Dandenong Star Journal - 12th March 2024

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Top day for a selfie


The inspirational guest speaker gave a rousing and dynamic talk on finding one’s ‘Courageous Me’. STORY PAGE

Slashed speeds

A slower speed limit is set to be belatedly introduced to a notorious ‘death-trap’ section of Stud Road, Dandenong North.

The State Government will reduce the speed limit from 80 km/h to 60km/h opposite McFees Road and Dandenong Stadium. Two pedestrians have been killed on that section of road in the past six years.

The speed limit reduction is believed to occur from April.

Greater Dandenong mayor Lana Formoso said the council welcomed the “interim safety measure” but the road still required a fully-signalised pedestrian crossing.

Residents, including children, regularly bolt across the road to access the popular Dan-

denong Stadium, a bus stop, playground and floodplains parkland.

The nearest pedestrian crossing is 850 metres away at the Heatherton Road lights, with the eastern side of Stud Road largely without a footpath.

It means many attempt crossing unsafely or instead drive across rather than taking a detour of about 1.7 kilometres.

The council will lobby for a fully-signalised pedestrian crossing at Stud and McFees roads in the State Budget in May, Cr Formoso said.

“We continue to advocate to the Victorian Government to ensure traffic lights and pedestrian facilities are also installed as a matter of the highest priority.

“We must have a way for pedestrians, commuters and cyclists to safely cross Stud Road.”

The notorious black-spot has a reported history of serious accidents and fatalities, with residents and Greater Dandenong Council long calling for a reduced speed limit and a safe crossing.

In 2018, VicRoads pledged to install pedestrian lights and review the speed limit after a pedestrian in her 50s was fatally struck while crossing to a nearby bus stop.

Cr Formoso led public outcry after a twoyear-boy was fatally struck by a car as he and his father attempted to cross the six-lane road on 17 December.

As an SES volunteer, she was one of the first at the tragic scene.

“This was preventable – if it was built when it was supposed to be,” she told Star Journal at the time.

“A signalised pedestrian crossing was shovel-ready since 2019. We’ve been getting the run-around – the (Roads) Minister keeps saying there isn’t enough money.”

She said since 2019 the projected cost had ballooned from $700,000 to about $3.5 million.

In July, Roads and Road Safety Minister Melissa Horne told State Parliament that “the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) is investigating and developing potential enhancements aimed at improving safety and accessibility at this location”.

“Improvements identified and developed as part of the work mentioned above will be considered in a future program, in a state-wide context.”

The State Government was contacted for comment.

40¢ Inc. GST DANDENONG /DandenongJournal @StarJournal_SE dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 12 March, 2024
4 PAGE 6
3 Call for climate action Builder pleads guilty NDIS success story PAGE 21 Ugly brawl at Thunder clash 12672044-AV09-24
Kim Payne paused for a selfie after wowing an enthusiastic audience at an International Womens Day event at Drum Theatre on Wednesday 6 Feb-
Having a selfie with Kim Payne. 392354 Picture: GARY SISSONS

the best artworks by Year 6 students featuring the saints for each of the school house teams.

“It is a wonderful day for us to come together as a school community and celebrate the amazingly diverse school we are,” a school spokesperson said.

Bollywood dancing, hip hop dancing from the Indigenous Outreach projects and a Latin dance workshop.

There was also a ‘people’s choice’ vote on

“It is a day that is enjoyed by all who attend.”

The day was rounded off with a wholeschool rendition of the school song and Rainbow song.

Order now on aussietoysonline.com.au FARM FRESH FOR KIDS 6 MONTHS & UP! Order now on aussietoysonline.com.au 2 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au NEWS CONTACT US Phone: 5945 0666 ADVERTISING Visit starcommunity.com.au/advertise Email advertising@starnewsgroup.com.au Phone 5945 0666 EDITORIAL Email dailyeditor@starnewsgroup.com.au 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 www.starcommunity.com.au starcommunity.com.au AUSTRALIAN OWNED & INDEPENDENT REAL ESTATE Email seren@starnewsgroup.com.au Visit networkclassifieds.com.au Email sales@networkclassifieds.com.au Phone 5945 0600 12651767-RR48-23 Dressed for Harmony Day Drums, costumes and dance from all corners of the world brought Harmony Day alive at St Anthony’s Primary School in Noble Park on Friday 8 March. Students and their families were invited to wear their cultural dress or the colour orange for the annual celebration, including a parade, African drumming,
Greater Dandenong deputy mayor Richard Lim. 391691 St Anthony’s Primary staff member Debbie (Community Hub Leader) dancing with some Preps. 391691 St Anthony’s Primary staff Mrs Kerr, Miss Hennequin and Mrs Harper. 391691 Dojwok celebrated in Sudanse dress. 391691 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS The array of cultural diversity was on dazzling display. 391691 Teacher Miss Schorer gets into the spirit of Harmony Day. 391691 Meliki in Fijian garments for Harmony Day at St Anthony’s Primary School. 391691 Madaine, in Philippines finery, with Jayden in Vietnamese costume. 391691

Owner’s guilty plea

The owner of a Dandenong hotel has pleaded guilty to failing to comply with building orders and to provide reports on essential safety measures for up to three years.

Emad Farag, 64, of Patterson Lakes, and his company E & M Farag, each pleaded guilty at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 8 March to three related charges.

The company owned the eight-storey City Edge hotel in Thomas Street, which includes ground-level shops, first-storey offices and six floors of accommodation.

In March 2019, a Greater Dandenong building inspector found the maintenance records for the hotel’s essential safety measures (ESMs) were not adequately completed.

The annual essential safety measure report was also not completed.

According to a prosecution summary, the maintenance log books showed faults with emergency lights and exit signs, and that lights and signs were untested on storeys 6, 7 and 8.

An essential-safety-measures inspection report found the car park ventilation/exhaust didn’t meet Australian Standards, a stand-by power battery supply needed replacing, fire exit doors were non-compliant, and there was non-compliant signage on fire doors.

The council issued a building order to complete the records by April 2019.

Despite a follow-up inspection, Farag didn’t obtain compliance until June 2022 – months after the matter had gone to court.

Prosecutor Mathew Sherwell told the court that the failures meant there was“no visibility” on compliance with ESMs – which related to the safety of the hotel’s occupants.

“We’re talking about an eight-storey building used as a place of accommodation for a number of people.

“When asked for the documents (in 2019), they’re not provided until 2022. There’s a serious period of time in which there’s no visibility as to the status of the (ESMs)”

Farag had been previously convicted for failing to comply with Greater Dandenong building orders, Sherwell told the court.

Among several previous breaches, Farag failed to obey a council order for more than 18 months to demolish an unauthorized office mezzanine in a warehouse.

In 2011, his company was convicted and fined $30,000 for failing to comply with an emergency building order to back-fill a six-

metre deep excavation within a metre of adjoining boundaries in Edith Street, Dandenong.

The walls of the excavation were not supported and undermined the fencing and buildings on adjoining properties, Sherwell said.

WorkSafe found that Farag’s company failed to comply within 48 hours, with the walls collapsing below the cut. The order wasn’t complied with until four months later, Sherwell said.

A defence barrister told the court that it had been difficult for Farag to source the 700-cubic-metres of back-fill soil at the time.

He said the City Edge breaches were less serious.

Farag had taken so long to comply with the most-recent issues due to his father’s long illness and death in 2019 as well as Covid lockdowns from 2020, according to the lawyer.

He also argued there was an “absence of

communications” from the council to Farag in 2020-’21.

There was no longer any risk of re-offending now that Farag had retired after 30 years as a builder, the defence argued.

Farage “took pride” in his “legacy” of more than 300 projects including 15 apartments across Melbourne.

The convictions were “extremely rare blemishes on an otherwise spotless record”, the lawyer said.

The defence submitted for a fine without conviction due to the nature of the offence and Farag’s “excellent standing in the community”.

In the three day hearing, Farag had earlier unsuccessfully applied to exclude evidence of two of the council’s building surveyors, alleging they had obtained their evidence “improperly”.

Sentencing is expected to take place at Ringwood Magistrates Court on 18 March.

