I couldn’t make it to the meeting tonight, but a summary of the recorded meeting can now be found below. First, a few public service announcements about submission deadlines for various proposals – including the Racecourse Rd proposal pictured.
Local law review
Submissions to the local law review are due by April 6 and information can be found here. There’s also a short online survey you can complete if you’d like to give feedback on the specific issues nominated by Council.
The local laws have not been reviewed in full since 2008. The structure has been changed and the various changes have been noted in the impact statement.
I’m going to try to add anything I notice about the new laws when I get a chance to read them later today.
Community Facilities Policy and Implementation Plan
At the March 13 meeting, the Council endorsed a draft and far reaching plan that supercedes many other Council plans for community facilities. The plan is meant to be open for consultation, but I’ve had difficulty finding out how people can comment. I certainly want to comment on some of the proposals!
Council has stated: “MV2040 consultation phase three on the draft MV2040 Strategy will include consultation on reference documents, including this plan. Consultation is planned for 5 weeks from 26 March to 27 April 2018.”
But all I can find on the MV2040 page online is the statement:
I’m not sure what consultation is planned for this incredibly important document, but there is nothing online, and the only way of finding the draft document is via the meeting agenda. The document is here.
*Since publishing the Blog earlier today, the MV2040 page has been edited to read:
I asked about the consultation process on March 20 and have had no response from MVCC to my queries – and no contact from anyone today to advise of the updated website. A great start to the next phase of consultation!
A proposal has been made to MVCC for a seven (7) storey residential hotel and provision of a retail arcade at ground floor level. The application states:
The site is subject to an Heritage Overlay, HO25. (Thanks to ‘The Bloodied Wombat’ for the picture below).
The proposal refers to the seventy rooms as both serviced apartments and a ‘residential hotel’ and has provided 15 car spaces with vehicular access to these basement levels is proposed via the central ROW.
The application appears to rely on strategic planning that encourages higher density housing in the area, with no real analysis on the need for 70 serviced apartments of ‘hotel’ rooms in the area. Obviously, serviced apartments generate a smaller demand for parking on a site that couldn’t possibly accommodate more parking given the tight access via the Right of Way.
Objections are due soon. You can find details here.
Now for the Council meeting…
Opening – Acknowledgement of traditional custodians
On behalf of MVCC, the Mayor pays respect to the very wonderful Del King, a friend to many of us. A tremendously active and positive person who contributed so much. Sincere condolences to her family.
Apologies – NIL
Confirmation of Minutes: Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 13 March 2018.
The Mayor asks for any opposition to minutes – and Cr Lawrence asks for a correction, but it’s the wrong item.
The question is put again – and there is no opposition, so the minutes are confirmed.
Declarations of Conflict of Interest – Nope
Presentations – None
Petitions and Joint Letters
Cr Marshall and Cr Byrne table an online petition that has received over 1570 in 50 hours from the President of the Essendon District Netball Association asking MVCC to finally take action for sporting girls of Moonee Valley – by supporting a four court indoor stadium for netball and basketball with facilities, 40 out-door lit courts with facilities.
Cr Bryne request leave from tomorrow to 10 April. Cr Marshall moves to accept, Cr Surace seconds – Carried unanimously.
Public Question Time
Q from Michael and Fay Bergin – why were residents not given opportunity to voice their objections to a proposal on tonight’s agenda (9.2)?
Application is being considered by Council as it is four storeys. It did not require a consultation meeting as there were less than 10 objections. The objections were received and acknowledged.
Reports by Mayor and Councillors
Cr Lawrence makes one correction to his report. Cr Cusack also makes an amendment that his leave of absence was from 21 February and was due to sick leave.
9.1 164 Mascoma Street, Strathmore (Lot 117 on Plan of Subdivision 057622)
Cr Gauci Maurici moves officers’ recommendation. Cr Lawrence seconds.
She speaks to the concerns raised at the consultation. These have been addressed by amended plans and through conditions.
Cr Lawrence says the conditions set down by Council officers ensure the character, street set-back and storage comply. He says the height is not excessive. He says it would be approved by VCAT.
9.2 261A, 261B & 261C Keilor Road Essendon (Lot 61 Block F on Plan of Subdivision 3151) – Construction of a five storey building with basement in a Design and Development Overlay (DDO7), reduction of car parking and alteration of access to a Road Zone Category 1
Cr Sharpe moves officers’ recommendation with an amendment to the rear set-backs. Cr Lawrence seconds.
