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

Journalists are welcome to contact:

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

MEDIA RELEASES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 17 July 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - Wednesday 11 July 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For application details and further information visit Darebin Youth Services.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 4 July 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 20 June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Refugee Day is on June 20.

Media Release - 18 June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipients of the new funding are:

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

Media Release - 15 June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 15 June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 13 June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media release - 7 June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Submissions close on Thursday 21 July at 5pm.

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 28 May 2018

Darebin City Council is hosting free screenings of two short films that explore the impact of plastic pollution on our oceans to mark World Environment Day on Thursday 7 June.

The screenings will take place at Preston Town Hall at 6.15pm and will be followed by a Q&A session with a panel of three local experts discussing how to ‘beat plastic pollution’ – which is the theme for World Environment Day this year. 

The first film, The Smog of the Sea, documents a week-long expedition through the North Atlantic by a group including musician/surfer Jack Johnson and ocean researcher Marcus Erikson who explore the vast scale of plastic pollution in our oceans.

The issue will then be explored at a more local level with the award-winning documentary Baykeepers which follows Neil Blake on his journey to investigate the far-reaching impact of plastic waste on Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay.

Darebin Mayor Kim Le Cerf, who will join the discussion panel, says both the film screenings and the Q&A session will be a great opportunity for people to learn more about the issue of plastic pollution and what we can do about it.

“The plastic waste our modern consumer societies produce is having a calamitous impact on eco-systems all over the planet, and nowhere is this impact more pronounced than in our oceans.

“While we don’t have a shoreline here in Darebin, even our plastic waste often ends washed out to sea via our creeks and rivers – so as citizens of the Earth we all have a responsibility to minimise our reliance on single-use plastics and carefully manage the plastic waste we do produce,” said the Mayor.

The film screening and discussion panel will run from 6.15–8.45pm on Thursday June and while it’s a free, bookings are essential.

For more information, including details on how to book your place, visit Darebin Environment Day Event or call 8470 8888.

Media Release - 28 May 2018
 

The Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival has returned to celebrate the rich culinary traditions and sustainable food philosophies of our diverse municipality. The nine-day program features a huge array of events showcasing our ingenious local food creators and Indigenous cuisine.

A real highlight this year is special guest chef Zach Green – one of Australia’s most exciting emerging chefs. Zach is a Gunditjmara and Palawa man who celebrates Indigenous culture through food at his Darwin restaurant Elijah’s. At Meeting Place, on Saturday 2 June, Zach will take guests on a six-course degustation journey through Indigenous culture, stories and food. Then, on Sunday 3 June, Zach hosts Market on Kulin Nation – a free afternoon of food, art, live entertainment and even an open-fire cooking demonstration.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said hosting Zach was a real coup for the festival – especially given this year’s focus on celebrating Indigenous food traditions.

“Darebin is rightly celebrated as one of Melbourne’s most culturally diverse municipalities, and its home to one of the most significant populations of Indigenous Australians. So it’s fitting that this year’s festival showcases both Darebin’s Indigenous heritage and its multicultural future – all through the shared language of food,” said the Mayor.

As usual the festival kicks off with the Meet the Makers Showcase on Saturday 26 May. Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre and Civic Square will become ‘maker central’ for an afternoon of homemade wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, workshops, food and produce stalls, bars and music.

Another highlight is Flavours and Stories from Iran, Iraq and Syria happening on Sunday 3 June. Featuring chefs from local social enterprise Free To Feed, it’ll be a chance to enjoy Persian BBQ, Middle Eastern mezze and hearty Iraqi dishes while hearing stories from the chefs about their journeys to Australia.

As usual, punters can meet someLocal Legends – with three events hosted by Darebin residents who have helped shape our vibrant local food scene. Preston’s Zen food master Yoko Nakazawa will explore Japanese cuisine on Tuesday 29 May , Reservoir’s Kaye Roberts-Palmer will present a workshop on maintaining healthy citrus trees on Wednesday 30 May and Thornbury’s Paul West (host of TV’s River Cottage Australia) will explain ‘nose to tail and root to stem’ cookery on Thursday 31 May.

Ahead of the festival, locals are encouraged to submit their homemade red wine, white wine, country wines (grain, mead, fruit), tomato passata, preserved olives and ajvar for the annual competition. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 16 May with winners announced at the Meet the Makers Showcase.

For a full run down, visit darebinarts.com.au/foodandwine.

Media Release - 24 May 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heritage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Community consultation so far

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 22 May 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 22May 2018

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 9 May 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 1 May 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pitch It Winners - CERES Fair Wood

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

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

The four other finalists were:

  • Medical Connect
  • Refillr
  • Pollinator Protectors
  • MUVi

Media Release – 2 May 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release – 30 April 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

The listening post sessions will take place at:

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

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

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

Media Release - 11 April 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 4 April 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 5 April 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

To apply

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

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

 

Media Release - 21 March 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to enter

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

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

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

Meet the judges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 8 March 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darebin Council will celebrate International Women’s Day with its flagship local event, the Molly Hadfield Social Justice Oration, delivered by Mama Alto, gender transcendent diva, cabaret artist, jazz singer and community activist on Thursday, 8 March 2018.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf says, Darebin marks International Women’s Day through a number of local activities and events in additional to the social justice oration that celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. 

“Despite the progress that has been made it is clear in 2018 that gender-based discrimination is still rife.” 

