News - Berwick Star News - 7th March 2024

Page 1


On 5 March, Sushant Mittal rejected a Dandenong magistrate’s sentence indication of jail and a community corrections order. His lawyer had submitted for a three-year CCO and three-year loss of licence with a nonconviction.

Mittal will instead contest up to 110 charges relating to 12 alleged high-speed driving incidents in 2022 and 2023, including counts of reckless conduct endangering life.

His first alleged offence occurred seven months after obtaining his probationary driving licence, a police prosecutor told Dandenong Magistrates’ Court.

It involved allegedly speeding up to 184km/h and overtaking at high speed on the Monash Freeway on a Friday afternoon in August 2022.

“This is literally what I do as a game,” he

reportedly said while being filmed by a passenger. The video was uploaded to social media platform TikTok, titled ‘When she’s home alone’ - which received more than 100 likes.

In April 2023 about 2.30am, Mittal reached up to 262km/h on the Monash near Narre Warren, overtaking cars at 252km/h, the court heard.

He was said to have then travelled up to 186km/h on Clyde Road – which has an 80km/h speed limit.

Mittal was also accused of racing other cars, such as an instance of up to 217km/h on an

80km/h section of CityLink – in which he overtook 20 vehicles in 83 seconds, it was alleged.

During a videoed incident on City Link, a passenger allegedly referred to an object up ahead on the road saying: “I didn’t even see that bike”.

The court heard that Mittal replied: “See what I mean – it’s dangerous.”

On 16 January 2023, there were five alleged instances of speeding and drag racing in Berwick, Clyde North and Cranbourne North, the prosecutor told the court.

Continued page 4

/berwickstarnews @StarNews_SE BERWICK 40¢ Inc. GST Thursday, 7 March, 2024 PAGE 5 Fire sparks station pleas PAGE 17 Going green for a cause SPORT Determined Demons to deliver PAGE 3 Education key amid dog attacks DINE IN & TAKE AWAY 7 Days a Week One Fine Day Cafe 16b Old Princes Highway Beaconsfield 12673656-SM10-24 ALIRA IGA NOW OPEN 36 ADAKITE DRIVE BERWICK 12664558-AV10-24 NARRE WARREN FOR ALL YOUR AUTOMOTIVE NEEDS NARRE WARREN NTH & LAUDERDALE ROAD PH: 9705 8800 12607806-HC21-23 AusNet team members Zack Aloisio, Kathy Burgstahler, Sharon Beach and Mina Awadalla got busy gathering Royal Gala apples at a Fruit Loop event at Montague Orchard in Narre Warren North on 1 March. More than 50,000 apples were picked on the day by corporate representatives for charity Foodbank. Story page 14 Plucked from the air Picture: ROB CAREW Over 100 charges
Cam Lucadou-Wells
alleged high-speed hoon from Berwick will fight scores of charges including speeding up to 262km/h, drag racing on freeways as well as seat-swapping with a passenger while driving on the Monash.

Grab the family and come down to the Casey Kids Carnival for a day of fun and excitement on Saturday 6 April.

This free event will be held at the Old Cheese Factory and is one of the City of Casey’s most celebrated and attended events.

There will be lots of free activities, including rides, face painting and a petting zoo.

Are you passionate about supporting your community and want to take your leadership to the next level?

Our Community Leadership Program is back, providing free training for new, emerging and existing community leaders in Casey who want to further develop their leadership skills and learn about community engagement and local government.

There will also be live performances and market stalls, as well as displays by local emergency services and sporting clubs.

Tickets to this event are being snapped up fast. To book, visit the City of Casey website.

Expressions of interest for the 2024 program open on Monday 11 March and close on Friday 19 April.

The program, which is open to Casey residents aged 18 and over, will run from June to October 2024 and will include 10 face-to-face workshops — nine Tuesday evening sessions and one Saturday session.

For more information and to apply, please visit our community consultation website Casey Conversations.

For application support, please email or call 9705 5722.

It’s time to hear from our valued business community.

The 2nd annual City of Casey Business Insights Survey is open until Sunday 31 March, and all Casey businesses are invited to have their say. This easy and anonymous online survey will take businesses less than 15 minutes to complete. Participants will also go into a lucky draw to win one of four $250 EFTPOS gift cards. To complete the survey, visit our Casey Conversations website or scan the QR code.

Role of Council information session

The City of Casey will return to elected Councillors when local Council Elections take place in October.

To support community members who might be considering running for Council, Casey is hosting some ‘Role of Council’ candidate information sessions.

The sessions are designed to give community leaders and residents the chance to find out more about the diverse range of functions and services local government provides, the role of Councillors and to provide the resources required for candidates for the 2024 Local Government Elections.

March in-person session

Tuesday 26 March

6.00 pm – 8.00 pm

Bunjil Place, Narre Warren

For further details and to book your spot, visit the ‘Council Elections 2024’ page on our website.

Provide feedback on a number of consultations currently open on our community engagement platform, Casey Conversations.

• Casey events: we’re reviewing our Council-run events to provide engaging, diverse, and accessible events for our community.

• Council’s Immunisation Service: we’re seeking the communities’ insights, to understand where the demands are in the service.

• Disability Access and Inclusion: we’re looking for ways we can improve disability access and inclusion in Casey.

• Affordable and alternative housing for residents aged over 55: help shape Council’s future planning and advocacy for affordable housing choices.

• Safe Around Schools Program: have your say on our Safe Around Schools Program.

Head to the Casey Conversations website to find out more.

2 STAR NEWS | Thursday, 7 March, 2024

Education the key

Dog attacks and rushes have been a recurring problem in the City of Casey, and for the financial year of 2023 to 2024 so far, there has been almost 200 reports.

According to Callum Pattie, Casey’s connected communities manager, the current fiscal period at the end of February is at 192 dog attacks and rushes that have resulted in an injury.

Michelle Farrow, trainer and owner of Inspire Me Dog Training in Clyde North is adamant that dog owners, new and old inform themselves of the basics of dog training.

She said it is essential to“make sure that the owner has had some training themselves in recall and ensuring they have effective control of their dogs”.

“Getting your dog to come back to you is important - if your dog sees something and gets excited by that, the goal is to get the dog’s attention and focus back on the handler again.

“As opposed to the dog being obsessed by that thing that’s making them excited, or drawing away their focus,” Ms Farrow said.

Mr Pattie said that public places such as parks and streets “are the most common locations for dog attacks, usually involving dogs that have escaped from their home property or that were not being kept under effective control while in public”.

“Dogs that have not been adequately socialised with other animals are also more likely to demonstrate aggression if they find themselves not contained to their property, which can lead to instances of dog attacks,” he said.

With statistics from the 2018 to 2019 period until the 2022 to 2023 period, there has been an average of 252 dog attacks in the municipal-

ity, with the highest figure of 283 between 2019 and 2020.

As for Ms Farrow, education is still the biggest factor that could curb the rising numbers, for owners and canines alike.

“Owners can teach their dogs to be dogneutral, and that’s probably what it comes down to.

“I think a problem with a lot of pet dog owners is they’re not equipped with the skills or knowledge to effectively deal with dogs rushing up to people.

“They tend to allow it to happen since they’re not aware of how to assist them to re-

duce the frequency or drop their dogs from doing those things,” she said.

Another issue that Ms Farrow highlighted was the lack of leashes on pets when out on walks, which for her is “unfair to owners that have their dogs on a leash”.

“Their dog might be walking a few metres in front of them and they [owners] don’t notice certain things.

“They might think that their dogs are great off-leash and friendly but you never know what can happen,” she said.

Mr Pattie echoed a similar sentiment, saying that certain key aspects need to be considered to keep the numbers low or prevent these attacks from happening in the first place.

“Keeping dogs securely confined within a property, and ensuring they are always under effective control when out, are key measures to keep pets and the community safe.

“The City of Casey provide incentives for residents to get professional dog training, with discounts on dog registration available for those who successfully complete a course with an AgriculturalVictoria-approved dog trainer,” he said.

Employing an experienced dog trainer is something that Ms Farrow has always advocated for, recommending first-time dog owners opt for less aggressive breeds and something that “suits their lifestyle”.

“It’s distressing to see so many novice dog owners that are buying working breeds or breeds that are quite full-on, and they can’t handle them because what happens is they get them and they don’t know what to do with them,” she said.

For more information on dog ownership, registration, and reporting dog attacks, visit the Dogs in Casey page at dogs-casey

Call to ban former Casey councillors

A ratepayers association has called on the State Government to ban Casey’s ‘class of 2016’ councillors from standing in the 2024 elections.

Casey Residents and Ratepayers Association has written to Local Government Minister Melissa Horne, arguing that the ban should apply to the councillors sacked by the Government in 2020 as well as the two who resigned the night before.

The association questioned what councillors knew about what was going on at the council, as later outlined in the IBAC report.

It said if councillors saw “appalling behaviour”, they should have reported it.

“The fact that two councillors evaded being sacked by resigning the night before the announcement of the terminations should not matter...”

The association is seeking clarity on who will be allowed to stand at the local government elections.

“This matter must be finalised as soon as possible as potential candidates are reluctant to nominate knowing that many of the 2016 councillors have a large amount of money to fund their next campaign.”

CRRA secretary Brian Oates confirmed that the association was preparing to run candidates in the October council elections.

In 2020, Casey councillors were sacked in the early stages of the IBAC Operation Sandon inquiry into alleged corrupt deals involving some councillors and property developers.

As reported recently, several ex-councillors are weighing up re-election campaigns.

Former councillor Rex Flannery – who was not named in the IBAC report and resigned prior to the sackings – has said he would run again with a “clear conscience”.

“I was never going to be sacked for something I was never involved in,” he recently stated to Star News.

“IBAC did make contact with me but I could not give them any information as I was unaware of any transactions between certain

councillors and the developer.

“Yes I have put my hand up to run for council and I am certainly am not ashamed to be doing so.”

He also told Star News that he would reconsider if some of the councillors ‘named’ by IBAC also stood.

The IBAC inquiry report last year found former Casey mayors Sam Aziz and Geoff Ablett accepted more than $1.15 million in payments and in-kind support from developer John Woodman.

They were found to promote Woodman’s interests in several key planning decisions at Casey without declaring their conflict of interest.

It’s yet to be seen whether any of the excouncillors will face criminal charges.

Unless convicted beforehand, they would be free to stand for re-election.

Aziz, Ablett and Woodman have denied wrong-doing.

The State Government was contacted for comment.

Affected families by the collapse of Victorian builder Montego Homes now can register to claim their lost deposits back.

The State Government is extending the Liquidated Builders Customer Support Payment Scheme to help Victorians whose builders have become insolvent without taking out insurance on their behalf – as required by law.

Around 100 extra Victorians may be eligible for payments from the scheme, joining former customers of Porter Davis Homes who were left without Domestic Building Insurance (DBI) through no fault of their own.

The expanded scheme now covers customers of builders that entered into liquidation this financial year –from 1 July 2023 up until 20 February 2024 – including Montego Homes’ customers.

Montego Homes had advertised house and land packages in Casey South region, Pakenham, and Officer.

The builder went into voluntary administration in January, with Sam Kaso and Shaun Matthews of insolvency service Cor Cordis appointed as administrators to assess the best way to restructure or recapitalise the business.

This extension is occurring under special circumstances and will be funded through the previously announced $13.55 million support package.

The Building Legislation Amendment (Domestic Building Insurance New Offences) Bill 2023 ensures consumers are covered by insurance before providing any money to a builder under a contract for domestic building work costing more than $16,000.

Under new offences introduced last month into the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995, if a builder receives money under a Major Domestic Building Contract without holding the required domestic building insurance, a penalty of up to $96,000 is in place for an individual or $480,000 for a company.

The new offences are the first in a suite of reforms the State Government says it will deliver to ensure Victorians can build or renovate with confidence.

