Melbourne’s Greatest Ever Easter Egg Hunt helps a great cause

Wednesday, 16 April 2014Half a million Easter eggs at Caulfield Racecourse are ready to be discovered at this year’s Melbourne’s Greatest Ever Easter Egg Hunt Raceday on Saturday 19 April 2014.

Premier of Victoria and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine said the hugely successful family event would once again be held in partnership with Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation, a charity dedicated to raising awareness about organ and tissue donation.

“This is a fantastic chance for children and families to participate in one of Melbourne’s best Easter egg hunts, raise important funds for a great cause and take in the excitement of the races,” Dr Napthine said.

Ernest Hillier Chocolates have generously donated 500,000 Easter eggs which are up for grabs through a series of egg hunts for different age groups in a designated area on the course.

Jockeys will also take part in the action, joining the children in the hunt and being available for photos.

To add to the excitement of the day, the Easter Bunny will be on hand to entertain the crowd and Camp Australia will provide a range of children’s activities, including:

  • face painting;
  • Easter bonnet making;
  • tug of war;
  • croquet;
  • a giant earthball;
  • bocce and quoits throwing;
  • inflatable blue lagoon;
  • inflatable climbing wall;
  • combat challenge; and
  • pony rides.

Admission to the Raceday is $10 for adults, $5 for children and free for children 13 years of age and under.This includes a $5.00 donation to Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation and a bucket to collect Easter eggs.

Parents of children who register for the Easter egg hunt will receive a complimentary racebook and a free double-pass to attend a future Melbourne Racing Club Raceday.

CEO of Melbourne Racing Club, Brodie Arnhold said Melbourne’s Greatest Easter Egg Hunt event had been extremely popular since its inception in 2012.

Providing quality entertainment experiences like this at race meetings not only benefits the local community, but is vital to the success of racing clubs. Its success is largely due to the contribution from the Victorian Government,” Mr Arnhold said.

The Victorian Coalition Government has provided $40,111 towards the event through the Raceday Attraction Program, with the Melbourne Racing Club contributing $27,882 and Hilliers Chocolates kindly donating $50,000 worth of Easter eggs.

Dr Napthine said the Coalition Government’s Raceday Attraction Program, derived from on-course wagering taxes, was focused on increasing attendances at thoroughbred, harness and greyhound Racedays and nights particularly through partnering with local communities and organisations.

For information on Melbourne’s Greatest Ever Easter Egg Hunt, call Melbourne Racing Club on (03) 9257 7200 or visit www.melbourneracingclub.net.au

Source: http://premier.vic.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/9662-melbourne-s-greatest-ever-easter-egg-hunt-helps-a-great-cause.html

The manner in which our 3 councillor trustees treat the conflict of interest provisions of the Local Government Act, are incredibly ‘flexible’ to say the least. The past 3 council meetings illustrate this perfectly.

On 25th February, a Delahunty/Lobo Request for a Report was passed. Not one of the councillor trustees declared a conflict even though the Request specifically named Trustees as an important component of the motion and their implied role in lease negotiations.

Next comes the 18th March council meeting where ALL 3 councillor representatives declared a conflict of interest and left the chamber. This meeting included the officer’s report from the previous council meeting plus the Magee ‘amendments’.

But to top it all off, at the last council meeting (April 8th) we had the farce of only Hyams and Esakoff declaring an interest but Lipshutz remaining in the chamber, delivering his little ‘update’ on trustee meetings and then abstaining from the vote. Ludicrous, farcical, and totally improper we maintain. Lipshutz’s role is no different to Hyams’ and Esakoff’s as a trustee. If they declared a conflict of interest then so should have Lipshutz. Political expediency it would seem, pays no attention to the finer points of the law and ethical conduct. The fact that not one single councillor questioned Lipshutz’s presence makes them equally culpable in this instance we believe. No doubt all had been successfully ‘arranged’ beforehand and behind closed doors.

Section 78B of the Local Government Act outlines what ‘conflicting duties’ means –

Indirect interest because of conflicting duties

(1)     A person has an indirect interest in a matter because of a conflicting duty if the person

(a)     is a manager or a member of a governing body of a company or body that has a direct interest in a matter;

(b)     is a partner, consultant, contractor, agent or employee of a person, company or body that has a direct interest in a matter;

(c)     is a trustee for a person who has a direct interest in a matter.

(2)     A person has an indirect interest in a matter because of a conflicting duty if the person held a position or role specified in subsection (1) and, in that position or role, dealt with the matter.