“Women are not equally paid, they continue to be under-represented in politics, and one Australian women dies every five days because of a violent act committed by a man,” Mayor Cr Le Cerf said.

The annual oration is a tribute to well-known Darebin resident Molly Hadfield OAM who worked tirelessly to advance women’s and seniors rights throughout her life. 

The evening will also include MC Sherry-Rose Bih, and performer Violet Tolhurst.

Get involved
To book a ticket or find out more about any of the following events, visit www.darebin.vic.gov.au/iwd or contact customer service on 8470 8888.
 
Events:                                                                                                   
Molly Hadfield Social Justice Oration by Mama Alto - Thursday 8 March, 6.30pm – 8pm 
Women's on Wheels: Bike Skills Workshop - Saturday 3 March, 10am – 12.30pm
Breaking the Silence: Feminist Writers Festival - Wednesday 7 March, 7pm – 8pm 
Morning Tea with Aseel Tayah - Thursday 8 March, 10am – 11.30am
 
Media Release - 28 February 2018

Darebin Council is calling on local not-for-profit community groups and organisations to submit an application to apply for money from its Community Grants Program.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said the fund supports a wide range of community groups and organisations that make Darebin a better place.

“The Community Grants Program supports projects and activities that include arts and culture, sport and recreation, community wellbeing, equity and inclusion, human rights, education, lifelong learning and environmental sustainability,” the Mayor said.

How to apply
Funds are available following categories:

  • Annual Cash Grants (up to $6,000).
  • Annual Facility Hire Subsidy Grants (up to $6,000) for the use of nominated Council venues.
  • Annual-combined Cash Grants and Facility Hire Subsidy Grants (up to $6,000).

Step by step instructions are available at www.darebin.vic.gov.au/communitygrants or by telephoning 8470 8504. 

Translated information or an interpreter can be arranged via City of Darebin’s Multilingual Telephone Line on 8470 8470.

Applications open on 26 February and close on Friday 27 April 2018 at midnight.

Information sessions

  • Thursday 15 March 2018, 10am – 12pm, Function Room, 350 High Street, Preston.
  • Thursday 5 April 2018, 6pm – 8pm, Council Chamber, 350 High Street, Preston.
     
Media Release - 26 February 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release - 13 February 2018

Each year the Darebin Community Awards recognise community members who have made an outstanding contribution to the Darebin community by recognising Citizen of the Year, Young Person of the Year and Community Group of the Year.

Darebin Council has introduced two new categories this year, recognising and celebrating the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who live, work, study or volunteer in Darebin in collaboration with the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf welcomed the introduction of the new categories.

"Darebin has a long and proud history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people making very significant contributions, not only to the local area but also to the state and nation,” Mayor Le Cerf said.

"These new categories respect and acknowledge this history and also help to make the Darebin Community Awards more inclusive and reflective of our wonderfully diverse community.

"If you know someone or a community group who you think should be recognised for their contribution, consider nominating them for an award", the Mayor said.

Nomination process

Nominations open February 2018. For more information call 8470 8551 or email civicevents@darebin.vic.gov.au or visit Community Awards.

Darebin’s pitch competition is back! Do you have an idea for sustainable change? Have you got what it takes to Pitch It in under 10 minutes? 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 darebinpitchit.com.au
  • Get invited to the Pitch It day on 23 February 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 Kim Le Cerf says Pitch It is looking for start-ups with new and exciting ideas for sustainability-focused ventures. “Pitch It will help to boost the local economy and jobs by helping innovative start-up enterprises to get off the ground.”

“We are particularly interested in supporting start-ups that will help to make the city more sustainable through new energy technologies, social enterprises, food innovation and security,” the Mayor said.

Get cracking! Entries close 19th February 2018.

Note to Editor:
Promotional material can be downloaded from:

For more information including terms and conditions go to darebinpitchit.com.au.

Media Release - 24 January 2018

Darebin Council will write to the Prime Minister to express its concerns regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Australia’s offshore detention camps.

The move is in line with the Council’s long-held advocacy position that all levels of government must meet their humanitarian obligations to support asylum seekers and refugees, says Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf.

“We share the concerns of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) about Australia failing to meet its responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island,” the Mayor said.

“We are particularly concerned about inadequate medical attention and denial of basic human rights. It is urgent due to the unfolding crisis on Manus Island where the refugees and asylum seekers have been moved to another camp against their will.

“I call on the Federal Government to close the offshore detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru and immediately bring the refugees and asylum seekers to Australia for resettlement.

“I would also encourage members of the Darebin community who are concerned about the welfare of asylum seekers and refugees to please send a message to the Federal Government.”

The Mayor said Darebin was a Refugee Welcome Zone where refugees had successfully settled and received support in the community.

“At the local government level we see first-hand the challenges that refugees face as they try to rebuild their lives, and we are deeply committed to being part of their support network here in Australia. 

“It is impossible for us to sit back and watch refugees suffer offshore when we know we have the community support networks in place to help them resettle in Australia.”

Cr Le Cerf said members of the Darebin community could also show their support by joining the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s ‘Let Them Stay’ campaign or the ‘Bring Them Here’ campaign by visiting asrc.org.au/letthemstay/ or bringthemhere.org/.