Cr Sharpe says the development is in an area where there are more high density development and that the main aspect of this development that impacts neighbours are to the rear and side of this development.
Cr Lawrence says that even though these was no consultation meeting, the ward councillors have considered the objections. He says extra conditions have been added including changes to the setbacks, and over 60 conditions in the officers’ report. He says this provides a thorough protection – making sure there area adequate controls.
Cr Sharpe acknowledges the residents who asked the question earlier and reiterates that concerns were considered without consultation meeting.
9.3 Local Government Bill Exposure Draft – Moonee Valley City Council submission
Cr Marshall moves the officers’ recommendation. Seconded by Cr Cusack.
Cr Marshall says the Local Government Act has been under review over the past two years. There is now an Exposure Bill and submissions have been invited to the Draft Bill. Various entities have made submissions – including the MAV. MVCC thought there was a need to add two points to the MAV submission.
The additions refer to additional training requirements for Councillors. She says that some Councillors come onto Council who have never read a financial statement or know nothing about planning. She says MVCC’s view is that there should be mandatory conduct.
The second point is about having a standard Code of Conduct so that Code of Conducts do not differ across the state – and that mediation is encouraged.
Cr Cusack says the motion includes some common sense factors including not repeating MAV’s work – hence the brevity of the MVCC submission.
The Mayor says he totally agrees and that Councillors should have access to professional development. He says when he was on the MAV Board he started the process to have a qualification for local councillors.
Cr Marshall moves the officers’ recommendation. Cr Nation seconds.
Cr Marshall says the Act puts obligations on MVCC re handling personal information. MVCC is integrating various systems into a name and address register – and therefore MVCC needs to update its policy to comply with new legislation.
Cr Nation says that given the recent conversation re personal data being shared online (??) that it is a relevant and timely motion.
9.5 Grants Assessment Special Committee
Cr Nation moves the officers’ recommendation with an amendment to include Cr Surace. Cr Cusack seconds.
Cr Nation speaks about MVCC’s grants program. As does Cr Cusack (apologies for light on notes here … doesn’t reflect the importance of the issue).
Cr Surace says she is concerned that all Councillors were listed on the Committee bar Cr Surace and Cr Lawrence. The officer says an email went out and Councillors were able to nominate themselves.
Cr Marshall says this came about because all Councillors wanted to be involved in the process
NB: I hadn’t read the item carefully enough before the meeting and had assumed the Committee would then bring the recommendations to Council. I wondered whether the double up having all Councillors on the Committee and then again deciding at Council was political overkill. But I’ve since learnt the idea is that the Committee will be delegated to authority to make decisions re grants, which, I think, raises the issue of transparency. A report from the Committee will come to Council for noting, but the decisions about grants will be made at a delegated committee level without the transparency and accountability a Council meeting provides. If I’ve understood this properly, I think this is very wrong.
FOR: All except Cr Lawrence
AGST: Cr Lawrence
9.6 Standing Together and Supporting Diversity Statement
Cr Nation moves. Cr Marshall.
Cr Nation says the statement is a commitment from Council to support and recognise human rights. He says MVCC has more than 25% of all residents born overseas, and 33% speaking a language other than English at home. HE says the diversity attracted him to Flemington, but that not all members of society are inclusive in their approach.
(Disclosure: my PhD is connected to this topic).
Cr Marshall says she is so pleased that off the back of harmony Day, MVCC is making this statement. she says racist acts are acts of harm. She says there is need to identify more insidious acts of racial vilification. She speaks of the diverse cultural backgrounds of her neighbours. In areas of MVCC, more than 25% of people were born overseas.
Cr Marshall says treating people fairly and decently is not political correctness. The report highlights how impactful racism is. She says standards need to apply to all citizens, and that there is much we can do to make MVCC the most inclusive it can be.
(It would be great to see more members of diverse cultures included at Council meetings, and ways of making Council decision making processes more inclusive 🙂
Cr Cusack speaks about the value of inclusivity – bringing even the weakest (it would also be great if we could move away from ‘deficit’ language – but we’ll get there eventually, I’m sure! I need to read the report! I hope people from diverse backgrounds were consulted in the generation and development of the report).
Cr Gauci Maurici speaks in support of the statement. She says it is exciting to be able to celebrate the differences of MVCC.
Cr Surace says how lucky MVCC is to has such culture and diversity.
