Thursday, October 9, 2008

What I have achieved in 18mths on Council

What a busy 18 months! These are just some of the positives initiatives I have put in place:

  • Communication: including more languages other than English
  • Children’s services: securing quality, affordable & accessible care
  • Sustainable water: recycled & storm water at facilities, sports grounds, gardens
  • Health & wellbeing: no smoking in playgrounds across the municipality
  • Planning: rejecting overdevelopment
  • Sustainable transport: advocacy for increased spending on cycling & walking; safety for train users & pedestrians around primary schools
  • Improvements to open space: Farnham Reserve Masterplan, Future improvements to Bent St Reserve & Debneys Park
  • Community development: empowering public housing community
  • Improved Graffiti policy
  • Working with local traders associations
  • An apology to our Indigenous community for past policies
  • Reduction in fees & charges at Flemington Community Centre

As a Councillor, who is a lawyer, educator and mother, I have earned a reputation for being honest, hardworking, approachable and persistent. In a new four year term, I will continue to work with all stakeholders and community groups fairly and honestly.

Help me to keep politics clean at Moonee Valley. In the postal election closing 28 Nov. please Vote 1 Rose Iser for The Greens.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Clean Environment Clean Politics

Yes - I am seeking re-election in November in the new South ward. I am resolute in my commitment to addressing issues of environmental sustainability, governance, community services, consultation, planning, open space and more ... in Moonee Valley. More on this soon...

Speak up on bullying

Bullying is often an issue for females in male dominated workplaces - such as the political sphere. It is a difficult topic to address and doing so can make people uncomfortable. Only 29% of Councillors Australia-wide are female and many of these women say they experience bullying during Council meetings. Without clear processes to address bullying, and the enforcement of these processes, political debate can degenerate to personal attacks (becasue of course this doesn't happen at the State and Federal level!). As difficult and as uncomfortable as it is, I encourage women (and men) to speak up about bullying in their workplaces in the hope that it is addressed - or better still, doesn't occur in the first place.

Council performs U-Turn on Clearways

Cr Rose Iser has expressed concern about Council voting to work with VicRoads to implement AM Clearways in Moonee Valley.

“Council voted on July 15th to oppose any extension to Clearways and has now changed its position for AM Clearways. Is every position of Council open for reversal in this way?” said Cr Iser.

“While addressing traders’ concerns has rightly been mentioned, there are safety issues and concerns raised by residents that also require attention. When cars move faster, pedestrians are put at risk – particularly getting on and off trams,” she said.

There is very little traffic in Mt Road after 9:15am and there is no need for extended clearways – in effect creating a ‘freeway’ to be used in preference to the CityLink tollway” Cr Iser said.

Council delegates all planning decisions to CEO over January

Cr Rose Iser has expressed concern about Council delegating all urgent Town Planning applications to the Chief Executive between December 16th 2008 and February 2009.

“Council has just put developers on notice that, in Moonee Valley, there will be virtually no political scrutiny of planning decisions that need to be made over January,” said Cr Iser.

“Council has an invaluable role in overseeing planning decisions and has supported community concerns by successfully modifying about 60% of the applications that come to Council meetings for a decision. Very few of these Councillor amendments have been successfully challenged at VCAT,” she said.

“It is of great concern that an outgoing Council is binding a new Council to a decision making process – hopefully a new Council will be enthusiastic about dealing with planning matters and will manage to do so over summer,” Cr Iser said.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Buying public land from the State Government

It has been interesting to read about Moreland Council being asked to purchase VicRoads land to maintain its public use. Despite an Upper House Inquiry last year into the use and development of public land and open space in Victoria, the State Government is still requiring local Councils to use rate-payers' money to purchase public land it nominates as being surplus to the Government's needs. Moonee Valley City Council has put aside $150,000 in this year's budget as part payment for a pocket of land along the Moonee Ponds Creek at Bent St, Moonee Ponds. The price-tag has not yet been made public. This land was declared surplus by the State Government, but rather than taking up the Council's offer to manage the land, invest in recreational facilities and maintain it as public open space, the public purse has had to open for Council to purchase public land. The transfer of land from one tier of government to another should not be at a cost the community.

Somali women ask the Federal Government to ban the importation of the drug KHAT

On the evening of Friday 15th August, I attended a meeting organised by local Somalian women about a drug they say is affecting their families and young people. The drug, known as KHAT, is imported from Somalia. The importation of KHAT is illegal in the USA, Canada and NZ and many Somalian men and women in Flemington would like the Federal Government to make its importation into Australia unlawful. They also call on the State Government to make the sale and production of the drug illegal and to provide assistance for users and their families through harm minimisation policies and resources. I will investigate the availability of assistance and resources at the level of local government.