Council resolved the following at its meeting on 4 December 2017:

That Council:

1. Acknowledges the contribution that refugees and asylum seekers have made to the Darebin community.

2. Reaffirms its commitment to support refugees and asylum seekers as a signatory to the Joint Statement by Victorian Local Governments on Asylum Seekers and as a Refugee Welcome Zone City.

3. Reaffirms its commitment to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre’s #bringthemhere and #LetThemStay campaigns by promoting and supporting the #LetThemStay appeal and #RightTrack online petition. 

4. Continues to support and advocate on behalf of local settlement and emergency relief services to better respond to the needs of asylum seekers in our community.

5. Writes to the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, urgently calling on the Australian government to:

a) Express our concern regarding the humanitarian crisis Australia has created with offshore detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru, and acknowledge the ongoing suffering of the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island, including inadequate medical attention and denial of basic human rights.

b) Acknowledge the UNHCR concerns about Australia’s responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island, putting efforts in place to prevent violence, and find long term solutions.

c) Offer the refugees and asylum seekers of Manus Island protection and safety.

d) Close the offshore detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru. 

e) Immediately bring the refugees and asylum seekers in offshore detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia for resettlement.

Background:

Australia urged to ensure protection assistance solutions for refugees on Manus Island.

Open statement calling for immediate action offshore detention

Preston clothing and accessories business Elk took out the top honour at the recent Northern Business Achievement Awards and were awarded Business of the Year 2017 for business excellence across all areas of its operations.

For successfully exporting their products to a range of overseas locations, Elk were also awarded the Export Award. Fairfield based business Shiny Embroidery—the largest embroidery business in the southern hemisphere—won the Industry Education Engagement Award in recognition of their relationships with universities around research, development and innovation.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf congratulated both organisations and urged other local business and start-ups to utilise the wide range of support services provided by the council’s economic development team.

“We are proud to have nominated Elk and Shiny Embroidery for these awards as they have both made really positive contributions to the local community and it is wonderful to see them receive this recognition,” the Mayor said.

“Elk were also awarded the 2017 Telstra Medium Business Award in the Victoria and National categories, so they are clearly recognised as leaders in their industry.

“If you run a business, or are trying to get one off the ground, our economic development team are happy to help and I encourage local people to drop them a line. They host regular networking events and provide a support ranging from marketing advice to help obtaining permits.

“We also run a fantastic program called Active Spaces. It’s enabled more than 30 local businesses to have a go since it started in 2012 and many of them have subsequently gone onto bigger and better things.

“It’s injected $650,000 into the local economy and created 150 jobs to date,” Mayor Le Cerf said.

For more information about the Northern Business Awards visit nbaa.com.au.

Contact us

Local business are encouraged to contact Darebin Council’s Economic Development team.
Telephone: 8470 8344
Email: business@darebin.vic.gov.au
Visit: darebinbusiness.com.au.

Media Release - 14 December 2017

The renaming of Batman Park will now sit with Victorian Government following Darebin Council’s endorsement of the Naming Committee’s recommendation to rename the park Gumbri Park at its Council Meeting last night.

A submission will be lodged with the Victorian Government’s Office of Geographic Names for the renaming of Batman Park to Gumbri Park.

“This final stage in Council’s decision marks the end of comprehensive community consultation during the past 18 months which revealed our community’s wishes for the renaming to reflect the Aboriginal history of the area,” Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said.

"We thank the Wurundjeri Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Aboriginal Corporation for their commitment and diligence during this process, and thank the Darebin community for their support in working towards reconciliation with our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.”

Hundreds of residents responded to a survey and attended community conversations in July and August last year and took part in a discussion with Wurundjeri Elders about a proposed name change. 

Gumbri (also known as Jessie Hunter) was a respected Wurundjeri Elder. Her name means ‘white dove’ in Woi wurrung, the traditional language of the Wurundjeri people.
 "This change builds on decades of work between Council and the diverse Aboriginal communities and demonstrates respect for the Traditional Owners of the land and recognition of our shared history," said Cr Le Cerf.

The renaming of the park is another stage in this area’s history and Council also endorsed an historical storyboard to be developed and positioned within the park.
The final name change is subject to outcomes of the statutory process set out under the Geographic Place Names Act 1998 and the Naming rules for places in Victoria - Statutory requirements for naming roads, features and localities 2016.

Following the formal gazetting under the Geographic Place Names Act 1998, Council will re-engage with the community regarding the design process to upgrade the main park entry, including the park sign.  

For more information go to www.darebin.vic.gov.au/batmanrename

Media Release: 5 December 2017

Darebin is set to become an ‘Adani Free City’ from February 2018 following Darebin Council’s decision last night to cease any future association with organisations known to support the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine.

Darebin Mayor Kim Le Cerf said the decision to withdraw support from any council suppliers that have associations with the proposed coal mine was unanimous.

“Council is committed to a coal-free future for Australia. For that reason we will no longer work with any organisations known to have a financial interest in, provide goods or services to or otherwise support the proposed Adani Carmichael Coal Mine,” the Mayor said.

“Council will be obtaining appropriate legal advice about what policy and procedural changes need to take place so Darebin can become an ‘Adani Free City’. Once we have this advice we will be working towards ceasing all working relationships with organisations that support Adani until their associations with the mine are ceased.

“This builds on our previous resolution in divesting from Westpac until they disassociated themselves from the project,” said the Mayor.

Media Release: 5 December 2017

Darebin Council has endorsed trialing a fresh, new community-led design approach to create a master plan for Penders Park in Thornbury.