Ederlynn’s 15 years of volunteering

Doveton resident Ederlynn Carkeek has been acknowledged by Monash Health for her 15 years of invaluable volunteering at Dandenong Hospital.

The soon-to-be 68-year-old started around 2008 after her daughter went to high school.

Three days a week, she does everything she can to bring her passions to the wards and brighten patients’ stays.

Awomanofmanytalents,sheoftenbrings flowers from her garden or sings hymns from her local choir to comfort patients.

If she knows a patient’s birthday is coming up, she will arrive on the ward with a balloon and a handwritten card to celebrate.

She also mentors young volunteers at the hospital, showing them where to go and what to do.

For Ederlynn, her decision to devote herself to the hospital has been a way to give back.

She gave birth to her children at the Dandenong Hospital and received massive help when she lost several of them.

“That’s why there’s a lot of memories in that hospital for me,” she said.

“But because the staff, doctors, and nurses were so kind and helpful to my family at that time, I’m happy to give back that kindness through volunteering.”

Ederlynn said her favourite part of the volunteering was to engage with the patients.

“Just give them a smile or ask how’s their day because you don’t know what’s happening in the hospital,” she said.

“Many patients have families, but they just have no time to see them. So just being there for them for 10 or 15 minutes would make a difference.”

Volunteer coordinator Vicky Vasilopoulos said she felt grateful to have Ederlynn as a part of the longest-standing volunteers at Dandenong Hospital and she was very proud of all of her accomplishments over the years.

“She is always willing to help out wherever may be required. Her down-to-earth personality makes her approachable, easy to talk to, and a great mentor to all volunteers,”


Boy charged with dangerous driving in alleged stolen car

A 15-year-old Noble Park boy is among a group of teens charged over an alleged aggravated burglary and dangerous driving in a stolen car.

Moorabbin Crime Investigation Unit detectives say four children arrived at a home on South Road, Brighton, in an allegedly stolen Volkswagen Golf about 5am Tuesday, 5 March.

The group entered the residence before being frightened off by the occupants of the property and fleeing in the Volkswagen, police say.

Police Air Wing followed the vehicle, with the group observed meeting up with a fifth person driving a VW Amarok, allegedly stolen from Railway Avenue, Brighton.

The two vehicles travelled together and were followed by police, reaching speeds allegedly in excess of 150km/h, according to police.

The Amarok was abandoned in Stella Avenue, Noble Park.

All five people then fled together in the Golf, which was allegedly driven at dangerous speeds in the Rowville area.

Police continued to follow that car as it drove at dangerous speeds to the Rowville area.

Stop sticks were successfully deployed on Armstrong Road.

The group ran from the scene but were swiftly arrested by police officers with the assistance of canine units and the Air Wing.

The Noble Park boy has been charged with two counts of car theft, dangerous driving whilst being pursued by police and committing an indictable offence whilst on bail.

He was expected to face a childrens court at a later date

A 14-year-old Moe boy, a 17-year-old Morwell boy and a 14-year-old Moe girl were also charged with aggravated burglary and car theft.

A 15-year-old Morwell boy, was charged with car theft.

Gas leak in Narre Warren 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.

she said.

“Ederlynn buddies up to mentor most of the student volunteers on their first shift, and I am constantly receiving positive feedback from them.

“She embraces them like her own children and is passionate about passing on her life skills to them.”

When volunteer Kaif Mohammed Qais first arrived at Dandenong Hospital, Ederlyn took him under her wing.

“As a young man right out of high school, I felt very nervous going into my role as a ward ambassador, I felt like I’d have a tough time talking with patients given the generational gap,” Kaif said.

“Luckily Ederlynn was there to help. Not only was she able to help me connect with patients on a deeper level, but she showed me how enjoyable my role could be in chatting with and brightening up the lives of so many patients.

“Ederlynn is a very loving and compassionate mentor, and I’m so grateful that she’s always been there to guide me as a volunteer.”

Monash Health and the Dandenong Hospital family thanked Ederlynn for her years of service and for making such a positive difference in the lives of others.

For those wanting to give back to their community like Ederlynn, Monash Health has opportunities for volunteers to get involved. To learn more, please visit monashhealth.org/careers/volunteer

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 NarreWarren 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.

20-year-old man dies after ute fall

A 20-year-old man who fell from the back of a ute in Dandenong on Saturday 2 March has died in hospital.

Police say the Cranbourne man fell while the white Ford Falcon ute was moving in a McCrae Street car park about 6.20pm. He was taken to hospital where he died on the night of Tuesday 5 March.

The day before, Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives arrested three men.

A 19-year-old Cranbourne East man was charged with dangerous driving causing serious injury. He was expected to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 6 March.

A 19-year-old Hallam man and a 19-yearold Dandenong man were interviewed by police and released pending further enquiries.

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 3 NEWS
The City Edge hotel building at 229 Thomas Street Dandenong. 269928 Picture: ROB CAREW Ederlynn (left) and Monash Health volunteer coordinator Vicky Vasilopoulos (right). Picture: SUPPLIED

Paul sheds past to live ‘best life’

Not so long ago, Paul Boughton was living in a “garden shed”, clambering past his landlord’s lawn mowers stored in his so-called home.

Such was the indignity, he would trek to a nearby Hungry Jack’s to relieve himself. He was forbidden from using the toilet and shower inside the main house.

He was eventually evicted. There were bouts of homelessness, couch-surfing and share houses despite a steady job at Waverley Social Enterprises.

How life has turned since Paul was referred by a mate to a caring disability-support worker Elizabeth.

“When I met Paul he was basically sleeping on the couch,” Elizabeth says.

“He asked me to help him get on the NDIS, we built a relationship and shared the things that we wanted to achieve.

“One of his biggest goals was getting him into permanent housing.”

The NDIS funding was key to that. Since then, he’s got a secure home in Dandenong as well as health, dental and specialist support workers who have become like friends.

Friends with purpose, Elizabeth calls them. They help him live independently, help with the cleaning, budgeting or gardening.

He’s finally away from share accommodation and its curfews and rules that he didn’t particularly enjoy.

Paul’s parents had passed away. This new support network was taking the pressure off him and the rest of his family.

“They help him live his best life of choice.”

In April, Paul and his fiancee Bella Rodda are set to wed and live together in Paul’s home.

“He wanted to help his fiancee get on the NDIS as well, so they can live a full life,” Elizabeth says.

“I love seeing this ripple effect. He’s wanted to help other people.”

Not all NDIS providers are equal – with horror stories all too often heard. Equally a good one such as Elizabeth’s Lilydale-based agency can transform lives.

Many clients enquire due to positive recommendations word-of-mouth. Elizabeth also encourages people to check reviews online.

“Before NDIS, Paul had no support at all and he struggled.

“Now he doesn’t have to worry about accommodation and finances, he doesn’t have to go through that again.

“Something that Paul kept saying was ‘I know my life is going to get better and better’.”

Alleged hoon fights jail indication

An 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.

On 5 March, Sushant Mittal, 20, 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.

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 prohib ited 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

VCAT blocks townhouses

The state’s planning tribunal has halted a plan to partially demolish a centuryold former farmstead and its mature garden and trees in Dandenong North.

Applicant Gavin Keane had appealed against Greater Dandenong Council’s rejection of his eight townhouse proposal on the ‘Ferring’ property at 82-88 Carlton Road.

The site is covered by a heritage overlay – which aims to conserve and enhance a place of natural or cultural significance.

The Edwardian-period timber-clad house and outbuildings with highpitched gable end roofs and verandahs as well as the trees are cited in the council’s heritage study.

Ferring was said to have symbolic links to the area’s farming history gradually taken over by suburbia.

Its prominent residents included Lady Doris Mary Luxton and former Melbourne City Council mayor William Luxton.

The grounds – once comparable to other farms between 10 and 50 acres - had since been subdivided to 4276 square metres.

In a decision on 5 March,VCAT senior member Bill Sibonis stated the proposal would“not conserve or enhance the heritage place”.

It would have partially demolished the weatherboard dwelling and garage, and removed the outbuildings, swimming pool and some trees.