Travancore Development (Former Lombard's site)

Disappointingly, on August 11th, VCAT handed down its approval of the Development Plan for a 23 storey tower as Stage 2B of the Benson's development on the former Lombards site. In accepting the height as reasonable for the site, the VCAT member referred to expert opinion from within Council and the PDP's recommendations. The member argued that although Melbourne 2030 "discourages" intense developments outside activity centres, where there is net community benefit, such a development can be contemplated. Council now needs to consider the planning permit application for the development.

Kayyo Oromo Women's Group

I recently enjoyed an afternoon of cultural celebration hosted by the Oromo Women's Group in Flemington. The women explained their cultural background and the challenges they currently face - such as learning to drive as demonstrated in an hilarious short film. Through the work of the group, the women are supporting each other in their Australian context. They are hopeful that the Occasional Child Care facility at Flemington Community Centre will soon commence enabling greater participation in education and support programs.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Environment Forum - Peak Oil

Monday 11th August 2008, 7:30pm

Council Chamber at the Civic Centre
9 Kellaway Ave, Moonee Ponds

Hear Phil Hart and Dr James Barson

Local Governments can ACT NOW on Climate Change

In light of the Garnaut Report and the ensuing discussion about how the Federal Government should respond, I am launching a campaign to highlight to local governments that they can ACT NOW to combat climate change.

Watch for the launch of this campaign to help you point out to your local government what it can do to combat climate change NOW.

Notice of Motion - Bring Office of Housing to Flemington Estate

I am raising a Motion at next week's meeting relating to the lack of Office of Housing staff located on the Flemington Housing Estate. Currently, residents are required to travel 30 mins by public transport to access the office at Wingate Ave Housing Estate Ascot Vale to complete simple administrative tasks.
I am requesting that the Office of Housing trial a mobile or occasional office (perhaps two mornings a week) at the Flemington Community Centre.

Budget 2008-2009

I have voted against the draft budget for a number of reasons. While there are many valuable projects included in the budget, it lacks strategic integrity and the capital works program lacks rigour and transparency.
As a result, there is insufficient funding for key Council Plans such as the Integrated Transport Plan ($100,000), the Environmental Sustainability Plan and the Cycling and Walking Strategy ($300,000).
Funding for sporting pavilions ($200,000) has been alocated on an ad hoc basis without a transparent and equitable strategy to support allocations.
Revenue from Open Space contributions has not been allocated to open spaces with a clear nexus to the development from which the contribution has been sought.
Funding for improvements to roads ($2.5M) is not strategically tied to improvements for walking and cycling.
While I am pleased to see funding for some excellent projects in the Debney Ward and across the municipality, the budget requires improvement in the areas I have outlined before I can give it my full support.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Day of protest - Eddington and Travancore Development




A large crowd gathered in Debney's Park on Sunday 25th May to protest against the Edddington Report and the Travancore (Lombards) Development.

Paul Mees, Gab Pretto, Julienne Bell, Kevin Chamberlain and I (Rose Iser) addressed the crowd.
Keep active and vocal and express your views about these proposals. Neither Eddington's report nor the Travancore Development do anything to address our transport and community needs. Neither projects deliver sustainable traffic and transport outcomes.




Make a submission to Council on Eddington

MVCC will make a submission to the Eddington Report. To make sure Council's submission reflects the views of the community, write to Council and give your opinion on whether Eddington's billion dollar projects are the transport solutions for Melbourne.

VEC Review Results - three three member wards

From December 2008, Moonee Valley City Council will be divided into three wards (not the current 7) and each of the 3 wards will have 3 Councillors elected via proportional representation. This is a great outcome and will hopefully result in a Council that better reflects the diversity of our community.

Draf Budget out for comment soon

Please make sure you review the draft budget and make submissions. I am working hard to make sure the revenue from the sale of Debney Parkland is spent on Debney Park, that there is funding for local community projects and that our Environemntal Sustainability and Greenhouse Action Plans are funded.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Update on Development on former Lombards site

The majority of Moonee Valley Council has approved Stage 2A of the development on the former Lombard’s site on Mt Alexander Road.

While six of the seven councillors have voted in favour of the development, I strongly oppose the end result and the way in which this decision has been reached. Unfortunately, I was the only Councillor to oppose both the amended Development Plan and the amended Permit application.

