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Young voices speaking
for a bright future

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Young voices speaking <br/>for a bright future

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Highlights

Hello from the Editor

WELCOME to the fifteenth issue of Manningham Life.

We had a wonderful morning tea for our supporters and volunteers in November last year. Aveo generously sponsored the event and provided us with a splendid assortment of treats and excellent music by a string quartet!  Claire Stuchbery, Executive Director of the Local & Independent News Association (LINA), was our guest speaker. A big thank you to Aveo and everyone who came. We're planning to have another morning tea in Nov this year. I'm delighted that young journalists living in our midst have the opportunity to be published through Manningham Life.  Sean Chen, a Doncaster East resident and a Year 11 student, approached us last year. He came along to watch the Rotary Primary Schools Speech Contest and subsequently wrote the cover story for us (page 4). We are keen to offer the same opportunity to all students in our area — send us your pitch!  Write to [email protected] If you are a community organisation or a school, we would love to hear from you if you have events you would like to publicise.  Please get in touch with us. Hope you enjoy reading this issue.  

Cover Story

Young voices speaking for a bright future  

By Sean Chen It was an exhibition of young talent on November 15th, 2023, as the Grand Final of the 2023 Primary Schools Speech Contest took centre stage at the Manningham Hotel and Club in Bulleen. Students from Manningham schools competed alongside other eloquent speakers from the broader Rotary District 9810 area, and it was a night showcasing the true power of words.  This contest, held since 2013, previously encompassed only those schools within the jurisdiction of the Rotary Club of Templestowe.  However, this year saw primary schools such as Templestowe Park, St Clement of Rome, Birralee and Serpell contending with schools from other areas in District 9810, such as Cockatoo, Woori Yallock and Rowville.   Masters of Ceremony, Brian Tyedin from Rotary Club of Manningham City and Marlene Sinclair from Toastmasters, facilitated the event and provided comedic relief in between the stellar speeches.  And speaking of speeches – how good they were!  From Chelsea Van Eijk’s (Woori Yallock Primary School) eye-opening attack on the problematic patriarchal viewpoints of our time in “Gender equality”, to Eddie Newman’s (Chatham Primary School) hilarious anecdote about how getting a sea urchin stuck in his foot engendered his newfound hate for the ocean, the audience were treated to topics that provoked and amused.  However, there had to be winners, and sympathy must go to the judges, provided by Toastmasters International, who were given the difficult task of choosing which of the fourteen amazing contestants came up trumps.    Three prizes, sponsored by the Bendigo Bank, were on offer.  So, who were the winners?  Third Place:  Leah Rahmani (Serpell Primary School)  Topic: Why humans should colonise Mars  Winning the $100 prize, Leah put forward a commanding case for the use of Mars for innovative farming and agriculture in the midst of an overflowing and overpopulated Earth. Leah’s persuasive rationale, citing the vast crop growing areas, valuable minerals and fertile soil present on the red planet was a real highlight and key to her superb speech.   Second Place: Charlie Glenn (Wandin North Primary School)   Topic: Ways to improve the world  Charlie was an equally amazing speaker and the winner of a $200 prize. Her use of ethos and a highly effective, direct delivery style accentuated our need to be grateful for living in Australia by drawing harrowing comparisons with the experiences of those around the world who live in poverty. Charlie indicated that freedom of speech, naturally taken for granted by us, is not even a thought-of notion in many other parts of the globe, and spoke of the vital need for appreciation of the things we have.  First Place: Mitansh Raja (Birralee Primary School)    Topic: If I could change the world  Mitansh was the deserving winner of the $300 prize, speaking fluently with a composure that eludes many a public speaker.  His compelling speech, on the dangers of modern consumerism and technology, and how to recognize harmful content in the media dominated landscape, illustrated maturity beyond his years in acknowledging and attempting to rectify the problems facing the current world.  Congratulations to all fourteen students from the 11 schools that were represented.  No doubt immense preparation, talent and hard work were all factors in their public speaking brilliance. At the end of the night, Manningham Mayor, Carli Lange, commented on her pleasure at seeing such “intelligent human beings speak wonderfully in the face of nerves and fear.”  Seeing such a contingent of young people using their voices to disrupt the norm and seek change for the better in this subsection of Melbourne is a sure indicator that the future is safe in their hands. It was a wonderful night, and kudos to all involved.  Sean lives in Doncaster East and is a Year 12 student at Melbourne Grammar School. 