About half of Ferring was “unsalvageable” due to damage from a 2015 fire and vandalism, the developer’s heritage consultant argued.

What would be retained was the original homestead’s form as of 1920 – four rooms and a central hall, she contended.

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.

Demolition would be confined to the “most severely damaged” part as well as the later additions which had “no heritage value”, the applicant’s heritage consultant argued.

Sibonis agreed with the council that the planned townhouses’ impact on the garden “substantially erodes their setting”. More space and landscaping were required.

“The siting of the proposed dwellings proximate to the heritage buildings unacceptably erodes the setting of these existing structures and impacts unacceptably on the property’s heritage significance as remnant of area’s farming origins.”

The applicant proposed to remove the tallest trees were a pair of cypress trees up to 30 metres high – which were said to be a high risk during storms, with split stems and falling branches.

The council argued for a more appropriate replacement species to re-establish the site’s tree canopies.

Sibonis said a permit was required to remove any of the trees due to the heritage overlay.

4 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au
‘Ferring’, which was built in 1920, was partially damaged by vandals as well as a fire in 2015. Bella Rodda and Paul Boughton are set to marry next month. 392853 Picture: GARY SISSONS

We’re building big near you and there will be transport disruptions

As part of Victoria’s Big Build, we’re easing congestion by building better roads and continuing level crossing removal works in Melbourne’s south east. While we work this autumn, transport disruptions may affect your travel.

What we’ve done

Finished building new lanes and upgrading four key intersections on Hall Road between Carrum Downs and Cranbourne West

Opened the new inbound Princes Freeway

ramp and widened the existing outbound exit ramp at McGregor Road in Pakenham

Upgraded four intersections on Western Port Highway – at Thompsons, Hall, Ballarto and CranbourneFrankston roads

Upgraded 8 new intersections so far as part of the Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road Upgrade

Train disruptions: Buses replace trains

Road disruptions: Closed roads

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 5 Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne Check before you travel at bigbuild.vic.gov.au
Princes Freeway, Pakenham Overnight, at times until May Closed between McGregor Road and Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road, Cranbourne East Until mid-2024Closed between Berwick-Cranbourne Road and New Holland Drive Camms Road, Cranbourne East Until mid-2024Closed at Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road South Gippsland Highway, Cranbourne Until mid-2024Closed lanes between Cameron Street and Lineham Drive Webb Street, Narre Warren 8pm 15 Mar to 6am 24 Mar Closed between Valley Fair Drive and Centre Road Ballarto Road, Pakenham South 7am to 6pm, 18 to 23 Mar Closed to Cardinia-bound traffic between Healesville Koo-Wee Rup Road and Hobsons Road Healesville Koo-Wee Rup Road, Pakenham 8pm to 6am each night, 17 to 21 Mar 8pm to 6am each night, 24 to 27 Mar Closed between Southeast Boulevard and Manks Road Closed between Southeast Boulevard and Ballarto Road Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road, Narre Warren 9pm to 5am each night, 26 to 27 Mar Between Saxonwood Drive/Fullard Road and Princes Highway
Pakenham Line From 9.30pm 15 Mar to 17 Mar Dandenong to Pakenham 12674902-ET11-24

Climate actions ‘underfunded’

Greater Dandenong Environment Group has called on the local council to “walk the talk” and boost funding for climate change action.

In early 2020, Greater Dandenong Council declared a climate and ecological emergency but had only made “modest improvements” to staffing and resources, according to the GCEG. Its secretary Judith Sise said Greater Dandenong “come up with great strategies and plans but then don’t fund them properly”.

“Council’s own public report (27 February 2023) stated that staffing levels in the climate change and environment space are less than half the average Melbourne council”.

The same report showed the council delivered just six out of 44 committed environmental actions.

“Critical actions” like tackling the urban heat island effect and extreme weather events were not funded adequately, Sise said.

“Funding, supporting and educating our residents to deal with climate change is not a luxury - it is a critical social justice and health issue.

“Greater Dandenong (has) the most low income residents in Melbourne, residents who are going to bear the brunt of climate change.

“We are already seeing this summer that extreme weather events are increasing, whether it be heat, storms or flooding.

“When is Greater Dandenong Council going to start funding environmental action like they really believe we are in an emergency?”

The council had recently endorsed a biodiversity action plan, with a draft climate change engagement and mobilization plan expected this year.

On the latter, Greater Dandenong had failed to inform residents on how to tackle climate change such as reducing emissions and energy bills or understanding the roles that trees have in cooling homes, Sise said.

“Greater Dandenong has a history of underspending on environmental educationnow they can’t release a new plan aimed at the community expecting a handful of volunteers

to do the education work.

“With a growing and culturally diverse community, Greater Dandenong needs to invest in their community otherwise this much needed action plan will be destined for the shelf.”

Greater Dandenong chief executive Jacqui Weatherill said the council had an “ongoing commitment to addressing climate change”.

“We note calls from the community for more resources to take climate change action and we acknowledge the challenges posed by extreme weather events.”

She encouraged individuals and groups to provide feedback on the Council Plan 2025-

’29, which will “guide budget allocations in coming years”.

At a council meeting last month, MsWeatherill said local governments in the region were “hit hard” and “struggling to deal with the fallout” from the most recent storm event.

“It is a really interesting dilemma for local government on climate change and what is happening in terms of the environment, how long this is taking us to clean up and we will review our resourcing for such events.

“This will come at an additional cost for Council and may require additional funds in the budget moving forward for such events.”

Families’ anger at state’s justice system

Victoria’s justice system has been criticised as favouring perpetrators over victims by the devastated families of four police killed on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway.

While a Sydney-based transport executive was jailed for reckless workplace behaviour leading up to the April 2020 crash, the Melbourne man who allowed the truckie to drive while high on drugs avoided prison on Wednesday.

“Victoria doesn’t have a justice system, it has a legal system where outcomes seem pre-determined, where the guilty have all the rights and the victims have none,” Constable Josh Prestney’s father Andrew said outside court.

Lyndhurst-based Connect Logistics supervisor Simiona Tuteru, 52, was sentenced to community work almost four years after he allowed Mohinder Singh to get behind the wheel.

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.

He was high on methamphetamine and having visions.

The supervisor placed his hand’s on Singh’s head and recited a prayer, before asking him to drive one truckload to Thomastown.

Singh drove the truck down the Eastern Freeway and veered into an emergency lane.

He hit three cars, including two police vehicles.

Const Prestney, Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Glen Humphris, were all killed.

The court proceedings against Tuteru have been plagued by delays.

He was initially charged with four counts of manslaughter, but they were dropped before he was due to face trial in favour of heavy vehicle offences.

In another twist, former Supreme Court justice Lex Lasry put a permanent stay on the case as he claimed the court process had been used oppressively by prosecutors.

The Director of Public Prosecutions successfully appealed this, allowing the case to continue.

Justice James Elliott cited the delays as one factor in handing Tuteru a three-year community corrections order.

He said the prosecution had filed five different indictments against Tuteru since he was first charged in August 2020, noting the drawn out process could not be described as“optimal or efficient”.

Additionally, prosecutors did not call for Tuteru to be given jail time in pre-sentence hearings.

He found Singh, who had his prison term reduced to give evidence against Tuteru, was a very unreliable witness.

The judge acknowledged the “devastating, life-changing and irreversible” impact the crash had on the families and friends of the four police.

However, he said his job was not to sentence Tuteru for their deaths, but for posing a

800-lot plan retained

Kingswood Golf Course’s new developer says it plans to maintain a proposed 800 dwellings on the controversial site.

Satterley Property Group was announced on 4 March as the buyer of the 54-hectare golf course in DingleyVillage.

It has also started discussions with Save Kingswood Group and Dingley Village Community Association (DVCA) – which have opposed the loss of open space and raised flooding concerns.

Satterley also plans to start community consultation.

“We plan to ensure the community and council remain in the loop through all stages of the proposed development.”

DVCA chair David Madill said the planned meeting with Satterley was a “big step forward as the previous owner AustralianSuper chose not to meet with residents”.

