit community groups and organisations to apply for the 2019/20 funding round of the Community Grants Program. Applications are now open.

Based on community feedback, the Community Grants Program has undergone a major review. As a result of this review the following grants programs are now available:

  • Small Grants (up to $3,000)
  • Medium Grants (up to $15,000)
  • Venue Hire Support Grants (up to $8,000).

The closing date for applications is Monday, 29 April 2019 at 11.59pm (end of day).

“We are committed to working with community groups and organisations to meet the needs and interests of residents and to make our city a greener, bolder and more connected place for everybody to live,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said

“The major review of our funding program was undertaken to align the grants program to multiple goals of the 2017 – 2021 Darebin Council Plan. Medium Grants are now available to support projects which aid in the delivery of Council Plan goals and demonstrate social, wellbeing, environmental or cultural benefits for our community.”

“Grant funding supports projects and activities across a wide range of settings, including arts and culture, sport and recreation, community wellbeing, equity and inclusion, human rights, education, lifelong learning and environmental sustainability.”

A series of information sessions to assist community groups with their applications will be held on

Session One

Date: Thursday 28 March 2019

Time: 10.00am – 12.00pm

Location: Shire Hall, 286 Gower Street, Preston


Session Two

Date: Thursday 28 March 2019

Time: 6.00pm – 8.00pm

Location: Shire Hall, 286 Gower Street, Preston

Session Three

Date: Thursday 11 April 2019

Time: 10.00am – 12.00pm

Location: Shire Hall, 286 Gower Street, Preston

Session Four

Date: Thursday 11 April 2019

Time: 6.00pm – 8.00pm

Location: Council Chamber (upstairs), 350 High Street, Preston


Applicants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds can request information on the grants program in different languages or book an interpreter for the information sessions through Darebin’s Multilingual Telephone Line on 8470 8470.

“Through the Community Grants Program, Council supports groups and organisations to better respond to the specific and broad needs and interests of Darebin residents primarily, but also of people who work and study in Darebin,” Cr Rennie said.

“I look forward to seeing the benefits grants-funded projects and activities bring to our community in the forthcoming 2019/2020 financial year”, Cr Rennie said.

As grant applications can only be submitted online, support is available to eligible applicants who do not have access to a computer or internet.

Step-by-step instructions on how to access, fill out, and submit online application forms are provided in the 2019/2020 Information Booklet, available at

For more information about the Community Grants Program, please call the Community Grants Officer on 8470 8504.

Media release: March 21

The Darebin Community and Kite Festival – Darebin’s largest annual festival – returns to Edwardes Lake Park, Reservoir on Sunday 24 March, coinciding with Cultural Diversity Week.

“Darebin is one of the most diverse communities in Victoria and in keeping with the themes of Cultural Diversity Week, this year’s Darebin Community and Kite Festival will once again represent the many different cultures that make up the fabric of Darebin,” said Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie.

“It’s a wonderful day out for the whole family. From the kite flying field to the dog parade and pet expo, fun kids activities, eclectic mix of live music and performance and great food options, it’s a day not to be missed.”

Festival-goers can make their own kite to fly on the kite-flying field, while enjoying live music performed on stage by First Nations songwriter Allara, Greek-Australians Polyxeni and a host of Darebin’s up-and-coming young musicians. Rhythm of Life will take you on a journey through traditional Guinean drumming; Sapphire Dance will step you through a Bollywood dance routine; and hip hop artist and member of the acclaimed Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, One Sixth, will teach you the art of storytelling through hip hop.

Playable Streets artists will be experimenting with electrically conductive paint and sound to create an interactive installation that tells the stories of children from local primary schools, while authors, performers and comic book makers Bernard Caleo and Michael Camilleri return to the festival stage this year, to once again create a giant comic book live on stage – with help from children in the audience.

Families can also participate in free creative workshops in a huge range of art forms. Melbourne’s leading not-for-profit circus for young people, Westside Circus will be running a full-day drop-in circus workshop, as well as other favourites like face painting.

The Festival’s food options also reflect the incredible diversity of our community, featuring home style Somali cooking, Indonesian satay, Polish pierogi, Filipino BBQ and classic Spanish cuisine. 

The ever-popular Pet Expo is also back, featuring a Pooch Parade, education sessions on responsible pet ownership, competitions and free show bags. There will also be the chance to meet rescue groups, vets, animal behaviourists, and dog obedience trainers, like Brad Griggs who will MC the event.

We encourage Festival-goers to travel green and leave the car at home. Why not ride to the event and park your bike in style at our onsite bike valet service? Mechanics from WeCycle will also run free safety checks, lube chains and pump tyres, and there’s a bike decoration station and parade for kids. 

The 2019 Darebin Community and Kite Festival will be held at Edwardes Lake Park, Reservoir, on Sunday, 24 March between 11am-4pm.

Media release: 14 March 2019

Darebin Council has begun the second round of a new grants program to support community events that celebrate the people and places of Darebin.

The program, Celebrating Darebin: Seeding Grants for Community Events is now open to applications from individuals and community groups. Up to $3000 in funding is available for new, first time events, and up to $5000 for events in Reservoir.

“We want to support the community so that they’re able to develop and create events that interest them and bring like-minded people together through arts and cultural activities,” said Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie.

“The Celebrating Darebin grants program provides a wonderful opportunity to support community activities that might otherwise be too expensive to organize and set up.

“It helps the community to focus on their interests and celebrate life in Darebin,” said Mayor Rennie.

The Friends of Merri on Parade community group were recently awarded a Celebrating Darebin grant to support a 30th birthday celebration for red gums planted along Merri on Parade.

“I planted 12 tube stock for the red gums along the Merri Creek back in 1989,” said Carolyn Lunt, convener of Friends of Merri on Parade.

“Six of them remain today and they provide wonderful natural habitat for microbats and food for birds and ring tailed and brush tailed possums.