The new approach aims to enhance the organisation’s existing consultation and engagement processes by handing decisions over to the community.

The trial is part of Council’s commitment to engage more deeply and effectively with the community says Darebin Mayor Cr. Kim Le Cerf.

“We believe this model has many advantages over traditional consultation approaches undertaken by government organisations,” the Mayor said.

“It turns them upside down by placing local people in the drivers’ seat.

“I am confident it will help to deliver better outcomes for people who visit Penders Park and from the dollars we invest in our parks and open spaces across Darebin.

“The local community is passionate about their park and they know best how to improve it to suit their needs. I’m confident they will jump at the opportunity to get involved,” said Mayor Cr. Kim Le Cerf.

Rucker Ward Councillor Trent McCarthy was endorsed as the chair of the project control group which is now calling for expressions of interest from local residents to join it.

Council officers will provide support and guidance to the project control group and the learnings from the trial will be applied to future projects.

Join the Community Project Control Group

A drop-in session at Penders Park from 10am–12noon on Saturday 9 December 2017 is an opportunity to chat with Council Officers about the project.

Expressions of Interest to join the Community Project Control Group open on Friday 24 November and close on Sunday 17 December 2017.

Further information can be found at Planning Penders Park - Your Park, Your Way or by telephoning customer service on 8470 8888.

Media release - 22 November 2017

Last night at a Special Meeting of Darebin Council, Councillor Kim Le Cerf was elected as Mayor for 2017-2018, and Councillor Lina Messina was elected Deputy Mayor.

Cr Le Cerf highlighted the ambitious new Council Plan 2017-21 as an achievement of the Council under her leadership and outlined a range of actions already under way to deliver its goals, including:

  • Declaring a climate emergency, developing a comprehensive Climate Emergency Plan and establishing a Darebin Energy Foundation
  • Committing investment to expand the Solar Saver program to roll it out to a further 2000 homes
  • Progressing the project to construct a multi-sports stadium to make it easier for women and girls to get a game locally
  • Getting the development contributions plan (DCP) back on track so that developers pay their way in Darebin
  • Working with the community to protect and preserve Preston Market for future generations
  • Redeveloping the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre
  • Establishing the Darebin Nature Trust
  • Reinvigorating the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre, and
  • Developing a whole new suburb in the Northland Urban Renewal Precinct
  • Using Council-owned land for construction of new social housing projects in partnership with the state government.
Councillor Kim Le Cerf and Councillor Lina Messina

“These are the big actions in our Council Plan and they are all designed to ensure the City of Darebin has the infrastructure and initiatives it needs to meet the future,” said Cr Le Cerf.

The Mayor highlighted the importance of a Council team who could work together, putting aside personal politics, to make decisions in the best interests of our community.

“We are a great team. We have worked together to create an ambitious Council Plan that captures our shared priorities for this community, and we’ve progressed significant actions. 

“As a Council we are thinking long-term and we’ve built enormous momentum towards our goals.  There’s no doubt that there are challenges ahead, but I believe we have the team to meet them.”

The Mayor said climate emergency, advocacy and deeper community engagement would all be focus areas for the Council, and flagged organisational changes under new CEO Sue Wilkinson that would support the Council’s ability to deliver.

“Our new CEO is working to build a modern, model local government organisation that’s responsive, community-focused and known for getting things done.

“Both Council and the organisation are poised to move forward with significant changes that our community will not only welcome, but see and feel,” said Cr Le Cerf.  “It’s a pivotal moment for this city and I feel privileged to be part of it.”

The election provided a first for Darebin, with women elected to both the Mayoral and Deputy Mayoral roles.  The Mayor said she was looking forward to working closely with Cr Messina, who had proven to be a passionate and committed councillor.

“This is an exciting time to be on Council, with six women councillors, two in the Council leadership roles and Darebin’s first female CEO at the helm of the organisation.  I am looking forward to Cr Messina and I having an exceptionally productive year,” she said.

During the Special Meeting, Council representatives were appointed to Council Standing Committees, Community Advisory Committees and Community Organisations.

For information on upcoming Council Meetings and Agendas, please visit Meeting Agendas and Minutes.

The prevalence of electronic gaming machines is strongly linked to family violence with more than half of problem gamblers and their significant others affected. The government has the power to dramatically improve the lives of thousands of people by introducing effective reforms that will cut losses in half and boost employment.

Darebin Council is urging the Victorian Government to adopt significant reforms on the eve of the Northcote by-election.

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

“Police record 20% fewer family violence incidents and 30% fewer domestic violence assaults when postcodes with no poker machines were compared with areas with at least 75 pokies per 10,000 people.

“In addition to the negative impacts on individuals and their families, gambling also affects the community as a whole by ripping $84 million out of the local economy each year, which cripples jobs growth.

“Just three jobs are created for every $1 million tipped into gambling machines. When the same amount of money is spent in the retail sector it supports eight to ten jobs, and in the hospitality sector it supports up to 20 jobs.

“Introducing effective reforms to reduce these harms is a big priority for Darebin and our neighbours. It will cut gambling losses in half and if you apply these numbers to Darebin, it could create between 290 and 750 new jobs in these sectors. Across the region it could create as many as 2,000 and 4,000 new jobs.

“A motion to cut $400 million in gambling losses in half was the top priority voted on at the first ever annual assembly of the Northern Metropolitan Partnership in Melbourne’s Northern region.