AustralianSuper had faced fierce backlash from residents, City of Kingston and state and federal MPs since buying the site for a reported $125 million in 2014.

In September, AustralianSuper announced it would sell.

The golf course didn’t “align” with its new strategy for “larger-scale property investment opportunities”, it stated.

Shortly after, Planning Minister Sonya Kilkenny announced her approval of rezoning the site for housing as the Government unveiled its Housing Statement.

But Kilkenny didn’t announce approval of the AustralianSuper development plan.

Save Kingswood Group president Kevin Poulter said floods remained a “big issue”.

“The state Labor Government is still likely to bulldoze plans through, to reduce criticism of their lack of affordable housing.

“I very much hope that discussions with the developer will reduce our biggest concerns.”

A Satterley spokesperson said its plans were “generally in accordance” with AustralianSuper’s proposal and would remain at about 800 lots.


Tuteru, who walked free from court on Wednesday morning, was ordered to perform 200 hours of community work.

Outside court, Mr Prestney, his wife Belinda, and Sen Const Taylor’s husband Stuart Shulz read out a statement expressing their “anger, dismay, disillusionment and disappointment at the sentence”.

“How is it that the national manager of this trucking company, who was nearly 900km away in Sydney, can get three years’ jail - but the supervisor, who was right on the spot and could have avoided this tragedy, walks away with just a slap on the wrist,” Mr Prestney said.

“Our son and his colleagues deserve better, but unfortunately this isVictoria where the system is totally broken.”

Mrs Prestney said the justice system needed to become more centred around victims.

“We get to read a victim impact statement, but it does not take into account the fact that this man’s actions - or lack thereof - to do his job properly, resulted in the deaths of four people,” she said.

“This shows complete contempt for theVictorian public who use the roads.”

The families said they had not received any apologies from either Tuteru or the trucking company.

Singh is serving an 18-and-a-half-year jail term, which was reduced from 22 years on appeal, while Connect executive Cris Large was jailed by a NSW court for up to three years in January.

The estate would include lowerpriced townhouses for first home buyers and larger housing on smaller blocks for younger families with “immaculately landscaped open spaces”, chief executive Nigel Satterley said.

“The Satterley team are looking forward to developing the site into an iconic infill masterplanned community with extensive open space, mature landscaping and family parks for both existing and future residents to enjoy, all within a short stroll of the established amenity in Dingley Village.”

6 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au NEWS
Greater Dandenong Environment Group secretary Judith Sise, front, with other members in a treeless car park in central Dandenong. 391638 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS Save Kingswood Group members Kevin Poulter, Sue Strain and Rob Strain at the former golf course in Dingley Village.



dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 7
Rain, hail or... more rain, Victoria’s weather can be predictably unpredictable. But being out amongst the elements is half the fun. Explore your wild side at places like the Great Ocean Road. VISITVICTORIA.COM 12665184-SM11-24

Call to ban Casey ex-Crs

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. Since then, the council has been under administration.

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 – said it shouldn’t be a

case of “tarring all councillors with the same brush“.

“I was not involved in any corruption so I’m entitled to run.

“I’ve suffered my pennance being out of council for four years as well as the indiginity of stepping out of council.“

The former CRRA member also told Star News that he would re-consider if some of the councillors ‘named’ by IBAC also stood.

The dilemma was that none had been charged with any offences so they couldn’t be

disqualified, he said.

“Until they’re proven guilty, you can’t say they can’t run (for election).

“You have a moral right as a ratepayer to run - if they want you, they’ll vote for you. If they don’t want you, they’ll kick you out.“

The Local Government Act 2020 sets provisions that disqualify a person from being a councillor.

This includes if they are convicted of an offence in the preceding eight years punishable by imprisonment for two years.

A councillor charged with a serious offence may also be required to stand down by VCAT until the allegations are determined.

A State Government spokesperson said the Government was considering the 33 recommendations in the IBAC Operation Sandon report and “will respond in due course“.

“The Government has announced its intention to introduce reforms to support better council integrity, accountability, and governance ahead of the 2024 general council elections.“

In a reforms paper ahead of its upcoming Local Government (Governance and Integrity) Bill, the Government proposes giving the Local Government Minister the power to suspend individual councillors for up to 12 months.

Suspended councillors would be ineligible for mayor or deputy mayor for the remainder of their term.

If a whole council is dismissed, a person could be disqualified from standing in elections for up to eight years.

In a submission, Casey Council said the disqualification should be activated upon the dismissal of an individual councillor not just an entire council.

It also questioned how to manage the community’s loss of representation during a councillor’s suspension period.

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.

Aziz, Ablett and Woodman have denied wrong-doing.

8 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Mainmark Ground Engineering Pty Ltd. VIC Building Licence No. CB-L 57503 & DB-L 49144 12675961-ET11-24 NEWS
CRRA secretary Brian Oates.

The world is watching our Facebook fight!

An open letter to Prime MinisterAnthonyAlbanese

Dear Prime Minister, Your first response to Facebook brazenly announcing they’ll stop paying for our news that they use to make a fortune from was…perfect!

“That’s not the Australian way,” you said.

Exactly. Australians hate bullies. Australians fight for a fair go. And this battle is not just a fight for a fair go here - the whole world is watching.

Meta, the trillion dollar tech giant that owns Facebook has built an empire out of content they don’t own. They don’t produce anything. They ‘share’ the great work of others and keep the cash.

The Australian government was the first in the world to call out this scandal, and in 2021 the News Media Bargaining Code forced them to finally pay for news content. But not anymore.

Meta is betting that if they bully the Australian government, they win the world. PM, this is a fight for the future of news and democracy. This is fight against fake news and a fight for a fair go for all journalists who hold the powerful to account, all around the world.

Let’s make sure Australia shows Facebook what a fair go is. The world is watching.

Yours sincerely,

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 9
Authorised by A Schreyer for Country Press Australia 97-103 Queen Street Warragul Victoria 3820 12675835-FC11-24

FOCUS ON … DISABILITY A shining beacon of hope

In an era where mental health struggles and disabilities often go unnoticed, Seachange Care Support Services stands as a beacon of hope and assistance.

Established in 2018 by the compassionate visionary Jismon, our organization has dedicated the past five years to providing essential aid to individuals navigating through life’s toughest challenges.

At Seachange, our mission transcends mere service provision; it’s about making a tangible difference in the lives of those we serve.

We specialize in delivering outreach support to individuals grappling with disabilities and various mental health conditions, fostering independence and resilience along their journey.

Jismon, our founder, brings not only 14 years of industry experience but also an unwavering passion for helping others.

Having begun his career as a social worker, his transition to entrepreneurship stemmed from a deep-rooted commitment to addressing unmet needs in the community.

Our comprehensive suite of services caters to diverse needs, ranging from mental health support and supported independent living to recovery coaching and education/training assistance.

Whether it’s aiding with daily tasks, facilitating social participation, or ensuring roundthe-clock home care, Seachange remains steadfast in its commitment to empowering individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

With local support available on a full-time, part-time, or as-needed basis, we strive to be more than just a service provider—we are a trusted partner in each individual’s journey towards holistic well-being.

Together, let’s continue to create positive change and foster a more inclusive and supportive society.

Using proper language

As our society progresses into a more inclusive and welcoming environment, it is important that we make a conscious effort to ensure the language we use towards others is appropriate. Rather than relating to concepts such as profanities, this is in reference to the way we address or describe people with disabilities.

Like fashion crazes, music styles and interior design trends, language tends to change and update with time. New words and phrases are introduced into our vocabularies to reflect the times we live in.

Terms like ‘handicapped,’ ‘physically challenged’ and ‘wheelchair-bound’ are heading away from being the accepted way to refer to people who have a disability, while the use of phrases like ‘suffering from’ or ‘afflicted with’ are generally deemed offensive in today’s language.

Avoid the use of words and phrases such as crippled, a victim of, unfortunate, suffering from, incapacitated or worse, words that have evolved from historically medical terms to become hurtful slurs. Using the word ‘normal’ is also, depending on context, one that should generally be avoided when referring to people with a disability.