“Friends of Merri on Parade exists to remove exotic weeds and replace these with indigenous plants along the creek. The special event we’ll hold at 1pm on 3 May to celebrate our majestic red gums will be an opportunity for the local community to come together, share some bush tucker and help plant some indigenous plants in the area around the red gums.”

Applications for Celebrating Darebin: Seeding Grants for Community Events are now open. Applications close at 4pm on Wednesday 27 March. Quick Response Community Events (up to $1500) are also available all year round.

For more information go to or call 8470 8888. 

Media release: 14 March 2019

Darebin is proud to be celebrating the diversity of its community with a series of free events taking place across the municipality during Cultural Diversity Week, which runs from 16-24 March.

Cultural Diversity Week is Victoria’s largest multicultural celebration, featuring an exciting program of festivals and events across metropolitan and regional areas. The week is held annually in March to coincide with the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Harmony Day on 21 March.

Darebin is home to people from over 153 countries who speak 148 different languages. Nearly one third of residents were born overseas, and for close to half, both parents were born outside of Australia. Darebin is also home to one of the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in metropolitan Melbourne.

“We’re so lucky to live in a vibrant and colourful community like Darebin. I hope the fun, free and immersive activities on show across the week help us discover our common humanity by celebrating our diversity, multiculturalism, and unity,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

Three events will be held across Darebin on Sunday, 17 March to celebrate intercultural and interfaith diversity, understanding, and harmony.

The Islamic Museum of Australia is inviting everyone to come and enjoy its exhibitions with a unique free tour, and a presentation on Ramadan. There will also be children’s activities like 'Build your own Mosque' arts and craft, and colouring-in activities. There will also be a sausage sizzle located outside. The Islamic Museum of Australia is located at 15A Anderson Road, Thornbury, and will be open from 10am-4pm, 17 March. For more information, call 1300 915 171.

At the same time, Preston Mosque will be holding an Open Day. Some of the highlights include mosque and minaret tours, henna-painting, jumping castle, and discussions about the positive role Muslims play in Australian society. There will also be the chance to try some of tasty delicacies from different parts of the Islamic world. Preston Mosque’s Open Day will run from 10am-4pm on 17 March at 90 Cramer St, Preston. Call 9470 2424 for more information.


Council will host the AMAFHH’s ‘Connect 2gether 4 Harmony’ cultural diversity fair at the Preston City Hall. The festival will have more than 35 stalls showcasing different cultures, faiths, food, and entertainment. The free fair will run from 12pm-5pm on 17 March at Preston City Hall, 286 Gower St, Preston. For more information, please email


Other events happening in Darebin during Cultural Diversity Week include a presentation on the History of Chinese Market Gardens, which will be held on Tuesday 19 March, from 6.30pm-8pm at Northcote Library, as well as a screening of Hindi film ‘Midnight’s Children’ which will be shown at Preston Library on Thursday 21 March, from 7pm-9.15pm. Bookings for both library events can be made by calling 1300 655 355.

For more information visit

Media release: 7 March 2019

Entries for the sixth annual Mayor’s Writing Awards open next week, celebrating Darebin’s local writers and the thriving creative community who call Darebin home.

The theme for this year’s entries is ‘lucky’. Think good luck, bad luck, lucky in love, out of luck, four-leaf clovers or any other concept or idea you can think of inspired by the word lucky.

The competition accepts all genres of writing, including poetry, fiction and non-fiction. There is a 1000-word limit, and only those who are 18-years or older can enter.

Entries for the Mayor’s Writing Awards will be considered by a panel of three expert judges made up of Sian Prior, Susan Johnston, and Lefa Singleton Norton.

Mayor Susan Rennie said she expected the judges would have a hard task of narrowing down the field.

“Darebin is home to so many creative-types that we always know the Mayor’s Writing Awards will be competitive. I encourage all writers, from professionals to hobbyists, and particularly those submitting their first piece, to give it a go and enter. You might get lucky!” Mayor Rennie said.

There is a $2000 cash prize for the winner, and $500 prizes for two highly commendable entries.

Entries for the 2019 Darebin Mayor’s Writing Awards open on March 4 and close on April 8.

The winners will be announced at the Darebin Mayor’s Writing Awards event on May 16.

To enter, or for more information, please click here.

Media release: 1 March 2019

The Decibels Youth Music Centre is seeking new recruits who wish to develop their music industry skills, networks and connections as part of its Decibels Indie program.

The Decibels Youth Music Centre is seeking new recruits who wish to develop their music industry skills, networks and connections as part of its Decibels Indie program.

Decibels Indie supports young emerging artists, musicians, bands, singer-songwriters, producers and creatives develop the skills and networks needed to become independent artists.

Successful applicants will have access to Decibels facilities and equipment (including its professional recording studio), mentoring, specialised workshops, and project funds of up to $1000.

One of last year’s participants, 21-year-old singer-songwriter Gaia Meera, used the Decibels Indie project to record her first EP, (Keep ‘Em) Outfoxed, which was released last month.

“The Decibels Indie program was so much more than I could have ever asked for,” Ms Meera said.

“I just expected to work on my own project, but what I got was a fantastic overview of the Australian music industry – there were excursions to recording studios, meetings with industry professionals – it was such a great experience.”

To qualify for the Decibels Indie program, applicants need to apply with a project of theirs in mind. This could be recording an EP of original songs, creating a film clip or video, getting a band together, or organising a special one-off gig. Projects could also be about professional development, creating a website, press kit or publicity campaign.

Six to eight applications will be chosen to participate in the Decibels Indie program. Projects will be chosen based on potential, enthusiasm, and how well the project is thought out - not how developed or popular a band or musician is right now.

Applicants for Decibels Indie must be between 16 and 25 years old, and live, work, study or play in the City of Darebin.

Applications are open now open and will close on 31 March.

For more information on the program, including how to apply, please click here. 

Media release: February 18

Darebin Council is developing a new strategy to tackle graffiti on our streets.

Council is currently working on the new 2019-2023 Graffiti Management Strategy and is calling for ideas from the public on how graffiti should be handled in the City of Darebin.