Local Resident

Kayaking — a hidden pleasure 

By Jane Farrance  Let me introduce myself. My name is Jane. I am 76, and I have been paddling since I was 18. I love paddling, particularly in spring on these beautiful sunny days.  My first interest is Slalom Kayaking, an Olympic sport, usually held on big rapids, often man-made. But that is well past me. Instead, you can usually find me under Fitzsimons Lane Bridge over the Yarra. Thanks to Manningham Council and the State Government, a permanent course is set up with ‘gates’ or poles hung over the water. The paddlers then negotiate the gates in many different ways, sometimes tricky, sometimes easier. I am now on the easy side of the spectrum. Still, it is never dull, always challenging according to an individual’s skills and experience.  It is a hidden gem where beginners can learn the skills and where Australian team members regularly train. A small, tightly-knit sport where it is common to see a National Champion helping newcomers. In 2023, 60 % of the Australian U23 and Junior teams were from Victoria, and most train at Fitzsimons Lane. Parents, too, are fully included, often as administrators or officials, but many decide they want to paddle and join in.  Luckily for me, it does not involve much leg work, as my arthritis makes walking a challenge. Still, once in the kayak, I can forget about my ailing body and paddle, a great sport for anyone whose knees and ankles are not what they used to be. Once on the water, I feel a sense of freedom and that I am in total control, answerable to no one. When my family was young, we all went kayaking together; it taught them how to face and conquer challenges. I hope it made them braver and more independent. It also taught them to be helpful and thoughtful of other people. Interestingly, they and their children still paddle to a greater or lesser degree.  The river is free and always open; it was a great place to go during the Covid lockdown. There is plenty of space, not crowded, and you are immersed in nature. If you love water and its natural environment, there is a paddle sport for you. Flat water marathon, sprint, polo and touring are other branches of paddling. All are fun. Just pick your favourite.  My favourite is simply touring; it can be done on any water, anywhere. Paddlers start at one point on the river and travel downstream to another point. The distance can suit you: a couple of hours, overnight, weeks or even longer.   Camping by the river in Australia’s bush is a wonderful experience, a great way to see nature at its best. It is a unique way to explore the Yarra, but why stop there?   Most of Victoria can be explored by river, indeed much of Australia. Overseas offers even more amazing choices; our neighbour New Zealand is a mecca for paddling. The highlight of my paddling journey was paddling the Grand Canyon. One hundred twenty-five miles of it, taking two weeks. The canyon was a marvel of nature at work as the river ate into the canyon walls millions of years of different rocks and strata. A vast cavern carved into the rock reportedly held 10,000 people. However, I would hate to imagine that many people all at once in such a magical place — side canyons of great beauty carved out of the rock by water, wind and time. The bright aqua-coloured water flows from the tributaries such as Havasu Creek and others. Of course, I cannot forget the water, huge waves, and eddies, but there is little in the way of rocks or trees in the water to cause hazards.  A trip I will never forget.  So what to do now, go paddling.   For more info, contact:  Paddle Victoria 9020 2750  Melbourne Canoe Club  [email protected]  Canoes Plus Racing team  ​​​​​​​1 800 052 925     