Cr Nation reads the statement.
9.7 Response to Notice of Motion 2018/03 – Request for reintroduction of the Moonee Valley City Council Waste Calendar
Cr Sharpe moves the officers’ recommendation. Cr Gauci Maurici seconds.
Cr Sharpe says she would have liked the calendar to continue. She is disappointed the format was changed. Cr GM agrees. She also says that people should provide feedback if they wish to see the calendar returned, but that MVCC is developing ways of enabling people to receive reminders by phone regarding waste collection.
Cr Nation speaks about the environmental impacts of the calendar previously – including producing a mega-tonne of landfill waste.
The Mayor says he agrees. He says that in his street, everyone looks to see what bin the Mayor has put out.
Cr Lawrence says that the App may not suit older residents who are not used to using technological solutions, and who may not own the means of accessing the information. He says that might be a need to produce calendars for older people.
Cr Marshall says there has still been a waste calendar produced (it’s a small version). She says the previous calendars were beautiful, but the cost and environmental impacts make it worth changing.
The small calendars are available through customer service.
Cr Cusack speaks about the need for a heightened awareness of waste. He says things will change and nothing is static.
Cr Surace says there has been a $60K saving which has been put towards social media and other promotional and information services.
9.8 Bee Friendly State – motion to MAV State Council and National Assembly of Local Government
Cr Sharpe moves. Cr Byrne seconds.
Cr Sharpe says she is very pleased to be talking about the motion. She says she has got her first batch of honey made from the hives on the Council roof (I think?). She will present the motion to the MAV State Council.
(Who knew Moonee Valley would be such an advocate of the humble bee – did you see what I did there?!). Cr Cusack mentions the work of community gardeners.
Cr Nation speaks about a Bee Hive in a playground that was relocated by officers – which has helped lead to MVCC producing its on honey. He says he won’t be allowed to take honey home because it’s not vegan.
Cr Marshall talks about the consequences of the vanishing of the bees – and the part MVCC is playing. She says it’s about education and “if we can do our part in Moonee Valley” she would be happy.
The Mayor gives us a lesson on bees – and tells everyone who is watching online to go the Men’s Shed and see the Bee Hotels being made.
10 Notices of Motion
10.1 Notice Of Motion No. 2018/05 – Australia Day 26 January Confirmation
Cr Lawrence moves his motion to confirm 26 January as Australia Day (Disclosure: I’m the author of a musical arguing the opposite!). Cr Surace seconds.
Cr Lawrence says Australia Day is the official public holiday across the nation. He says January 26 has become the biggest celebration. He says the first time the day was celebrated in 1808 – and then again in 1818. He says the day was originally called ‘Foundation Day’ (Australia as a federal nation did not obviously celebrate this as a national holiday).
Cr Lawrence says we celebrate the diversity of all Australians on 26 January.
Cr Surace says the motion is a confirmation of what is a federal issue. And that MVCC confirms its commitment to holding Citizenship Ceremonies on this day.
Cr Nation speaks and says he will not be supporting the motion as it is a federal matter and there are no advocacy elements. He says that if the federal government one day changed the date, MVCC would be left out of step. He says MVCC has not been asked for feedback on the matter by the federal government. He says the motion would be at odds with work MVCC has undertaken on a Reconciliation Policy which makes three major commitments: 1) Respect; 2) Recognition; and 3) Relationships. Therefore, the motion is out of line with this policy. If the federal government asks MVCC for input, there would be an opportunity for debate, but otherwise the motion is immaterial.
Cr Cusack supports Cr Nation’s comments. He says he noted Cr Lawrence did not make any reference to Australia’s first nations people. Cr Cusack says this motion has a horrible potential to create division: “Why do we need to have a motion on our table that is going to do that?” He says debate should follow initiatives from the federal government for input. He says he is saddened by the motion.
Cr Gauci Maurici says the motion is superfluous; the date is set by the federal government, and that the motion is contrary to the obligations of Councils to work towards community cohesion. She says she is sad there is a move to undermine the good work MVCC does to support diversity and the Indigenous community in MVCC.
Cr Marshall says there is another version of history regarding Australia Day. She refers to the death of Australia’s first nations people through massacre and disease. She speaks about the harm that has befallen indigenous people – including the Stolen Generation. She says the Mabo decision found the concept of terra nullius was incorrect in fact and at law. She talks of the poor health outcomes, unemployment, discrimination. “If you think about all the things that have flowed from that date”, you can see why the date doesn’t make everyone celebrate. She says the motion is provocative and unnecessarily divisive. She says she “will be not be supporting this stunt” and that on night’s like this she can see why people want to get rid of local government.