The new strategy will be developed based on community consultation, Council’s experience of graffiti in Darebin, as well as best practise principles across the themes of removal, prevention, education and enforcement.

The public can share their thoughts and feedback on graffiti management in Darebin through Your Say Darebin until 24 March 2019.

The new strategy aims to build on our previous and existing work to enhance Council’s capacity to reduce the prevalence of graffiti in the City of Darebin and the negative impact it has on our community.

Once the strategy is completed, the public will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft before it goes to Council.

“The strategy will not just focus on eradicating and preventing graffiti, but will also look at ways to encourage and facilitate street art to keep Darebin vibrant and colourful,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said.

For more information and to provide feedback, go to

Media release: 8 February 2019

Two laneways in the heart of Reservoir have been transformed by a public art project that celebrates the people and stories of the local community.

The two laneways, located near Edwardes and Spring Street, have been temporarily renamed ‘Rezza Boulevard’ and ‘Voir Lane’, and feature neon signs, video projections, and large format posters to go with the brightly-coloured geometric design painted by Council line marking staff on the concrete walkway.

Darebin Council commissioned Reservoir-based visual artist and graphic designer Sarah Rudledge to transform the forgotten spaces in between buildings into a showcase of Reservoir’s local character.

A local resident for the past eight years, Ms Rudledge said the ‘Rezza + Voir’ project has allowed her to develop a deeper connection with her community.

“People have been very generous with their stories. There are a lot of people who grew up in Reservoir and have strong memories of the place – they remember when it was just paddocks.”

The ‘Rezza + Voir’ project will be presented in chapters over the next two years, with the current chapter ‘Making it in Rezza’ highlighting local businesses and characters, followed by chapters on sport and gardening, and a fourth chapter which will be developed in partnership with a local community group.

Peter Folino – one of the 10 traders featured in the project – opened his business Folino’s Quality Meats in Edwardes Street 16 years ago. He has been a butcher for 47 years and opened his first shop in Northcote when he was just 19.

“We have fantastic customers here – we don’t talk to them like customers, we talk to them like best friends,” Mr Folino said.

Ms Rudledge said she hopes the feeling of community connection she experienced while creating the artwork is experienced by visitors too.

“I hope people get a sense of the interesting and diverse trades, characters and stories that are happening in Reservoir,” she said.

“Most of all, when people walk through the laneways, I want them to have fun.”

A free community launch event with live music will be held on Saturday 16 February from 5pm-9pm. Community members can also be part of the artwork with the opportunity to stick their own ‘paste-up’ onto the laneway wall at the launch.

Media release: 7 February 2019

A new footbridge for pedestrians and cyclists will be built over Merri Creek in Northcote to provide a new safe link between Darebin and Moreland.

At its first Council meeting for the year on 4 February, Darebin awarded the contract for the construction of a shared-use footbridge to be built over Merri Creek, connecting Beavers Road in Northcote with Kingfisher Gardens in Brunswick East.

The project is a joint venture between Darebin City Council and Moreland City Council, with both Councils contributing towards the $3 million cost of the bridge. The construction work will be managed by Darebin.

The bridge will be 77-metres long and supported by a 28-metre tall tower with steel cable stays to avoid the high voltage power lines on the western side of the creek.

Low level solar lights will also be installed on the bridge, and indigenous trees and shrubs will be planted in the area as ground cover.

Mayor of Darebin, Cr Susan Rennie, said the bridge would improve access for residents living on both sides of Merri Creek.

“Community members have been calling for this bridge to be built for a long time to provide a safe alternative to using the busy Arthurton Road bridge, and we’re delighted it’s now becoming a reality through this partnership with Moreland.”

“There are few bridges over Merri Creek in this area that are dedicated to active transport, as others have vehicles using them as well.”

“This important piece of community infrastructure will make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to move across Melbourne’s inner north and link into existing walking and cycling routes.”

Moreland City Council Mayor Natalie Abboud welcomed the opportunity to partner with Darebin to deliver the bridge.

“This investment is a great example of Council planning and providing for alternative safe transport for our increasing population,” Mayor Abboud said.

The bridge is expected to be completed in the second half of the year.

Media release: 7 February 2019

Do you have a business idea that will benefit our community? Have you got what it takes to Pitch It in under 10 minutes? Darebin’s pitch competition is back for another year!

Darebin Pitch It gives local students, graduates, entrepreneurs, businesses and not-for-profits the opportunity to turn innovative start-up ideas into reality.

How it works:

  • Submit your start-up idea at
  • Get invited to the Pitch It day on 22 March to present your idea
  • The top five ideas will be selected for the Accelerator Program who then battle it out at the Grand Final for a chance to win $20,000 start-up cash!

Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said Pitch It is looking for start-ups with new and exciting ideas with a social impact focus.

“Pitch It will help to boost the local economy and jobs by helping innovative start-up enterprises to get off the ground,” Mayor Rennie said.

“We are particularly interested in hearing about ideas and supporting start-ups that will improve our community as a whole, and encourage us to be more connected, healthier and bolder. These could be ideas that are based on sustainability, inclusion, equity or health and wellbeing.”

Last year’s Pitch It competition winner, Chris Ennis from CERES Fair Wood, said the competition was the catalyst that turned the side project into a fully-fledged business, with the prize money going towards employing staff and launching their website.

CERES Fair Wood, based in Preston, is a social enterprise which aims to bridge the gap between environmentally conscious timber consumers and small Australian farm foresters and sawmillers by supplying sustainable wood.

Before the Pitch It competition we just had an idea – winning the competition was really what kicked the whole thing into gear,” Mr Ennis said.

We’ve got a functioning, living business now.”

“If you’ve got an idea to improve the lives of those in the Darebin community then I would really encourage you to apply,” Mr Ennis said.

“Regardless of the outcome, Pitch It will really help push your idea forward. It’s a great starting point.”

Applications for Pitch It are open now and will close on March 15.

For more information, and to apply go to

Media release: 7 February 2019

Darebin Council is extremely disappointed in the lack of leadership shown by Australia’s Prime Minister following his Australia Day announcement on Sunday, January 13.