Council Report

Oct to Dec 2023   

By Alexander Owens  The end of the year sees Manningham’s councillors tackle a backlog of decisions and reports.  This year’s two-and-a-half-hour marathon December meeting was no different, and this last quarter featured cat confinement, local wastewater treatment, divided votes, and an unusual focus on cricket.   Manningham’s councillors hold a special annual meeting each November to elect a new mayor and deputy mayor. Throughout this council’s term, each election has been uncontested, with only one councillor nominating for the positions. Cr Carli Lange was elected unopposed to serve as Mayor until October 2024, with Cr Laura Mayne also elected unopposed as Deputy Mayor.  A pilot 24-hour cat confinement initiative was incorporated into Manningham’s Domestic Animal Management Plan in May 2023, sparking some controversy from concerned cat-owning residents. This is a decision following similar plans enacted by councils across Australia in light of evidence that roaming cats kill up to half a billion animals a year, the majority of those being native species. The federal government is currently examining the threat of cats in its own legislation. Council resolved 8-1 (Cr Gough against) to begin its two-year phased pilot in December 2023. Cat confinement will start on 1 April 2024, with councillors committed to education outreach before this date. No fines will be given until 1 January 2025 for cats caught outside their registered property, with a nine-month amnesty period designed to give residents further information. Cr Andrew Conlon has transitioned his cats to be confined to his property since May and is now enthusiastic towards confinement, saying this is “good for people, good for the environment, and great for cats” – and this position is supported by existing evidence.  The controversy surrounding the proposed local wastewater recycling facility is an order of magnitude greater than any surrounding the cat curfew. Sixteen years after then-Mayor Geoff Gough signed a memorandum with Yarra Valley Water to provide a local processing facility, the construction of one has now been approved 8-1 (Cr Chen against) under parkland at the rear of 2-18 Tram Road. Councillors spoke of the difficulty in making this decision, acknowledging both the impact of construction and the eventual undesirable situation of living next to a waste processing facility. However, they leaned on net benefit and compromise to explain their support. Over the sixteen years, the project has evolved from a large above-ground facility to now being a below-ground facility with a small ground level footprint and retention of parkland. Councillors also stressed that by approving the permit, they had attached fourteen pages of conditions protecting residents through construction and ongoing operation. A similar facility is already operational in parkland around the MCG, and odours are imperceptible per EPA guidelines. Approving the facility is another difficult decision that considers both the environment and the broader amenity of residents. During drought, this recycled water will be a valuable resource for all houses built with a third ‘purple’ pipe for its use. The local nature of processing means water does not need to be pumped great distances.   With inflation, material costs and labour costs still running high, budgets for some capital works planned pre-2020 have required significant upward adjustments. The construction of a new visitor centre and upgrade of the existing Schramm’s Cottage is one such example, where a project cost of $2.2m in 2020 will now require at least $777,000 to achieve a scaled-back outcome. Schramm’s Cottage is a significant heritage site in Manningham. Built in 1875, it is representative of the orchards and farming in the area at the time. The Cottage serves as the home of the Doncaster Templestowe Historical Society, and the works would significantly benefit their volunteer-run operations, be fit for displaying and maintaining their collection, and be more accommodating for school visits. Several community members spoke in favour of the project being fully funded during December’s question time, and councillors chose to fully fund the project, voting to provide an additional $1 million. This decision was against the officers’ recommendations to discontinue the project in the face of cost increases and instead identify ways of improving the overall precinct. Notably, neither the Historical Society nor the Council discussed the Wurundjeri peoples or indigenous history, which spans 300 times the two centuries of history the Society works to preserve.   October saw a discussion on an Affordable Housing Policy and a stern rebuke of the State Government’s Housing Statement (a preliminary strategy for tackling the housing crisis). The Affordable Housing Policy was unanimously endorsed with only brief talking points from the two youngest councillors, Crs Laura Mayne and Tomas Lightbody. They explained how the Policy outlined Manningham’s position to advocate for allocations of subsidised rental units in developments of over 30 units and lamented the lack of State Government-legislated mandates for providing social housing in new developments.  The Affordable Housing Policy is timely as there is a significant demand for affordable housing in Manningham, and it is worth noting that provision of social housing in Manningham is far lower than in Greater Melbourne.    On a subsequent motion, all nine councillors spoke in favour of writing to the State Government expressing disapproval in a newly published Housing Statement, a preliminary set of strategies to tackle the housing crisis. The Statement is available to read online and features pictures of Manningham’s own Tullamore Estate as a model of housing development. Councillors expressed dismay at provisions that seek to centralise further planning powers with State ministers and reduce VCAT rights for resident appeals against State Government decisions. Councillors spent nearly half an hour criticising the State Government, with Cr Andrew Conlon specifically blaming high rates of immigration and Cr Geoff Gough suggesting decisions were being held up at the State level with municipal governments getting the blame. The councillors saw these changes as a further attack on the planning powers it holds and prides itself on wielding.  However, in planning decisions, Manningham is an outlier among slower peer councils, processing 92% of applications within the 60-day State-mandated window. Of the 2.7% of decisions appealed to VCAT, only one in five went in the developers’ favour. Of 806 decisions made, 800 were in line with the State Government’s position. Manningham is, by the data, one of the more efficient planning bodies in Victoria, and the changes in this small part of this statement are not  an attack on Manningham; instead, they are a planned tool to improve efficiency across councils not meeting their approvals timelines. Most of the Statement discusses affordable housing and precinct strategies, the very issues the Councillors were lamenting about a lack of leadership from the State Government just moments earlier. Rather than identifying ways to work productively with all levels of government, councillors instead chose to express their disapproval and advocate for residents to follow their position.   Cr Stephen Mayne has been a vocal advocate of cricket through his term on Manningham Council, and over the last three months the councillor has moved several cricket-specific motions and amendments. Most notably, as a finalised pricing policy for the use of sports grounds was presented to councillors, he successfully attached an amendment to specifically limit the increases to cricket field usage pricing by 10% per annum. Though this amendment was in reaction to the cricket fields experiencing the greatest price increases of sports mentioned, council officers had designed the pricing to recuperate 35% of the costs of maintaining and running these facilities when booked by a Manningham club, representing a significant investment by Manningham in all sports. 35% of sports clubs will see their facility fees decrease due to the changes, however after this amendment no other type of sport has the rate increase protection that cricket has. Additional cricket motions include a focus in councillor reports on cricket activity in the municipality, and an additional motion requesting officers prepare a feasibility report on providing indoor cricket facilities, adding a pavilion on land Council currently leases, and adding white fencing to “really lift the look and heritage feel” of the oval at Schramm’s Reserve.   Annual and quarterly reports were tabled as mandated by the Local Government Act, and these documents continue to become more accessible with colour coding and diagrams to break down spending and activity. These are accessible through Manningham’s website. Public question time also remains an important forum for residents to engage with councillors, and the youngest resident who appeared during question time brought with them a novel proposal: a doughnut day to foster community unity, held at Ruffey Lake Park. The proposal appeared to be warmly received when CEO Andrew Day responded to the young resident, and I personally hope to hear an update on this in 2024.