Using proper terminology is empowering, while outdated terminology is hurtful and offensive.

Instead of defining someone by an impairment or disability they may have, try to first recognise that they are a person above

all else. They are not disabled, they have a disability - in the same way that someone is not brown hair, but rather they have brown hair.

Instead of saying ‘a blind person’ or ‘a quadriplegic’, perhaps consider rephrasing to ‘a person who is blind or has a vision impairment,or‘apersonthathasquadriplegia.’

Similarly, this concept also applies to medical conditions such as asthma and cancerinstead of ‘she suffers from asthma,’ instead use ‘she has asthma.’ Rather than ‘a cancer patient,’ use ‘a person with cancer.’

It is in this way that we are not defining someone by any disability that they may have, but rather recognising that it is simply a feature of who they are.

One of the best ways to address or refer to people with a disability is to start with ‘a person,’ as you are affirming their humanity first and foremost. You can then go on to say ‘...that uses a wheelchair,’ ‘...with a hearing impairment,’ or whatever their disability may be.

Language and terminology will continually evolve, as do all other aspects of our society, and is something that we all have a duty to remain aware of. It is important to take note of the terms that the person with the disability uses to describe or refer to themselves, and then use those terms accordingly. It all comes down to each person’s own preference and we should respect everyone’s preferred way of self-identification.

10 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au 12666933-AV24-24
referring to someone with a disability, start your sentence with ‘a person...’ so as to not define them by their disability.
Support Services, Suite 429, Waterman Narre Warren, Level 2, 66 Victor Crescent, Narre Warren. · info@seachangecare.com.au · 0450 599 488 · 0461 380 966
Seachange Care Support Services stands as a beacon of hope and assistance.

Empowering a bright future

Empowering you for a brighter future.

Youth Jobs Now offers pre-employment training and work experience through The Bridge Employment for people aged 16 to 24 years on NDIS. This service offers 1:1 weekly coaching session, as well as group activities through workshops to help you become job ready. We also offer Your Job Now for people aged 25 years+ through an NDIS plan.

Programs and training include developing skills for employment, independent living skills, travel training, developing a work portfolio and undertaking work experience/volunteer placements. Employment related training includes the areas of hospitality, retail, and warehouse.

Participants can also have virtual driving lessons through my DRIVESCHOOL, as well as access to other The Bridge services and referrals to community support services.

Youth Jobs Now can be accessed via School Leavers Employment Supports (SLES), designed to help young people with disability successfully transition from school to employment, or through Core or Capacity Building (Finding and keeping a job) Funding in an NDIS plan.

Available at our two centres in Pakenham (89-91 Slattery Place) and in Dandenong (31 Princes Highway) and taking bookings today.

Youth Jobs Now offers pre-employment training and work experience through The Bridge Employment for people aged 16 to 24 years on NDIS.

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 11 Are you looking for an Ndis Registered provider? Look no further Seachange Care Support Services Narre Warren NDIS Support Service Provider www.seachangecare.com.au info@seachangecare.com.au 0450 599 488 0461 380 966 At Sea Change Support Narre Warren, our vision and goal is to enable people living with psycho-social disabilities to achieve their goals and lead an independent life. 12672274-MP11-24 12670306-HC11-24 FOCUS ON …

Courage takes the stage

Fruit Loop harvests 50,000 apples of hope

More than 50,000 apples were picked at the Montague Orchard in NarreWarren 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 apple-picking 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 heart-warming”.

“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


Foodbank VictoriaMatt caters to over 500 charities across the state, with the apples picked 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 sup-

port 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 back - you’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.

12 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au
The team from AusNet. From left, Zack Aloisio, Kathy Burgstahler (from Pakenham), Sharon Beach, Mina Awadalla, with Royal Gala Apples. 389434 Pictures: ROB CAREW
Louise Rinaldi (Corporate volunteer coordinator for Foodbank), with Helen Szabo (left) and Meg Wise (right) from McCain cheering in the background. 389434 An audience at Drum Theatre was invited to take courage at a celebration of International Women’s Day. The vibrant keynote speaker Kim Payne inspired the guests at the South East Business Network lunch on 6 March to find their‘Courageous Me’. The trainer and coach helps to empower and liberate professional women – with her latest theme being to let courage take centre stage. Guest speaker Kim Payne on stage at the Drum Theatre. 392354 Pictures: GARRY SISSONSGuest speaker Kim Payne. 392354 Ros Tiberi and Latifa Rahimi. 392354 Hayley Jones, Vicki Asquith and Brittany Harper. 392354 Kingston mayor Jenna Davey-Burns and Greater Dandenong mayor Lana Formoso. 392354 Sandra George who has long led the South East Business Network. 392354 Diane Clarke having fun while networking before the main event. 392354

Tribute fit for a ‘Queen’

Fresh from recent sell-out shows in Queensland, QUEEN ROCKS are set to rock The Drum Theatre in Dandenong this March as part of their 2024 Don’t Stop Me Now tour.

QUEEN ROCKS has been amazing audiences for over 20 years with Australia’s most entertaining Queen tribute show.

Authentically capturing Queen’s unique sound and theatrical stage show, QUEEN ROCKS perform all of Queen’s iconic hits, bringing to life the showmanship, musicianship and majestic power that saw Queen rock stadiums all over the world.

“A QUEEN ROCKS show will transport you to a time when Queen were at their live peak, dominating the globe as the world’s number one stadium rock act.” said Jason Hess, the group’s lead singer. “Imagine yourself in the audience at Live Aid responding to Freddie’s spine-tingling ‘AY-OH’s or watching him strut across the stage in his trademark yellow jacket during Queen’s legendary Magic Tour.”

“Our mission is to honour the legacy of Queen by playing their incredible catalogue of songs with the same spirit, energy and sense of fun that Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon brought to the stage in Queen’s extraordinary live performances.” he added.

QUEEN ROCKS’ attention to detail is unsurpassed, using the same original equipment, exact replica stage costumes and delivering the same incredible musicianship and harmony vocals that made Queen’s sound so unique and unmistakable.

You’ll be treated to all of Queen’s Greatest Hits including We Will Rock You to We Are the Champions, Killer Queen, Don’t Stop Me Now, Somebody to Love, Another One Bites the Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Radio

QUEEN ROCKS are performing live at The Drum Theatre Dandenong on Friday 22 March.

Ga Ga, IWant to Break Free, the unrivalled epic that is Bohemian Rhapsodyandmanymoreiconichitsacross their two hour live show.

“We can’t wait to ROCK YOU in Dande-

nong.” said Jason. “Come along with your dancing shoes, your best sing-along voices and be prepared to enjoy a musical extravaganza like no other!”

QUEEN ROCKS are appearing at The Drum

Theatre in Dandenong on Friday 22 March at 8:00pm. Tickets are available now – go to www. queenrocks.com.au, The Drum Theatre website, or call the theatre box office on 03 8571 1666.

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 13 12672054-AA11-24 BUSINESS IN FOCUS


MACS vision for future

Students in Catholic schools will benefit significantly from a change in how reading, writing and mathematics are taught in Melbourne classrooms.

In February, Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) launched its Flourishing Learners position statement, Vision for Instruction, which embeds a refreshed and system-wide approach to achieving teaching and learning excellence.

Executive director of MACS, Dr Edward Simons said: “Our newly released Vision for Instruction strengthens our commitment to providing an outstanding education for all our students across the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

“It is the culmination of years of global research on how students learn best, along with studies and analysis of the most successful teaching methods, developed with input from teachers in our own schools.

“Our Vision for Instruction has twin fundamental goals: excellence and equity. As a key part of our MACS 2030 strategy, this approach will help us achieve our vision that every student is inspired and enabled to flourish and enrich the world, regardless of their background or circumstances.”

Dr Simons said that years of declining performance in OECD PISA results meant that outdated approaches to teaching and learning need to change. The evidence now at hand supports explicit instruction methods as the best way of teaching children the knowledge they need to flourish.

“These measures have clearly shown us that our education systems can be much more effective at educating our children.