The First Nations Peoples of Australia deserve a conversation about how we respectfully celebrate our national identity, rather than a confected debate about dress codes and threats to strip local governments of their rights to hold citizenship ceremonies. 

The Mayor of Darebin, Susan Rennie, strongly reaffirmed Council’s position that the date of Australia’s national celebration must be changed to pay the deserved respect to our country’s First Nations People.

“Our national day needs to be genuinely celebratory, inclusive and meaningful, which means the date must be changed from the hurtful and deeply divisive January 26. We need to find a day that includes, honours and celebrates the First Nations peoples who have lived on this land for over 60,000 years prior to European settlement,” Mayor Rennie said. 

“The PM’s announcement was a public relations stunt designed to further divide this country and stir the dying embers of a culture war, and is a condescending and insulting debate.”

Mayor Rennie said Darebin Council’s stand on changing the date of Australia Day aligns with the values of the community, and the Council demonstrates its commitment to and respect for everyone who lives within the municipality by taking positions such as this and many others. 

“Darebin Council has been criticised for taking these stands, told to stick to “roads, rates and rubbish” and that matters such as Australia Day are none of our business. But if there are people within our community who are discriminated against or marginalised, then it is absolutely our responsibility to give them a voice, and we will continue to do so. 

“We are not anti-Australia Day, nor opposed to the celebration of national identity - we are simply opposed to celebrating our national identity on a date that is not inclusive and respectful of First Nations peoples.”

Mayor Rennie said she was disappointed the calls of the First Nations Peoples to change the date continue to be disregarded by the Federal Government and that instead of talking about this, the national debate appears to be focused on citizenship ceremonies.

“We are being subjected to debates on dress codes and threats of stripping the rights of democratically elected local governments to hold citizenship ceremonies if they choose not to hold events on the 26th.

“Instead of talking about a significant and momentous point in our history where we could be demonstrating our maturity as a country, the issue has been reduced to a “boardies, thongs and BBQs, but only after the ceremony” media opportunity and yet another chance to belittle the government closest to the people.

“The First Nations Peoples of Australia, and indeed all Australians, deserve better than this.”

Media release: 16 January 2019 


The City of Darebin has announced the nine successful projects of its 2018 LGBTIQ Community Grants program.

The grants, which range from $2000-4000, will support community projects which positively impact the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse or queer (LGBTIQ) people and communities connected to Darebin.

The successful projects are:

Matrix Guild Victoria: Providing social connection for older and isolated lesbians.
Jika Jika Community Centre: A series of information, discussion and referral sessions for parents and carers of LGBTIQ young people to help them thrive.
Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Association: A celebratory shared meal for Muslim LGBTIQ people joined by community and faith leaders of Darebin to foster stronger connections.
Holy Trinity Cricket Club: To become the first Australian cricket club to host the Pride Cup for a one-day competition event.
Minus 18: A series of workshops delivered by young people for schools and services in Darebin to foster inclusion and understanding of LGBTIQ people as students, employees and service users.
Thornbury Kindergarten: Support and resources to strengthen inclusion for LGBTIQ children, parents, carers and families.
Victorian Roller Derby League: A hardship fund to address the financial barriers that can limit LGBTIQ members’ participation in competitions.
SPAN Community House: A series of creative art therapy workshops culminating in a community exhibition.
Unicorns Fitness: Ensure the longer-term viability of a current program which provides a welcoming and safe environment for LGBTIQ to exercise together.

A total of $33,625 was awarded to the projects. 

The grant winners were informed during the week of the one year anniversary of marriage equality being legislated in Australia.

Media release: 19 December 2018

The City of Darebin will use asphalt created from recycled truck tyres and steel slag waste to resurface its roads, further reducing the Council’s impact on the environment.

From January 2019, Darebin’s road resurfacing will be completed using DuraGrip asphalt, an environmentally-friendly type of asphalt launched earlier this year.

The stone mastic asphalt is made by replacing all of the stone with steel slag, and also contains rubber from truck tyres sourced from the northern suburbs of Melbourne.

The addition of the rubber improves resistance to cracking, while the steel slag waste improves skid resistance over other asphalts.

Approximately 95 per cent of the asphalt will be made from recycled products, with the remainder being bitumen.

City of Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said the project showed Council could combine its focus on roads, rates and rubbish with its sustainability goals.

“The new environmentally-friendly asphalt will help Darebin achieve its ambition of becoming a greener, more connected city, while also ensuring our community enjoys driving on roads made with state-of-the-art materials.”

Previously, Council used a different type of stone mastic asphalt which was able to laid in thin layers, reducing the overall amount of asphalt required, which in turn lowered the amount of greenhouse gases and energy used to produce.

Council’s contractor for the project is Asphaltech Pty Ltd.

Media release: 6 December 2018

Sporting clubs and community groups will be supported in moving away from relying on Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) as a source of revenue and recreation under Darebin’s new Electronic Gaming Machine Policy and Action Plan 2018-2022, endorsed by Council on Monday, December 3.

Under the new policy, which has received positive feedback from a number of community clubs and associations, Council will not provide grounds or venues to any sporting clubs, community groups, organisations or associations who directly operate or own EGMs in Darebin or elsewhere.

Council will also no longer provide community grants, financial assistance, or in kind support to any sporting club, community group, organisation or association that receives sponsorship or grants (in-kind or cash) from gaming machine revenue, or meet in venues that have EGMs.

Importantly though, the policy will create a pathway for clubs and community groups to reduce their involvement with EGMs as sources of revenue or recreational locations.

