Current Advocacy Projects

Advocacy is taking action to influence stakeholders with the government, political or economic power to implement public projects and policies that benefit our community. The following projects are currently being actively pursued and deemed as a priority after consultation with the community during the development of the Council Plan 2013-2017.

We are encouraging local people to have their say on a proposal by La Trobe University to develop a new vision for the future use of the Strathallan Golf Course site.

The University is inviting ideas and input into how future use or development of the site might respond to the needs of the community.

We are committed to protecting open space within Darebin and today the land, which has been leased by the Strathallan Golf Club from La Trobe University since 1996, serves as a valuable buffer for a nearby wildlife reserve, providing sanctuary for native animals.

To have your say, please visit:

We want to help local sports clubs end their unhealthy relationship with gambling to boost overall community health and wellbeing in the municipality.

Local sports clubs do a great job promoting public health and wellbeing in our community but when they rely on gambling funds they are also causing harm. They are in fact relying on the poorest and most vulnerable to prop up their finances and council wants to put an end to this situation. 

The harms associated with gambling include poverty, stress, reduced work performance and family violence. People experience a lower quality of life compared to the Australian population and are twice as likely to suffer anxiety and depression.

We think this is fundamentally wrong and it is time that they hung up the boots and ended their unhealthy relationship with gambling.

Council invests a significant amount of ratepayers’ money to support local clubs and provide access to sporting facilities.

That means we can’t turn a blind eye and continue to allow our resources to support activities that undermine our work to promote great health in our community.

We are also concerned that the gambling industry is reaching into clubs with junior teams to recruit the next generation of gamblers.

Research commissioned by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation shows the prevalence of gambling is growing among 15 to 25 year olds1 .

Council will consider a future report exploring options to help clubs develop transition plans which will be informed by AFL team North Melbourne which has already divested from electronic gaming machines.

Council will write to local MPs (state and federal, upper and lower houses) and the Ministers for Gambling Regulation, Sports and Recreation, Local Government, Health and the Prevention of Family Violence. The letters will seek their public support for Council's approach and a matched commitment by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments to ensure that taxpayer funds are not provided to groups, clubs, organisations or associations involved in EGMs or benefitting from EGM revenue.

Responses from the above organisations and ministers will be published here for your information.

To view the latest research on the harm cause by gambling, visit:

1 Gen Bet: Has Gambling Gate crashed our teens? March, 2017.

We are an active participant in two major advocacy forums to advocate for reforms and to reduce the harms associated with gambling.

Every year for the last 20 years residents in Darebin have lost $69M by gambling on Electronic Gaming Machines (EGM’s). Most of these losses occur in our most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Councils regulatory capacity to reduce these losses is weak as the current legislation and regulation provisions privilege EGM operators and maximise tax revenue for the State Government.

We recognise that advocacy provides the main avenue for EGM reform and to reduce the harms associated with gambling. We are an active participant in two major advocacy forums;

The Local Government Working Group on Gambling (LGWGOG) and the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA). This group is represented by Councils, community based agencies, advocacy groups and churches.

The LGWGOG advocacy actions include:

  • Introduction of maximum bets of $1 per spin
  • Review and reform the current ‘Capping’ system to further reduce the number of EGM’s in Victoria
  • To develop Australia wide consistent legislation and regulation
  • Greater intervention of venues to reduce harms to problem gamblers
The National Alliance for Gambling Reform is represented by Australian Councils and Community based agencies with a view to developing harm minimisation strategies tailored to Councils.The advocacy actions include:
  • High profile State wide media campaign called ‘Enough Pokies’ to influence Victorian State Government election
  • Research by Monash University that analysed those decisions made by the Victorian Commission on Gambling and Liquor (VGCLR)
  •  Regulation with regards to those EGM planning appeals lodged by Victorian Councils
  • Reform the definition and application of Community Benefits so that operators pay their fair share towards addressing gambling harms
  • Prevent saturation of EGM’s in areas of high disadvantage
  • Give Councils (as the Planning Authority) greater powers under the Act with regards to EGM’s
  • Contribution to ‘Ka Ching’, a documentary that raises awareness about the poker machine industry

For further information on Community Support and Wellbeing, read the Darebin Electronic Gaming Machine Policy and Strategic Action Plan 2014-2017 or contact the Darebin Community Planner, Monday to Thursday, on 8470 8635 or email

The Municipal Association of Victoria has further information on the Pokies Play You website.

Housing affordability is a real challenge for Council and the community-housing sector. We are seeking to increase the level of affordable ‘bricks and mortar’ accommodation across the city.

Low-income families and individuals continue to be ‘priced out’ of Darebin due to urgent lack of affordable housing. Rental and housing subsidies by the State and Federal Government have not kept up with escalating housing costs. Public housing is being sold as waiting lists for public housing get longer.

Council often sees firsthand, the increasing urgency of individuals, family and communities in ‘housing stress’ - who are being forced to ‘trade off’ between housing costs and costs for food, education and health.