Cr Sharpe asks if the mover and seconder might consider an amendment that changes the motion to confirm celebrating Australia Day on the date set by the government.
The Mayor says he requires a seconder for Cr Sharpe’s amendment. Cr Gauci Maurici seconds. Cr Sharpe says Australia Day is a fantastic day, and that Council needs to confirm its respect for local indigenous community members. She says there have been ideas about improving inclusion of local Indigenous community on Australia Day – and that the day should be a celebration of all of us. She supports officers’ suggestions to make the day more inclusive.
Cr Lawrence asks a points of clarification about the motion. Cr Gauci Maurici says “We don’t need to be debating this at all” but if this motion makes sure we move forward and make sure we include people who are most impacted by the current celebrations of Australia Day.
Cr Nation says there is nothing to gain by moving a motion that impacts on a section of the community. He talks about the tragic story of the last full blooded Tasmanian Indigenous Australian. (NB – there are now no full blooded Indigenous people in Victoria – I learnt this recently. It’s horrific 😦
Cr Nation says that Australia Day can be a celebration of multiculturalism, but there is no end of hurt and he wants nothing to do with a message that confirms a day that hurts so many.
Cr Cusack says he can see Cr Sharpe is trying to pour oil on troubled waters, but it is irrelevant whether MVCC is going to support it or not. He is worried that the Amendment gives some air to the previous motion that a number of Councillors have expressed opposition to. He refers to 26 January is the day Indians threw off the yoke of colonial rule, yet the day is not a celebration of throwing of the yoke of colonialism in Australia. He says there is no need for Council to be confirming one day or another – that is not our role. Cr Cusack says he won’t be supporting it.
Cr Marshall says she appreciates the compromise Cr Sharpe is aiming for, but she is tempted to move an amendment to say “we acknowledge our support of Christmas Day.” She says “we are local government councils” and should be focusing on inclusivity, rather than supporting a “ridiculous version of history”. She says it is ridiculous that MVCC is talking about this.
Cr Byrne says that on paper Cr Sharpe’s motion might not look that bad, but she says that she can’t support something confirming MVCC celebrating Australia Day on January 26. “in my opinion, it is heartbreaking that even came into the chamber.”
Cr Surace says “we all understand the history” of the tragedy of the harm inflicted on Indigenous people. “Is that the actual date?” “What date is the real day for Australia Day should be celebrated?” “This is not the first time the Council has debated a federal government issue. We sat around and debated the YES issue.” She says MVCC has a Reconciliation Policy. No one disputes the harm; “where this goes, I don’t know.”
The Mayor clarifies that the first vote is on Cr Sharpe’s amendment:
FOR: Cr Surace sharpe Lawrence
AGST: Nation, Marhsall, Cusack,
Abstaining: Gauci Maurici
Back to original motion – Cr Lawrence closes the debate. He says he is offended by being told he had a cold heart and that this does not lead to good councillor relationships
Cr Marshall seeks a point of clarification “Was that a threat?” “It was unclear.”
Cr Lawrence repeats that he found it offensive to be called cold-hearted.
Cr Marshall says her question was with respect to the comment about “further enflaming relationships – is that a threat?”
The Mayor says he doesn’t perceive it to be threatening, but he asks “Was your intent threatening?” Cr Lawrence says no. The Mayor supports this interpretation.
Cr Lawrence says the marking of the 26 of January was an important date and is important to 75% of Australians.
Cr Byrne says new statistics are being brought into the rebuttal.
The Mayor asks Cr Lawrence to retract the statistics. Cr Lawrence retracts the statistics.
Cr Lawrence says January 26 means different things to different people: it is Survival Day for some; and includes an opportunity to learn about Aboriginal and Torres and Straight Islander histories. He says arguing about the date waters down the pride of Australian citizenship. We are now all Australian and we celebrate this on january 26.
FOR: Lawrence, Surace
AGST: Nation, Marshall, Sipek, Byrne, Cusack, Gauci Maurici
Motion is lost.
10.2 Notice of Motion No. 2018/06 – Plant and Tree Health
Cr Lawrence moves and Cr Sharpe seconds. Cr Lawrence says the rain over summer has been below average and that the motion is about checkin on the condition of tress and shrubs. Maintaining plants is not as expensive as replacing.