Council will support any Darebin club that wishes to divest themselves of EGMs by developing a transition plan so they may continue to access Council facilities and resources and provide a community benefit to their members.
A number of local organisations have already taken Council up on this offer to help develop a transition plan.
Council will also continue to set up alternative programs and activities for people to connect with, other than gambling, such as the Libraries After Dark program operating at Preston Library.
Darebin Council Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said Council’s Electronic Gaming Policy 2018-2022 was bold and ambitious in its goal of reducing harm caused by gambling.
“Every year in Darebin people lose over $80 million to gambling, and many of these people are the ones who can least afford it.”
“We know gambling is a major driver of household debt and contributor to family violence.”
“We also know that for many people, sporting clubs, and community groups in Darebin it is difficult to break the link to electronic gaming machines.”
“That’s why we are bringing this policy in, to strengthen our community by helping these people and groups to provide a community benefit without a reliance on EGMs.”
For more information, visit
Media Release 4 December 2018

The City of Darebin is among 22 councils across Australia, representing more than 2.7 million people, which have come together to try to ensure people who have fled persecution do not suffer homelessness and destitution as a result of federal government cutbacks.

Darebin locals are being urged to back their neighbours, their mates, and their coworkers in a new campaign aimed at reversing, modifying or slowing cuts to a federal government scheme that has helped thousands of people transition to new lives, into jobs and to become key members of communities across Australia. 

Earlier this year, the federal government outlined a plan to cut support from up to 7,000 people on the status resolution support services (SRSS) payment who had come to Australia fleeing war and persecution. 

The scheme provides payments to asylum seekers living in the Australian community while the federal government finalises their protection claim. It provides a living allowance – usually 89 per cent of the Newstart allowance, or $247 per week per single adult – along with casework support and access to torture and trauma counselling. 

The Local Government Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum is co-ordinating the campaign. Chairperson Cr Roz Blades, from the City of Greater Dandenong said: 

“Since World War II, Australia has welcomed more than 800,000 people who’ve fled war and persecution. These people have contributed to our communities and our country on every level, from our culture to our sporting traditions, from medicine to the law, from science and research to our global reputation for excellence in the culinary arts. 

“The cuts to the support program are out of step with community expectations. 

“In the wake of the shock election result in Victoria, we call on all Federal MPs – Labor, Nationals, Liberals, Greens, minor parties and independents – to impress on their colleagues the need to reverse these unnecessary and cruel cuts.”

Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said she was proud the City of Darebin, an executive member of the Mayoral Taskforce, was taking a stand in supporting asylum seekers affected by the proposed cuts. 

“We’re strongly urging politicians to reject the proposed cuts.”

“The cuts will affect people who are studying full-time, and would negatively impact on their ability to obtain training and qualifications in an effort to improve their and their family’s lives.

“The proposal could force people to abandon their studies.

“Instead, the Government should commit to continue supporting asylum seekers on the status resolution support service payments.”

People who have fled persecution and war are our neighbours and friends, our lawyers and our doctors, our nurses and our baristas, our scientists and our surgeons, our life savers and our chefs. And often they are our family members. 

That is why today, we are calling on every Australian to get behind our campaign Back Your Neighbour, Back Your Mate, Back Your Colleague and back people arriving in our communities fleeing war and persecution. 

We are calling on Australians to tell the Federal Government that we don’t need to cut the SRSS program, that we don’t need to put many people – who might otherwise become our doctors, nurses, lawyers, colleagues, friends and neighbours – out on the streets. 

For more information visit or to join the campaign. 

Media release: 3 December 2018


At the November 26 Special Meeting of Darebin Council, Councillor Susan Rennie was elected as Mayor for 2018-2019, with Cr Susanne Newton elected to the position of Deputy Mayor.

In her speech Mayor Rennie said she was honoured and proud to have been elected Mayor of Darebin and was looking forward to leading a Council that continues to deliver exceptional services to the local community.

“This Council is at the halfway point of an incredible journey,” Mayor Rennie said. 

“Our first two years have been outstanding, with several significant pieces of work achieved as part of our Council Plan. But we have only completed part of the job.

“Our next two years will be about ensuring that we as Councillors do everything we can to support the organisation to deliver on the balance of that plan, as well as listen to our community to ensure we are providing the leadership and vision it deserves.”

Mayor Rennie opened her speech with an Acknowledgment of Country, first in Woiwurrung, the traditional language of the Wurundjeri people, and then in English. 

“It is deeply personal to me to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land we stand on in Woiwurrung language. I understand the significance of respecting the culture and language of a people in their own place and my commitment to improving rights for our First Australians is unwavering. 

“Acknowledging the members of the Kulin nation in language is profoundly important and I believe it’s a fundamental sign of respect.”

Mayor Rennie said the Council will continue to deliver on a strong social agenda and deliver progressive policies and projects that reflect the diverse and engaged community that makes up Darebin “from the north to the south, from Reservoir to Ruckers Hill and every street, park, shopping strip in between”.

Mayor Rennie thanked outgoing Mayor Cr Le Cerf, and said she had demonstrated exceptional leadership during the past two years. She also thanked her fellow Councillors for giving her the privilege of leading Darebin Council.

Cr Susanne Newton was elected to the position of Deputy Mayor.

Media release: 26 November 2018

Darebin Council has been working towards better road safety for the community and as a result has produced an updated Safe Travel Strategy and created the first ever Darebin Walking Strategy.

Through these Strategies, council aims to make it easier and more accessible for everyone including pedestrians, bike riders, children, people with disabilities and older adults to safely get to their destinations in Darebin.

There is also a particular emphasis on encouraging people to walk more often, especially for short journeys, as a way of managing the increasing demands and activity in the growing city.

Both of these Strategies set the course for Council to make it easier and safer for residents and visitors within the municipality. Full implementation of required infrastructure will take many years but some projects are already underway.

One of the major goals of the Walking Strategy is to upgrade the walking network and enhance connectivity across Darebin.

In 2019, Council will install a new signalised pedestrian crossing at Separation Street and Oamaru Street in Northcote. Crossing facilities will be also be upgraded where side streets have a wide crossing distance including those at South Crescent and Wastell Street in Northcote.

Mayor of Darebin, Cr Susan Rennie, said that Council is committed to achieving a sustainable, functional and liveable city.

“We will be continuing our work around local primary schools to improve safety, including crossing improvements at Newlands Primary School and implementing more speed reductions on local streets to 40 kilometres per hour,” said Cr Rennie.

