Former Cr Zaynoun Melhem

Zaynoun, we remember you as a young boy (we understand this was probably both a blessing and a curse for you!), and we watched as you proudly followed in your father’s footsteps.  Having seen how hard you worked for your local residents, representing local views and priorities  – we absolutely know you didn’t take anything for granted.   We have enjoyed standing with you in the Council Chamber and we acknowledge the strong relationships you have established both inside this building and in the communities you served. 

Mayor Cr Angela Long, Former Cr Zaynoun Melhem. 9 March 2021
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Former Cr Matthew Kirwan

Matthew, you recognised that participation is a key feature of a well-functioning community and you played a very strong advocacy role in creating a more inclusive and engaged city – determined to empower residents and community groups whilst highlighting and working towards addressing many human rights disparities.

Mayor Cr Angela Long, Former Cr Matthew Kirwan, Deputy Mayor Cr Sophie Tan . 9 March 2021
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Former Cr Youhorn Chea

Youhorn, during your 23 years on Council you acted as a great ambassador for the city. You openly shared the details of your journey arriving and settling in Australia as a refugee. This honesty sparked an important ‘rethink’ in how we view social cohesion and helped us develop a respectful pathway forward for all people in our city to feel valued and accepted, and enjoy a genuine sense of belonging. I would now like to read the key points from your letter under seal.

Mayor Cr Angela Long, Former Cr and Mayor Youhorn Chea and Deputy Mayor Cr Sophie Tan. 9 March 2021
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Thoughts on planning

The drafting of a Planning Scheme; State, Local and Municipal planning policies, as well as the determination of what land within a municipality gets which zonings, are all undertaken as part of a democratic process.  This statement is not an invitation on the relative virtues or not of a democratic system (or our democratic system), it is simply a statement of fact.  The Greater Dandenong Planning Scheme is an example of but one of many Planning Schemes state-wide which are part of this land use management and development process, which includes the rights to apply for the development of land in accordance with those democratically developed process, or to object to them through a fair process if one feels aggrieved at what is being proposed or approved.

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When council rate relief is bad

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, some local councils have announced, or are planning, an across-the-board rate freeze.

A rate freeze is a bad idea for these reasons:

Council rates are a “wealth tax”, not an income tax. Rates are calculated using property values. To quote a council CFO, six out of seven ratepayers are not negatively affected by COVID. A general rate freeze gives a benefit to the maximum number of voters, but most of the relief dollars go to the wealthiest landowners.

Under a general % rates cut or waiver, wealthiest landowners get the most $ relief
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“Social distancing” is the problem

Most people won’t keep their distance. I have been in a few public places in the last few days and haven’t witnessed any discernible difference in people’s behaviour.

That is why the “social distancing” policy is mostly ineffectual because:

  • it’s seen as rude to deliberately distance yourselves from others, particularly in a social setting.
  • personal risk of the virus won’t hit home to many people until someone they know has the virus.

Unfortunately, shut-down is the only next step worth taking. This removes places that people can come together and transmit the virus.