Applications for the extended scheme are expected to open in the coming weeks. More details are available at vic. Thursday, 7 March, 2024 NEWS Pakenham 190 Princes Highway Ph: 5941 4888 Cranbourne 6 Brunt Street Ph: 5996 6822 Drouin 2 Porter Place Ph: 5625 2571 Family Funerals 12658638-AA02-24 12672052-AA10-24 CONTACT US Phone: 5945 0666 ADVERTISING Visit Email Phone 5945 0666 EDITORIAL Email Published by Star News Group Pty Ltd ACN 005 848 108. Publisher/Managing Director, Paul Thomas. All material is copyright to Star News Group Pty Ltd. All significant errors will be corrected as soon as possible. Distribution numbers, areas and coverage are estimates only. For our terms and conditions please visit AUSTRALIAN OWNED & INDEPENDENT REAL ESTATE Email Visit Email Phone 5945 0600 12651769-SN47-23
Lost-deposit hope is rekindled
MichelleFarrowistheownerofandatrainerat InspireMeDogTrainingatClydeNorth.

Musicians wow audience

Starting around 1.30pm and ending at 8.30pm with the last tint of sunset, the sevenhour acoustic carnival included performances from Casey Concert Band, Cranbourne Chorale, Chantelle and Friends Jazz Combo, MelbourneYouth Chorale, Cranbourne Lions Concert Band, Maori traditional groupTe Hononca O NGA IWI, and Whisky ’n Ice Jazz Band.

The day ended with the Casey Philharmonic Orchestra presenting music from well-known movies like Star Wars, Superman, Spider-Man, and The Incredibles.

Artistic director Vicki Ware said they had just over 2000 people attend across the course of the day and the vibe was really fantastic.

“People were just enjoying sitting out on the lawn and the amphitheatre, eating and drinking and enjoying music, and kids running around having fun, so it was a really relaxed vibe too,” she said.

“When we played in the evening, everyone was really excited and even standing ovations, clapping after pieces.”

Ms Ware said they were just trying to get their music out there and share it with a wider audience.

“There’s a lot of music and other arts happening around Casey, and we don’t often get together and celebrate, so one of our aims is to get together and just celebrate how much music there is and share that with the community,” she said.

“At the moment with the cost-of-living crisis, a lot of families can’t afford to buy tickets to go to paid performances, so we wanted to run a free event in the park to make our music more accessible.”

Over 100 charges: Alleged hoon fights jail indication

From page 1

Among his alleged speeds that day were 135km/h on a 60km/h road, 152km/h on a 80km/h road and 136km/h on a 50 km/h road.

Mittal was also accused of swapping seats with his brother while driving on two occasions on the Monash Freeway.

It was alleged the car was set on ‘lane assist’ and ‘cruise control’ during the “stunts”, leaving the car effectively driverless.

The prosecutor said that as Mittal struggled to move from the front passenger seat to behind the wheel, he told his brother: “I told you to move the seat back, c***.”

A passenger filming the situation laughed, the court heard, saying “f***ing hell you c***s are f***ed, bro”.

As a probationary driver, Mittal was pro-

hibited from driving the Mercedes AMG vehicle used in much of the alleged offending. It was seized by police on his arrest and found to be modified to reach high speeds, the prosecutor said.

Magistrate Fran Medina noted that Mittal had no prior convictions and that since his arrest and bail in April, there had been no offending.

She also noted the distress to Mittal’s family who had given Mittal the stability, education and opportunities to “catapult” him ahead in life.

Mittal was a young person clearly enjoying the thrill of his alleged high-speed driving with his friends as well as his notoriety on social media, Ms Medina said.

“The problem I have is you’re a young person not thinking consequentially. Your

behaviour shows almost a callous disregard for the lives of others around you,” she said of the alleged offending.

According to psychological reports, he was now expressing remorse.

But he had plenty of opportunities for insight beforehand especially when interviewed by a police officer over alleged speeding of 187km/h on Eastlink in August 2022, Ms Medina said.

“You were given an opportunity to change your ways and you escalated,” she said of the alleged offending.

The magistrate made mention of the times of the alleged incidents - several in the afternoon and early evening - and the long period of alleged offending.

She particularly noted Mittal allegedly didn’t change - even after the Mercedes’

collision avoidance system was reportedly activated in what the prosecutor described as poor conditions and heavy traffic on the Monash Freeway in April. The prosecution alleged speeding of up to 165km/h at the time.

As a young person, Mittal’s rehabilitation was a focus in sentencing, Ms Medina said. But there was also a strong need to “send a message” that his alleged behaviour was “completely unacceptable”.

She described it as a “miracle that everyone is still alive”.

“It’s not a non-custodial sentence from me. It’s far too serious.”

Mittal was scheduled to appear at a contest mention at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 30 April.

4 STAR NEWS | Thursday, 7 March, 2024 OPEN DAY 2024 Saturday 16 March 10.00 am - 2.00 pm | Berwick Campus | Officer Campus Register your interest at 12667425-HC06-23
Casey Philharmonic Orchestra staged Music by the Lake at Wilson Botanic Park Berwick on Saturday 2 March, joined by a range of local dance troops, choirs, and bands. A silhouette. 392215 Section leader Michael Bonsall from Casey Philharmonic Orchestra is playing music from Star Wars. 392215 The whole stage lit up as the sun went down. 392215 Pictures: ROB CAREW The last rays of sunshine. 392215

Fire sparks pleas

A residential fire on Spartan Avenue has sparked fury over the undelivered Clyde North Fire Station.

Eight garages and one townhouse were destroyed in the blaze on the morning of Sunday 3 March, less than 400 metres from the proposed station site.

FRV’s Cranbourne senior station officer Geoff Baker, who was at the fire rescue, said if the Clyde North Fire Station had been built, it would significantly minimise the property loss.

A Country Fire Authority (CFA) spokesperson said 12 CFA units along with FRV crews attended the fire.

The incident was under control at 9am and deemed safe at 11.17am.

Two people were taken to the hospital for observation.

Mr Baker recalled that when Cranbourne Fire Station first responded at 8.11am, it was initially a fence fire, but it was quickly upgraded to a structure fire with reports of four garages on fire.

“By the time the fire trucks arrived on the scene at 8.21am, some 10 minutes after response, the fire had destroyed eight garages, a number of cars, one townhouse and damaged seven others,” he said.

“I apologised to the residents for the stress and anxiety they went through and apologised that our response time was not satisfactory.

“That 10 minutes is unacceptable by both FRV and CFA standards.”

FRV’s Service Delivery Standards across all of Victoria are to respond to structure fires within 7 minutes and 42 seconds.

Mr Baker pointed out the irony was the burning site was just opposite the proposed Clyde North Fire Station, which was first identified in 2009.

“It’s been on the card for at least 15 years,” he said.

FRV announced the site for Clyde North’s fire station nearly three years ago, which would be situated on the corner of Matterhorn Drive and Thompson Road.

It was estimated that work was expected to begin in 2021 and finish in 2023.

The construction has not commenced.

Star News talked to United Firefighters

Union delegate for Cranbourne Fire Station Sam Watterson in early February this year, who was frustrated at the failure to deliver the promised fire station as it posed operational difficulties to Cranbourne Fire Station.

A spokesperson for FRV commented in February that planning for the Clyde North Fire Station was underway.

Mr Baker explained that an unsuppressed fire would just continue to spread until it ran out of fuel.

“A rapid response time is critical to cut off that fire before it extends to other buildings,” he said.

“Had an FRV crew been across the road, and responded within a minute, (I have) no doubt in 25 years of professional firefighting that it would have been restricted to maybe a couple of garages.

“That’s why we are calling on Minister for Emergency Services Jaclyn Symes to fund this Clyde North Fire Station so the residents of Clyde North can have the response time befitting of the risk in the area.”

He said that both CFA and FRV firefighters were working hard to lobby the State Government to provide the funding.

FRV 2022-23 Annual Report shows that more than $7 million was allocated to Clyde North, but Mr Baker said the tender was put

out some time ago.

“Their building costs have obviously gone up and exceeded the budget,” he said.

Berwick MP Brad Battin said immediate action had to be taken to finally get the emergency service infrastructure built in Clyde North before more events like this occurred.

“Sadly, we are no longer talking about what could happen, but what is happening due to the absolute failure and incompetence of years of Labor government’s inaction in Clyde North,” he said.

“Residents on Sunday morning were watching their properties up in flames while also staring directly from their street at the empty block of land Labor promised their fire station would stand - it’s absolutely inexcusable.”

An FRV spokesperson said the planning for Clyde North Fire Station was complete.

“FRV will communicate a timeframe for construction once it is established. FRV and CFA continue to ensure the local community is provided with a high level of service.

“The new station will be a significant improvement in community safety. It is strategically positioned so FRV can better respond to emergencies and response times in the area and surrounding suburbs will improve.”

The State Government was contacted for comment.

Man, 28, dies after incident at worksite

A man died at a Berwick worksite last Friday 1 March.

A 28-year-old man was struck and crushed by the boom of a truck-mounted crane while unloading timber products from the vehicle, between 1pm and 2pm.

Emergency services were called out to the corner of Atrani Avenue and Santorini Parade in Berwick, soon after the incident had occurred.

The CFA, FRV, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria Police were at the scene, including an air

ambulance which had intended to land but left soon after when the man had been pronounced dead.

According to WorkSafe, the death is the eighth confirmed workplace fatality for 2024, where there were 13 confirmed work-related deaths at the same time last year.

VictoriaPoliceiscurrentlypreparingareport for the coroner following the man’s passing, and WorkSafe has the incident under investigation.

Gas leak in Narre North

A gas leak at Narre Warren North on 5 March saw the attendance of several emergency services, which included three fire trucks, two police vehicles and two gas company vehicles.

The Narre Warren North fire brigade was alerted to the gas leak at Cleveland Close at 12.50pm, which they responded to by sending two units that were supported by Fire Rescue Victoria.

Lieutenant Gary Beer, the scene’s incident controller from the Narre Warren North fire brigade said the cause of the leak was from a domestic gas metre.

“We found a domestic gas metre that had been damaged and the gas was leaking on the high-pressure side.

“Narre Warren North and FRV, along with police alerted the neighbours that there was high-pressure gas in the area,” Lieutenant Beer said.

Atmospheric monitoring was essential in keeping an eye on the gas levels, and soon after emergency services issued a community warning for the surrounding area notifying them of the leak.

“The gas company was notified, they came and made the scene safe and the Narre Warren North fire brigade did some ventilation in the house to remove any residual gas,” Lieutenant Beer said.

The incident was resolved, and the area cleared of gas roughly two hours after their arrival.

He assured that gas leaks of that nature aren’t a common occurrence, but urged that if residents suspect there to be one in their home to evacuate and contact emergency services immediately. SenttoyourinboxeveryThursday Simplyregistertodayandgetourlatest news articlesandDigital EditionsinyourinboxforFREE Keeping up to date with your local news has never been so easy... 12665941-KG06-24 NEWS
Geoff Baker on the empty site with the recent fire across the road. 393023 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS The CFA, FRV, two police and gas company vehicles were at the scene of the gas leak at Narre Warren North. Picture: GENERIC VicPol at the scene of the incident, which was cordoned off by police tape. Picture: KEITH PAKENHAM

Joy through paint

The cream panelled arts shed tucked away in the Old Cheese Factory has become an artistic haven for locals who have found their creative outlet through Painting with Parkinson’s.

Taking over the Hayshed Arts Space every Wednesday since 2006, attendees have found the perfect way to spend a Wednesday morning - peacefully working on a new piece of art with a warm cup of tea and some cake in hand - and are encouraging more people living with neurological disorders to come along.

“People with Parkinson’s don’t think they can paint,” long-time volunteer Christine said.

“But most of the people become quite good and get really creative. Because it’s not about the painting, it’s about the group and it’s about spending a couple of hours with people who are going through what they’re going through.”

Starting the group in response to her own Parkinson’s diagnosis was founder Anne Atkin OAM, whose artwork continues to inspire the weekly sessions, even now in the final stages of her diagnosis.