“The message is urgent. The Victorian Government’s draft legislation is grossly inadequate. It is time that Victoria’s 138 MPs stopped listening to the powerful pokies industry and started listening to councils and communities,” says Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf.

The pokies cap doesn’t go far enough. Darebin Council asks the Victorian Government to implement:

  • One dollar maximum bets.
  • Mandatory pre-commitment.
  • $200 maximum cash-out limit in gaming facilities.
  • A 12-hour minimum closing period for gaming venues.
  • An Upper House Inquiry into poker machines before any reforms are adopted.

The Northern Metropolitan Partnership is a forum hosted by the Victorian Government for local MPs to discuss regional priorities with member Councils which include Moreland, Darebin, Banyule, Hume, Nillumbik and Whittlesea, as well as representatives from community and business.

Media Release - 13 November 2017

Darebin Council today urged the Victorian Government to adopt its evidence based approach and remove three additional level crossings adjacent to Bell Street, saying the expanded project would revitalise the heart of Preston by addressing traffic congestion and opening up two MCGs worth of open space.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said the Council had done its homework and the benefits and consequences of each engineering solution were clear, with elevated rail the best solution to transform Preston.

“Council recognises level crossings are problematic for our community. They cause traffic congestion, vehicle accidents, personal injury and limit how frequently rail services can run,” the Mayor said.

“We ask the Victorian Government to maximise the community, environmental and economic benefits by removing three additional crossings adjacent to Bell Street located at Murray Road, Cramer Street and Oakover Road using an elevated rail solution.

“This approach will make a serious dent in local traffic and enable greater urban renewal and better community outcomes. It’s also the only engineering solution available that enables these additional level crossings to be removed,” the Mayor said.

Preston Central Business Association spokesperson George Skiotis said the removal of the additional level crossings is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the State Government to address traffic congestion in Preston.

“Without this commitment and investment, Preston Central businesses will be significantly affected by the future traffic demands and delays which will increase with the expected population growth,” Mr Skiotis said.

“Having a connected and easily accessible Preston Central is very important to the economic viability and continual prosperity of this shopping and lifestyle strip,” he said.

Darebin’s pitch for elevated rail can be viewed at Level Crossing Removals.

Media Release - 9 November 2017

In the spirit of reconciliation, Darebin Council has made a joint submission to Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to rename the Federal Electoral Division of Batman.

The submission has been made on behalf of the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Corporation (Wurundjeri Council), together with the City of Yarra and City of Darebin.

The submission has been made in response to the AEC’s seven yearly review of the federal electorate redistribution process. As part of the process, the AEC can also consider name changes to existing federal divisions.

The joint submission proposes that the electorate of Batman be renamed Simon Wonga. Simon Wonga was an inspiring and visionary Indigenous leader and Ngurungaeta (‘head-man’) of the Wurundjeri people in the early to mid-1800s at a time when their future was uncertain.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said Darebin Council has a long standing commitment to reconciliation and renaming the electorate of Batman is part of this journey.

“Our community values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage, and supporting a name change is an important step towards achieving a shared, inclusive and reconciled national identity,” Cr Le Cerf said.

“The AEC’s redistribution period provides us with an opportunity to broaden the community discussion about the importance of expanding Aboriginal cultural heritage as a means towards reconciliation.

“We hope that others in our community – individuals, community groups and organisations – also see this as an important step towards reconciliation and take the initiative to lodge a submission to the AEC by 17 November.

“A name change will acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation as the first inhabitants and traditional owners of this area.

“The joint submission is also underpinned by the Charter of Human Rights & Responsibilities Act 2006, particularly regarding respecting and promoting the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” said Cr Le Cerf.

Darebin Council will provide regular updates about the submission lodgement timelines on its website www.darebin.vic.gov.au/batmanconversations.

Media Release - 27 October 2017

Supporting information

On 18 October 2017, the AEC announced the public have 28 days to lodge submissions, which close on 17 November 2017. Members of the public then have from 20 November until 1 December to view the submissions and can lodge written comments on the submissions.

More information about the redistribution process and how to lodge a submission is available on the AEC website www.aec.gov.au/Electorates/Redistributions/index.htm

The Federal Electorate of Batman was created in 1906 and takes its name from John Batman, one of the colonists of the City of Melbourne. It is located in Melbourne's northern suburbs covering Alphington, Clifton Hill, Fairfield, Kingsbury, Northcote, Preston, Reservoir and Thornbury, and parts of Bundoora, Coburg North, Macleod and Thomastown. The suburbs come under three local government areas: the cities of Darebin, Whittlesea and Yarra. The vast majority of Batman is in the cities of Darebin and Yarra.

Batman, convinced Wurundjeri elders to sign over more than 200,000ha of ancestral land in exchange for blankets, flour and clothing. He was widely criticised for the treaty, and colonial powers quickly annulled it saying Batman did not have the authority to sign such a treaty. Historical documents show and claim he was involved in the murder of Aboriginal people. (Source: Nicholas Clements, Honorary Research Associate, the University of Tasmania 13/5/2011 The Conversation.

Simon Wonga remains an unfamiliar figure for many people outside the Aboriginal community. As a child, Simon Wonga was with his father when he met John Batman in 1835. He also witnessed the signing of the Batman Treaty.

