Media Centre

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

Journalists are welcome to contact:

Dave Bell
Senior Media Advisor
Phone: 8470 8603
Email: dave.bell@darebin.vic.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASES

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 yoursaydarebin.com.au or by telephoning customer service on 8470 8888.

Media release - 22 November 2017

Darebin Council has welcomed the announcement of a resounding YES win in the Marriage Law Postal Survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics today.

“This is part of the journey toward full equality for LGBTIQ Australians,” said newly re-elected Mayor Kim Le Cerf.

In the federal electorate of Batman which includes the City of Darebin, 71.2% of survey participants voted YES.

“It’s a fantastic outcome – earlier this year Council resolved to fly the rainbow flag over the Preston Civic Centre until marriage equality is achieved, and this brings us one huge step closer to that goal,” added the Mayor.

The Council has been concerned about the impacts of the debate on Darebin residents and continues to provide support to the community through Darebin Family Services.

It has also been buoyed by the support shown across the community over the past months with locals creating posters, badges and banners with messages of support.

“Our next task is to ensure the Federal Government makes good on its commitment to allow a free vote in the Parliament and ensure strong and equitable draft legislation is tabled, which makes the necessary amendments to the Marriage Act to allow same sex couples to marry,” said Mayor Le Cerf.

“We pride ourselves on being a progressive, forward-thinking Council and we are always keen to hear ideas from our community for building a fair and supportive City for all,” the Mayor stated.

Darebin Council is hosting a community gathering this afternoon at Northcote Town Hall between 3pm and 7pm to celebrate the City’s community solidarity, resilience and pride.

“We’re really proud of this community and hope many people will join us in celebrating today.”

Media Release - 15 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

Darebin Mayor Kim Le Cerf has joined with fellow women mayors and pledged to take a stand against violence affecting women and children.

“I’m proud to add my voice and my support to this initiative,” said Cr Le Cerf.

“Darebin has a long and proud history of promoting gender equity and working to prevent violence against women and their children. We were the first council in Victoria to fund a Preventing Violence Against Women Officer position and we have led the way with progressive strategies to address gender inequality.

“Women and men who work in in local government have a responsibility to keep the issue of family violence on the agenda, never allowing our efforts to slip. We can and will change the attitudes and behaviours that allow family violence to occur, and we must keep speaking out.”

The pledge from Victorian women mayors:

As the 2017 mayoralty year draws to an end we can all look back with pride as 2017 holds the highest number of women Mayors ever elected in Victoria’s history.

We stand united in our concern about the unacceptable level of family violence in our communities and we hear the victims’ voices.

We know that the role of gender inequality contributes to the prevalence of domestic violence.

And this is an issue we need ALL to take a united stand on as a community.

We need to ensure that our approaches are evidence-based and based on best practice from across the world.

We need to change the culture that allows violence by sending the right messages to our children; by supporting early childhood and school educators to embed Respectful Relationships into the curriculum from preschool, throughout primary and secondary education.

We ask all levels of government to unite to work together on prevention of violence, as well as providing service to those needing immediate and ongoing support.

Raising awareness of gender equity is essential to changing attitudes towards women that can lead to disrespect and violence.

We are asking that all women politicians at every level of government and from all sides of politics join us and pledge to Take A Stand against Violence affecting women and children.

We also ask our men colleagues and male community leaders to stand beside us and continue to support our efforts to work together against family violence.

We also thank all of the wonderful service providers and people across the community who are doing so much to address family violence and add our voice to the enormous efforts already being made by so many.

Together we can tackle family violence and make our homes and communities safer places.

Join us in our united effort to say NO to violence against women.

Cr Amanda McClaren, Strathbogie Shire Council
Cr Amanda Stone, Yarra City Council
Cr Andrea Surace, Moonee Valley City Council
Cr Anita Rank, Glenelg Shire Council
Cr Anna Speedie, Wodonga City Council
Cr Bernadene Voss, Port Phillip City Council
Cr Bev Colomb, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
Cr Carolyn Crossley, Wellington Shire Council
Cr Catherine Cumming, Maribyrnong City Council
Cr Charlotte Bisset, Murrindindi Shire Council
Cr Debra Nelson, Hindmarsh Shire Council
Cr Denise Massoud, Whitehorse City Council
Cr Helen Davidson, Moreland City Council
Cr Jami Klisaris, Stonnington City Council
Cr Jennifer Anderson, Macedon Ranges Shire Council
Cr Jenny O'Connor, Indigo Shire Council
Cr Jo Beard, Corangamite Shire Council
Cr Kellie O'Callaghan, Latrobe City Council
Cr Kim Le Cerf, Darebin City Council
Cr Kylie Gaston, Warrnambool City Council
Cr Margaret O'Rourke, Greater Bendigo City Council
Cr Mary Ann Brown, Southern Grampians Shire Council
Cr Mary Delahunty, Glen Eira City Council
Cr Michelle Kleinert, Manningham City Council
Cr Pamela Clarke, Horsham Rural City Council
Cr Pamela Rothfield, Bass Coast Shire Council
Cr Rebecca Paterson, Monash City Council
Cr Rhonda Sanderson, Mitchell Shire Council
Cr Samantha McIntosh, Ballarat City Council
Cr Sandra Wilson, Hobsons Bay City Council
Cr Sharon Telford, Mount Alexander Shire Council
Cr Sophie Ramsey, Melton City Council

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

There’s a new animal welfare facility for Darebin’s lost and injured pets.

