Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Council Meeting Tuesday 22nd Nov

At Tuesday night's meeting Council voted unaminously on the following three important issues - all were first time initiatives for Glen Eira with having been raised in previous posts on this blog. All Councillors deserve credit for their support.

item 9.6 Gambling Reform- the report on this item provided depressing statistics on the amount of losses in our municipality, $75m in 10/11. An alternative motion was supported which endorsed and advocated for poker machine reforms as recommended by the 2010 Productivity Commission report.

item 9.8 Take-a-Break childcare program an alternative motion was moved and supported which will provide full interim funding(approx $30k)for this much needed Community/Neighbourhood house childcare program in 2012- and included further measures to advocate strongly that the Fed/State govts reinstate their funding committments- This is the first time a council in Victoria has done this to prevent the program closing on Dec 31st.

item 9.9 GE Carbon Reduction Plan- approved the draft plan with some changes after recieving public submissions - A significant step forward by Council in reducing CO2 emmissions and responsding to the challenges of impending climate change.

Full minutes showing the details of these motions listed in the links section , bottom right.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Elsternwick Childcare Centre to close Xmas Eve

Unfortunately this very well used centre which for over twenty years has provided quality childcare for the families of the Elsternwick area will close on Xmas Eve.

Glen Eira Council ran the service in a facility leased from Alfred Health (Dept of Health). When the lease was called in early last year it was always going to be a battle to save this centre despite the high demand and waiting lists - To put it simply too many present Councillors supported by the administration just weren't interested in local govt playing a significant role in childcare. Add to this an unhelpful State Govt and the scene was set for this closure despite strong community opposition.

On the 3rd of August as part of a delegation from Council and with parents I met with the Health Minister Mr.Davis to explain the issue and seek clarification on the future of the site with the possibilty of crown land being made available for a new centre. The most telling point of the meeting was when the Minister asked Council what planning and provision had been undertaken for future childcare needs- The answer was an honest none.

Council and parents are yet to hear back from the Minister.

Certainly I'd like to pay tribute to the many parents who worked tirelessly to save this centre including the collection of a thousand signature petition in support. It was an honour and inspiration to work with them - All their efforts will hopefully be rewarded in the future.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

GESAC-basketball-decision soon

As I understand currently both the Mckinnon Basketball Association and the Warriors (Oakleigh) Basketball Association are engaged in mediated discussions to the goal of reaching a mutually agreed shared arrangement for the weekend allocation of the new basketball facilities at the Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre (GESAC) in Bentleigh East.

This is certainly a welcome development on an issue which I hope will be resolved in a satisfactory outcome and presented to Council shortly - It is very important that this issue is resolved soon - the last Council meeting for the year being Tuesday the 13th December.

This great new facility was built primarily to meet the sporting needs of all our local children,families and ratepayers. It is vital that a final arrangement reflects this.

Monday, November 14, 2011

GESAC - local access must be ensured for new basketball facilties.

Probably one of the most challenging and important issues that Council has dealt with this year has been on the weekend allocation and usage for basketball at our great new indoor facilties at the soon to be opened Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre (GESAC). see previous posts.

An article appeared in last Saturdays Age (Nov 12) - links bottom right. In responding to that article and to quote from an email sent to Councillors and Admin yesterday-

"Certainly re the Saturday Age article I stand by and am indeed proud of all my efforts so far (and will continue to do so) in advocating strongly on behalf of the 1400+ families and kids who would have potentially not been playing at the new GESAC facilities under the original offer. Also endorse Jim and Franks comments in this article re addressing this important community need".

Whilst I feel this issue has been unresolved for far too long, I am hopeful that a solution will be reached very soon that will be inclusive of our local association and clubs.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Climate Change action - Federally and Locally

Today in the Federal Parliament was an important day in this country's efforts to address the impacts and causes of climate change. The legislation to implement a carbon tax at $23 per tonne,supported by the Greens, was passed through the upper house (Senate)after having previously been accepted by the lower house (House of Representatives).

This has been a long time coming and rightly places a price on pollution by requiring Australia's heaviest emitters of CO2 into our atmosphere to pay a cost for this practise and will come into effect from July 1st next year. This tax will be the forerunner to a more comphrensive Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Ironically on this same day Councillors were considering submissions on Glen Eira's own draft Carbon Reduction plan that I would expect will be presented to Council soon.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Poker Machine reform - report requested

At last Tuesday night's I moved that the following report be provided to council. Seconded Cr Magee and passed unaminously.

"That a report be provided to Council on the poker machine reforms currently being considered by the Federal Government.This report to also include details on the latest data and spending , including poker machine losses, in the City of Glen Eira".

In requesting this report I spoke on the following points-

Out of approx $19billion wagered each year in Aust $13billion is spent on poker machines.

In 09/10 Glen Eira had three hotels rated in amongst the highest losses for Victoria.

no.24 Rosstown Hotel Carnegie($14m) ,
no.31 Racecourse Tabaret Caulfield($12.5m ),
no.33 Zagames Hotel Caulfield($12.3m

source Victorian Govt Gaming authority see links bottom right

We may well have one of the higher $loss per capitas in Victoria - and that this was not just a problem for the outer suburbs as is regularly percieved.