Simon Wonga helped his people face the loss of their traditional way of life, and achieved his vision for an Aboriginal settlement at Coranderrk near Healesville. At the time, it became the most successful Aboriginal mission in Australia with a thriving farming community, school, bakery and butcher.

Of the 37 federal electoral divisions in Victoria, nine are named in Aboriginal languages: Ballarat, Corangamite, Corio, Indi, Jaga Jaga, Kooyong, Mallee, Maribyrnong, and Wannon.

Darebin Council today revealed 47 families will be displaced ‘by design’ from the Walker Street Public Housing Estate located in Northcote, despite a public pledge by the Minister for Housing that all residents would have the right to return.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf cited planning documents from the Department that show the number of three-bedroom apartments proposed at the redevelopment will be reduced from 52 down to just five.

Eileen, who has been a resident at Walker Street for 39 years, said she was concerned about her own situation but also about many of her neighbours currently accommodated in three-bedroom units, who won’t be able to return.

“I am extremely grateful for what public housing has given my family. I have raised two children here that are university graduates,” Eileen said.

“But I am concerned. I am living in limbo not knowing where my future will be, I’m concerned about having to start my life over again. I have connections in the area. It is important for my health and wellbeing that I am not moved away from doctors and hospital and especially my family who live ten minutes from my flat.

“Even if I am here for Christmas, I can’t plan my life. I really want to stay here at Walker Street,” she said.

Eileen is particularly concerned about refugee families in the estate.

“We have a crisis that’s going to break up the community from Africa. They are supporting one another. If they are going to be split again and displaced again, that’s not fair. We need something done here for the young and the old. Public housing is a vital need.”

Mayor Kim Le Cerf said the Council was right behind residents, advocating to secure the best outcome for them.

The Department of Health and Human Services has told Council they are planning to redevelop the ageing Walker Street public housing estate into a vibrant, better-connected, mixed-tenure neighbourhood as part of the Victorian Government’s Public Housing Renewal Program.

“But the Minister’s pledge to families that they have the right to return is evidently at odds with the Department’s plans,’ said the Mayor.

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

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

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

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

“We’ve written to the Minister and we’d like the opportunity to meet and discuss this urgent local issue. We will get a better outcome for our community if we work together.”

Darebin Council is calling on the Minister to immediately stop the redevelopment to:

  • Work with Council to reimagine the Walker Street redevelopment.
  • Make a significant dint in the waiting list by providing much more public housing on the site than is currently proposed.
  • Allow residents to stay in their community by building the Stokes/Penola precinct in Preston first so some Walker Street residents can be accommodated locally during construction.
  • Lead by example and make renting fairer for public housing tenants by building quality sustainable accommodation that keeps a lid on energy costs.
  • Preserve this critical state-owned asset for future generations, keeping public land in public hands. 

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

The composition of apartments planned by the Department of Health and Human Services (below) is available on page 29 in the Walker Street (Northcote) Public Housing Estate Preliminary Social Infrastructure Assessment Final Report.

Media Release - 25 October 2017

Darebin’s Mayor, Councillor Kim Le Cerf welcomed the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) State Council’s support for Darebin’s motions on citizenship ceremonies and marriage equality.

The MAV State Council meets twice a year to discuss and vote on resolutions proposed by local councils.

“Achieving the support of the MAV State Council gives a clear indication that Councils across Victoria are committed to representing our communities on the issues that important to them and that these decisions should be respected by other levels of government,” said the Mayor.

The MAV support is welcome news following Darebin Council’s disappointment back in August when the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection revoked Darebin Council’s right to preside over citizenship ceremonies in our local community.

The MAV voted to write to the Prime Minister to strongly remind the Federal Government that the Local Government Act 1989 mandates the right and responsibility of democratically elected local councils to make decisions in the interests of their communities.

The letter will point out that the Federal Government’s reaction to the decisions of the Yarra and Darebin councils has been disproportionate to the issue.

“Nowhere in legislation is it enshrined that local government must conduct a Citizenship Ceremony on 26 January and we call upon the Federal Government to reverse its decision,” said the Mayor.

“Earlier this year, the Federal Government commended Darebin’s exemplary performance in conducting citizenship ceremonies. We hope the decision will be reversed and we can resume assisting the Government and our residents with this important role as soon as possible.” said the Mayor.

Darebin’s motion to support marriage equality was also carried.

“MAV‘s marriage equality policy recognises that marriage equality is a human rights issue and MAV supports full and equal human rights for all people, and extends support to the LGBTIQ community.”

“Both motions support Darebin Council’s goal of leading on equity, recognising our diversity and building a stronger community,” the Mayor said.

Supporting Information

MAV State Council Amended Motion 14:

Citizenship Ceremonies

That MAV writes to the Prime minister to strongly remind the Federal Government that the Local Government Act 1989 mandates the right and responsibility of democratically elected local councils to make decisions in the interests of their communities.

The MAV’s letter points out that Federal Government’s reaction to the decisions of the Yarra and councils has been disproportionate to the issue on the basis that nowhere in the legislation is it enshrined that local government must conduct a Citizenship Ceremony on 26 January and calls upon the Federal Government to reverse its decision.

MAV State Council Late Motion 7:

Marriage Equality

That the MAV recognises, in its marriage equality policy, that marriage equality is a human rights issue. We support full and equal human rights for all people and extend our support to the LGBTIQ community.

See previous media release regarding Citizenship Ceremonies at Darebin Council.