“Anne is the most inspirational person I’ve ever met,” added Christine, who was delighted to gush about Anne’s achievements and tremendous impact.

“Even though I don’t have Parkinson’s, she has always been a fabulous example of resilience.”

Also inspired by Anne’s work is devout attendee Michael, who came across Anne and Painting with Parkinson’s in 2008 on the search for something to do.

Now, more than a decade on, Michael has just received his 15-year service award for his longstanding contributions to the group, along with Christine who was recognised for



15 years as a volunteer.

Lovingly referred to as an “instigator” by those in the painting group, Michael’s passion has been fostered by the weekly sessions.

With the space to nurture his artistic tendencies, in an environment full of “friendly faces”, Michael even had the honour of presenting one of his paintings to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

But while Michael has been painting all his life, when asked if art experience was needed to come along, both him and Christine immediately answered with an emphatic “no”.

“All the attendees, at all different levels, find really great things to do,” Christine added.

“There is no right or wrong. Everything is a happy accident.

“We keep all the paintings and write their names and dates on them, so it’s something

for the painters to keep to show that there is something they have done and something they enjoyed,” like brilliant painter Geraldine, whose house has become her own personal gallery.

“And it really helps, not with recovery, but with managing the disease, staying interested, keeping your spirits up and finding things you like doing.

“We’re sure there must be more people out in the community who would enjoy coming along!”

Keen painters are also welcome to attend with their carers.

For more information on Painting with Parkinsons, to join or to express your interest as a volunteer, contact Christine at 0412 499 256, or visit them at the Old Cheese Factory, every Wednesday from 10am to 12pm.

Truck boss walks free

The man who put a truck driver behind the wheel while high on drugs and short on sleep before he killed four police officers has avoided prison.

Connect Logistics supervisor Simiona Tuteru, 52, was handed a three-year community corrections order on Wednesday, almost four years after he allowed Mohinder Singh to drive a 19-tonne truck.

After a sleepless night, Singh arrived at the company’s Lyndhurst depot and asked Tuteru to break a witch’s curse on him, since his boss was a church pastor. Singh was high on methamphetamine and having visions.

The supervisor placed his hands on Singh’s head and recited a prayer, before asking him to drive a truckload that afternoon, on 22 April, 2020.

Singh drove the truck down Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway and veered into an emergency lane. He hit three cars, includingtwopolicevehicles.LeadingSenior Constable LynetteTaylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and constables Josh Prestney and Glen Humphris, were all killed.

Tuteru was initially charged with four counts of manslaughter, but those charges were dropped about six days before he was due to face trial. He pleaded guilty to a single heavy vehicle offence in 2023, for failing to comply with his duties in the chain of responsibility.

Tuteru, dressed in a suit and tie, remained silent and stared straight ahead as he was handed the three-year community corrections order. He must perform 200 hours of unpaid community work over that time.

Justice James Elliott said Singh was a “very unreliable witness” and rejected his evidence that he told Tuteru he did not sleep before he put him behind the wheel. He also took into account the drawn out court proceedingsTuteru had faced, which included a judge placing a stay on the prosecution’s case and that being taken to the Court of Appeal.

“This proceeding has been a drawn out process conducted in a way … that could not be described as optimal or efficient,” Justice Elliott said.

The prosecution had conceded during pre-sentence hearings that a non-custodial sentence was within range. Tuteru will walk free from court onWednesday.

Singh is serving an 18-and-a-half-year jail term, which was reduced from 22 years on appeal after he agreed to give evidence against Tuteru.


Mums are claiming they’re not able to get a booking at the City of Casey’s Maternal and Child Health service. Casey says the service has been fully restored since December 2023. What’s your experience?

Emma Gainsford

We’ve had all of our appointments, youngest born 2021. Some have been cancelled but always another appointment has been made once I called them.

Melissa Jayne Gibb

My now two year old son hasn’t seen one since he was four months old. They kept cancelling and rescheduling and eventually stopped contacting

Liz Pattison

My 2yo was never offered any appointments since birth.. they phoned me last week to offer an eight-week program they have introduced for children identified as disadvantaged due to Covid cancellations and staff shortages.

6 STAR NEWS | Thursday, 7 March, 2024
A king parrot along the
Creek Trail in Akoonah Park Berwick.
Veteran attendee Michael presented his artwork to Julia Gillard. 392094 Volunteer Christine is always happy to help enthusiastic painters like Geraldine. 392094 The arts shed has become a sanctuary for these painters. 392094 There are plenty of brushes, paints and cakes available for new members. 392094 Pictures: EMMA XERRI

Students take centre stage

Music, Drama and Theatre Studies are alive and well at Haileybury!

From world class musical productions, participating in Symphony or Wind Orchestras, Twilight Concerts and Aria Nights, creativity, originality and producing stellar performances to a sell-out audience are high on the priority list for students and teachers at Haileybury.

The most recent Berwick Middle School production was the screen classic, The Wizard of Oz, where students let their imagination and creativity run a little wild, and after eight months of preparation and countless rehearsals with a dedicated team of staff, the final result was unforgettable.

This year, Middle school students and teachers are raising the bar, bringing Disney’s Frozen Jr. to the John Twist Hall at our Berwick campus! A hugely popular show, with fan favourite characters including the infamous Anna, Elsa and beloved snowman buddy, Olaf, over 100 excited Haileybury Berwick students have been involved in workshops, with many already auditioning for the lead roles to bring the magical land of Arendelle to life on stage.

“Studying and participating in musical theatre gives students the ability to grow creatively. In a world that is constantly changing and evolving, creative thinking and problem solving is essential to the development of new ideas and solutions, and through participating in group theatre opportunities students continually practise and nurture this skillset,” says Berwick Head of Drama, Georgina Buttery.

“Being involved in theatre exposes students to new worlds and in the process presents them with multiple perspectives and ways of thinking. The beauty of theatre also encourages pro-social skills and relationships. In the portrayal of different characters students learn to better understand different types of personalities and subtexts, which develops an ability to adapt and relate to unknown situations.”

All stars in the making

Inclusivity is also a key element of the Performing Arts experience — a student may be a seasoned dancer, actor, or musician, or they may never have set foot on a stage or picked up a musical instrument before. Whether they are a future Meryl Streep, Paul McCartney or a complete novice, there is a place for every student in Haileybury’s theatrical and musical productions.

“Auditions have been a highlight so far, as I have seen students challenge themselves and step outside of their comfort zone in the pursuit of trying something new. Auditions teach students valuable lessons that can be transferred to real life experiences such as job interviews, corporate presentations and resilience,” says Georgina.

Opportunities abound

A growing body of research recognises that studying the Performing Arts, or simply taking part in school productions, helps develop the kind of skills that are not always easily taught in a traditional classroom.

Creativity, originality, and initiative have all been identified by the World Economic Forum as key to young people enjoying success in their future workplaces, and schools play an important role in igniting and feeding creativity and originality through the Performing Arts.

Haileybury has long recognised this, which is why more than 800 students fromYear 2 and above take part in the School’s Instrumental Music program, individual music lessons, drama and other performing arts opportunities that endeavour to cater for the interests of every student.

Frozen Jr. comes to Haileybury Berwick on 20, 21 and 22 August — be sure to save the date. Visit the Haileybury News and Events page for more information.

Haileybury Excellence Scholarships. Thursday, 7 March, 2024 | STAR NEWS 7
Haileybury offers a limited number of scholarships to students who might not otherwise be able to access a Haileybury education. Haileybury Excellence Scholarships are awarded in three categories: General Excellence, Music and Indigenous. Applications close Friday, 15 March 2024. Visit our website to discover more. 12673515-AI10-24 BUSINESS PROFILE
Haileybury Berwick students taking centre stage.


Tell us about yourself and your organisation! Casey Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) is a vibrant, young amateur orchestra that aims to present quality music that will delight audiences in the outer Southeast of Melbourne. We started in 2017 with just nine players and have grown to approximately 50-60 regular players. We perform a range of music, including popular, movie themes and classical. We also seek out opportunities to collaborate with other groups in the region, such as Melbourne Youth Chorale and other choirs, local dance schools, concert bands, and music theatre groups such as MLOC (more about the orchestra can be found at I am artistic director for CPO. That means I take the lead in programming and setting the overall artistic vision of the group. A pro-am musician and ethnomusicologist by background, my ‘day job’ is in academia – teaching community development at Deakin University. My research explores community arts and the huge range of benefits they bring to communities globally. As such, I am passionate to extend that in my work with CPO, designing programmes that aim to really connect with local audiences. Orchestral music does not have to be ‘stuffy’ or boring – there is a lot of orchestral music that we all listen to and love in our daily lives, often without even realising it.

What do you love the most about working for your organisation?

Ooh that’s difficult! I love working with a wide range of musicians from all across this part of Melbourne and beyond. I love collaborating with everyone to build a bank of creative ideas that I can turn into concrete programmes. We have a fabulous, hardworking committee, and of course I love my home in the horn section. Horn players rock!

What was your most memorable moment during your current role in your organisation?

with Casey Philharmonic Orchestra artistic director Vicki Ware

I think our first ever concert in 2017 – seeing an orchestra materialise out of nothing in a region with no orchestras! That was exciting! More recently, I think our Star Wars and Harry Potter concerts were amazing – playing to packed halls of people equally as passionate as us about the music and the stories it tells. So many players and audience members came in costume, and we had a fantastic time during the interval taking photos and laughing with each other!

If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

I would be a labrador retriever in a loving

home. Happy-go-lucky couch potato, and in love with the world.

What were you like as a kid?

Way too serious. Cautious, quiet and definitely not much of a risk-taker.

What event, past or present, would you like to witness?

That’s a tough one. Maybe the day the Suffragette movement won universal suffrage in the early twentieth century? I know that’s kind of nerdy, but I’m passionate about equal opportunity, and people being able to have a genuine say about the issues that impact them. Which six dinner guests, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?

I don’t really care about superstars and I don’t really have any particular heroes. I’d be most happy with some of my family and/or closest friends. That’s way more than six though. I also had some pretty awesome music teachers in high school, so I’d always jump at the chance to hang out with them.

What three words would your friends use to describe you?

Passionate, persistent, manic.

What would you do on your perfect day off?

A long massage, some good food, and a then quiet spot in a rainforest to just enjoy the silence and perhaps read a book.

Where is your happy place?

Playing music or working on my crochet projects. I can get lost in these for hours.

If you had to compete on MasterChef, what dish would you cook?

Gnocchi carbonara.

Where is your dream holiday destination?

The Outer Hebrides. I’ve recently been connecting with the Scottish aspects of my heritage (I’m a fifth generation settler of English and Scottish origin), and I’d love to spend some time there practising Gaelic, learning folk music and enjoying the stunning scenery.

THREE … things to do if there’s a fire


Call 000

In the event of a fire, it is crucial to immediately contact emergency services by dialing Triple Zero (000). When reporting the fire, provide as much information as possible, including the location, size, and any potential hazards. Stay on the line until the emergency operator has gathered all necessary details.


Stay up to date with current warnings

Visit the VicEmergency website or download the app to access realtime information about current fire incidents and warnings in your area. Keep yourself informed about the fire’s status, any evacuation orders, and other critical updates. Regularly check the website for the latest information, as conditions can change rapidly during a fire.

3 Follow VicEmergency on social media

VicEmergency maintains active social media profiles on platforms such as Facebook and X (formerly Twitter). Following these accounts provides an additional channel for receiving timely updates and alerts. Social media platforms are valuable for disseminating urgent information and sharing maps.

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VickiWare. Picture:SUPPLIED

Going above and beyond

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the unsung women of our community.

Those who go about their day making the best for others with no awards or fanfare.

The people who via small actions make a day better, create change and make big things happen.

Berwick Neighbourhood Centre operates daily under the guise of a bunch of amazing women who see their roles more than a job - it’s who they are.