 “Council will be designing our next two Streets for People corridors in Preston (Gower and Cramer Streets) and Reservoir (Broadhurst and Crookston Streets) with input from the community on how to make these streets better for cyclists and pedestrians,” she added.

“Lower speed limits are demonstrated to make our streets safer, and more inviting for people of all ages to walk or ride.”

The Darebin Council Plan 2017-2021 commits to reduce the speed limit to 40 kilometres per hour across 30 per cent of the municipality. Council is now implementing these speed limit reductions in local residential areas with existing vehicle speeds, road layout, presence of traffic management devices and VicRoads criteria for speed limit reductions guiding the project.

The Safe Travel Strategy 2018-2028 can be viewed at and the Darebin Walking Strategy 2018-2028 at

Both of these Strategies are aligned with the International Charter for Walking and State Government’s Towards Zero Road Safety framework.

Details on Council’s work with schools, speed limit reductions and Streets for People corridors can be found at

Media release: 29 November 2018


Council resolved to develop the entire Ruthven site as a park only.

Darebin Council’s purchase of the former Ruthven Primary School in 2016 addresses a gap in the municipality’s open space network and moved towards Council’s goals of ensuring that all residents live within a 500-metre walking distance of public open space.

As part of Council’s Plan Darebin 2021, Council recognised the importance of this site and outlined Council’s initial vision to create a new park, playground, oval and children’s hub on the site.

Council undertook large scale consultation with the community via a Family Fun Day and establishment of a community reference group to understand community aspirations, needs and ideas to help develop a master plan into the future.

The feedback from the consultation showed that a significant proportion of the community would like the entire site to be developed as a natural park, which does not include a Children’s hub or large buildings on the site.

“We’ve worked closely with the Community Reference Group on this project and are really pleased to be confirming our support for their vision that a three-hectare green and natural park for the local community is the right way forward for Ruthven,” said Cr Le Cerf.

At the Darebin Council meeting on 7 November, Council resolved to support this change of scope and to develop the entire Ruthven site as a park only.

“The master planning of the site at 74-76 Glasgow Street, Reservoir will now focus on providing a local park with natural character for the long term, in line with community aspirations,” said Cr Le Cerf.

Prior to Council’s purchase of the site, and while the school was operating, it had been used by the community for many years and is a very well-loved space.

Media Release: 9 November

Council invites residents to Recycle Right and test their recycling knowledge by taking the Pledge.

Overall, we’re pretty good recyclers in Darebin, but around 15 per cent of the items in our waste bins are still recyclable. While we largely know what can be recycled, there are things we can all learn so that we’re recycling right.

A common mistake that people make is to collect their recycling in a plastic bag and then place the bag and the contents into the recycling bin. All that’s needed is to tip the items out of the plastic bag so they fall directly and loosely into the bin. Plastic bags can’t be processed by the facility that receives recycling from Council’s yellow-lidded recycling bins; so any recycling in plastic bags may not get sorted at the facility and could end up in landfill. Plastic bags and other soft plastics can be recycled at your nearest major supermarket through REDcycle.

Things that are recyclable that people often miss include: lids of coffee cups, pizza boxes (no food), books and magazines, toys made of hard plastic (no batteries) and old lunch boxes or plastic containers. Items that cannot be recycled in Council’s yellow-lidded kerbside bins include polystyrene, soft plastics, disposable coffee cups (you can recycle the lids only), drinking glasses, electrical goods, nappies and fabric.

All residents are invited to make the commitment to recycle right at home and test their recycling knowledge by taking the Pledge to Recycle Right on Council’s website. Recycling Right means always putting the correct items in the recycling bin and keeping the wrong items out.

So what other items can you recycle? Hard plastic such as milk and soft drink bottles, ice cream and yoghurt tubs, takeaway containers, laundry and bathroom bottles, buckets and biscuit trays. You can also recycle paper and cardboard, glass bottles and jars and metals like aluminium and steel. Pots, pans and other metal cooking dishes, including those with plastic handles can also go in your kerbside recycling bin.

Mayor of Darebin, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said the aim of the campaign is to educate the community on the right way to recycle. “Getting recycling right is really important so the materials can be reused in new products and we reduce unnecessary waste to landfill,” she said. “Council’s Water and Waste team will be visiting libraries, markets and community events during spring and early summer to share tips and information about how to recycle right.”

By recycling right, you help to save valuable resources from going to landfill, save energy and water and protect the environment. More information is available at Residents will see recycling right information and promotions throughout spring and early summer as part of Darebin Council’s recycling education campaign to the community.

Media Release: 8 November 2018

Council is determined to find long-term solutions for the lack of affordable housing in Darebin.

Lack of affordable housing options can have significant impacts on individuals, families and communities. Lost productivity and wages, issues with workforce attraction and retention, and harmful outcomes for health and social inclusion are just some of the problems facing people struggling to find accommodation they can afford.

The lack of affordable housing in Darebin is a significant issue and one that Council is determined to find long-term solutions for.Council agreed on 7 November to proceed with leasing the Council-owned site at 52-60 Townhall Avenue, Preston and make it available for an affordable housing development.

The decision follows extensive community consultation about the proposal and more than 300 submissions from residents. Mayor of Darebin, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said Council was excited to progress the project and thanked community members for their valuable input.

“Council is aware of the wide range of opinions about this proposal and we are committed to ensuring any development of the site is thoughtfully progressed,” said Cr Le Cerf.
The common issues that emerged in the consultation process included support for affordable housing, concern over car parking, the size and design of any future building, and a perception that the proposal could impact negatively on property values.

“We have done an extensive analysis of the issues raised in the submissions and considered all information before making our decision,” Cr Le Cerf said. “Some issues, such as car parking in the area need to be better managed and we have started work to investigate this.

“We are committed to exploring parking management measures and will introduce any new procedures that are appropriate before construction commences. We have also committed to retaining access through the site to the rear laneway,” she added.

