Council is set to outlaw begging and on-street charity spruiking in Moonee Valley. What a heartless proposal.
More on this below, but first, last Tuesday, Moonee Valley councillors heard from seven submitters regarding the 2018/19 MVCC Budget.
Submissions to 2018-19 MVCC Budget
Under some well-used section of the Local Government Act, councils are obliged to listen to anyone who asks to make a verbal submission to the Budget. Seven individuals and groups sought to be heard by MVCC on 5 June.
Ed Castenmiller spoke about the uncertainty of the $15K Transurban funding for ‘Drivelink’ – a driving education program for migrants, so popular it has 32 people on its waiting list. He spoke about the freedom and self-esteem that is fostered through the program: “it’s much more than teaching people how to drive”. He told a story of a single migrant mother for whom Drivelink was the only affordable driver education option. “Imagine how joyful she will be when she gets her licence.” The program requires $60K to continue.
Graeme Sharman spoke about the need for further traffic calming measures in Fletcher St outside the boys’ junior campus of Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School. PEGS pays $600 a week four times a year for a flashing sign reminding drivers to reduce speeds to 40km/h in the first week of each school term. The school endorses MVCC’s traffic strategies for the area and is seeking permanent flashing 40km/h signs and a pedestrian crossing. (NB: this blogger’s children attend PEGS middle schools).
John Breen thanked MVCC for the $1.5M in the draft budget to renovate the Doutta Stars pavilion at Buckley Park – including DDA compliant toilets and female change rooms. He acknowledged the need for council facilities to be shared as widely as possible among community groups.
Bridget a’Beckett and I spoke about the need for greater investment into Arts and Culture facilities in MVCC. We noted that the Draft Community Facilities Plan for the next 22 years does not include as an objective that provision of facilities for arts and culture. We emphasised the need for smaller community performing and rehearsal spaces that were purposefully designed and equipped for the Arts – not sports pavilions with the Arts ‘tacked-on’ – to recognise Moonee Valley residents as creators, not just consumers, of the Arts.
Here’s a copy of our presentation: Arts in MVCC
The Moonee Valley Toy Library spoke of the need for an additional $13K funding to maintain the Avondale Heights branch of the library.
And the Victorian Masters Athletics Group spoke about the inequitable rates for the Masters athletes as users of the Moonee Valley Aths track. The officers’ responses suggest that this will be looked into and remedied.
The final Budget will be voted on by councillors on 26 June.
Tomorrow night, Tuesday 12 June, there is another Council meeting with a few interesting items. A brief summary follows.
Council Agenda 12 June
9.1 7 Garnet Street, West Essendon (Lot 28 on LP2314 and Lot 1 onTP645476M) – Construction of four dwellings
Although this development attracted 11 objections, unless I’m missing something (which is entirely possible) there don’t appear to be clear planning grounds for refusing these four two-storey dwellings. There’s some slight shadowing to one property in the morning, but, otherwise, the block is large and the units are fairly standard.
9.2 Disability Services Tender
This is a complex issue arising from the introduction of the NDIS – which has been receiving some negative analysis regarding the adequacy of funding and the efficiency of services. Over half of the residents in MV who currently receive support directly from Council (funded through the federal government) will be transitioned to the NDIS.
Council officers recommend to MVCC that they don’t become an NDIS provider – possibly because council staff are paid more than similar workers through other awards (this issue is not new, but is symptomatic of the poor conditions of employees in the sector).
It will be interesting to see how MVCC decides to vote on this issue. Many councils are deciding not to register as NDIS providers, largely on the basis of cost and administrative burden, but this is a problem for many rural areas.
9.3 Activities and General Amenities Local Law 2018 – adoption
MVCC is voting on whether to outlaw begging in the municipality. I feel quite strongly about this. ‘Begging’ is not a solution to social injustice and poverty, but to outlaw it seems utterly heartless.
MVCC has supported the sale of public land to private developers to build privately owned homes, and, simultaneously, is about to ban begging. If you don’t want to witness people’s desperate poverty, support the provision of sufficient publicly provided and subsidised homes and support services for people in need.
Spruiking is also to be banned.
Apart from this, the new local laws seems mostly consistent with old local laws, except for some inclusions about drones (don’t interfere with people and places), filming in council premises (you can be asked not to – though the reasons are unclear), and some other changes are listed broadly.
9.4 Mobile Food Vehicle Policy – Adoption
These guidelines all seem reasonable – especially the reduced quarterly fee for three or six months tailored for ice-cream vans 🙂
9.5 Draft Footpath Trading Policy
Apart from the notes above about banning begging, there also seem to be greater restrictions on charity collectors. We’d all love a world that didn’t include poverty or the need for people to spruik for charity. But unless MVCC is planning to given donations to local charities, allowing organisations to spruik for donations hardly seems criminal.
The council report doesn’t seem to define ‘spruiking’ although it is defined in the local laws. The report is also not very clear with respect to on-street charity collectors, and charity spruikers. Spruiking is to be banned, but “not-for-profit groups or individuals are permitted to conduct collections on footpaths, following the issuing of a permit”.
It’s all a little confusing.
9.6 Draft Moonee Ponds Creek Chain of Ponds
This looks like a fabulous document with heaps of historical and environmental information. Unfortunately, the uploaded version is low-res and hard to read, but changes to the concrete creek are welcome!
9.7 New Lease – Latitude Directions for Young People over part of the Flemington Community Centre
A small office at Flemington Community Centre will be made available to this group.
9.8 Farnham Street Neighbourhood Learning Centre Inc. – lease renewal
As the past-chair of the FSNLC, I’m pleased to see MVCC’s ongoing support for this terrific organisation.
9.9 Response to Notice Of Motion No. 2018/07 – Park Run Course
A good thing. A community thing. Council supports.
9.10 Response to Notice of Motion No. 2017/04 On-street Charity Spruikers
Again, there is a lack of clarity in this report regarding charity ‘spruiking’ and ‘collecting’.
The report suggests local support for banning on-street charity collections, and that ‘spruiking’ will be banned, but does not clarify the permit arrangements in the Draft Footpath Trading Policy above which permit on-street charity collecting. It’s all VERY confusing.
In addition, 2.1.1 of the Draft Local Law did NOT include a ban on spruiking.
It is estimated that $100M is raised by on-street charity collections Australia-wide.
9.11 Response to Notice of Motion No. 2017/22-Footpath Trading
Confusing repetition of 9.5.
9.12 Report on Assemblies of Councillors
The reporting seems to have changed to refer to ‘Agenda for Ordinary Council Meeting’ instead of the actual agenda items, so it’s impossible to know what the actual matters being considered are at some of the Assemblies of Councillors – and whether there should have been any conflicts declared.
10.1 Notice Of Motion – CCTV Mobile Trailer
The officers recommend applying directly for grants rather than writing to the government for grants.
10.2 Notice Of Motion – Proposed Amendment of Civic Recognition Policy
A policy for the provision of food and drink at the end of recognition ceremonies? Maybe all those needing to beg for food in MVCC could also be invited.
12.1 Confidential: Possible Property Acquisitions