Going above and beyond as they show care, concern and connections with community members.

Displayed through Childcare, threeyear-old Play and Grow Programs, Playgroups, social groups, the community garden, activities, support groups and many one-off events just to name a few.

These women take the time to listen to the needs of the community and action opportunities which enhance individual’s mental health, reduce isolation and create connections.

One of the many groups at the Berwick Neighbourhood Centre is the Chat andYarn group. This amazing band of talented, wise women utilise their gifts to create an array of knitted goods: scarfs beanies, jumpers to donate to assorted charities and groups. Coming together each Thursday for over 14 years, the group has an enjoyable time.

The Berwick Neighbourhood House Committee consists of many women who juggle jobs, parenting, and an array of other commitments, whilst supporting the centre to become a place where all community members receive a welcome

If not for these women who manage to keep the many plates of their lives spinning each day our community would be deprived of a local place where they can feel connected and supported. A big deal of thanks needs to go to these women for giving so selflessly to make our community a better place for all.

As well as Val, who has been a wonderful volunteer who has supported the BNC by making others in the community aware of what is going on at the centre. Her interactions with the public and willingness to support the community is immeasurable.

The Berwick Neighbourhood Centre is located at 112 High St and 20-26 Parkhill Drive hosting a range of activities, support services and events along with hiring. Despite the highlight of InternationalWomen’s Day, the centre is welcoming to all local members so please know that men form a great base of the centre too.

Coming up

· Chair Movement Mondays from 4 March, 10.15am

· Skincare and make up sessions 6, 13 and 20 March, 6.30pm

· Wilson Botanical Park Bus Tour Wednesday 13 March, 10.30am-12.30pm

· AGM Thursday 14 March, 10am

· Retirement Village Living Presentation Monday 29 April, 1.30pm

· Garden group Thursdays 9.30-11.30am

To discover more about their regular programs and activities please check out their website or email au or call 9704 1863 for more details.

part of their local community.

I’m proud to work at St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar, whose mission is to grow good people by encouraging students to strive to be their best self, now and in the future, for the betterment of all humanity and the planet.

It does not matter who you are, it is what you stand for and what you stand up for. I see how the school actively encourages celebration of and striving for all. The school’s Diamond Education model offers co-education in the IB PrimaryYears Program in the Junior School. In the senior years, the school provides single gender education on dedicated campuses with cross campus socio-emotional learning opportunities. We believe that this model honours all the good things single sex education offers while preparing them for a complex, coeducational world. In a country where the gender pay gap is still significant, there is more work that must be done to create a more equitable world, a challenge the school has actively addressed for the best part of 100 years.

Through the Diamond Model, committed staff strive to empower young girls and young

women as they progress through their education journey. Empowerment is fostered through every aspect of a girl’s day at SMBG, be it via the dedicated girl’s wellbeing program, extracurricular activities, curriculum texts or the safe learning environment that encourages girls to thrive. That the school is led by one of the few female principals of a boys’ school in Australia, works as a concrete example of female empowerment.

The opportunities for young women can be super-charged by the support and advocacy of boys and men. At our senior boys campus at Officer, we aim to foster positive masculinity through our Growing Good Men program to develop compassionate men of character who view all people as their equals.

As we celebrate InternationalWomen’s Day, I could not be prouder of the work we do here at St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar to promote an agenda that aims to equip the next generation with the compass and tools to strive to create a better, fairer, and more inclusive tomorrow. Thursday, 7 March, 2024 | STAR NEWS 9 We encourage every student to pursue excellence in all endeavours and aim to ensure every student achieves their best potential so they are ready - not just for the completion of their final exams but for life! To find out more and to apply please visit our website or use the QR Code. Non-Selective | Non-Denominational Smaller Classes Co-Educational ELC and Junior School | Dedicated Senior Girls and Boys Schools Enrolling for 2025 and 2026 12665980-HC10-24
WOMEN INBusiness Empowering
The opportunities are endless at St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar. Anne, Lorna, Margaret and Anya. The Chat and Yarn group. These amazing ladies knit an assortment of items for various charities, organisations and those in need. Katherine (BNC Playgroup Coordinator), Leah (BNC Programs Coordinator), Val (BNC Community Liaison Volunteer) all working to prove a space where people can connect to be

WOMEN INBusiness

Passionate dedication

As we approach International Women’s Day, it’s essential to recognise and celebrate the remarkable contributions of women in various fields. Among these inspiring stories lies the tale of the formidable women at Bewick Village Jewellers in Berwick. Their dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment have shaped the very essence of this cherished establishment.

At the heart of Bewick Village Jewellers stands Sylvia, a beacon of strength and leadership. As a part-owner alongside her husband Anthony, Sylvia epitomises resilience and determination. Together, they have steered the course of the family business with unparalleled dedication. Sylvia’s relentless work

ethic and passion for the craft have been instrumental in propelling the business to new heights.

Alongside Sylvia stands a team of remarkable women, each contributing their unique skills and talents to the success of Bewick Village Jewellers. Michelle, with 16 years of unwavering service, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. Roseanna, with her three years of dedicated service, infuses the team with fresh perspectives and innovation. And then there’s Jen, a stalwart of the establishment with an impressive 22 years of service under her belt.

Together, these women form the backbone of Berwick Village Jewellers, ensuring that

every customer experience is nothing short of extraordinary.

The legacy of Bewick Village Jewellers stretches back over 40 years, founded upon the values of integrity, quality, and exceptional service by its original owners, James and Kay Drysdale. Anthony and Sylvia, the current custodians of this esteemed legacy, have seamlessly carried forward these cherished values into the modern era. With over three decades of combined experience in the jewellery and watch industry, their expertise is unmatched. Anthony’s proficiency as both a jeweller and watchmaker ensures that every repair and creation is executed with precision and finesse, right here on-site.

Anthony, in expressing his gratitude, acknowledges the invaluable contributions of his wife Sylvia and the dedicated women who stand by their side. Their hard work, compassion, and unwavering support have been pivotal in shaping the success of Bewick Village Jewellers.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us applaud the remarkable women of Bewick Village Jewellers for their indomitable spirit, passion, and dedication. Theirs is a story of empowerment, resilience, and unwavering commitment—a testament to the profound impact women continue to make in every sphere of life.

10 STAR NEWS | Thursday, 7 March, 2024 BERWICK NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTRE THANK YOU LADIES FOR YOUR INVALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR MORE INFORMATION 9704 1863 Follow us on facebook KatKimLeahLeearna ValKerrySumayya & DanniDebbie & Dee COMING UP SOON • Wilson Botanical Park Bus Tour Wed 13th March 10.30am-12.30pm • Retirement Village Living Presentation Monday 29th April, 1.30pm • Skincare and make up sessions 6,13,20th March 6.30pm • AGM Thursday 14th March 10am • Chair Movement Mondays from 4th March 10.15am • Garden group Thursdays 9.30-11.30am Play group Co-ordinator Centre Manager Programs Co-ordinator Programs Co-ordinator Community LiaisonChildren services Co-ordinator Childcare Educators Play and Grow Educators 12674237-AV11-24 • Designers & Makers of handmade Fine Jewellery • Jewellery Repairs • Specializing in Swiss Watch Repairs By Qualified Watchmaker on premises • All Watch and Jewellery repairs completed on premises 2 Blackburne Square, Berwick VIC 3806 03 9707 2647 Jewellery crafted with care and love 12674239-MS10-24
Roseanna, Jen and Michelle celebrating their long service to Berwick Village jewellers. Michelle, Sylvia (owner) and Roseanna had plenty of reasons to celebrate.

WOMEN INBusiness

Reflecting on our history

On the mezzanine level of the Victorian State Parliament Library is a small museum of artifacts with one of my favourite things - a Suffragette’s tea set.

A delicate white teapot, cup and saucer with the words ‘Votes forWomen’ crafted around its gold-rimmed edges. I often wonder about the conversations that must have taken place over a cup of tea with a teaset like this.

You might know that suffragettes were activists in the ‘Votes for Women’ campaign. In the United Kingdom the movement started about 1840 and ended in 1920. Some women went to great lengths to make their point, using art, debate, propaganda, attacking property and other extreme acts.

In Australia, the Women’s suffragette movement was peaceful but persistent. Thousands of resilient and bold women joined together to eventually create history. With their efforts in mind, we should never forget the strength of our collective women-hood to make the world a fairer and better place.

A forgotten history – and it happened in Victoria! There is a wonderful moment in world history that can easily be overlooked and forgotten because it was short lived.

Did you know that in 1863, some Victorian women were accidentally given the right to vote when our Victorian parliament passed a law to allow all ratepayers on municipal rolls to vote in Assembly elections?

In 1864, some bold Victorian women took advantage of the oversight and cast their votes for the first time. Can you imagine the victory these women must have felt?

Sadly, the opportunity only lasted a short

On the mezzanine level of the Victorian State Parliament Library is a small museum of artifacts, including a Suffragette’s tea set.

time, when, after a short debate Parliament restricted the vote to only male ratepayers with the Electoral Law Consolidation Act 1865.

A handful of women from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Victorian Temperance Alliance, with other suffragette groups went door to door to gain the right to vote for Victorian women.

Thirty-three thousand Victorian women signed the monstrous Victorian Women’s Suffrage Petition in less than six months and was tabled in September 1891. Isabella Goldstein and her daughter Vida spent six weeks traveling by train and on foot to gather signatures.

Despite this, theVictorian Legislative Council (Upper House), refused to give women the right to vote. Women in Victoria could note vote until 18 November 1908.

Today, in the 60th Parliament inVictoria, for the first time in history, the Victorian Legislative Council has more women than men and I am honoured to serve in our local community as one of these women.

We all know that women have a lot to offer our world – and we should never forget this!

International Women’s Day 2024 – and how suffragists women shaped our world.

While we may be hormonal due to our reproductive cycles, feminine body parts and XX chromosomes, let us not forget what makes us strong. In a world struggling with issues of feminine and gender dysphoria, let us not forget the brave women who set an example of who we are and what we can become.

Our mothers, grandmothers, sisters and girlfriends have been role models and many great women like them have forged history before us and alongside us, so we can create a great future for our girls. The next time you turn on your kettle, remember the beauty in our female boldness, resilience, and the many Victorian and Australian women whose persistence gave us all a voice and a future.

Wishing you all a wonderful International Women’s Week – “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all” (Proverbs 31).

May you never forget your immeasurable value and worth as you celebrate with your next cup of tea.

Fun fact quiz: Did you know?

1. What was the first country to give women the right to vote in 1893?

2. In 1902, what was the second nation in the world to achieve votes for women in

Federal elections?

3. Women only achieved the right to vote and stand for election in 1971 in what country?

4. Prior to Federation (when Australia became a nation on 1 January 1901) did some Aboriginal people in some states likeVictoria, vote in State (colony) elections?

5. When did Aboriginal men and women only received the option to enrol and vote in Australian Federal elections?

6. What is Vida Goldstein (patron name for the seat of Goldstein in Melbourne’s bayside area) known as?

7. Who was the first woman to be elected to Australian parliament?

8. Where was the first and most powerful suffragette campaigners with a group called the Women’s Suffrage League started in 1888?

9. When was AustralianWomen’s Suffrage Society founded in Victoria?

10. What was the first Australian state to officially grant women the right to vote in 1894?


1. New Zealand.

2. Australia.

3. Switzerland.

4. Yes.

5. 1962.

6. A suffragette.

7. Edith Cowan.

8. South Australia. It started in 1888 with two women – Mary Lee and Mary Colton. They wrote letters to newspapers, held marches and gave public speeches to influence their cause.

9. 1884.