In response, Council is seeking to increase the level of affordable ‘bricks and mortar’ accommodation across the city.  Our advocacy actions includes:

  • Engaging in an active partnership with the State Government to protect and increase public housing, include affordable housing in all private and public property development opportunities and develop social and affordable housing on Council owned land.
  • Increasing the level of safe and affordable rooming houses by being an active member of the Melbourne Metropolitan Rooming House Working Group.
  • Exploring innovative financial models such as Superannuation funds for building affordable housing by using the collective influence of Local Government Mayors.
  • Advocating for public policy and structural change  such as making a formal submission to Australian Senate’s Inquiry into Affordable Housing.
  • Contributing to improving local government practice around Homelessness research and policy through quarterly magazine ‘Parity’.
  • Being an active member on the Housing and Local Government Network to develop collective advocacy campaigns.
  • Continuing to convene Darebin Housing Advisory Committee to provide Council with an accurate barometer of current housing issues and emerging trends.

For further information visit the Community Support and Wellbeing page and read the Social and Affordable Housing Action Plan, or contact the Darebin Community Planner, Monday to Thursday on 8470 8635 or email

An Open Letter about Public Housing in Darebin

Council views public housing as a serious community issue and believes politics should never get in the way of genuine solutions to the current supply crisis.

Research from around the world shows quality housing delivers significant social and economic benefits and we believe disadvantaged public housing tenants deserve the best accommodation possible.

That’s why, with more than 7000 local families and individuals on an ever growing waiting list for public housing, improving quality and supply is a big priority for Council.

You may be aware that Council, together with local residents, had a number of concerns about plans for a poorly designed public housing development at the Stokes/Penola site in Preston that would result in substandard living conditions.

The planning application from the Department of Health and Human Services was rejected by Council on this basis and I subsequently met with the Minister for Housing to discuss these concerns. At the meeting I reaffirmed our commitment to public housing and it was agreed that we would work with the Department to develop a master plan for the entire site in consultation with the community.

We are pleased that through the subsequent VCAT process, the Department agreed to amend their plans and redesign the buildings to a better quality standard, having taken on board feedback from both residents and Council.

The fact is the Stokes/Penola site has plenty of land available to build many more units than what’s currently proposed by the Department. We agree with the Ministers’ position that the site is ideally situated for public housing and call on him to use much more of the site for public housing, rather than selling off the rest of the land to private developers. We encourage the local Federal Member, David Feeney, to back our call.

With the Department confirming it has identified another public housing site for redevelopment in Walker Street Northcote, it is absolutely crucial we continue to set the bar high to secure the best outcome for existing residents and future public housing tenants.

We will keep you updated as new information comes to hand.

After many years of advocacy by Darebin City Council, the State Government announced in May 2019 that four level crossings in Preston - at Bell Street, Cramer Street, Oakover Road and Murray Road - will all be removed by 2021.

Council’s successful advocacy also secured an elevated rail solution, which will open up an incredible amount of open space for 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.

Council is now advocating strongly on behalf of our community to ensure the best outcome is achieved, providing more open space for our growing community. Council's advocacy goals for the Preston level crossings are contained within the Preston Reconnected document, which was endorsed by Council on 20 July 2020.

Whether you’re a first time shopper or have been trading for generations, the Market is the beating heart of Preston. The market has served us for 49 years and will continue to feed our families, be a familiar meeting place for friends and play a central role in the lives of locals in Preston.

In 2017, the Victorian Planning Authority began reviewing and updating the planning controls for the Preston Market Precinct, which is the site that includes the market, but also the surrounding carpark and some other buildings.

Darebin City Council has been listening to local community views on the future of the Preston Market site so it can advocate to the VPA on the community’s behalf. Council is working to achieve the community vision which was endorsed in 2018: “the Market is a vibrant and diverse place for the community to gather around food and celebrate culture”.

Since then Council has endorsed key objectives and key elements, and have been calling on the State Government and developer to commit to them. The Heart of Preston document sets out these key things that need to happen for a future Preston Market Precinct to be a place for everyone, that creates a liveable, safe, and sustainable precinct, and was endorsed in 2019.

There are several steps to go before any new planning controls will be decided by the Minister for Planning, however in August 2020, the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) announced that the Preston Market project would be fast-tracked. Council were not notified of this decision beforehand.

Council will continue to advocate for the best outcome for the community at every stage of this new process, including commenting on the Victorian Planning Authority’s draft plans when these are released.

To find out more, view The Heart of Preston and register for updates head to: 

We Love Preston Market

Council is currently working with a number of stakeholders including State and Federal governments to make this facility a reality.

On 21 September 2015 Council endorsed the construction of a regional Multi-Sport Stadium (MSS).

This key piece of sporting infrastructure will provide much needed facilities for a range of court-sports including netball, basketball, volleyball and badminton. One of the key outcomes expected from this project is to increase participation in sport and physical activity, in particular women who experience a lack of access to quality sports facilities in Darebin.

For further information visit the Sport and Leisure Major Projects information page.