Finally, we have the comments of Andrew Newton himself, recorded in the minutes of February 6th 2006

Council is not “represented” on the Trust. The duty of a trustee is to the Trust. A trustee, who is also a Councillor, is under a legal obligation to make Trust decisions in the best interests of the Trust. In practice, a Councillor will be able to bring information and advice from their Council role to assist the Trust in its deliberations. Nonetheless, a person who is both a trustee and a Councillor may from time to time be placed in a conflict of interest on an issue involving both the Trust and the Council and will need to resolve that conflict of interest – usually by absenting him/herself from the decision-making on that issue by either the Trust or the Council or both.

4. Issues

The Caulfield Racecourse Trust has the usual responsibilities of a Trust for the governance of the land. The Caulfield Racecourse discharges most of its activities through a lease between the Trust and the Melbourne Racing Club.

We must also assume that the various resolutions which required council to send off letters to Ministers, Valuer General, Auditor General, etc. have now been sent. As per usual not one word has been uttered as a consequence of these missives. Why haven’t the actual letters been published so that the community knows exactly what is going on? Have responses been forthcoming?

We have UPLOADED HERE the Planning Panel Report on the URBIS/Monash University application for rezoning of the Western part of the Phoenix Precinct. We encourage all readers to peruse this document and especially the highlighted sections since they reveal how ‘reactive’ and lacking in vision, this council’s planning department is. We highlight two examples:

  • Council noted that this Policy is based on an urban design framework approved in 1998. Council is looking to review this policy in 2014……(page 10). So what we have here is once again a case of putting the cart before the horse. First, pass the Amendment, and then worry about ‘policy’!
  • Below is a screen dump that outlines the Phoenix Precinct Policy from the Planning Scheme. Please note the insistence that what is required is ‘co-ordination’ and ‘balanced planning’. Hardly, we say, when the racecourse, c60 and now Monash are each treated as INDIVIDUAL AND SEPARATE planning issues without any developer considering the overall flow on impacts to surrounding areas – be it traffic, population, high rise, commercial activity, and infrastructure requirements.

phoenix

And last, but certainly not least, residents can glean some insight into Monash’s plans – not directly from Council of course – but via the submissions put forward at the Planning Panel. Here’s what Monash intends (at this stage!) -

The objective of the University is to eventually have a student population of 15,000 effective student load (ESL) in excess of the existing 10,000 (ESL) on the Caulfield Campus, and that much of the new development is to occur within the western precinct. The Masterplan provides for an increase in total floor area from 90,000 sqm to 168,000 sqm and allows for 800 student beds on, and adjacent to, the campus. The proponent plans uses for Derby Road frontage buildings that are complementary to the Derby Road commercial area including retail, food and beverage and other compatible uses. The planned increases in intensity of use of the campus site and the intended complementary uses of Derby Road frontages strongly indicates opportunities for improved economic activity in the area. The extent that realisation of the Masterplan would offset or even surpass the economic activity generated from Caulfield Plaza, is not quantified but, at a minimum, indications are that a redevelopment of the area would provide a significant economic stimulus for the area. However, this issue relating to the closure of Caulfield Plaza is largely a moot point as the existing Priority Development Zone already provides for the redevelopment of Caulfield (page 20).

Readers should note that the above figures do NOT mean that the student population is targeted to reach 25,000. To the best of our knowledge ESL means full time students. Hence the actual numbers of students accessing Caulfield campus may be closer to 40,000 given the large proportion of post graduates and part-timers.

We have yet to see anything produced by this Council which analyses and dissects the ENTIRE AREA and focuses exclusively on what this will mean for residents – and they’ve only had about 15 years to do so!

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URGENT BUSINESS

Magee moved a motion that Council that sports grounds in the centre of the racecourse be considered as URGENT BUSINESS. Hyams declared a conflict of interest as did Esakoff. LIPSHUTZ DID NOT DECLARE ANY CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND REMAINED IN THE CHAMBER. No councillor challenged his presence. (Delahunty was absent).

MAGEE: moved the motion that council’s position was that the centre should be used for sporting grounds; that on the 7.30 Report the MRC CEO stated that ‘community sport would be welcomed’; that council writes to the Trustees and that they ‘ensure’ that community sport be developed in the centre and that a copy of the letter go to the Minister for Crown Lands , the minister for sports and to the minister for racing. Motion seconded by Sounness.

Magee went over council’s resolution for the centre of the racecourse where many sporting teams were missing out and that the ’54 hectares of land’ could be used for sportsgrounds. Said that this ‘vision’ was presented to the community and ‘accepted widely’ and that all councillors have ‘worked tirelessly’ to get this done. Magee said that it was good to hear that the MRC CEO ‘embraced this vision’ and that it’s the first time they have said anything like this. Magee welcomed this statement. At the moment there’s a ‘lease being prepared’ and Magee thought it was ‘incumbent on us to work with the’ MRC and to write to the trustees and ‘inform them of this agreement’ and how the MRC ‘have now embraced’ this vision. The trustees have to now ‘take this advice’ and work it into ‘any lease agreements that are before them at the moment’. Said that the MRC should ‘only ever be given a lease’ for areas outside the actual racetrack and not the racetrack itself nor the centre of the racecourse. Stated that this is the ‘first time in 150 years’ that the ‘two groups can actually work together’. The turstees job is to administer the racecourse ‘for the benefit of all Victorians’. Claimed that here’s the perfect time to do all this ‘given that there is an agreement’ and that the MRC spokesman has ‘made it very clear on national television’ that sport is ‘very clear to the’ MRC and ‘we welcome that’. Said that since they’ve stated this that all that’s left is to ‘inform the minister’ to ‘let them know there is an agreement in place’.