The new Epping Animal Welfare Facility will open on Monday 16 October 2017 to provide shelter, accommodation and adoption services for lost and abandoned animals whose owners can’t be identified.

Darebin Mayor Kim Le Cerf said the $11million state-of-the-art centre sets new standards for animal welfare.

“Located in Companion Place, it has a permanent onsite veterinary service that will care for injured or ill animals, and provide vaccination and de-sexing services for unclaimed animals so they can be adopted,” Mayor Cr Le Cerf said.

“Animals will be housed in larger enclosures and there is an outdoor exercise area for cats and dogs.

“While the facility is great, when a pet ends up at the shelter it is a distressing experience for both them and their owners.

“It is so important all owners remember to microchip and register their pets so they can be quickly identified and returned home without needing to go to the animal welfare facility,” the Mayor said.

The animal welfare facility has been developed in partnership between the Cities of Whittlesea, Moreland and Darebin and will be managed and operated by the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). 

From Monday 16 October, Darebin residents who have lost their pet or would like to adopt a pet should contact the Epping Animal Welfare Facility. For more information, visit darebin.vic.gov.au.

The Cities of Darebin, Whittlesea and Moreland received the Procurement Australia Award for Collaboration and Innovation for the Epping Animal Welfare Facility tender and contract.

Location
Epping Animal Welfare Facility, 20 Companion Place, Epping 3076
Phone: 03 8401 6600

Open hours
Mon, Wed, Fri 11am -7pm
Tues & Thurs (except public holidays) – 7:00am – 3:00pm
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays (except Good Friday and Christmas Day) – 9:00am – 12:00pm
Good Friday and Christmas Day – closed.

 Media Release - Tuesday 10 October 2017

Darebin Council together with the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency has welcomed $130,000 in funding from the Labor Government’s Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health Initiative to improve access for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to vital Maternal and Child Health services.

The funding is part of a $1.2 million grants package announced by Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos in Northcote.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said the initiative will benefit 250 Darebin families with that identify as Aboriginals or Torres Strait Islanders.

“It will promote better health and wellbeing outcomes through earlier intervention by making essential maternal and child health services more culturally responsive and accessible,” Cr Le Cerf said.

She said the funding will also benefit children and their families through stronger collaboration between local service providers including hospitals and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA).

Aboriginal children in Victoria generally have lower participation rates in MCH services. The gap increases from almost 5 per cent at the initial home visit to 18 per cent at the 18-month consultation.

“I would like to thank the Victorian Government for committing funding for what we all agree is a vital service,” Cr Le Cerf said.

“The Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health Initiative is the result of Darebin Council and VACCA working together to provide a high quality, integrated and culturally responsive model of support,” she said.

The funding is part of an $81million Victorian Government package.

Darebin Council provides the Maternal and Child Health Service for children and their families focusing on parenting, health promotion, developmental assessments, prevention, early detection and intervention for physical, emotional and social factors affecting young children.

Media Release - 3 October 2017

If you’re one of the more than 21,000 Darebin residents who are aged 65 years or over – or even if you’re not quite there yet – we want to hear from you to help shape the future delivery of aged care services.

Providing support for Darebin’s residents as they age to help people live healthy, active and independent lives, is a big priority for Council says Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf.

“Our community is growing and ageing and their needs are changing. It is important that we hear from as many people in our community as possible to help shape the future delivery of services,” the Mayor said.

“A range of Commonwealth Home Support services, for approximately 3,000 older residents are currently provided via Council, including basic personal care and home support. For people requiring a higher level of support, the government funds home care packages, which are provided by an increasing number of community agencies. 

“Council’s role in supporting older residents goes beyond direct service provision. Our role is also to enable our older residents to remain active and connected to community to make sure they keep their independence and sense of wellbeing.

“This is done in many ways – from making places for the community and facilities easy and welcoming to use, including senior citizen centres and activities, to providing advice and advocating for the needs of older residents. One example is the Springtime program of events happening in October for Seniors Month,” the Mayor said.

Council is a signatory to the Victorian Age-Friendly City Declaration.

Have your say

What should it be like to grow older in Darebin? In coming years, government policy will result in further changes to aged care services as the model for service delivery changes to make it more streamlined and consistent across the country.

Council is inviting residents to take part in a community survey to tell them how they want to live and what they want out of their senior years.

Complete the Growing Older Survey or call 8470 8828 to request a printed copy.

Darebin Council has launched a new website to help residents understand the Council’s vision and Plan for the City and to enhance transparency and accountability by helping people to keep track of the organisation’s progress and performance.

Darebin Mayor Cr Kim Le Cerf said the website is a fresh approach to engage the community that Council hopes will help people to hold them to account.

“We recognise that people want to engage with us more and more online. The website is packed with information, photographs and videos. You can learn more about our diverse community, our changing economy and the climate emergency as you navigate around the website,” the Mayor said.

“It will be updated with a performance report each quarter to show the community how we are meeting our commitments and delivering value to ratepayers,” she said.

To visit the website go to: darebin2021.org.

Media Release - 20 September 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