“The 21st century skills our children need to have, including social skills, are fundamentally reliant on a solid founda-

tion of literacy and numeracy. That’s why we’ve formalised our pedagogical approach to act as a guiding beacon to our staff, and provide the clarity and resources they need to promote excellence and equity in all our schools.”

Director of learning and regional services, Dr Mary Oski said that MACS teachers and leaders will be supported to implement Vision for Instruction.

“Our educators are dedicated to providing all students with fundamental literacy and numeracy skills, ensuring their active engagement in society while fostering lifelong learning, which is why MACS is committed to providing teachers with the highest quality knowledge-rich curriculum and evidence-based teaching practices.”

MACS is the largest Catholic education services provider in Australia, educating around 115,000 students across almost 300 schools, and employing more than 16,000 teachers and support staff.

What makes us special

Nazareth College stands apart as more than just a secondary school; it is a dynamic learning community dedicated to academic excellence and the holistic development of every individual - physically, intellectually, socially, and spiritually.

Rooted in Catholic tradition and centered on Jesus Christ, we pride ourselves on creating a co-educational environment that emphasises family values. Our inclusive education approach values each student as unique, sacred, and of great dignity, fostering social interaction and preparing youth to contribute meaningfully to the community. Catholic virtues underpin a faith-based education that instils moral and ethical responsibility, encouraging students to embody the Nazareth culture. Academic excellence is paramount at Nazareth, with dedicated educators delivering an exceptional learning experience and a challenging curriculum preparing students for success. Holistic development extends beyond academics, offering opportunities in sports, the arts, and community service. Our goal is to prepare students for life, equipping them with skills, knowledge, and values to become responsible, compassionate, and successful citizens. Beyond standard VCE, Nazareth offers specialty VET and VCE Vocational Major pathways ensuring a comprehensive educational journey.

Join the Nazareth family for a unique educational experience that encompasses faith, wisdom, and knowledge. Enrol now to be part of something extraordinary.


Our Past: In 1986, four local parishes came togethertocreatesomethingspecial-ourschool. This collective vision set the stage for a place where faith, unity, and education merged. From the moment our doors opened with only

140 students, we embraced our mission of providing a Catholic values-based, coeducational environment and nurturing young minds.

Our Present: 38 years later we stand proud as a vibrant institution, a place where students are empowered to excel academically, spiritually, and personally. Our commitment to academic excellence remains unwavering, with passionate educators guiding students towards their full potential. Catholic values continue to inspire love, service, and compassion in our students.

We offer a rich array of extracurricular activities, fostering holistic development and a tight-knit community.

Our Future: Looking ahead, Nazareth envisions limitless possibilities. Bolstered by robust foundations, we are committed to continually adapting and innovating our curriculum to meet evolving student needs. Supported by our community, we aim to expand and enhance facilities, guided by the enduring principles of faith and unity since our establishment in 1986. Together, we shape future leaders who carry our legacy proudly. As our school grows, our motto remains: You will be Known at Nazareth.

· Nazareth Taster Day Thursday 2 May.

· We invite you to participate in a full day of secondary school for students in Grades 4-6 to try Nazareth for a day.

· Places filling fast so book at www.nazareth. vic.edu.au


College tours are led by student leaders. Meet our Principal, see our facilities and learn more about our programs. Visit qrco.de/naztours to see the latest dates for tours. Upcoming dates: Tuesday 26 March, Monday 22 April and Thursday 2 May.

14 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Call 9700 6068 or visit spanhills.catholic.edu.au for more information 76 Mossgiel Park Drive ENROLMENTS NOW OPEN for 2025 and 2026 St Paul Apostle North School Endeavour Hills | One Family StPaulApostleNorthSchool EndeavourHills |OneFamily 12675573-JB11-24 • Learning in perfect harmony • Wellbeing through engagement • Extracurricular opportunities • Specialist classes • Enhancing inclusive learning and teaching through authentic partnerships with families • Encouraging the deep questions of life linked to Catholic Faith • Promoting high expectations and the full flourishing of every person. St Anthony's Primary School 90 Buckley Street Noble Park principal@sanoblepark.catholic.edu.au 9546 0044 www.sanoblepark.catholic.edu.au Encouragingcuriosity and creativity 12675419-AI11-24

Unlocking their strengths

At Holy Family Doveton, students are being encouraged to follow their passions and unlock strengths to improve their self-confidence.

The Dance Crew have performed at various locations, with over 50 students participating. The immediate sense of joy they bring to those who see them is palpable. The diverse group work collegially and supportively to elevate one another.

Another growing opportunity is the Chess Club. These students learn the strategy and rules, then have the opportunity to hone their skills in a safe and fun environment. In a digital, fast paced world, the concentration levels on display push back against the norm, promoting perseverance.

Sport is another key opportunity, with some highly skilled soccer players, who are about to further embark on specialised training throughout Term Two.

Cooking club involves many students who attend the school’s breakfast club, preparing little treats for their fellow students. So popular has the breakfast club become, that most students are at school well before the first bell.

Artists amongst the school are catered for, with the drawing skills of many students on display around the school.

The gardening club caters to those students who like getting their hands dirty, and ensures that the students have input into how the school looks.

These different opportunities cater towards the strengths based approach that the school is promoting, to ensure that each student not only graduates with a great academic education, but has a clear sense of their own identity and has confidence in their own abilities.

Situated 100 Power Road, Doveton, telephone 9791 1853.

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 15 Order now on aussietoysonline.com.au SCHOOL TOURS TUES 26 MARCH AND MON 22 APRIL 9.15am 2025 Enrolments are still open. Please register for our waiting list. 2026 Applications close 16 August. Visit www.nazareth.vic.edu.au Manning Drive, Noble Park North, VIC 3174 03 9795 8100 enquiry@nazareth.vic.edu.au 12675557-AA11-24 FOCUS ON … CATHOLIC EDUCATION WEEK
The Holy Family Primary School community believe that children have the right to feel safe and be safe. Our staff ensure that all students receive the highest possible standard of care and protection at all times.

Unity for all of society

Baha’u’llah, Founder-Prophet of the Baha’i Faith wrote that ‘The winds of despair are, alas, blowing from every direction, and the strife that divides and afflicts the human race is daily increasing.’

We are witnessing, with our own eyes, the collapse of the international order in the spread of anarchy and terrorism, as well as the intense suffering being inflicted on humanity by various other means.

Every day we witness the framework of society breaking down and the community more unable to cope or understand the reasons why.

We believe that the current world confusion is a necessary phase in the organic process leading ultimately to the unification of the human race in a single order whose boundaries are those of the planet.

The pivotal teaching of the Faith is the One-


100 years ago

13 March 1924

The Bridge Hotel

Having been recently renovated throughout, the Bridge Hotel Dandenong is now one of the most up to date and convenient hotel outside of Melbourne, and Mr and Mrs Dean are to be complimented on their enterprise. The old front portion of the hotel has been replaced by a striking and effective design in concrete and tiles, and large handsome leadlights give a fine lighting effect within. The bar has been enlarged and refitted, and now covers a floor space of about 38 square feet. The walls have ben tastefully decorated with neat panels and all the renovations are on an equally elaborate scale. A new dining room has been provided and all the bedrooms upstairs renovated throughout and two bathrooms with hot and cold water laid on. Altogether there are about 16 bedrooms available, with parlours and the comfort required in a first-class hotel. The view from the balcony of the Bridge hotel is a splendid one.

Note: The Bridge Hotel is now Old Dandy Inn.

50 years ago

12 March 1974

Parents to close school

Parents of children attending Cranbourne


ness of Humankind emphasising that God is for unity at all levels and between all groups in human society.

That God is One; that men are one; that Faith is ever the same;

That Love is still the nearest word to hint the Nameless Name.

We should be more than hopeful, as many, if not all of, the sacred scriptures of the past have constantly held the promise of peace, which is now at long last within reach.

It may not seem so but it is the next stage in

South Primary School will close the school unless the Education Department improves toilet facilities. The school committee decided this at a general meeting last Wednesday night. School committee vice-president Mr Ian Colquhoun said: “Raw sewage is flowing through the school grounds because the septic tank system is totally inadequate.” There are two toilets for 72 boys and three toilets for 67 girls and female staff. Mr John May, a licensed plumber, inspected the system recently and said if the system was under the jurisdiction of the Shire Council it would be condemned.

