Public Forum 18 July

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Image: Rose Iser

‘The blog’ will cover tonight’s MVCC monthly public forum from 6pm tonight.  A presentation on Family Day Care is on the agenda.

Cr Byrne has just finished feeding her two week old – it’s a night for cute kids (gave me an excuse to find a cute pic from a decade ago). Amazing effort from Cr Byrne to be at Council. Hope everyone in her household gets a good rest tonight.

All councillors have now arrived.  And so we begin.  There will be a few presentations of awards.

The Mayor pays tribute to the Moonee Valley citizen of the year, Jonathon Tarascio, who has sadly passed away.

There is now an announcement of a winner of an award for young people (will confirm exactly what the award was) – ‘The North West Gaming Group’. The Mayor describes their work and photos are taken.

One of the young people, Noah, makes a polished impromptu speech of thanks.

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Image: Rose Iser

Family Day Care

Now we have a presentation about Family Day Care in Moonee Valley from Renee and Lesley representing the families of FDC.

Renee says she hopes the presentation is the start of a conversation about keeping FDC in MV. “There needs to be a lot more time, and proper consultation.”

FDC has apparently been running in MV for 30 years. MV is forecast to have an increase in population of 19,000 over the nest 18 years – this will include children!

What makes Council FDC unlike other care? A low ratio of carer to child, in carers’ homes, support for parents, weekend and 24 hour care helpful for shift workers, children with special needs, siblings and mixed aged groups assisting with socialisation, affordable ($57-80 per day).

Council have said they are looking at their involvement as a provider.

“It gives us peace of mind knowing that our children are being cared for by people who put the children over profit.”  The long waiting lists at Council’s care programs is testament to the way families value Council as a provider of care.

Renee shows us that in 2005 there were 65 family day carers in MV – right down to only three carers in 2017 (26 were lost when the boundary changed in 2008).

Renee explains that Council has advised families that FDC may no longer be provided by MVCC – and that there have been difficulties during the consultation undertaken by Council.

Renee says she put questions to the CEO about FDC and she displays the answer to these questions indicating some dissatisfaction with responses.

State or commonwealth funding has been cut from FDC, but Renee says this does not mean Council should cut the service.

Renee talks about the FDC provided by Moreland Council. She says she has phoned Moreland and discussed the growth of the Moreland program to better understand how FDC might be able to grow in MV.

Renee also contacted Hobsons Bay Council where a review of FDC was undertaken in light of loss of funding.  She says the HB Council reviewed families’ needs and developed a transition plan.

Renee says she has spoken with many people about FDC and believes that MV have been reviewing its involvement in FDC for two years, despite only speaking to families about it this year.

Renee says that she understands MVCC would prefer families to move to private providers.

Parents using FDC would like to see MVCC continue to act as a provider of family day care and promote the service to make it financially sustainable.

Renee asks councillors to consider a number of things before voting on whether to discontinue the direct provision of family day care – including the future needs of families in the municipality.

“We would like you to understand what’s at stake,” says Renee.

The Mayor asks to keep a copy of the presentation.

Cr Marshall asks about families’ preparedness to pay more. Renee says the fees in MVCC are lower than other areas, but that the price rise put to families would take it above the costs of full day care.

Cr Marshall also asks how families would feel about another government provider.  Renee says that this would be next best option following provision by MVCC.

Cr Sharpe asks about the timeline of the boundary change – some discussion on this.

Nicole Bourke now speaks briefly on Family Day Care. She is an early childhood professional.  As a professional, she values the one-on-one care provided through FDC – as opposed to a large group of children with few staff.

Nicole speaks about the consistency offered by FDC – as opposed to the high staff turnover, and different staff in a large centre. She says FDC services offer flexibility and choice – as opposed to the strict routines of large day care centres.

Nicole explains that her preference for Council services was driven by her desire to be part of a not-for-profit service.  She is frustrated that MVCC has let FDC dwindle to a small, unsustainable service.

“Why is it that Moreland have 30 more carers than we do?” she asks.

She has experienced some disappointment around the administration of FDC in MV.  She does not wish to change the mode of care for her daughter.

Nicole is also concerned about the livelihoods of the FD carers who currently work at MV.

307 – 313 Maribyrnong Road, Ascot Vale

We now hear from David, an architect, for a proposal in Maribyrnong Road.  He is asking Council to consider a proposed change to the design as a secondary consent issue – rather than being considered as a major project,

The design change is a fourth storey for the  building.

Permit was granted by VCAT for 27 apartments. The architect indicates that costs have made this proposal unviable.

An amendment was put to Council for 28 apartments – and now the request is for 32 apartments – four more apartments.

The fourth storey is recessive, argues the architect.  The photomontages show the view from Maribyrnong Rd. Cr Marshall asks for the view from Hurtle St, but there is not one available tonight.

Cr Sipek asks about the measurements of set-backs.  He asks “is this the one that got knocked back because of that one neighbour”?  And then some discussion about the neighbour selling up.

Cr Marshall asks how the additional height for the 4th storey is only 1 metre. The original height apparently included the lift shaft box (but not the new height because of new technology apparently).

Cr Nation asks for some further information that will be provided.

Cr Sipek asks about overshadowing and what height the current permit is for.

There is talk of cars – no waiver being sought.

“Not that I don’t trust you”, says Cr Sipek, as he asks for confirmation from the planning officers.

No change to overshadowing.  Garden areas compliant.

I wonder whether any objectors to the initial permit have been notified. I spoke with Cr Cusack and asked him if an applicant had ever presented at a forum in this way before.  Cr Cusack couldn’t recall it ever happening at a meeting at which he was present.  

Questions without notice

The Mayor reads the rules!

The first Q is from Sylvia Jamison who has lived in MV for over 50 years (she has delivered a lot of babies in the area). She is asking about the brochure ‘Love your Street Tree’ – and why Council has cut down trees at the Wallace Mall in Niddrie and replaced them with shrubs.

The Mayor says they were removed in June after being identified as a risk to pavements, trams, traders.

Sylvia says “they were nowhere near the trams lady”. “You care about the traders, not the community.”

Someone else wants to add something but is told they can’t.

The Mayor says that trees are only removed if they are identified as a risk.

“I am absolutely appalled.  You are a load of hypocrites,” says Sylvia.

“I’ve been told the businesses complained…. you take no notice of the community whatsoever.”

Cr Marshall suggests that there be a meeting on site.

Cr Sharpe says traders have asked for other trees to be removed, and Council has always kept the street trees. She says she was not aware of the trees being removed, but she could hear the works taking place. She says councillors were not aware (Sylvia interjects multiple times “load of rubbish… absolutely disgusted… not worth speaking to… wrote to you in May, mayor, and you haven’t replied… I speak to the women with disabilities and I wrote to you… I won’t come again”).

Sylvia then refers to some pictures in a brochure that promotes “two young men” … (and I think she loses support from the crowd at that point….).

And it’s over. A  night of contrasts.

Again – thanks for the opportunity to look through cute pics of my kids now all grown up… yet funding for childcare (the very first issue on which I ever campaigned) still remains an issue …









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