Upcoming Events

Mar - April

THE LAUGHING ALL ABILITIES REALLY FRIENDLY SINGERS (LAARFS)  LAARFS is a choir aimed at people with chronic illness who use music to ease some effects of their condition. Singing is great for easing pain and discomfort and with the LAARF Singers, it is also free. LAARFS is a project of Rotary Club of Manningham City and is sponsored by Bendigo Bank.  Date: Every Monday  Hours: 2 - 4 pm  Venue: Templestowe Baptist Church, 103 - 105 Anderson Creek Rd, Doncaster East  Entry: Free  Contact: Leon 0412 932 794  MANNINGHAM STARGAZING NIGHT  Join the Astronomical Society of Victoria (ASV) at a stargazing evening at Westerfolds Park, Templestowe. ASV astronomers will be on hand with telescopes and demonstrators.  Date: Friday, 15 March  Hours: 8:30 - 11:30 pm  Venue: Westerfolds Park, Ridge Picnic Area, Fitzsimons Lane, Templestowe  Entry: Free  Contact: Manningham Council 9840 9333  ALL ABILITIES GOOD VIBRATIONS DISCO  This popular event is back for another year!  It is now run by the Rotary Club of Manningham City, and features non-stop music from DJ Flash.  Date: Saturday, 16 March  Hours: 7 - 9:30 pm  Venue: Tende Beck Scout Hall, 5 High St, Doncaster  Theme: Super Heroes  Entry: $5 (Bookings essential through Humanitix)  Tell your friends about it, dress up in your favourite Super Hero outfit and come and enjoy an evening of dancing and fun. MANNINGHAM FAMILY FESTIVAL  Following  massive turnout at last year’s festival, this year’s event promises to be even bigger.  Date: Sunday, 24 March  Hours: 9 am - 5 pm  Venue: Finns Reserve, Templestowe Lower  Entry: Gold coin donation  Contact: Keith 0412 558 066  It’s a fun day for the whole family. Come enjoy the pony and camel rides, musical and dance performances, craft stalls, food trucks and much more.  WALK 4 YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH  This free event is to raise awareness of Youth Mental Health and where to seek help in the Manningham community.  Date: Sunday, 24 March  Hours: 10 am - 12 pm  Venue: Finns Reserve Walking Track, Templestowe Lower  Entry: Free  Contact:   Luke 0425 726 930  This is a pet-friendly event.  MANNINGHAM CONCERT BAND  Join the Manningham Concert Band as they begin their 50th year with their Autumn Favourites Concert.  Featuring Sibelius’ Finlandia, a Timpani Concerto and a very special guest performer.   Date: Sunday, 24 March Hours: 2:30 - 4:30 pm  Venue: Manningham Uniting Church and Community Centre, 109 Wood St, Templestowe  Entry: $10, children 13 and under free (Tickets via TryBooking or at the door)   Contact:   [email protected]  WARRANDYTE FESTIVAL  The Warrandyte Festival has grown from strength to strength since it’s first presentation in 1977. Bright with artistic endeavours, family activities, and a street parade, the Warrandyte Festival is an outstanding community-run event.  Date: Friday to Saturday, 19 - 20 April  Venue: Stiggants Reserve, Warrandyte.  Entry: Free  ROTARY SCHOOLS ANZAC SERVICE  The Rotary Club of Manningham City runs the annual Schools Anzac Service for schools in the area, and this special Service is now in its 34th year. Up to 32 primary and secondary schools and 800 students have the opportunity to participate.  Date: Tuesday, 23 April  Hours: 12 - 1 pm  Venue: Templestowe Memorial Reserve, Cnr Foote & High St  Contact: Rod 0409 179 739  Guest speakers will address the students on the significance of Anzac Day and the students and dignitaries will lay wreaths at the foot of the Memorial.  DONCASTER GARDEN CLUB  A not-for-profit community club to educate those wishing to know how to garden or increase their skills. Meets on the second Wednesday of every month except for January.  Date: Wednesday, 10 April 2024  Hours: 8 - 9.30 pm  Venue: Doncaster RSL, Cnr Leeds St & Doncaster Rd, Doncaster East  Topic: Permaculture Kitchen Garden Design by Kat Lavers  ​​​​​​​Contact: Pauline 0409 063 060  Visitors are welcome. Parking is at the rear. 