20 years ago

8 March 2004

Crime dips but drugs, assault up Police figures show that Greater Dandenong’s overall crime rate is down, but assaults and drug possession are up. The latest Victorian Police figures for region 5 (southeast) which includes Dandenong is found that the crime rate for 2002-03 was down 24 per cent from previous year. In other crimes, property damage, burglary and notable drug offences also recorded lower figures, averaging a 21.1 per cent drop. However, some offences including assault and drug possession had risen markedly up by almost 11 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.

Bill Kean says world peace isn’t only possible but inevitable.

the evolution of this planet.

We are at a crossroads and so much depends on whether the world’s leaders can arise

5 years ago

11 March 2019

Jail for ham fisted armed robber as weapons left behind Two would be armed robbers left behind their weapons and apparel as they fled their botched attempted crime in Dandenong North, the County Court of Victoria has heard. Nicholas James Cheaib 31, had enlisted a co-offender Mehmet Mehmet to lay in wait with him near the corner of Fillmore Road and Gatley Court early on 22 February 2018. Their target was a male believed to have $15,000 at the time. They waited for him to start to drive from his property. At 6.10am Mehmet approached behind the victim as he locked his front gate. He pushed an imitation shotgun into his ribs and told him “Don’t move, Don’t move”. Beforhand, Mehmet had been told that his partner in crime would then take the lead. But instead Cheaib fled north to Hill Court, discarding his machete, gloves and jumper and jumped over a back fence. Meanwhile, the victim and Mehmet exchanged punches , Mehmet fled in a rental getaway car leaving behind his imitation gun, his wallet with ID, a glove, a shoe and sock.

with conviction and a resolute will, to search for and implement the desperately needed solutions.

That remains to be seen!

I would stress that we as individual’s must also play our part in guarding against apathy, and to treat each other with respect.

‘A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning……’

Things will get worse, but to what extent depends partly on us.

Whatever suffering and turmoil the years ahead may hold it is obvious that a change of attitude is urgently required, that which puts the community above self.

World Peace is not only possible but inevitable.

Enquiries about the City of Greater Dandenong Interfaith Network: administration@ interfaithnetwork.org.au or 8774 7662

Great strides for mankind

Dandenong local Ainsley Garath, set himself a goal to run 100kms in March last year – he ended up doubling this goal and ran a total 200kms in 2023.

All in the name of charity.

Ainsley has long been a supporter of the Red Cross and this year he is running again in March for the humanitarian organisation’s Human Race.

The “Human Race” is the Red Cross’ main annual fundraising campaign that challenges participants to show how far they can go to protect humanity and help people in need.

At any time during the month, The Human Race asks participants to run, ride, relay, roll or even row for their fellow human.

Open to people of all ages and abilities, donations will be used to support Australian Red Cross deliver its vital humanitarian services.

Ainsley stated that his journey with the Human Race “came just when he needed it” as he was battling “morbid obesity”. “At that stage, running to my letterbox was too much”, said Ainsley.

Pushing himself both physically and mentally, he began to run half marathons each week, participating in fun runs across victoria.

“It is just a mental thing. I had to push myself.”

“It’s something to focus on to both improve health but also to help people” he says.

However, Ainsley’s efforts to help the Red Cross do not cease outside the month of may, Ainsley stating that he had “donated blood/plasma to the Red Cross 42 times”.

To help Ainsley raise money for “a cause close to his heart”, join his team below using the link https://act.redcross.org.au/st/247/s, and then connect to Strava.

16 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au CHURCH
Ainsley pictured with medals he has won in the last year at various fun runs. Picture: AVA CASHMORE
Dandenong and District
Compiled by
Historical Society
The formerly-known Bridge Hotel on Lonsdale Street Dandenong. It was later known as Old Dandy Inn, Jim Dandy Hotel and is still standing as Dandenong Hotel. 173386

Finks trio spared jail

Three full-patched members of the Finks outlaw motorcycle gang have avoided jail over the extortion and robbery of a member wishing to leave the outfit.

Michael Bacalja, 43, of Berwick, Andrew Tonkin, 32, of Keysborough, and Allan Campbell, 30, of Endeavour Hills, pleaded guilty after sentence indications at theVictorian County Court.

Sentencing was deferred for Paul “Romeo” Draper, 40, of Endeavour Hills due to him being booked in for surgery.

Bacalja pleaded guilty to extortion with a threat to inflict injury and being a prohibited person with an imitation gun.

Tonkin and Campbell pled to robbery and common law assault.

The victim had been a fully-patched Finks member and treasurer based at the Cranbourne West clubhouse.

Draper, Tonkin and Campbell barged their way into the victim’s house in Doncaster in July 2021, with Draper demanding the victim’s $60,000 2019 Harley Davidson while he was deciding whether to leave the club.

The victim pleaded for them not to take his bike and Draper assaulted him.

Campbell warned the victim that“if you call the cops, we’ll shoot you” and ordered the victim to write a note authorising the hand-over of his bike to Draper.

The victim complied and the men rode away with his bike.

A week later, after pleading for his bike’s return, the victim was told to go to Draper’s home in Endeavour Hills.

While waiting outside in his car, Bacalja approached with VicRoads transfer papers in hand.

Inside the house, Draper told the victim that he’d have to pay $15,000 and forfeit his bike to leave the Finks.

If he didn’t sign over the bike, he would be “f***ed”, Draper told him – and the victim duly signed the transfer papers.

When he left, Draper phoned him to say he’d signed the wrong part of the form. If he didn’t come back inside, he’d be “really f***ed”.

An angry Draper punched, kicked and kneed him in what the victim said was a “really savage” beating. He was left with red marks, a sore jaw and head for days.

Over several weeks, the victim transferred $11,500 to Draper’s bank account, spurred by several demands from Draper via calls on encrypted app Signal.

In October, Echo Taskforce police raided the accused’s homes as well as the Cranbourne West clubhouse.

At Draper’s home, they seized the bike’s keys and registration plate as well as several steroids.

They seized a gel-blaster gun from the home of Bacalja, who was prohibited to pos-

sess an imitation gun.

Bacalja told police that he didn’t realise the gun was illegal. He’d bought it as a toy online, used only in the backyard and not for any other purposes, he said.

The victim declined to make a victim impact statement.

Sentencing judge Sarah Leighfield said Draper – highly ranked as a ‘Nomad’ at the Finks – was the “principal offender” in the robbery of the bike as well as in extorting the victim.

Tonkin and Campbell had lesser roles in the robbery and Bacalja a limited role in the extortion, she said.

Leighfield noted Tonkin and Bacalja had shown remorse and taken full responsibility for their conduct.

Campbell sought to minimalise his actions but considered the treatment inflicted on the victim was undeserved and unjustified, she said.

He’d also paid $10,000 in order to leave the Finks.

Campbell had been dismissed from his trucking job as a result of the charges.

He had no criminal history, but for a fine for wearing a Finks T-shirt in public.

At the time of the offences, he was abusing drugs and alcohol. His severe borderline personality disorder was also noted.

Since moving in with his partner – a kinder-

garten teacher – Campbell had been sober, cut off ties with negative peers and complied with bail conditions.

Bacalja, a former Navy seaman and miner, had limited criminal history including assault, threats to kill and firearm offences.

He’d been in the Finks only a few months at the time of offending. Though still a member, he had since stepped down as vice-president. He’d not re-offended since.

Tonkin, a bouncer and former martial arts instructor, had no priors and had become a dedicated charity volunteer.

The prosecution submitted for Draper and Bacalja to be jailed, and Campbell and Tonkin given jail and a community corrections order (CCO).

Leighfield said despite the offences being serious, each would receive a CCO – taking into account their mental health issues and signs of rehabilitation.

Campbell’s 30-month CCO included up to 320 hours of unpaid work, supervision and drug, alcohol and mental health treatment.