My reasons for opposition follow:

· The conditions dropped from the Development Plan remove any requirement on the applicant to undertake assessments of the social and transport needs of future residents. Future residents are likely to use the open space and facilities on Debney and Delhi Reserves as no such facilities have been provided on site by the applicant. An assessment of the needs of future residents would allow Council to plan for and fund an appropriate response – possibly with the applicant making a financial contribution.

· Recent decisions at VCAT suggest that conditions requiring contributions to facilities for future residents resulting from sub-divisions can be appropriate. In the interests of future and current residents of the area, Council should have taken up any challenge to these conditions by the applicant at VCAT, rather than dropping them in exchange for changes to design.

· The provision of bicycles, two fleet cars and illuminated signs do not mitigate the need for any further assessment of public transport needs of future residents. As an out-of-activity-centre developer, Council should be paying closer attention to measures that ensure that the proportion of public transport travel is consistent with the Melbourne 2030 criteria for out-of-centre-development.

· The amended plans include an increase in apartments from 226 to 243 and an increase in car spaces from 254 to 319. These increases add further weight to the requirement of an assessment of public transport needs and negate the benefit of the provision of two fleet cars.

· Council also voted to drop a requirement that the developer contribute to the landscaping of Mt Alexander Road along Debney Park, despite the developer, as a requirement of VicRoads, removing all existing landscaping to make way for a right turn lane onto the site.

· The amendments made to the permit during the debate are not a great value-add: we have already put in place parking restrictions on the Community Centre car-park as a result of Stage 1 and noise abatement can be alternatively enforced through the local law amendments that are coming back to Council in May.

· There are outstanding design issues that have not been addressed:

§ No pram ramps to the public plaza and pedestrians must navigate a loading zone;

§ No exclusive bike-link from Mt Road to the Moonee Ponds Creek with cyclists either having to dismount to walk along the footpath or share the entrance with all incoming vehicular traffic;

§ The quality and appeal of the public plaza can be further improved;

§ Further improvements can be made to the Green Travel plan to make sure the development is consistent with the criteria for an out-of-activity-centre development (see Melbourne 2030 criteria for proportions of public transport travel for out-of-centre developments).

§ Improvements to the design in terms of Environmentally Sustainable Design can be made; and

§ The standard of amenity for future residents abutting the CityLink freeway can be improved.

Rather than approve the Development Plan and planning permit in their current form, I moved an alternative motion supporting the design changes made to date and requesting that further discussions take place as part of the established Priority of Development Panel currently working on Stage 2B. Stage 2A has been excluded from the terms of reference of the PDP.

The most sensible outcome at this point would have been for Council to continue to work with the applicant through the established PDP in order to address the identified outstanding design issues. Approving the plans at this point leaves them half-baked and wastes the opportunity afforded to Council by the establishment of the PDP.

In my view, Council has sent a message to developers that we will readily drop planning conditions to secure improvements to design, rather than require improvements as outright conditions on permits.

The net result of the decision is that the applicant will be financing some design changes and Council will be funding measures to mop up the impact of the development.

Council will be making a decision on the Planning Permit for Stage 2B later this year.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Make a submission to the VEC for 3 x 3 councillor wards

The Victorian Electoral Commission has released its preliminary report on the number of councillors and the ward structures for Moonee Valley. You can find the report on the VEC website: vec.vic.gov.au

The VEC has recommended that MVCC have 9 coucillors - 3 councillors from each of 3 wards.

I believe this recommendation will serve Moonee Valley residents well. I made a preliminary submission to the VEC that sets out reasons for this view. My submission is available on the VEC website.

The VEC is asking for response submissions to its recommendation: the final deicison depends on how the community responds.

You need to make a response by 22 April 2008. You can read the report, preliminary submissions - and then make your comments known to the VEC. Have a voice. Be heard.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Development on former Lombard's site

You may know about the decision of Council to refuse the Stage 2B 21 storey tower proposed for the former Lombard’s site. The developer has appealed this decision at VCAT.

Respecting that the majority of Council also resolved to approve the Stage 2A 9 storey component, Cr Jim Cusack (Deakin ward) and I voted against this proposal in Council on 4 March on a number of grounds:

· Poor use of public transport
· Poor pedestrian and cyclist access
· Poor integration with adjoining residential area
· Poor integration with Stage 1
· Poor connections with open space
· Poor environmental response

The developer has also appealed the conditions put on the Stage 2A development. You can see these conditions at www.mvcc.vic.gov.au - look at the minutes for the Council meeting on 4 March.