SOUNNESS: asked Magee if he would accept a change in wording from ‘community sports grounds’ to ‘organised sport’. Magee refused to accept change in wording. Sounness still accepted the motion and said that he ‘copped it in the neck’ about lack of sporting ovals, lack of off leash dog areas because of organised sports, and lack of passive areas. Said that this is an opportunity and should be followed up. Open space for sports grounds can’t be found that easily in a built up city so the centre could be the solution.

LIPSHUTZ: said he didn’t declare a conflict of interest because he didn’t think there was one but that it is ‘appropriate’ that he ‘report’ on what’s been happening in ‘recent times’. Claimed that the trust ‘has not been sitting on its hands’. Said that for the first time the ‘non MRC trustees as of one voice’ and that there have been ‘ongoing lease negotiations with the MRC’ for the past 2 years but these negotiations haven’t as yet ‘reached fruition’.   Said the lease is about the Tabaret and the grandstand and not to the ‘infield and the tracks’. Said that the MRC ‘does not have any legal right’ to anything in the infield. Said that the trustees are therefore committed to a ‘license agreement’ for the infield so the MRC ‘knows precisely what it can do and what it can’t do’. Went on to say that the trustees have got a valuation for the land rental and have put that to the MRC. Claimed that the trustees had ‘always taken the view’ that the valuation should be done by the Valuer General and that the chairman has asked for this. Said that he had been at a meeting today with Greg Sword and the governor executives and that the ‘valuer general will get a brief’ and that if there’s disagreement the Minister will ‘arbitrate’. He didn’t ‘expect that agreement will be reached’.

Said that he didn’t declare a conflict of interest because the trust ‘has taken a very strong view’ that the ‘centre of the racecourse should be used for sport’. Didn’t think that even though the MRC CEO said he welcomed sport, he wasn’t that sure that the MRC itself would endorse this view. Said that the ‘government has also advised’ that there should be sport in the infield but that boils down to the ‘license’ negotiations. Thhere is training and he didn’t think that ‘in reality’ training would go ‘any time soon’ and this would be in the ‘scope of 10 to 15 years’. So if training remains there are ‘safety’ issues both to the public and to the animals. Thus claimed that ‘this motion itself does not actually further anything’ since there is ‘already a commitment by the trust’ to have sport and that won’t happen very soon because they still have to negotiate the ‘license arrangement’. And if there’s no agreement then the ‘minister will step in’. Reassured everyone that ‘the trust has been very active’. Stated that at his morning meeting with the MRC they discussed the issue about opening up access to the racecourse. Said that ‘everyone’ recognises that entrance through the tunnel ‘is not satisfactory’ but ‘equally it is an issue of safety’. Claimed that the MRC has now ‘committed to looking at those issues’ and seeing where there could be ‘palisade fencing’ so that there could be the ‘visual entrance’. Didn’t know whether these things would ‘come true’ but reiterated that the trust is ‘committed’ to having sport, but unsure of the ‘extent’ of this. Therefore he didn’t see that there’s any conflict of interest since the Magee motion ‘is in accord’ with the ‘wishes’ of the trustees.

OKOTEL: asked Magee if he would consider writing to the trustees asking for their position on sport in the centre. Magee didn’t accept this proposal. Okotel then queried the value of writing to the trust asking them to state a position that they are already taking. Thought it ‘would be better’ to have the trust put their ‘position in writing’ so that it would be public and council might ‘utilise’ whatever is written to them as an ‘advocacy tool’.

PILLING: thought that Magee’s motion is only what council is asking for and is ‘complementary’ to ‘what’s going on behind the scenes’.