Cr Le Cerf said there was little evidence that property values would be impacted by such a proposal. According to a recent study by Launch Housing, in June 2007 there were 14 local government areas across Melbourne with 30 per cent or more of rental properties affordable for low income households. However, by June last year just three local government areas were at, or above, the 30 per cent mark. Darebin was not one of those.

Melbourne’s rental market is increasingly expensive with average rental prices rising by 46 per cent over the past decade, or twice the rate of inflation over the same time. Housing affordability is measured by the 30/40 rule.  When households that are classified in the bottom 40 per cent bracket of income distribution spend more than 30 per cent of income on housing, they are said to be experiencing housing stress. The knock-on effect of this is the inability of a stretched household budget to meet demand for health, education and sometimes even food.

Council reiterated that any members of a future affordable housing development would be valued and respected, as with all members of the Darebin community. “Darebin is an inclusive and diverse municipality and we have a responsibility to make sure everyone feels welcome and accepted, regardless of their income or background,” said Cr Le Cerf.

Council will now run a process to identify a housing association that can develop and manage the site.

Media Release: 8 November 2018

The results from Council’s recently completed food waste trial in Kingsbury are in – and almost three-quarters of survey participants (72%) support food waste recycling for the wider Darebin community.

Mayor of Darebin, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said it was a great response from the community who are supporting better environmental outcomes from food waste.

“On behalf of Council, I would like to thank the Kingsbury residents who took part in the trial. Their valuable feedback will help us to consider how we can manage food waste across the entire municipality,” she said.

The food waste recycling trial was held from December 2017 to June 2018 with more than 1,000 Kingsbury households invited to participate, by placing their food waste into their green waste bins.

“While a food waste recycling service increases capacity for those with limited food recycling options, it’s important to remember that only five per cent of the embedded energy in food can be regained through composting,” said Cr Le Cerf. “Therefore, avoiding food waste remains a key priority for Council,” she said.

Food waste makes up approximately 38 per cent of the average Darebin kerbside household waste bin. By diverting this food waste from landfill, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and the circular economy supported through the creation of nutrient-rich compost that can be used by Victorian farmers.

Where food waste can’t be avoided, home composting, food waste recycling and diversion of food waste from landfill have strong environmental benefits. Cr Le Cerf said that Council is considering the best way to manage food waste in the long-term.

“Council recognises that we are in a state of climate emergency, so it’s important to ensure that we’re looking at how our services are responding to this,” she said.

Council’s current Waste Strategy Review will consider the lowest carbon options for food waste, along with consideration of social and financial outcomes and impacts on services.

Media Release: 8 November

Council hosted more than 300 students at the Aborigines Advancement League in Thornbury for a Yarning Conference focusing on the NAIDOC Week 2018 theme, Because of Her, We Can.

This theme celebrates the significant part that First Nations women play as role models in the community.

The Year 5 students, from 11 Darebin primary and two secondary schools including public, Catholic and independent schools, all came together to learn about Aboriginal history and culture.

The day was a cultural feast for all who attended, with more than 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, educators, activists, artists and elders sharing their wisdom and skill with the students.

Activities included nine concurrent and interactive cultural, sporting and storytelling workshops. Students participated in workshops that included Wurundjeri dance, games, traditional crafts, the history and culture of yarning, media, and creating art on the Because of Her, We Can theme.

Highlights included a session with Wurundjeri elder Aunty Joy Murphy, who read from her beautifully written and illustrated book, Welcome to Country, and a smoking ceremony facilitated by Uncle Trevor Gallagher who spoke to the students about the meaning of fire and smoke to the Aboriginal community.

Olympic legend Nova Peris, Ambassador of The Long Walk, also led a little Long Walk for the students on Sir Douglas Nicholls Oval. The little Long Walk was to commemorate Michael Long’s 2004 walk from Melbourne to Canberra to meet with the then Prime Minister about the things that are important to Aboriginal people.

Mayor of Darebin, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said the students all walked in the same spirit as Michael did on his journey to advocate that Aboriginal people be treated with fairness and respect like all Australians.“The purpose of the day was to recognise and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have made a difference to the lives and experiences of Aboriginal people and who have inspired others to be strong and to stand up for one another,” said Cr Le Cerf.

The students heard many stories of resilience, strength and determination about mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters and daughters who did not stop fighting for their families and their culture. Feedback from the children ranged from how great lunch on the oval was, to excitement about getting to play a didijeridoo and learning dance moves such as the ‘platypus’ and the ‘emu’.

The idea for the Yarning Conference originated through the Darebin Education Committee and was developed by a working group which included Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal educators from schools, DET, and Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI).

For the past three years, Council has worked on a range of ongoing initiatives to promote the teaching and learning of Darebin Aboriginal history and culture across Darebin schools.

“Council believes that the rich and diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture is important for us all to understand and celebrate,” said Cr Le Cerf.

Media Release: 2 November

Council was presented with the 2018 WorkSafe Award in the Commitment to Health and Wellbeing category.

Darebin City Council has been presented with the 2018 WorkSafe Award in the Commitment to Health and Wellbeing category for the Council’s workplace family violence policies and practices.

Family violence has a big impact on the Australian workforce and Darebin City Council has long been committed to addressing this issue and creating a safe and respectful workplace.

With a commitment to health and wellbeing and preventing violence against women across all areas of the organisation, Darebin City Council was one of the first local governments to adopt a Staff Family Violence Policy in 2009.

This has included the appointment of a family violence support officer, as well as the introduction of a range of comprehensive workplace practices such as professional development, training and community programs to deal with family violence issues and encourage reporting of incidents.

A video about family violence policy is one of the methods used for communicating with staff and leaders about the role of workplaces in addressing family violence.
Mayor of Darebin, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said that family violence has a profound impact on people’s lives.

“As an organisation we are deeply committed to promoting gender quality and preventing violence against women,” said Cr Le Cerf.

The workplace can influence the major drivers of violence against women, while strengthening workplace processes has been a critical component of building the capacity of the workforce to provide a healthy, safe and respectful environment.