10. South Australia. Thursday, 7 March, 2024 | STAR NEWS 11 Ann-Marie Hermans mp Member for South-Eastern Metropolitan Region 1/31 Princes Hwy, Dandenong VIC 3175 AnnMarieHermansMP 9794 7667 Proud to support International Women’s Day Celebrating our women in the South-East. A special thank you to all women on International Women’s Day. Authorised by Ann-Marie Hermans MP, 1/31 Princes Hwy, Dandenong 3175 ADVERTISEMENT 12593223-AI10-23 Scan to connect with Ann-Marie
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Fruit Loop harvests hope

More than 50,000 apples were picked at the Montague Orchard in Narre Warren North last Friday, as volunteers from companies such as BildUrban, AusNet and McCain spent the day combing through the trees.

Hosted by Foodbank, Fruit Loop was held on 1 March and was a corporate event that saw big companies not only take part in the applepicking activity but also raise money for those in need.

Matt Tilley, Foodbank’s chief communications officer said that the idea was “all locked away before apple blossom”.

“It’s been months in the making, and we had to wait - because we conceived the idea and spoke to Montague - but we had to wait for the apples to blossom and grow,” Mr Tilley said.

With teams of four, companies donned the apple-picking attires which included a frontfacing harvest bag, high-vis and of course hats to combat the heat.

“Those apples will be donated to us [Foodbank] to distribute to Australians in need, all the while these corporate teams will be fundraising to try and see who wins the trophy for best fundraising team as well,” Mr Tilley said.

While the event featured a dash of competitiveness, Kathy Burgstahler who was part of the AusNet team was more than happy to have

physically contributed in the process.

While she had been exhausted at the end of the day, the event for her was “extremely heartwarming”.

“For me it was about really seeing the difference that Foodbank makes in the community, and for this particular event, it was seeing how the community pulled together to make this all happen.

“Just seeing how there are so many people here, especially now that the cost of living is so high and people are really doing it tough, it’s great to see that so many are willing to give up a day of work and give back,” Ms Burgstahler said.

Foodbank VictoriaMatt caters to over 500 charitiesacrossthestate,withtheapplespicked contributing to catering to the 57,000 people who rely on the charity’s provisions daily.

Previous corporate events had been held by Foodbank, such as the corporate bike ride event called Hunger Ride that was held in the town of Bright, some three and half hours away from Melbourne’s CBD.

Mr Tilley thought switching things up would be for the better, an event closer to home, and something that wasn’t so physically demanding.

In addition,Tilley was looking at“something that spoke to the work we do and people could feel like what they were doing was actually contributing to feed the roughly 57,000 people we feed a day”.

While Foodbank sees a range of support from other companies and sponsors, sometimes there is more demand than there is supply.

“We get lots of donated food, millions and millions every year but it’s not enough so we have to fundraise.

“We spend about $5 million purchasing extra and top-up food just to meet the demand, so we need to raise funds any way we can to find that kind of money.

“The thing is we only know so many people

and can only ask so many donors and so we ask some of these big companies to do the asking for us,” Mr Tilley said.

For Ms Burgstahler, having personally raised $1000 for Foodbank was just the cherry on top.

“Seeing the process made it tangible, it wasn’t just about the money, you could see the produce and as we were leaving you could see the Foodbank trucks being loaded up with the apples and going straight to the people who needed it the most.

“I think the big thing with us is that we don’t do it to get the kudos, we do it to give backyou’re actually giving it back to the community, this is actually feeding people.

“It’s not just a big company throwing money at a charity, they’re actually allowing people to take a volunteer day of leave and go out there and physically help people, that’s the big difference,” she said.

The Fruit Loop event spanned the entire day and finished off with a dinner at Stella’s Kitchen that had a breakdown and reflection of the entire day.

The event was also attended by Ben Shewry, renowned chef and owner of Attica who spoke to the crowd about his experience with sustainability and ethically sourced ingredients, reducing food waste and supporting local producers.

‘Preserving the beauty of our country’: Locals clean up

Locals got out and about on the weekend, cleaning up our local part of the world by joining the more than 750,000 people across the country for Clean Up Australia Day.

Sunday 3 March was the day this year for the annual event to keep the country’s parks and streets clean, with locals organisations puttingintheirfairsharewiththeirownevents that saw residents rolling up their sleeves.

The Rotary Club of Berwick hosted their own clean up of Buchanan Park which was joined by scouts, cubs and joeys from the 1st NarreWarren North Scout Group.

Over in Officer, the Australian Tamil Sangam Inc did a public event to clean up the areas around Bridge Road, the railway track and Lower Gum Scrub Creek.

Up the road a bit, residents of Blue Gum Lifestyle Estate took on the task of cleaning up

their surrounding area on Brunt Road.

Friends of Cardinia Creek gathered at Akoonah Park with many residents, young and older, getting active to help clean up Cardinia Creek. Sweeney Reserve also got a clean up, with locals from Ahmadiyya Muslim Community taking the iniative with support from City of Casey.

“Our involvement in Clean Up Australia Day isn’t just about picking up litter; it’s a tangible demonstration of our dedication to preserving the beauty of our country and fulfilling our duty as responsible citizens,” the group said.

Cardinia Shire Council was also active through the week. Deputy Mayor Graeme Moore helped at a clean up event on Friday 1 March at Lower Gum Scrub Creek, while Mayor Jack Kowarzik joined both Australian Tamil Sangam and Blue Gum Lifestyle’s event on Sunday.

14 STAR NEWS | Thursday, 7 March, 2024
Members of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a global socio-spiritual and volunteer-driven organisation turned up to help at Friends of Cardinia Creek’s clean-up. Issie retrieving rubbish along the creek trail. Elli and Levi with bags of rubbish and an old bike they found.
BAPS member, 10-year-old Krisha helping out at the event. Louise Rinaldi (Corporate volunteer coordinator for Foodbank), with Helen Szabo (left) and Meg Wise (right) from McCain cheering in the background. 389434 Pictures: ROB CAREW Apple-pickers working under the sun. 389434 A close-up of the perfect apple on the perfect day, the Royal Gala apple. 389434 Thursday, 7 March, 2024 | STAR NEWS 15 12663914-KO10-24


Mental Health Peer Support

Program Cranbourne Group - Free

The program is based on a 12-step program of personal growth, mutual help, and support. Participants share challenges and solutions in a supportive and structured peer-to-peer format within a confidential, caring, and sharing community.

The meetings are weekly and go for about two hours.

· 10.30am to 12.30pm Thursday, excluding school holidays, 7/9 Selandra Boulevard (Balla Balla Community Centre), Clyde North. For any enquires contact: Grow Victoria 03 9528 2977/1800 558 268.

Narre Warren Family History Group

The next Narre Warren Family History Group meeting will be held on Wednesday 20 March from 7.30pm at the Cranbourne Library conference room with entry via the Casey Radio entrance at 1/65 Berwick-Cranbourne Road in Cranbourne.

Heather Arnold: Enchanted Beneath the Bluff Author Heather Arnold will be this month’s presenter, talking about her new book ’Enchanted Beneath the Bluff’, which tells the stories of some very interesting Melbourne women, who lived their lives on their own terms.

· Wednesday 20 March.

Cranbourne Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Inc: Autumn Plant Sale of Australian plants

Location: Royal Botanic Garden Victoria – Cranbourne (Cnr Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne). The plant sale will be held at the northern end of the Australian Garden. Parking and entry is available nearby (look for the large red banners). A large variety of Australian native plants will be available. A plant list will be available on our website approximately a week before the sale. EFTPOS is available.

A great opportunity to purchase plants and look around the Australian Garden.

· Plant sale dates: Saturday and Sunday 23 and 24 March, 2024. Times: 10am – 4pm on both days.

Berwick Bridge Club

Are you looking for some exercise for your brain


that is both fun and challenging?

Berwick Bridge Club is looking for new members. Lessons are held at Brentwood Park Neighbourhood House, 21A Bemersyde Drive, Berwick. The course will run for six-plus weeks on a Monday night. To reserve your spot phone Maree on 9702 2348.

· There is a free beginner’s course which began on 4 March from 7pm-9pm. No partner required.

Balla Balla Community Centre

Located in Clyde North, the centre has vacancies in the following classes: Introduction to Creative Writing, Conversational English, Yoga, Zumba, Playgroup, Balla Balla Bubs (0-12 months). Morning Melodies is back! Share a morning of music, enjoy a cuppa, or scones with jam and cream, and make new friends along the way.

· Enrolments can be made online at ballaballa. or by phoning 5990 0900.

Casey Cardinia Life Activities Club

Are you newly retired or new to the area or just wanting to enjoy your freedom or expand your social life?

Casey Cardinia Life Activities Club can offer you stimulating activities such as weekly social/ chat activities with low-key in line dancing if you want to tap your feet and enjoy an afternoon tea. Day, short and long trips away via coach and flights, a weekly morning coffee club, monthly Saturday country pub lunches, monthly evening dineouts, weekly table tennis club, walking groups, seasonal daytime musical theatre outings, and more.

· Come along and get to know us by visiting us on a Thursday at 2pm at Brentwood Park Neighbourhood House or join us on a Wednesday at 10am for a Coffee at Little Sparrow Fountain Gate. For more information, contact enquiry officer Gloria on 0468 363 616.

Cranbourne U3A

Come along to Cranbourne U3A meet new friends and have fun doing interesting classes. We are a not-for-profit group for over 50 retired, or semi-retired people. Our latest class will be Resin Craft, where we will be creating small items such as earrings, necklace pendants, coasters, and more. Great for small gifts for your friends. Come along and give it a try. Class

materials will be provided for the first 4 weeks to give you an opportunity to try out a large variety of casts and molds. We have lots of samples to give you inspiration.

Our usual craft, music, chess, table tennis, and calligraphy classes are all open to new members. Come along and give it a try. Our rooms are in the Cranbourne Library Admin building, enter from the Casey Radio entrance, next door to L’Arte Cafe. We are open Monday to Friday from 10am to 3pm.

· Our website is - Check it out for more information or come along and talk to one of our friendly members who will show you around.

Merinda Park Learning and Community Centre

Located in Cranbourne North, it has vacancies in the following classes, learn to speak, read, and write in English - all levels, Monday to Thursday; Early Childhood Education classes - four hours on a Friday, government-funded, great to do before enrolling in a Certificate class; Computer classes every Wednesday morning and afternoon and in Hazaragi Wednesday evenings; Crochet and chat every Wednesday morning with a crochet teacher for free.

· Enrol now for our funded three and four-yearold Kinder Program with sessions up to five days a week. 9.30am to 2.30pm every day with structured play.

Seated Movement Sessions (Chair Dancing)

Would you enjoy exercising from the comfort of your chair?

Join the Berwick Activities Group for some seated movement sessions including fun and uplifting songs and different styles and eras of music. An opportunity to get moving and enjoy the company of others.

Timbarra Community Centre, 20-26 Parkhill Drive, Timbarra Way, Berwick. $8 per session. Contact or phone 9704 1863.

· Wednesdays from 10.45am to 11.30am. Craft Classes

Do you enjoy craft making?

Join Berwick Activities Group’s Elizabeth to discover the world of papercraft and have a chat with like minded people.

You will be introduced to a range of papercraft techniques through a new project each week. Casual attendance is welcome.

Timbarra Community Centre 20-26 Parkhill Drive, Timbarra Way, Berwick

$5 per class, all materials supplied. Contact or phone 9704 1863.

· Tuesdays from 10am to noon.

Berwick Springs VIEW Club

Affiliated with The Smith Family, the Berwick Springs VIEW Club is a not for profit organisation, with the aim to fundraise to support Learning for Life students.

The club currently supports seven students of varying ages with their education expenses and are about to take on an eighth student. Throughout the year, the club has a couple of special fundraisers, as well as casual morning tea and lunch for interested ladies.

The club is always looking for new members in all age groups.

For more information, contact Shirley on 0419 878 481 or email berwicksprings.viewclub@

· The club meets on the first Monday of each month in the Berwick Springs Hotel function room from 11.30am, where members enjoy a lunch and then host a guest speaker.