The Planning Permits for Stages 2A and 2B are currently being considered by Council. I will continue to argue for improvements to the plans to make the development greener and better suited to its location.

Walking and Cycling

Improvements to cycling and walking paths are a priority. The Walking and Cycling Committee is identifying funding opportunities for 2008/9. What are your priorities?

Pram ramps are currently going in across Flemington Hill.

Greenhouse emissions

Street lighting accounts for 60% of Council’s emissions. Improvements to street-lighting will reduce Council’s emissions by 30%.

This is an achievable target.

Waste management

Moonee Valley’s landfill per household is above the Victorian average.

We are hoping to reach our target of reducing land-fill by 65% by 2014. We are doing this through avoiding waste, reusing and recycling and through the kitchen organics, green waste, business recycling and Re-New programs.

Avoid, reuse, recycle for zero waste.

Open Spaces

Fenton, Farnham and Delhi Reserves, and Travencore, Ormond and Debneys Parks are some of Debney Ward’s valuable green spaces. I am working on improvements to the surfaces and vegetation of these.

Pridham Plaza is another public space. When the development is complete, artwork, plants and furniture will make it an attractive place for families.

Equipment in playgrounds

There are a number of playgrounds that require additions and upgrades. I am working with community members to improve:

· Farnham Reserve
· Arthur Calwell Park
· Debneys Park

Talk to me about your playground.

Flemington Project

With Council and State Govt funding, the community on the Flemington Housing Estate is working together on a number of initiatives:

· Improving the environment
· Connecting the community
· Services for young people

Our waterways: dredging and storm-water

The decision to proceed with the dredging of Port Phillip Bay will potentially impact the quality of the water in the Maribyrnong River and surrounding water ways. Council resolved to request monitoring of the river.

In addition, Council has approved a draft Storm-water Management Plan. Please take a look and submit comments. Protecting our waterways from pollution and litter is a priority

Boundary Review

The State Government has redrawn the boundary between Moonee Valley City Council and The City of Melbourne. The new boundary, to take effect on July 1st 2008, will extend along Racecourse Rd.

The suburbs of Kensington and Nth Melbourne will be entirely within The City of Melbourne, except for some shops along Racecourse Rd.

There was no community consultation on the proposed location of the new boundary. Despite the arguable inadequacies of the process, I will be working towards a smooth transition and the continuation of services to residents and community groups who will no longer be part of Moonee Valley.

Graffiti

A Graffiti Policy that combines assistance to residents and traders to clean up graffiti with opportunities to create murals and community artwork spaces is currently being developed.

The new mural at Ascot Kindergarten is an example of a community art project supported by MVCC and coordinated by parents at the kinder. Students from Debney Park Secondary School created an artistic mural to cover the wall.

I can assist community groups coordinate similar projects.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

About Rose Iser

Rose Iser is a councillor on Moonee Valley City Council. She was elected in March 2007 to serve the community of Debney Ward.

Rose is endorsed by the Moonee Valley Branch of The Greens. You can learn more about the policies of The Greens at www.vic.greens.org.au

Rose is a qualified lawyer but has spent most of her professional life as a teacher and writer. She has two young children and lives in Flemington.

Rose is passionate about the environment, children's and family services, community engagement, public transport, cycling and walking, open spaces, arts and culture, support for new and emerging communities, social justice and environmentally sustainable planning... and more.

Rose values the role local government can play in strengthening commuities and providing a clean and green environment for residents and visitors.

Development on former Lombard's Site

You may know about the decision of Council to refuse the Stage 2B 21 storey tower proposed for the former Lombard’s site. The developer has appealed this decision at VCAT.

Respecting that the majority of Council also resolved to approve the Stage 2A 9 storey component, Cr Jim Cusack (Deakin ward) and I voted against this proposal in Council on 4 March on a number of grounds:

· Poor use of public transport
· Poor pedestrian and cyclist access
· Poor integration with adjoining residential area
· Poor integration with Stage 1
· Poor connections with open space
· Poor environmental response

The developer has also appealed the conditions put on the Stage 2A development. You can see these conditions at www.mvcc.vic.gov.au - look at the minutes for the Council meeting on 4 March.

The Planning Permits for Stages 2A and 2B are currently being considered by Council. I will continue to argue for improvements to the plans to make the development greener and better suited to its location.