Crime Prevention

Be Scam Savvy

By Leading Senior Constable Noni Bousfield Police are encouraging all Manningham residents to be scam savvy and practice saying NO assertively and confidently. A scam is when a criminal deceives you to steal your money or personal information. Scammers try to engage with people of all ages and backgrounds via telephone, email and social media. Scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and manipulative, so it’s important to be alert and protect yourself from falling victim to a scammer. Detectives at Manningham Crime Investigation Unit regularly have scams reported to them. Some recent cases include; An 80-year-old female from Doncaster has been repeatedly contacted by a scammer via phone over the past 9 months and has transferred around $100,000 via cryptocurrency. A 22-year-old female from Doncaster East received correspondence from a scammer claiming to be Chinese Police and threatened to arrest her if she didn’t transfer $70,000. A 47-year-old female from Templestowe received a text message from a scammer pretending to be her bank and requesting she call them regarding a security breach. She called the number provided in the text and lost $50,000 when tricked into revealing her banking details. A 79-year-old male from Doncaster received a call from a scammer claiming to be from a government agency. He downloaded remote access software onto his phone, but thankfully realised something was off prior to losing any money. Multiple men on dating apps have been tricked into thinking they were communicating with an attractive local female. The scammers (likely overseas males) request an intimate photo, then threaten to share the image with the man’s friends and family unless payment is made.  Be sceptical and cautious of contact you don’t initiate. Scammers love to create a sense of urgency. They don’t want you to think things through. They want to pressure you into acting quickly. Scammers usually claim to be from a familiar organisation, like your bank, service provider, a business or government agency. They may say things like, “We’ve detected a hacker trying to access your account, transfer your money now to help us catch the hacker!”. Or “There is a warrant for your arrest for an outstanding debt!”. Or “Double your money now with cryptocurrency!”. Or “Your bank manager is corrupt, withdraw cash now and hand it to an undercover police courier!”. If you receive contact from someone via your phone or computer, try imagining yourself sitting alone at a café and a stranger sits down next to you and is asking questions such as, “What are your bank account details?” or “Let’s set up a cryptocurrency account on your mobile phone” or “Can I have a photo of you naked?”. If this happened at a café, you would likely tell the stranger to leave you alone. If they kept pestering you, you would call the police! Treat cyber contact with the same precaution you would a random stranger in the street. Say NO. Don’t worry about being rude. You don’t need to engage in conversation with someone contacting you unexpectedly. Cease contact, no explanation needed. Block all contact with a suspected scammer. If a scammer succeeds in taking your money, be extra cautious of secondary scammers claiming to be investigating the original scam and offering to get your money back. While most scammers are making contact from overseas, some scamming criminals may come to your home in person. They typically claim to be doing a survey to obtain personal information. Or they may pretend to be tradies able to repair an urgent issue with your home that they just happened to spot. They will ask for an upfront deposit or full payment via credit card or in cash (even offering to drive you to the bank), then do a dodgy job or simply disappear. Police encourage you to have conversations with your loved ones about scams to educate and empower them. Victims are often embarrassed or afraid to tell their family if they’ve been scammed. Older people tend to have more money and accumulated wealth than younger people, making them an attractive target for a scammer. It’s important that your loved ones know they can talk to you about any strange requests or interactions they’ve had. Leading Senior Constable Noni Bousfield is positioned at the Doncaster police station and, in her role as Manningham’s Crime Prevention Officer, is available to give crime prevention presentations to community groups. Contact Noni on (03) 8841 3999 to enquire further. To learn more about protecting yourself and your loved ones from scams, visit www.cyber.gov.au and www.scamwatch.gov.au. If a scam involved the theft of your identity, contact www.idcare.org or phone 1800 595 160. Criminals also try to connect with young people via online games and social media. For information about keeping your kids safe online, visit www.esafety.gov.au/kids For emergencies, to report a crime in progress, or for immediate police attendance, please call Triple Zero (000).