DnD at Orana

Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) is an inclusive tabletop, fantasy, role playing game. Participants work together with other players to go on adventures in the DnD world. You can act, explore, instigate, solve problems, and tell stories as you bring their chosen character to life within the game world.

Second Saturday of each month, 1pm to 9pm, Orana Community Place, 16/18 Playwright St, Clyde North.

· For enquiries and to book a spot at the table, reach out to Jonathan Whelan at

Weekly badminton

Badminton for ladies or retired. All welcome.

· Mondays 7pm-9pm and Wednesdays 12pm2.30pm at Hallam Badminton Club, Frawley Road Recreation Reserve; $5.

NEWS Let’s meet

Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams has brokered a meeting between a “seething” manufacturers body and Treasurer Tim Pallas over land tax hikes.

South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance called for an exemption for manufacturers who have been struck by land tax hikes of up to 300 per cent in the past year.

In a fierce campaign, SEMMA – backed by an emphatic survey of its members - described the hikes as “gouging” manufacturers to cover the government’s “Covid debt burden”.

It’s a move that will cost jobs and investment as well as hinder business’s ability to compete interstate and overseas, SEMMA argues.

A Hallam manufacturer stated its land tax bill soared more than $119,000 in the past year – up from $58,575 to $177,400.

A spokesperson for Ms Williams said: “Gabrielle is facilitating a meeting between Tim Pallas and SEMMA so that SEMMA can raise their concerns directly with the Treasurer”.

SEMMA chief executive Honi Walker confirmed the meeting set for Tuesday 5 March.

The alliance earlier presented to the State opposition’s public forum on tax reform at Parliament House on 27 February.

On the same day, opposition jobs and industry spokesperson Bridget Vallence accused Jobs Minister Natalie Hutchins of being “missing in action” on the issue.

“Consumers are paying more due to Labor’s economic incompetence.

“Every time land tax goes up, manufacturers cannot invest in new equipment, cannot hire new staff or put on additional apprentices, but must raise their prices.

“Minister Hutchins must come out of hiding. Stop ignoring the manufacturing sector which is so vital for our economy and jobs,

pick up phone to the Treasurer to hold an urgent inquiry into the mess Labor has made.”

The increase in land tax rates is part of the State Government’s Covid Debt Repayment Plan introduced in 2023.

“We’re continuing to invest in Victoria’s manufacturing industry to help local businesses innovate and expand as they are key to growing our economy and supporting local jobs,” a government spokesperson said.

The changes to land tax rates and thresholds were “temporary”, the spokesperson said.

“Land tax assessments also move with land values.

“Victoria’s land tax scale remains progressive and ensures that smaller property investors pay proportionally less than those with larger landholdings.”

More than half of SEMMA’s membership comes from Greater Dandenong.

The South East region employs 267,500 people in manufacturing and provides 30 per cent of Australia’s manufacturing output.

16 STAR NEWS | Thursday, 7 March, 2024 We have Double Passes to giveaway to the BBC Earth Experience for each of our newspapers across Victoria.. enter now! Scan the QR CODE to ENTER or visit For more information on the BBC Earth Experience and tickets, please visit:
This immersive exhibition brings together state of the art audio visual technology and breathtaking footage from BBC Studios Seven Worlds, One Planet on an unrivalled scale. From fireflies putting on a spectacular light show in North America, to snub nosed monkeys huddling together to stay warm in Asia, and cassowary fathers protecting their tiny chicks in Australia, visitors will get to experience our seven continents in all their glory, like never before. Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is the home of this transformative audio visual experience where you will feel like you’ve stepped into the natural world, right in the heart of until 28th April 2024.
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SEMMA chief executive Honi Walker is set to meet Treasurer Tim Pallas over six-figure land tax hikes on South East manufacturers.

Going green for a cause

The John Mc Foundation is kicking off another year of tremendous generosity with their St Patrick’s Day CharityWalk on Sunday 17 March atWilson Botanic Park in Berwick.

While continuing to raise much-needed funds for their usual soup kitchens and vans, the foundation is trying something new with their first ever walk.

“We’re a group of local volunteers, and we’ve been going for eight years now, raising funds for the local soup kitchens to help people doing it tough,” foundation founder John McGreal said.

“This will be our first charity walk, and if this goes well we will definitely do it again.

“We run lots of shows and wine tours, which is great, but the walk has a health aspect to it. It’s an opportunity to get up in the morning, take the dog for a walk and raise some funds along the way. So, I’d like to think that it’s something that can keep growing.”

The St Patrick’s Day setting gives an added novelty to what was already a terrific event, with goodie bags on offer with every adult ticket, a barbecue sausage sizzle, complementary energy drinks and a certificate upon completion.

But in the St Patty’s spirit, attendees are also encouraged to put on their finest green attire to truly participate in style.

“I have Irish heritage and we always celebrate St Patrick’s Day, so I thought the day could add a bit of a novelty to the walk.

“I’ll be wearing my green hat, so if you’ve got something green to wear, that will definitely be a bit of fun.”

As well as being a fun way to spend a Sunday morning, the foundation hopes that the event can be another opportunity for them to raise all-important funds for those in need.

After hosting a brilliant series of events in

2023, including a Christmas lunch for those doing it tough during the holiday season, the volunteers at the John Mc Foundation hope the charity walk will be a great start to another year of helping out the local community.

“We set out to try and make a difference in

people’s lives, and we’re still going strong. All our events last year were sold out, so we have a great supporter base, which is fantastic. And we hope to do it all again this year.

“We’re hoping people can come along and join in on the fun. The park itself is so pictur-

esque, and it’s a great opportunity to get to know the park while doing something good for your fitness, your mental health and your community.”

For more information and to register, visit Thursday, 7 March, 2024 | STAR NEWS 17 NEWS Sunraysia Prune Extract is a food and not a medicine *Fornaturalconstipationrelief;Save20% offervalidfor12-monthsubscription. Subjecttoterms&conditions. Freefromchemicalsandonehundred percentnatural Morethan70prunesineveryjar Naturallyrichinantioxidants,vitaminsand mineralsincludingpotassium,dietaryfibre, magnesium,VitaminK,BoronandSorbitol Helpsrelieveconstipationnaturally Helpspromoteguthealthand improveddigestion Enjoyateaspoondaily,ormixwith anyfood,tea,yogurtoruse incooking Wehavethe naturalanswer Constipated? GetyourDailyDoseofRegularity withSunraysiaPruneExtract TM From 99c perday* 1800 778 637 ScannowtoSAVE20%*plusget$5offyourfirstorder 12666754-FC10-24
Founder John McGreal, Emmah Welsh, Paul Hogan and Kevin McGreal.
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First child makes the leap

Fifteen ‘Leap Year’ babies have ventured into the world at Casey and Dandenong hospitals this year.

Among those born on the rare date of 29 February was Jacob – an especially special first child of Noble Park’s Emily and Tyson, pictured.

Speaking from Dandenong Hospital, proud dadTyson said they had been wondering when to mark Jacob’s birthdays in non-Leap Years.

“It will be on 28 February because he was

born at 2.55am.

“If it had been after 12pm, it would have been 1 March.”

Jacob weighs 3.4 kilograms, was doing well and already getting showered with visits from family and friends.

“We’re looking forward to getting home.”

There were six Leap Year babies born at Casey Hospital and nine at Dandenong, including baby Anaia who is also pictured with mum Shafiqa. Thursday, 7 March, 2024 | STAR NEWS 19 CALL 1300 666 808 ADVERTISE with us and get better results General Classifieds section of Network Classifieds. ECONOMY TILING All Bathroom Renovations • Bathrooms • Toilets • Kitchens • Decks • Water proofing • Walls and Floors Free Quotes Call 0432 550 066 or 8707 5522 C1072232-JJ4-13 V Tiling Rainbow Club 48 Davies Avenue, Sunshine North 0468 693 833 SWA6566B $110/ 30mins Open 7 days 12652832-AI48-23 V Adult Services Employment section of Network Classifieds. ADVERTISERS, in this section are qualified practitioners and offer nonsexualservices. DISCRIMINATION IN ADVERTISING IS UNLAWFUL The Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 1995 makes it unlawful for an advertiser to show any intention to discriminate on the basis of sex, pregnancy, race, age, marital status, political or religious belief or physical features, disability, lawful sexual activity/sexual orientation, HIV/AIDS status or on the basis of being associated with a person with one of the above characteristics, unless covered by an exception under the Act. As Network Classifieds could be legally liable if an unlawful advertisement is printed, Network Classifieds will not accept advertisements that appear to break the law. For more information about discrimination in advertising, contact your legal advisers or the Equal Opportunity Commission. V Massage Therapists V Professional NEED NEW STAFF? Fill your position online 12565959-HC35-22 ADVERTISERS PLEASE NOTE Anyone advertising a puppy, dog, kitten or cat in Victoria for sale or re-homing will need a source number from the Pet Exchange Register and a microchip identification number. It is now an offence to advertise unless the source number and microchip identification number is included in the advertisement or notice. For further information, call 136 186 or visit 12423634-SN31-19 TRAILER, secondhand, $950.Ph97695157. 0451 771 837Lic. no 122277 LOCAL PLUMBER Leaking taps Burst pipes Hot water Blocked drains Gas heating Leak detection CCTV inspection Pipe relining Storm water Sewerage 24/7 SERVICE 12670933-SM09-24 V For Sale V Pets & Services General Classifieds LIC111639 *$0 call out fee on all paid and completed jobs, same day service when available. CALL OUT FEE* $0 BERWICK PLUMBER On time, Local, Family owned SeniorsDiscount Upfront Pricing Same day service 12669321-MS07-24 Call Kieren 0488 822 284 Oakfern Tree Care P/L Fully Insured Phone Geoff 0418 340 825 C316291-KK18-5 Pruning Removal Stump Grinding 1 HOUR EMERGENCY PLUMBING ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ESTABLISHED 30 YEARS STANDARD RATES ON WEEKENDS ฀ ฀ ฀฀฀ ฀ ฀ SEWER BLOCKAGES –MACHINE CLEANED ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ 7 DAYS 0419 136 181 - 0419 136 151 1158529-PB42-14 Apply Now! Japanese Teacher Warragul Secondary School Full-time, ongoing See full position description and apply at St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School is seeking applications for the following position: 12674770-JC11-24 Motoring section of Network Classifieds. Buy&Sellinthe V Tree Lopping/Surgery V Plumbing V Positions Vacant Employment
Trades & Services
Emily and Tyson with baby Jacob who was born at Dandenong Hospital on 29 February. Jacob weighed 3.4 kilograms. 392203 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS Mum Shafiqa with baby Anaia who was born at Dandenong Hospital on 29 February. Anaia weighed 3.26 kilograms. 392203



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Demons to deliver

Casey Demons Netball is gearing up for an exciting start to its 2024Victorian Netball League campaign with the Championship and 23-under teams well prepared as they head into a fresh new season.

During an intense pre-season, Head Coach Steve Murray has been diligently building his Championship squad, making strategic additions to enhance the team’s dynamics ahead of their round one showdown with Geelong.

The dynamic Ash Gill joins the squad, bringing her elite skills to the Demons’ midcourt.

Additionally, Sacha McDonald makes a welcome return after her stint with the London Pulse in the English Vitality League.

The defensive end sees the return of Gabby Dwyer after a decade with Peninsula Waves, providing valuable experience and height to the circle.

Captain Sharni Lambden, returning from the 2023 season, is eager to see how the new combinations gel together.

The team also benefits from the presence of Poppy Douglass and Shannon Freeman, both members of the 2023 ANC Championship team, Magpies Netball.

Foundation athlete Emma Ryde, in her sixth season, continues to be a reliable target in the goal ring.

The goaling mix is further enriched with the inclusion of McDonald, offering the coaching team plenty of options to challenge their opposition.

Coaches Murray, Meagan Dell, and Donna Marsh are excited about the prospects in both attack and defence.

In the mid-court, the team boasts speed, sharpness, and grit, led by the experienced Tayla Honey and Lambden.