MAGEE: thanked Lipshutz for remaining in the room since he thought it’s important that people know what the trustees and councillor reps on the trustees are doing. Said that he wasn’t surprised that when Lipshutz became a trustee ‘he would always be acting in the best interests of Glen Eira’. Stated that he thought that Greg Sword was trying ‘to do his best’. Two years ago the trust’s position was a ’64 year lease with no conditions’ and now ‘they’re looking at the same things we are’. Now the MRC CEO wants ‘the same thing’ and the government ‘wants sport in the centre of the racecourse’. ‘Everybody’s together. There’s nobody opposing this’. Wanted his motion to ‘stay the same’ because it sends ‘a strong message’ that council ‘wants to work with them’. Conceded that ‘no one is saying’ that training should go ‘tomorrow’ but important to say that a ‘section of the racecourse’ can be ‘given up’ such as ’3 ovals’ and then build on that’ and ‘phase out training’. Said he ‘wanted to see racing stay there forever’ but that training is ‘not a permitted use’ and it’s not written anywhere that it is a ‘permitted use’. Concluded by saying that Tang and he first moved the motion that the lease be reduced from 61 years to 21 and that this motion was defeated by 9 to 2. So they never wanted a 21 year lease . ‘We’re not going to tolerate the exclusion of Glen Eira residents’. Said that the 21 year lease ‘is pivotal’ to the future. Quoted the president of Ajax about the lack of space for sport and that 75% of his team can’t play in Glen Eira and ‘that’s a shame’. So there are about 130 or 140 kids who can’t play sport where their ‘parents pay rates’. ‘No one in this room thinks that’s acceptable’ and here’s the ‘opporunity’ to do something. Everyone (trustees, mrc, community) is ‘all on board’ with this.

MOTION PUT TO VOTE. OKOTEL VOTED AGAINST. LIPSHUTZ DID NOT RAISE HIS HAND IN SUPPORT OR OPPOSING THE MOTION. TECHNICALLY THIS MEANS AN ABSENTION!

An application is in at Council seeking a permit for an ‘illumated screen’ at the Racecourse. The size of this screen is gigantic as the following illustrates – the equivalent of at least a 3 storey building and approaching the height of a 4 storey. Of course, this size screen will have no impact on the surrounding areas as stated by the applicant. By way of contrast, we also include a screen dump from the Moonee Valley Racecourse and the dimensions of their electronic screens. Nothing it would seem is too big or too expensive for Caulfield Racecourse!screen

screen2screen3

mvcc

PS: we urge readers to also contemplate the following ‘sign-off’ by the ‘protectors’ of crown land.

dse

WHY THE DELAY?

Contrary to what Mayor Pilling stated at the Caulfield Village planning conference, namely that council would make its decision on the development plan on April 8th, there is no item set down for decision this coming Tuesday night. What makes this omission even more fascinating is that Schedule 2 of the C60 amendment states - 

The responsible authority must make a decision on the development plan or amendment to the development plan within 60 days after the completion of the display.

The submission/advertising period ended on the 26th of February. The next scheduled council meeting exceeds this 60 day limit – admittedly by only one day. However, given the ‘legalities’ that this council is so keen on, we have to wonder what is really going on. Surely 4 months (at least) to ‘assess’ the submitted plans should be sufficient for our fabulous planning department? Or is there possible dissension in the ranks? Perhaps another conveniently supplied ‘loophole’ for the MRC to ‘negotiate’ to their advantage? All conjecture of course, but given Council’s track record (pun intended) on this issue we have to wonder. Perhaps council might for once furnish residents with an explanation?

RECORDS OF ASSEMBLY

The Records of Assembly make for some more interesting conjecture on the Valuer-General item from the previous two council meetings.

At the 11th March meeting both Hyams and Esakoff declared a conflict of interest. Lipshutz (who was present) DID NOT DECLARE AN INTEREST. Presumably he therefore partook in the discussion.

A week later, on the 18th March meeting on the same item, he apparently changed his mind and did declare a conflict of interest.

OPEN SPACE LEVY

Council is finally making a move after 11 years in hiking up its open space levy to 5.7% across the board by seeking permission to ‘prepare and exhibit’ Amendment C102. Whilst most welcome, and certainly a vast improvement on what the Open Space strategy initially proposed (ie 4 to 5%) we have to note the following:

  • Stonnington, which has the second lowest proportion of open space, is currently seeking an 8% levy and more for its commercial precincts. Glen Eira with the lowest proportion of open space is, in contrast, only seeking a 5.7% levy for all developments – commercial, residential or mixed use.
  • Instead of clapping themselves on the back in relation to the $4m levy achieved from the proposed Caulfield Village we have to wonder why this council settled for so little given that this 5 hectare bit of land is going to be the most densely populated area in the municipality.
  • There are claims of ‘analysis’ in a paper that is mooted to become a ‘reference document’ to the Amendment. That of course has not as yet been made public. Other councils (ie Whitehorse, Bayside) don’t seem to have had any problems in publishing their detailed analysis prior to the actual Amendment process. Even worse is that the officer’s report claims that the objective is to meld the Open Space Strategy with the proposed Amendment when there was absolutely no detailed discussion, nor analysis provided in the now accepted Open Space Strategy.

PS: And for the sheer heck of it we’ve pinched the following (slightly edited) from Abbattoir Facebook.  

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