Media Release - 24 October 2017

Building a stadium to improve the health and wellbeing of 5,000 local women and girls tops a list of priorities unveiled by Darebin Council in the lead up to the Northcote by-election.

Northcote has historically been a safe seat and many important projects have been overlooked for decades by successive Victorian Governments says Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf.

“That has changed. We have a really good opportunity in the lead up to the by-election to meet with candidates and local and state MPs to secure funding for projects that deliver important social, economic and environmental benefits,” the Mayor said.

“We won’t miss the opportunity to fight for what matters most to our community. At the top of our list of priorities is a commitment of $25 million to build a stadium to address a critical shortage of premier local facilities.

“Female participation rates in sport are exploding in Darebin but are still a long way behind the state average. The stadium will cater for 5,000 women and girls and it is a wonderful opportunity to address structural gender inequity and honour Fiona Richardson’s legacy,” the Mayor said.

Parkside Netball Club President Carly Kluge said the stadium is desperately needed by local families.

“It will fill a black hole in the local area. The stadium would make a huge difference to the lives of 5,000 local women and girls and their families,” she said.

“It’s a disgrace that in 2017 we still have girls getting changed in cars, playing on substandard courts and training in car parks. We call on all candidates to get behind Darebin’s request,” Carly Kluge said.

Mayor Le Cerf said the stadium is one of several important local initiatives that the Council hopes to secure support for in the lead up to the by-election.

“We will publish a by-election report card to make sure our community understands what each candidate promises so local people can make an informed choice at the ballot box,” the Mayor said.

The Council is also lobbying candidates and the Victorian Government to:

  • Work in partnership with Council to make significant changes to the Walker Street public housing renewal project to protect tenants, increase the provision of public housing for the most vulnerable members of our community and strike a better deal for taxpayers.
  • Expand the Bell Street level crossing project to include three additional level crossings via an elevated rail solution, which will lead to more frequent trains, decreased traffic congestion and open up two MCGs worth of open space for our community.
  • Transfer management and responsibility of significant tracts of neglected and underutilised state-owned land to establish new open spaces for nature and the community.
  • Introduce reforms to reduce the harm caused by gambling including: one dollar maximum bets; mandatory pre-commitment; a $200 cash-out limit in gaming facilities and a 10-hour minimum closing duration for venues each day.
  • Declare a climate emergency and commit to a whole-of-government response to restore a safe climate.

Visit darebin.vic.gov.au/byelection to keep yourself informed.

The by-election will be held on Saturday 18 November.

Media Release - 23 October 2017

Our new Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021 was endorsed by Council on Monday 16 October following extensive community consultation.

Darebin Mayor Kim Le Cerf said the Plan contained a number of initiatives that improve animal welfare.

“Pets play an important role in many people’s lives, but ownership comes with responsibilities to protect welfare and ensuring your pet isn’t having a negative impact on others,” says Mayor Le Cerf.

New initiatives in the Domestic Animal Management Plan include:

  • Improving the separation of off-lead parks and recreational areas to increase community safety.
  • Providing incentives to encourage the adoption of rescued animals.
  • Considering of the introduction of a curfew for cats to reduce the impact that they have on native wildlife and reduce the transmission of disease.
  • Considering of the introduction of mandatory de-sexing to reduce unwanted litters.

New pet shelter

Council also aims to increase pet registrations to improve the proportion of lost pets that are safely returned to their owner.

Unregistered animals whose owners cannot be identified are taken to Darebin’s new pet shelter located in Epping to prepare them for adoption.

For details including contact information and opening hours visit: darebin.vic.gov.au/New-Animal-Welfare-Facility.

Media Release - Tuesday 17 October 2017

Darebin Council is disappointed in the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection’s decision to revoke Darebin Council’s right to preside over citizenship ceremonies in Darebin.

“We are very disappointed and sincerely hope that the Minister will reconsider his decision,” said Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf.

“Darebin Council hosts large, lively and joyous citizenship ceremonies all year round and we very much wish to continue doing so, just not on January 26.

“This decision disadvantages new residents waiting to become citizens and makes no sense.”

Darebin holds up to eight citizenship ceremonies every year and already over 80 per cent of new citizens attend a ceremony on a day other than January 26.  

“We take our role in hosting citizenship ceremonies very seriously and every ceremony has the same sense of gravitas and celebration, irrespective of the date.  These are incredibly important events for new residents, many of whom have made arduous journeys to settle in Australia.

“Our citizenship ceremonies are heartfelt, meaningful and we do not want to relinquish this important aspect of our role as the level of government closest to our residents.   

“We will continue to explore the offer made by Members and Senators to be the presiding officer at Darebin ceremonies, allowing them to continue uninterrupted.  It’s not clear what mechanism the Minister could use to block this move – he seems to be over-reaching in an effort to further punish Council, when it’s Darebin’s prospective citizens who will be impacted by his decision.”

The Mayor said the move seemed at odds with recent feedback from the Government about Darebin’s exemplary performance as a citizenship ceremony provider.

“The Government recently commended us for our efforts to help the Department get through the backlog on local citizenship waiting lists, so it would be a great shame if we weren’t able to continue to assist both the Government and our residents in this way.”

The Mayor said Darebin would continue to support the ‘change the date’ campaign, despite the Government’s action.

“It’s ironic that the Prime Minister has said changing the date is a national debate we need to have, yet his Government appears to be working to silence it by punishing councils for taking a stand in support of their Indigenous communities.”
 