Sarah McCabe, stepping up from Division One, adds another zippy option in the middle.

Defensive prowess is assured with the likes of Lambden, Shannon Freeman, and Dwyer ready to cause chaos for the opposition goalers.

The 23-Under side, led by Coach Travis Pretty in his second year, is a blend of experience and youth.

New faces in Demons colours for 2024 include goalers Malia Seumanutafa, Kaylah Loulanting, and Grace van Tilberg, adding depth to the goaling circle.

The mid-court sees a combination of talent with Charlize Buskermolen, Mikayla Phillips, and Mollie Helmot joining existing Demons, Selene Chadwary and Olivia Hamilton.

The defensive end, led by captain Ella Rees, brings a mix of experience and youth with Lupe Fonua, Iliseva Sovau, Ellie Brasser, and Abbey Whitaker.

Prettyispleasedwithhowthecombinations have shaped up during pre-season matches.

After the Casey Demons Season Launch at Casey Fields, the team is focused on their up-

coming matches.

Casey Demons Netball President Rebekah Bogos expressed excitement about bringing elite netball back to the grassroots community in April, with the Demons to host Hawks Netball at Casey Stadium on Wednesday 3 April.

“We are thrilled to offer our Casey Netball community the first look at our new Demons line-ups,” Bogos said.

“It’s a fantastic chance for everyone to enjoy ’Girls Night In’ while supporting Share the Dignity and raising awareness for Period Poverty.”

Casey Demons Netball Memberships are available to purchase at

Cougars take tentative first step to DDCA

Clyde Cricket Club President Ben Knowles has confirmed informal talks have taken place between he and the Dandenong and District Cricket Association (DDCA) about a potential move of the club to the DDCA for next season.

But Knowles was quick to explain.

“If it was to happen; we’ve just taken step one of fifty in the process,” he said.

“I have met with the DDCA, I’m not going to lie, but all we are doing is our due diligence for our members on what’s out there.

“We do this every five years as part of our strategic plan and it’s no different this time around.

“Every club should be pro-active; finding out information on what’s out there and then giving their members the right to vote.

“But currently there has been no motion passed by members to move to the DDCA.”

Knowles said several items of interest were being considered by the club; who currently reside in the Casey Cardinia Cricket Association (CCCA).

“There are a number of things on our strategic plan that we have to look at,” he explained.

“One thing we have never got off the ground is girls’ cricket; the DDCA has a really strong girls’ cricket competition compared to the CCCA at the moment.

“The development of our youth is something else we’re looking at as well; the DDCA is looking closely at its junior set-up and development and it all sounds exciting.

“We don’t have kids for the sake of having kids; you want to grow them and promote them and push them as far you can…and do it as quickly as possible.”

Knowles conceded there was still plenty to

work through before a potential move could take place.

“The main basis of the chat with the DDCA was to ask; if we do come into the competition, how would that look being a synthetic (pitch) club in a turf-based competition,” he said.

“The DDCA has its own internal review going on; how does its structure work; and they could potentially be making some changes to the way they are set up.

“The DDCA is being proactive and trying to work through some challenges; and once we have more information we can go back to our members and assess things from there.”

Clyde has had a couple of tough years, playing its cricket at Ramlegh Reserve in Clyde North, while its traditional home-base at Pattersons Road in Clyde has undergone extensive renovations.

Knowles confirmed the ground and facilities at Pattersons Road would be back in operation for next cricket season.

Turf 1 spot up for grabs

Buckley Ridges will host Narre South at Park Oval this weekend for the right to face Springvale South in the Dandenong District Cricket Association’s (DDCA) Turf 1 grand final.

The contest pits a squad of senior, experienced DDCA cricketers in the Bucks against a team on the rise, confidence sky-high as one of the best-performed teams since the Christmas break, in Narre South.

The Lions have won five of their last six, but the only loss came against Buckley Ridges, and at Park Oval.

Buckley Ridges, meanwhile, will be eager to avenge last week’s thrashing.

Play will begin at 12.30pm.


Why they can win it: Park Oval is such a fortress for the Bucks and they play the ground’s whacky dimensions expertly. Only Springvale South has beaten them there in the last two seasons, while the most recent loss in two-day cricket there was in March 2020. Despite last week’s effort being their worst performance of the year, it’s a risk to write-off such a quality outfit.

The challenge: Quick, Hussain Ali will be in a race against the clock to prove his fitness after rolling his ankle last week, meaning the Bucks may be forced to promote two seamers from the reserves, having selected two frontline spinners for the semi-final. James Anson and Faridullah Khil, who have both featured at times at Turf 1 level, appear the likely players to come in.


“We were hoping to be back there this year; but I recently received an invitation to an official opening that will take place in early April,” he said.

“We’ve had discussions with the (junior) footy club about wall-space; honour boards… logos on doors, that type of thing.

“It will be available later in the year…after the footy club has got rid of the kinks.”

Knowles, vice-president of the CCCA, said relationships with clubs in the competition were currently sound.

“We’ve got good relationships with those clubs and we’re good friends with those clubs,” he said.

“We’ve had no reports, suspensions or sanctions; we’ve had a pretty good year, it just hasn’t translated onto the pitch.”

Clyde currently sits seventh in the eightteam CCCA Premier Division; and for the second year running, narrowly avoided relegation.

Why they can win it: there’s no currency quite like belief, and Narre South have it in spades. Kyle Hardy hit a century in their last contest at Park Oval, while in Jeevan Mendis, they possess a cricketer who can turn games on their head at the drop of a hat. Finals cricket brings the best players to the fore, and he’s still one of the premier talents the DDCA has to offer.

The challenge: Round 14’s contest at Park was the first time that Narre’s leading bowlers in Callan Tout, Alex Cruickshank and Jeevan Mendis had bowled on the postage stamp, which takes some adjusting. Tout believes they’ll be better for the run, but says the margins are fine.

“A metre full or a metre short, and it’s probably sailing into the creek,” he said.

“We’ve just got to be switched on 100 per cent and when the 50-50 chance comes, we’ve got to take it, because you’re not going to get many chances, I don’t think.”

Tip: Narre South deserves all the credit for its fairy-tale run, but Buckley Ridges will be too strong. Thursday, 7 March, 2024 | STAR NEWS 21
Jeevan Mendis will be a key for Narre South if they are to slay the giant that is Buckley Ridges. 392175 Picture: ROB CAREW Clyde has taken the initial first step in a potential move to the DDCA for next season. 389340 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS Casey Demons VNL Championship Team for 2024. Back from left; Gabby Dwyer, Poppy Douglass, Ash Gill, Steph McNay and Sharni Lambden (Captain). Front row; Sinead Lumsden, Sacha McDonald and Tayla Honey. 393200 Picture: SUPPLIED

Heroic Tout guides Lions

Narre South prevailed by two runs in an extraordinary contest with Hallam Kalora Park in the Dandenong District Cricket Association (DDCA) Turf 1 competition, in spite of a near match-winning hundred from Mahela Udawatte.

Callan Tout was the hero for the Lions, taking 4/55 after making a vital 44 with the bat.

Half-centuries to Jeevan Mendis andVineth Jayasuriya pushed the Lions to 220 batting first in an innings mired in momentum swings on Saturday.

Jayasuriya and Mendis added 93 for the third wicket, before a collapse of 5/32 - including three wickets in one Lee Brown over - saw the Hawks wrestle-back the ascendancy.

Hawks skipper Jordan Hammond cleaned up the tail to finish with 5/36, after Tout’s late runs batting with the tail saw Narre South post a defendable score.

Tout bowled Ben Hillard before stumps were called to give his side a slight advantage heading into the second day, setting up an intriguing Sunday of cricket.

Leigh Booth and Ciaron Connolly joined forces for a near 50-run stand but a sharp piece of work in the field from Jayasuriya saw Booth run out for 49, and with it, the Hawks’ wings were clipped.

Hardy and Mendis combined for the next four wickets, and Tout grabbed his third, as the home side fell to 8/130, with Connolly (22) Matthew Cox (one), Jordan Hammond (nine) and Nicholas Hawking (zero) all departing in quick succession.

But in Udawatte, there remained hope for the home side.

He brought the attack to Mendis and begun to free his arms with more attacking shots the more that wickets fell around him while protecting his tail-enders as much as he could.

Wicketkeeper Riley McDonald juggled a simple catch to remove Brown, nerves clearly on show for the young gloveman, leaving Udawatte with one soldier left, and 42 runs required.

He farmed the strike with precision for much of the innings, protected the final bat-

ters in Brown and William Whyte as much as he could.

Brown departed with the Hawks needing a further 42, but Whyte was stoic in defence when he needed to be as Udawatte absorbed much of the strike.

Udawatte reached his hundred in the 78th over with 19 runs required for a tie/win, and begun the 79th with a pull-shot for six off a noball, cutting the required runs to just three.

He did all that he possibly could to snatch the win, but simply ran out of partners when Whyte lost his off stump, turning agony to ecstasy for the never-say-die Lions.

A side bristling with confidence in a magical run in the second half of the year, they’ll

have the chance to qualify for a grand final next week when they face Buckley Ridges in a preliminary final.

Udawatte finished unbeaten on 107.

Springvale South qualified for a third-consecutive DDCA Turf 1 grand final after thrashing rivals Buckley Ridges in a qualifying final.

The seven-wicket win puts the Bloods in prime position to claim a hat-trick of Turf 1 premierships, a feat never before seen in the DDCA.

Winning the toss and choosing to bowl was a masterstroke from stand-in captain Jordan Wyatt, as the Bloods cleaned up Buckley Ridges within 64 overs for 145.

All-rounder Blade Baxter was the star for Springvale South, taking five wickets in a marathon spell bowling in tandem with fingerspinner Jarryd Straker.

The two bowled unchanged for 41 overs, combining to take the opening seven Buckley Ridges wickets.

In-form opening pair Josh Holden and Jake Cronin, who dominated in the most-recent hit out between the two sides, only added 57 for the opening wicket before Holden became the first of Baxter’s victims.

Three more wickets fell before tea, including the huge scalp of Roshane Silva for a duck, coming off four-consecutive half-centuries.

Only Michael Davies’ counter-punching 32 made inroads after the break, his innings top-scoring for the Bucks in a disappointing display.

Baxter took 5/58 from his 23 overs and Straker 2/41, Wyatt finishing with five catches at first slip.

Missing Ryan Quirk, Jordan Mackenzie and Cam Forsyth at the top of the order, Springvale South was forced to deal with a tricky 16-over session at the end of Saturday’s play.

The promoted pair of Liam Hamilton and Brayden Sharp both fell to Hussain Ali, with Wyatt joining Mitch Forysth in seeing out the remainder of the overs, Springvale South already 36 runs into the chase at the close of play.

Wyatt’s aggressive strokeplay ensured any danger presented by a tricky run chase was rendered null and void, Springvale South cruising to victory before the tea break on Sunday in the 36th over.

Buckley’s spin-heavy attack bore the brunt of Wyatt’s attack as the Wookey Medal winner hitWestley Nicholas for multiple sixes over the pavilion at Alex Nelson Reserve in his threeover spell.

Wyatt fell for 89 within touching distance of the winning runs, the patient Forsyth hitting the winning runs in an unbeaten 41, having put on 128 with Wyatt.

Ali finished with 2/15 as the only multiple wicket taker but is under an injury cloud for the preliminary final next week, having injured his ankle while appealing.

Power-laden list looks to lift Gippsland girls to glory

The continuity of a season in the role and another year of development for female junior footy in the region has Gippsland Power coach Nathan Boyd optimistic for 2024.

The Power was last year excited about its 15-17-year-old talent, giving those girls plenty of exposure in the Coates League, which is set to give the side a strong platform for 2024.

Gippsland announced its girls list last week, with 30 players in the under-18 squad, with several 16-year-olds set to be elevated as the season wears on.