Cr Marshall thanks Cr Lawrence for bringing the motion through the proper channels. She refers to the evidence presented regarding the rainfall over summer. (Actually the report does not break down this information sufficiently – statistics are easy to manipulate!! Over 60% of the December rainfall was in the first four days during the massive storms in early December. We’ve barely had any rain since December.)
She says officers do this anyway – and we probably have the answer already, but given it is just a report, she is happy to support.
In closing, Cr Lawrence, brings in information about trees in parks near to him and Cr Byrne points out that new information should not be included in rebuttal – as a point of order.
A debate ensues about Cr Lawrence’s evidence of trees in parks. Cr Gauci Maurici asks for meeting protocols – the officer says that fresh material should not be included in closing the debate.
The Mayor asks that new evidence not be included in closing comments.
10.3 Notice of Motion No. 2018/07 – Park run course
Cr Byrne talks about the 4.5M runs that have taken place around the world, and many well attended runs along the Maribyrnong. She wants to ensure MV has facilities for an accessible course for a Park Run – currently we don’t. She says it is just a piece in the puzzle.
Cr Marshall says she has many friends who do park runs, and the motion should be supported.
Cr Cusack says he would like to see a reference to “improved signage”. The Mayor says this is an informal amendment. The mover and seconder are happy. Cr Cusack says he looks at people jogging and worries about his cardio, but he is more worried about his own. He says the notion of accessibility is critical.
10.4 Notice of Motion No. 2018/08 – Local Arts Display Trial
Cr Nation moves his motion about displaying art around the municipality. Cr Surace seconds.
Cr Nation says it is an extremely simple concept. That there is usually $30K allocated to public art in the budget. The motion says the wall space at Council facilities should give local artists a platform for displaying art. Artists can approach Council to display their art. (Nice 🙂
Cr Nation says Council has discussed the value of art and the minute amount Council puts towards local art (disclosure … as the recipient of a number of grants from Council for the Flemington Theatre Company … more $$ for arts would be greatly appreciated and an important investment for our community).
Cr Nation says the contributors to the recent Fireworks display will be contacted.
Cr Surace says she strongly supports the motion. She says the motion allows for the celebration of diversity – as well as the high standard of artwork from young people. She says recognition is very important.
Cr Marshall says she supports the motion. She says we talk about a range of inequities in Moonee Valley – including disparity between women’s and men’s sports. She says MVCC needs to spend more on the arts – by funding the arts plan. She says we need to value art and MVCC needs to look at how artists can be compensated appropriately.
Cr Cusack also supports the motion. he says he’d love to see ways of facilitating digital and installation art.
Cr Lawrence supports the initiative. The Mayor says Council is in the process of acquiring some of the Fireworks artworks.
Cr Nation says his motion accommodates future art forms.
10.5 Notice of Motion No. 2018/09 – Visual Tribute to Mrs Eliza Kellaway
Cr Nation moves his motion. Cr Surace seconds. Cr Nation speaks about meeting the grand-daughter of Eliza Kellaway. He gives the history of the first ‘baby centre’ in the town hall in 1923. In 1926 the first permanent baby health centre was established where the Council building now stands. The committee of women created baby centres throughout the municipality. St Thomas St was then renamed Kellaway Ave in 1956.
Cr Nation says it was remarkable to name a street after a female in 1956 (!$#?).
Cr Surace supports the motion. Cr Surace hopes more people share histories with Councillors.
Cr Cusack speaks about appreciating the work of women.
10.6 Notice Of Motion No. 2018/10 – Review of Informative Street Signs
Cr Nation moves his motion. Cr Marshall seconds.
Cr Nation wonders whether the officers’ comments capture the intent of the motion. There are 10 informative signs placed beneath signs named after people who served in wars. He says this is not a process of analysing 1100 street signs. It’s about going to some of the larger organisations and getting some information about the history of some of our street names. The motion asks MVCC to contact organisations and ask for information.
Cr Nation says the motion also looks at asking Indigenous elders to identify local sites. Some of the information is published already.
Cr Marshall speaks in support of the motion. She says we know the value of role models.
Cr Cusack says MVCC recently celebrated 150 years in local government. He says the signposts can serve to prompt people to learn about the local history. He refers to the value in story telling.
Urgent Business – NOPE
Confidential Reports – NIL
Close of Meeting