Media Release - 22 August 2017

 

Darebin Council made two important decisions tonight that support equality, human rights and seek to protect the health and wellbeing of the Darebin community and beyond.

January 26 

“We formally recognised that January 26 is not an inclusive date for our national celebration,” said Mayor Kim Le Cerf.

“January 26 is indelibly tied to the dispossession and subsequent oppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and our Council cannot ignore the exclusion this entails and the impact it has on the health and wellbeing of our Indigenous community.  

“We will support the broader movement to ‘change the date’ and have resolved to ensure that the way we mark January 26 in Darebin is inclusive and respectful of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.” 

The inclusive actions endorsed by Council include:

  • In collaboration with the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Council will host an event on an agreed date that celebrates the World’s Oldest Living Culture. 
  • Council will continue to recognise excellence and service in Darebin, renewed as the Darebin Community Awards, and held as part of a community celebration on a date other than January 26.  
  • Council will introduce new community awards to specifically honour the contribution of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents.
  • Council will continue to host citizenship ceremonies in a positive and timely way throughout the year, but not on January 26. 

Darebin says yes to marriage equality

Council also resolved to fully support the ‘yes’ campaign for marriage equality, recognising it as a human rights and public health issue.

“Council recognises that all couples have a human right to access civil marriage without discrimination on the basis of sex, sexuality or gender identity,” said Cr Le Cerf.

“We don’t support the use of a voluntary survey to decide on a human rights issue, but in the absence of a more appropriate stance by the Federal Government we will support the yes campaign.

“That includes helping to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our LGBTIQ community members through support and community information and education.

“Council believes that the decision to implement a national postal survey and the attendant campaigning for the ‘no’ case will have harmful flow-on effects for the LGBTIQ community, especially our young people – and we want to do everything we can to counteract that.”

Note to editor – please find attached below the wording of the two urgent business items adopted by Darebin Council that are referred to in this media release.

Item 9.1 – Australia Day

That Council: 

(1) Acknowledges that January 26 marks the beginning of the British invasion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands and oppression of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and is therefore not an appropriate date for an inclusive national celebration. 

(2) Acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people never ceded sovereignty of their land and have continuously cared for their country for over 60,000 years as the World’s Oldest Living Culture.

(3) Acknowledges the first Day of Mourning was held on January 26, 1938, being the 150th anniversary of the British invasion.  The Day was attended by Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous supporters in protest of the national holiday and the ‘callous treatment’ of Aboriginal people and continues to be held annually.

(4) From 2018 onwards, hosts an inclusive and culturally-appropriate event on an agreed date in partnership with the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee that recognises and celebrates the World’s Oldest Living Culture.  

(5) Supports the #changethedate campaign and initiates an ongoing conversation, in partnership with the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee, to build better understanding with the broader Darebin community of Australia’s history and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community’s pain in relation to the significance and history of January 26.  This includes referring to January 26 merely as January 26 in all communications.  

(6) Commits to engaging with Darebin's diverse community, including established and newly arrived communities, to raise community awareness and understanding.

(7) Advocates to the Federal Government to change the date in line with the resolution passed by the National General Assembly of Local Government in June 2017.

(8) Seeks opportunities to collaborate and partner with Yarra City Council and other relevant stakeholders to support each other’s events, advocacy and education initiatives.

(9) Continues to recognise excellence and service in Darebin, renewed as the Darebin Community Awards, and to be awarded on a day other than January 26.

 (10) In collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, introduce new categories within the Awards that recognise and celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who live, work or study in Darebin. 

 (11) Reaffirms our commitment to holding citizenship ceremonies in a positive and timely way on dates as required that will not include January 26. 

Item 9.2 – Urgent Business

Marriage Equality

That Council:  

1) Reaffirms its longstanding commitment to achieving marriage equality through a free vote in parliament, noting Council’s previous endorsement of marriage equality in July 2015 and December 2016, as well as Council’s support of its LGBTIQ citizens since 2012 through actions delivered via the Sexuality, Sex and Gender Diversity Action Plan and also the Sexuality, Sex and Gender Diverse Advisory Committee, and Council’s support to IDAHOBIT since 2010. 

2) Endorses the Mayor to write to the Australian Government expressing Council’s disappointment at the decision to implement a national postal survey and outlining the harmful impacts on LGBTIQ Australians that will flow from this, particularly for young Australians. 

3) Endorses the Mayor to write to all local, LGBTIQ-focussed services, organisations and groups to express Council’s support for their members and communities over the next four months. 

4) Supports LGBTIQ-focussed organisations to access Council meeting rooms and spaces at no cost, for gatherings and activities that promote the health and wellbeing of the community while the national postal survey is administered over the next four months and effective immediately. 

5) Endorses the Mayor to write to all civic, religious, educational and sporting organisations to highlight Council’s position and support for marriage equality and the actions that we will take to support and promote the safety, health and wellbeing of our LGBTIQ community over the next 4 months.

6) Delivers a proactive advocacy and communication strategy over the next four months that affirms Council’s support for marriage equality and the “Yes” campaign in speeches, website and social media, local multicultural news outlets and in buildings and other public realm opportunities. 

7) Explores any additional ways in which Council can support the “Yes” campaign.

8) Urgently explores options to facilitate participation in the survey by people who are homeless or do not have a fixed address.

 Media Release - 21 August, 2017