Possible number one pick Ash Centra headlines the squad, after being named Vic Country MVP as a bottom-aged player last season, while fellow Vic Country representative Jas Sowden is also set to capture attention.

Dandenong Premier Cricketer Acacia Sutton is also listed, and will mix her footy with APS Footy for Wesley College in 2024.

The coaching group has remained stable, with the addition of former player Alisha Molesworth to the under-16 program, with that steadiness ensuring there is strong intel about local talent.

Boyd has been impressed by the preseason of Bunyip’s Rebecca Fitzpatrick

“She’s come back really fit and she bounces around, her energy is infectious,” he said.

“She’s one of the best trainers when it comes to the contest and competitive situations and is doing really well.

“She’s a real competitor – we’ll have a look at her as a half/forward mid and shutdown defender after she did a job on (2023 leading goalkicker Alyssia) Pisano last year and we liked what she did.”


Gippsland had one girl drafted last season, Jas Sowden to Collingwood, with the season set to begin on Sunday 14 April against Murray at Highgate.

Of the 30 listed, 14 are from the local region, including four from Pakenham.

The under-16 list of 24 includes 10 locals, and their season got underway on Saturday with a 7.3 45 to 9.4 58 loss to Murray.

Beaconsfield pair Lily Milner and Mia Smith-Clark were named among the best. Below is a full list of players from the region, and words from the coach about each Pakenham junior.

· Abby Hobson: “She’s shown growth on last year. She has strong hands in the air and is able to get to and impact contests and gives us a great target moving forward.“

· Ash Perkins: “Has come in off the back of strong under-16 games last year. She’s really fit and she gets around the ball and finds it quite easily and when she does get it, she’s powerful.”

· Jayda Tannahill: “She’s shown some really good bounce and has given us explosiveness off the halfback line through match sim. She keeps fronting up and is going well.”

· Bonnie Williams: “Coming off multiple knee issues, she got the all clear to play in an intra-club a couple of weeks ago. Played on the wing and was so clean when the ball was in her area. She’s able to win the ball and find it in traffic and is able to get out of traffic as well. I’m really excited to see her keep building.”

· Ava Deszcz (Under-16): “She is chomping at the bit. We want to unleash her. She’s training well and brings great energy; she’s a high-vibes sort of player. Last year with the under-16s she took a little bit of a back seat but she’s ahead of the pile at the moment. She will play a little bit of midfield and forward and will put her case forward to play under-18s as the year progresses.”


· Shae Langley (Narre North Foxes)

· Holly Cassidy (Bunyip)

· Luka Butters (Warragul Industrials)

· Lilly Leighton (Warragul Industrials)

· Milla Laub (Dalyston)

· Rebecca Fitzpatrick (Bunyip)

· Addison Howe (Warragul Industrials)

· Shanelle Kingston (Nar Nar Goon)

· Charlize Dent (Warragul Industrials)


· Mia Smith-Clark (Beaconsfield)

· Lily Milner (Beaconsfield)

· Miley Norbury Nar Nar Goon)

· Rianna Jinnete (Warragul Industrials)

· Jamie Chapman (Warragul Industrials)

· Amy Boote (Warragul Industrials)

· Abigail Baker (Officer)

· Stephanie Dickinson (Officer)

· Kira Wilson (Warragul Industrials)


· Sunday 14 April: Gippsland v Murray, Highgate

· Saturday 20 April: Gippsland v Sydney Academy, Shepley Oval

· Saturday 27 April: Dandenong v Gippsland, Shepley Oval

· Saturday 4 May: Gippsland vWestern, Morwell

· Sunday 12 May: GWV v Gippsland, LaTrobe University

· Sunday 19 May: Geelong v Gippsland, La Trobe University

· Sunday 26 May: Gippsland v Sandringham, Morwell

· Bendigo v Gippsland, TBC (weekend 1-2 June)

· Sunday 23 June: Tasmania v Gippsland, Shepley Oval

· Gippsland v Bendigo, TBC (weekend) 20-21 July)

· Sunday 28 July: Western v Gippsland, Avalon Airport Oval

· Saturday 3 August: Gippsland v GWV, ETU Stadium

· Sunday 18 August: Gippsland v Murray, Highgate

22 STAR NEWS | Thursday, 7 March, 2024
Pakenham halfback Jayda Tannahill at the AFLW pre-season testing day on Sunday. 393140
Callan Tout (centre) celebrates with his Narre South teammates after removing Ben Hillard late on day one. 392175 Picture: ROB CAREW

Tough Titans earn title shot

The beginning of March heralded finals action in the Dandenong District Cricket Association (DDCA) Turf 3 arena with performances under pressure critical in both games.

Both batting-first teams faced questions early, but whereas Berwick Springs had the depth to wrench momentum back, Lynbrook was ultimately unable to overcome a welldrilled Coomoora bowling attack.


It was fitting that in the DDCA’s return to twoday cricket in 2023-24, one of the Turf 3 semifinals was decided by an old-school, pressure absorbing knock that ground opposition bowlers into the turf.

Archit Vora’s century played to his skillset perfectly; a simple mantra that skipper Braydon Hillman has preached repeatedly throughout 2023-24 - which saw him accumulate and frustrate the Coomoora bowling attack in a 101-run partnership alongside his skipper.

“We knew we had a heap of time and I’ve played a heap of cricket with Arch, he has batted at three for us for so many years so having him at six is a luxury,” Hillman said.

“He’s a smart cricketer we all rate.

“He would do his thing and I knew I would stick around, and Arch just stuck around after doing the hard yards early.

“We knew we could just grind them into the ground because it was pretty warm on Saturday and when he got wide ones, he would throw his hands at it.”

After getting through the big-hitting Jackson Marie, Riley Hillman and Radomir Badzoka, and seeing off an organised 52 from Shalika Karunanayake, Fountain Gate had edged in front of the game.

Jasdeep Singh hit the deck hard, extracted variation from the pitch and injected excitement into the Gators’ psyche with four wickets in his opening spell.

Then the 39-over, 101-run partnership between Vora and Braydon Hillman was a deathby-a-thousand cuts combination.

“We had a solid platform to go on but the limiting thing was in a two-day season after so much one-day cricket, not many teams bat out the 80,” Vora said.

“We just wanted to do that and we backed our bowling attack to defend whatever we made.

“I feel confident against spin so it was just about batting time, ticking it over and doing that got us about three runs an over.”

Vora’s work as a doctor for St Vincent’s hospital has limited him to just nine games this season as he has struggled to both make himself available for Saturdays and train enough to produce his very best.

But two training sessions this week allowed Vora to play what he described as his best innings.

“That’s been the limiting factor for me, at least having one or two consistent hits coming into the season you at least feel alright going into Saturday so having that broken time has not been great,” Vora said.

“This week I felt really good having had the volume behind me so hopefully it will bleed into next week as well.”

The bowlers, led by Karunanayake’s three wickets, comfortably defended 259.

“We knew how they would come at us and we played it up a bit, we had five out in the third over to (Hasindu) Waduge and Ted (Sampath) and played to their ego a bit.

“Waduge can hit anyone anywhere.

“Scotty bowled a huge spell working Waduge over with the new ball.

“We’re not the quickest bowlers but I would pick our attack over anyone in the league.

“We just get to work and play simple cricket.”


Coomoora was a class above Lynbrook in all facets, bowling the Lakers out for 101, led by

five wickets to Malan Madusanka.

The game was set up by a strong opening spell between Joel Robertson and Dean Krelle, building pressure by not only getting star players Tajbir Powar, Sithara Perera and Jay Walia early, but also preventing the Lakers from getting away on the scoreboard.

Despite the usually free-spirited Lynbrook batting for 48 overs, it never gained significant momentum, Krelle’s figures off 3-8 off 15 was indicative of the suppressive discipline, before Madusanka tore the middle-order apart.

Anchor Rahoul Pankhania passed 50 in the easy chase.

Despite the disappointing showing I the semi, Lynbrook clearly exceeded competitionwide expectations this season as the young brigade all chipped in well to support recruits Sithara Perera and Jatt Singh.

Can ’Braydonball’ reach the premiership summit?

A flag would be an exemplary epilogue to an outstanding season of growth for Berwick Springs.

The Titans finished seventh in the Turf 3 competition last season and looked a long way off contending for a premiership.

Enter strong leadership, busy recruiting and a simple mantra, and Berwick Springs is now one win away from reaching Turf 2 for the first time in the club’s young history.

Player-coach Shalika Karunanayake (Carlisle Park), and former Springvale players Radomir Badzoka, Scott Lindsay and Sachintha Rajapakse have all added experience which has allowed Berwick Springs to seize moments in games, including in the semi.

Everyone has brought their own snippet in and (skipper) Braydon (Hillman) has been able to clip all of that together,” said semi final centurion Archit Vora.

“It’s the best playing feeling we’ve had in a long time.

“Braydon is really good, he’s really supportive.

“He’s a really good people person and he knows who to rely on and he’s not one to dismiss your ideas.

“Braydon gets everyone involved and is a hard trainer. It’s been fabulous playing under Braydes, I’ve had a great year.”

Hillman’s simple mantra of backing his teammates in to play their natural, exciting brand has resonated with the side.

Jackson Marie leads the league run-scoring, with the experience behind him freeing him up, Riley Hillman has taken a big step forward with his cricket and Ethan Marinic made team of the year.

“I just encourage the boys to play their brand of cricket,” Hillman said.

“The top five is really aggressive and I have full faith they will do their thing and it has worked now, we’re not going to change it.

“Pick your balls but if it is in their slot, have a go.”

Hillman said the addition of experience provided optimism but the ascent has happened quicker than expected, which has helped put the Titans on the map, a constant theme for the club this season.

“We all get on really well and when the moments get tough, we don’t turn on each other, we stick tight and enjoy each other’s company,” the captain said.

“I’m so proud of the boys, I said I don’t

want the season to end, I’m having too much fun.

“For the club, it would be huge to get to Turf 2, I think we can mix it with those guys.

“We have some guys who have been thereabouts for a while - a lot of these guys would get games at Turf 2 clubs.”


· Jackson Marie: The sweet-timing opener’s two best knocks have arguably been against Coomoora in a season he has 709 runs at 55.

· Riley Hillman: Has found form at the right time of the season with the blade, putting pressure on bowlers and also ‘kept well in the semi while his leadership has also been noted.

· Radomir Badzoka: The former Springvale player has an excellent reputation as a bighitter and brings experience to the Titans lineup.

· Shalika Karunanayake: Technically correct batter with 117 matches of first class experience in Sri Lanka. Is compact and organised at the crease, while also bowling tight offies.

· Chirath Uralagamage: Has just one halfcentury for the season but that came against Coomoora – is capable of accumulating in a hurry.

· Archit Vora: A patient batter who showed his ability to stabilise in the semi, Vora is a key ingredient within a swell of more positive hitters.

· Braydon Hillman: Like Vora, Hillman is the sort of batter who will work hard and manipulate the field. His leadership has been influential in the team’s plight.

· Ethan Marinic: The fast bowler’s 14.2 over spell in the semi was the latest in a catalogue of long spells this season. Is probably the form bowler in the side.

· Sachintha Rajapakse: Between 2018-19 and 2020-21, the new ball bowler picked up 86 wickets, underlining his quality. Has shown glimpses of that forcefulness this season with 17 wickets at 14.

· Scott Lindsay: The quick bowler brings important experience with the ball from Springvale. Has 21 wickets at 18, with his one five-wicket haul this season being against Coomoora.

· Harry Fernando: A legspinner with a sevenwicket haul to his name this season, he also picked up key wickets of Liam Hard, Nick Suppree and Rahoul Pankhania in the last meeting between the sides. Thursday, 7 March, 2024 | STAR NEWS 23 SPORT
Will‘Braydonball’winapremiership? 388164 Picture:ROBCAREW
RileyHillman(pictured)andJacksonMariesetthefoundationbeforeArchitVoragrounddowntheGators. 392160 Picture:ROBCAREW

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