Monash Council Meeting Agenda! Hot Issues – What to look for?

Monash Council Meeting

The Next City of  Monash Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday 30 August 2016 from 7.00pm. You will need to submit your questions by noon  today (Monday 29 August).

Hot issues to pay extra attention too!

Hot issues Empowering Monash and You

Development: Five residential apartment towers 6-10 storeys in height and 17 double-storey townhouses

79 objections were submitted by public members: “Key issues raised within objections relate to neighbourhood character, visual bulk, overshadowing, design detail, compliance with residential policy, car parking provision, increased traffic, overlooking and residential amenity.” Source – Monash Council Agenda, 30 August 2016.

The Council has recommended to refuse the proposal!

Monash Community Grants Program:  Report relating to the 2017/18  Grants Program (MCGP) and assessments of applications.

Due to the Public Health Approach to Gambling Policy Statement, funding will not be provided to applicants or community groups who meet at venues that have Electronic Gaming Machines. Already two organisations will be affected! There were some objections to this alteration .  

Links relating to this issue and comments: Dealing Monash Ratepayers a Dodgy Hand


Announcement! EM&U Founder Gayle Nicholas has stepped down from her role!


I would like to announce that Gayle Nicholas who is the founder member of Empowering Monash and YOU has suspended her role with EM&U while standing for Council. Gayle and I established EM&U to provide information to community members and to give them the opportunity to have a say, such as community issues relating to Local Government.

Thank You Gayle Nicholas

I would like to thank Gayle for her outstanding role with EM&U and strongly advocating for community engagement with Monash Council.

Please keep in mind though EM&U will still be running as usual and team members or contributors will still be involved.  If you have any enquires please do not hesitate to contact us by email at or through the ‘Contact Us‘ page.

EM&U’s role does not involve election campaigns so if you would like to contact Gayle Nicholas, details below.

Facebook Page Page: @Gayle4Monash 


Hariklia Nguyen – Co-founder of Empowering Monash and YOU (EM&U)

Important Update! Some Councillors not signing code of conduct spared due to stuff ups!

Some Councils stuffed up!

Recently there was an issue with a Monash Councillor (Theo Zographos – Councillor in firing line for not signing code of conduct) for not signing the code of conduct in front of the CEO, but now the Government stated there might have been some stuff ups! 

“Councillors who failed to properly sign a new code of conduct have been spared disqualification and will be able to comply by February. Acting Local Government Minister Richard Wynne said there had been a failure of administrative duties by councils and incompetence in some cases.” Source: The Age

The local Government Minister Richard Wynne mentioned that he received letters from council’s admitting they had made a mistake.

Apparently due to the errors, 107 councillors from 13 different councils faced suspension!

Articles to more info in relation to this debacle!

The Age – ‘They stuffed up’: sacked councils to get last-minute

The Age Victoria – More than 100 Victorian councillors face disqualification

ABC News – Local councils ‘failed to comply’ with code of conduct law changes, Victorian Government says

What do members of the community think of this debacle?

Have your say! – The Local Government Act Review Paper

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

The government is reviewing the Local Government Act and proposing to make changes that will make Councils more efficient, transparent and accountable, as well as enhancing community participation.

Here are some of the key new reforms proposed:

  • A stronger role for mayors to lead councils
  • Greater consistency in council structures (wards) to make elections fairer
  • Simpler electoral rolls and voting rules
  • Community engagement
  • Accountable and high performing councils
  • More autonomy for councils to cut unnecessary red-tape
  • A consistent, modern rating system

Have a say!

Community members have an opportunity to provide feedback relating to the Local Government Act Review Directions Paper or proposed changes. Feedback can be provided by making  a submission or viewing the summary ‘At a Glance’ and completing  a quick poll.

Link to The Local Government Act Review Directions Paper website: Act for the Future – Directions for a new Local Government Act.

What do you think of your Council? Do you think changes need to be made?

When Getting Older Costs You Your Home

Most of us go through a succession of homes in our lives – we grow up in our parents’ home, move into a bachelor(ette) pad, set up house with our spouse, raise our kids and launch them from our family home, downsize into a unit or retirement village and, maybe, end our days in aged care.

That journey is, among other things, a financial investment journey: we save, buy a small property, save some more, increase our investment and then, at downsizing time, hopefully have a little profit to spend on ourselves while still having enough in the bank to fund our aged care needs.

In short, for most of us, a significant part of our lives goes toward building a solid financial asset in our home.  For many of us, it’s the largest single asset we own.


So imagine you’ve chosen to buy a unit in a retirement village thinking its capital value will provide you with the refundable accommodation deposit (RAD) for the nursing home you hope not to need.  You’ve bought the property and own the title knowing that, when you sell, you’ll be responsible for the costs of bringing everything up to scratch and that the village will take its “deferred management fee” (up to 30%) from the proceeds of the sale before you get it.  You’ll want to sell for the best possible price – RADs typically range from $300k to $600k per person (not per room!) so you’re looking for a good sale!

Then imagine, while you’re living happily in the village, the owner sells it to Aveo and you’re faced with the problems of residents at Veronica Gardens.  They have lodged a submission to the Victorian Legislative Council’s Inquiry into the Retirement Housing Sector expressing serious concern about the new service agreement which, they allege, “…makes it virtually impossible to sell through or to anyone but Aveo…” because Aveo, as the village manager, claims the right to approve, or not, any sale.  It’s hard to imagine how you would expect to get a fair price when the only purchaser in the market has the right of veto on the sale!

Residents attending a recent meeting at Veronica Gardens came from other Aveo villages as well with similar concerns about the financial constraints being imposed on their properties.  Law firm Levitt Robinson was represented and, according to Adele Ferguson‘s report in The Age on Wedneday, August 3, are offering (at least those residents) free advice about service agreements.

I have referred similar stories from residents at another Aveo village to the inquiry.  If you would like to make a submission, or tell of a similar experience, at an Aveo village or another operator’s, to the inquiry, follow this link.

Image courtesy of freeclipartnow.