WorkSafe Victoria received more than 170 entries from a variety of industries for the awards that recognise the outstanding contributions from individuals and organisations to improve workplace health and safety and help injured workers return to work.

“This award is a significant milestone in the recognition of family violence as a workplace health and safety issue and the importance of the workplace in dealing with the issue,” added Cr Le Cerf.

Media Release: 29 October

Darebin City Council last night voted to accept a proposal by Darebin Falcons, the all-female sports club run entirely for women by women, which will see Council contribute $160,000 to the club over the next two years. This will enable the Falcons to continue to field an elite team in the Victorian Football League Women (VFLW) and provide a range of other benefits to the Darebin community.

In a landmark decision to support women and girls’ participation in sport, the Council’s vote marks a significant step towards the target of increasing the number of women and girls participating in organised sport to at least 30 per cent by 2020.

The Darebin Falcons were established in 1990 and have more than 550 playing members.

The club has participated in the VFLW’s competition since its inception and also offers girls and women the opportunity to play soccer and Australian Football League (AFL) from four years of age through to seniors. The club also fields an under 12 cricket team and an 8-ball team.

Mayor of Darebin, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said the Falcons play an important role in the community by pioneering and fostering sport run by women for women at all levels.

“Their participation in elite competition is inspiring for women and girls and their commitment to social inclusion and community is outstanding,” said Cr Le Cerf.

“Council sees this as a unique opportunity to partner with the Darebin Falcons and secure their future as the sole women-only club in the VFLW, with a whole range of benefits for the Darebin community.”

Addressing the Council meeting last night, Darebin Falcons Club President Sarah Brady noted that while the Falcons have a long and impressive track record of achievements they were facing the toughest fight in their history.

“Without the help of Council our days of fielding a VFLW club would have been over,” said Ms Brady.

“We are proud to be continuing our involvement in the VFL and are delighted to partner with Darebin City Council.”

The club can now keep its identity and not be absorbed into a men’s AFL club. Without Council’s support the Falcons would have been forced to join an existing AFL club outside the municipality to continue their participation in the AFLW.

The Darebin Falcons have been the most successful team in the elite competition, having won 10 premierships in the past 12 years.

They also have a budding junior AFL program demonstrating 30 per cent growth from 2017 to 2018, while offering teams at every level from ages four to 16.

Following the initial two-year partnership of $160,000, there will be a review by both Council and the Falcons with the possibility of continuing the arrangement at a cost of $140,000 over a further two-year period.

Media Release - 16 October 2018

Darebin City Council is calling on the State Government to respond to the findings of a parliamentary report into the Public Housing Renewal Program.

The report, released in early June, reviewed the structure and process of the renewal program, and called for significant action to be taken in response to critical issues. The Government was given three months – until September 5th - to respond to the findings. 

“The report is highly critical of the process, funding model and anticipated outcomes of the Public Housing Renewal Program. It revealed for the first time the total number of people waiting for public housing – more than 80,000, and called for the renewal program to respond to this need.” Cr Le Cerf said.

Two sites in Darebin are affected by the Public Housing Renewal Program. One of the sites – the former Huttonham Estate in Preston – was one of the first public housing estates in Victoria.

“Darebin has a long history of public housing provision and we want to ensure this stock is retained and increased. We have repeatedly called on the State Government to provide substantially more public housing through this program, and to ensure that public land stays in public hands.”

Another site is the Walker Street Estate in Northcote, where there is opposition to the development from local residents, both within the estate and the surrounding area. A local community group, Darebin Community Friends of Public Housing, hosted a public forum on 16 October to raise community awareness of the State’s plans.

“This vibrant community is being fragmented. More than 40 families will be displaced “by design” from the estate, despite a public pledge by the Minister for Housing that all residents would have the right to return.”

Council wants to work in partnership with the Victorian Government because public housing is vital to building strong communities. Darebin has one of the highest population growth rates in the state – the shortage of public housing will continue to grow as the municipality’s population increases. 

“We remain firm in our belief that the supply of affordable housing is a responsibility of all levels of government. 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”

“The Government must respond to the findings of this report, and find a more transparent, effective and inclusive way to deliver substantially more public housing.” she said.

Council is committed to exploring all avenues to increase the supply of public housing and other forms of affordable housing. Council recently consulted on using some of its own land for an affordable housing development.

The first round of community consultation has begun for Darebin Council’s ‘Creating an Age Friendly Darebin Review’ and will run until 23 November.

Mayor of Darebin, Cr Kim Le Cerf, is encouraging community members, groups and organisations to get involved in this important consultation.

“It is critical that we hear from a wide range of people as this review will inform our long-term planning of services and programs for older residents,” she said.

Darebin City Council’s independent Aged Care Services Review panel members Dr Rhonda Galbally and Peter Allen have developed a short discussion paper to help guide the conversation and get people thinking about the issues, challenges and needs of older people.

The paper outlines and acknowledges the changes resulting from the Federal Government’s aged care reforms and why Council needs to undertake this review.

It also explores the changing needs of older people and the different types of services and support potentially required today and in the future.

“Community engagement is a critical part of this review and feedback received will inform our draft report and recommendations to Council,” said Dr Galbally.

“A variety of engagement activities have been organised to ensure we capture a broad range of views and we will also be speaking with people who currently use Council’s aged care services,” added Mr Allen.

Dr Galbally and Mr Allen will be meeting with community members, groups, staff and service providers while Council staff will be out and about talking to people at a series of neighbourhood pop-in sessions and at a Seniors Month drop-in event.

In early December there will be hearing sessions where interested community members can present their submissions in person to the Panel.

“We are really interested to hear people’s ideas and perspectives about older people feeling safe and supported,” said Cr Le Cerf.

“We’d also like to hear suggestions about providing good access to things like information, services, social networks, accessible transport and buildings, as well as participation in activities, programs and events.

“I encourage everyone to read the paper, get involved and have a say,” she added.

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

More information is available at

Media Release - 12 October 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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 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