Bacalja’s CCO of 27 months included up to 280 hours of unpaid work, supervision and treatment. He was ordered not to associate with the Finks for nine months.

Tonkin was sentenced to a 21-month CCO including up to 150 hours of unpaid work and mental health treatment.

Draper was scheduled to be sentenced on 10 April.

Charity takes a long ‘VIEW’ at their proud history

For 38 years, Dandenong VIEW Club has met for dinners, outings and raising funds for charity.

On 5 March, about 30 members joined a monthly fundraising dinner and marked the club’s birthday at Dandenong RSL.

It regularly hosts a guest speaker – this time it was Greater Dandenong mayor Lana Formoso.

This was the first time a mayoral guest had served cake at the club, president Anne Maslin wryly remarked.

Among the conviviality was 92-yearold Edith Birkett, sparkling in a tiara, who joined Dandenong VIEW in 1987. This was just a year after the club was founded.

Why the glamourous headwear? Because “I’ve never been this old before”, she jokes.

Ms Birkett moved to Dandenong in 1960 when bread and milk was delivered by horse-and-cart, she said.

At its height, the club had up to 60 members that knitted and made things for charity, she said.

“I love everything about it. It’s walking distance from my place to here.”

Through its deeds, the club proudly sponsors two school students through The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program.

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 17 from an outlet near you It'sFREE SCAN TO FIND YOUROUTLET starcommunity.com.au/find-my-newspaper 12665965-FC07-24
Dandenong VIEW Club founding member Edith Birkett, 92, and mayor Lana Formoso. 393924

Cheers to John’s century

Mercy Place Dandenong resident John Dowling celebrated his 100th birthday, receiving a letter from King Charles, on Monday 26 February.

Born in 1924, John has lived through a number of remarkable moments in history.

John was orphaned at the age of two and spent the next five years of his life in the orphanage until he was adopted by a foster family.

Later in his teenage years, John reconnected with his birth mother before he left to serve as a national guard in the Air Force where he served from the age of 16 to 19.

A few years after John returned from service, he got married at the age of 24 to his first love Patracia and started his family. John later remarried to Phyllis in his late 60s.

John’s family remains an important part of his life with his six children, 15 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren who celebrated John’s birthday at the local bowls club, of which he has been a member for 25 years, on Sunday 25 of February.

To commemorate John’s milestone, Mercy Place Dandenong put on a special celebration consisting of St Marie’s Children’s Choir, and the residents hosting a special performance for John as he celebrates with his friends and family.

In the past century, John has lived through some key historical events including the great depression andWorldWar II.

The RSL also attended the celebration, to present him with a medal for his service.

The highlights of John’ life have emerged from creating a family full of love. He considers himself lucky to have been blessed with six children, 15 grandchildren, and 13 greatgrandchildren.

Another important part of John’s life has been giving back to the orphanage which provided him with support as a child.

On for young and old at Noble Park Bowls

Soon to rack up 100 years, Charlie Maxwell is only too happy to give his time to young lawn-bowlers.

The oldest member of Noble Park Bowls Club, Maxwell attended the last game for the pennant season to watch the club’s youngest player Liam Manders, 14.

Maxwell started playing bowls when he retired from work at 72.He wished he started sooner.

Even in recent years, Maxwell was plying his bowls craft in lower grades. Up until

last year, he was giving them a run for their money in weekly social bowls events.

Meanwhile, Liam is the third generation of his family to play pennant at the club, following in the footsteps of his father Darren and grandfather Patrick Sheedy.

He was introduced to bowls via Wallarano Primary School’s program Rookie Rollers. Liam joined Year 5 and 6 student colleagues visiting the club to learn about the game of bowls.

He’s now at Keysborough College.

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Ninety-nine-year-old member Charlie Maxwell meets pennant player Liam Manders, 14, at Noble Park Bowls Club. Family shot. 390953 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERSJohn Dowling waves to the crowd. 390953 John Dowling with his ‘kids’ Lea, Matthew, Cheryl, Ian and Karen (John dec). 390953 John Dowling with Mercy Place staff. 390953 Lea with her dad John Dowling. 390953


Writing Group

Awaken your inner writer and spark your imagination in this encouraging and fun workshop. We will share creative writing prompts, stories and ideas. New writers welcome.

· Thursday 14 March, 10am–12 noon at The Open Door, 110 Ann St, Dandenong. Gold Coin donation is welcome. Details: 9791 8664 or theopendoor@ssjg.org.au

Try a Trade Day for Women

Women Onsite and Chisholm TAFE will hoste a Try a Trade Day in metal trades for women 18+. Hands-on workshop involving welding and metal fabrication and take home a metal project. Free lunch and Q&A with tradeswomen in the various metal work industries.

· Saturday 16 March, 10.30am-2.30pm at Chisholm TAFE, 121 Stud Road, Dandenong. Free event, register at weareunion.org.au/ tat_dandeong

Keysie Market Easter edition

Join us for The Keysie Market Easter Edition on Sunday 17 March from 10am-2pm. Come along and get all your Easter shopping done at this vibrant outdoor community event in Keysborough with over 100+ unique market stalls.

· Sunday 17 March, 10am-2pm at Springers Leisure Centre, 400 Cheltenham Road, Keysborough. Details: Shirlene Allison, 0424 392 560 or thekeysiemarket@gmail.com

A Tra$hy Dreamland

Join artist Moon Girle as she unveils her playful installation as part of A Tra$hy Dreamland exhibition. Featuring refreshments, interactive art and fun. Exhibition on display until Saturday 8 June.

· Tuesday 19 March, 6pm-8pm at Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre, cnr Walker and Robinson streets, Dandenong.

Friends of Red Cross

Hallam Friends of the Red Cross invites you for a chat or a cupper. We are a very friendly group of people, who like to chat and help people in the community. By raising funds to assist people in the community who need assistance.

· third Tuesday of the month (next 19 March), 10.30am at the Hallam Community Learning Centre, 56 Kays Avenue Hallam. Details: Robert Read, 0455 566 570.

Harmony Day

Join multicultural seniors groups for a Harmony Day celebration of dancing, diverse range of foods, music and harmony.

· Thursday 21 March, from 10am at John Pandazopoulos Hall, 78 Power Road, Doveton. Neighbourhood Watch public forum

Greater Dandenong Neighbourhood Watch safety information session with Detective Sergeant

John Curnow (38 years in Victoria Police, worked in Armed Robbery Squad, Dandenong CIU, Southern Metro Crime Squad) and Dectective Sergeant Katie Johnston (16 years in Victoria Police, including Springvale police and South Metro Region Metro Squad). Light supper provided.

· Wednesday 27 March, 7pm for 7.30pm start at Paddy O’Donoghue Centre, 18-34 Buckley Street, Noble Park. (Ample parking rear of centre off Frank Street).

Awareness Meditation

Meditation brings stillness, harmonises body & soul & connects to meaning.

· Mondays (during school term), 2.30pm–3.30pm followed by a cuppa at The Open

Come and try basketball Dandenong Basketball Association and Greater Dandenong Council will be running free basketball sessions every Wednesday in March. Sessions are 4.30pm-5.15pm Aussie Hoops for ages 5-10; 5.15pm-6pm Skills session for ages 11-18; 6pm-7pm Pick-up game for all ages.

· Wednesdays 13, 20 and 27 March at the multiuse court, George Street, Dandenong. Free event, register at greaterdandenong.vic.gov.au/greater-dandenong-council/ events/come-and-try-basketball-program

Door, 110 Ann Street, Dandenong; suggested gold-coin donation. Details: 9791 8664 or Theopendoor@ssjg.org.au

Senior activities

Keysborough & District Multicultural Senior Citizens Inc is an over 55s club with bingo on first, second and fourth Tuesday of the month ($3 entry and $1.50 per bingo book), live concerts with professional entertainers on third Tuesday of the month, line dancing on Wednesdays ($3 entry), Thursday ballroom dancing lessons (12.30pm1pm) and ballroom dancing (1pm-3pm,$3 entry). Concert entertainers include Alex Matthews (20 February) and Col Perkins (3 March).

· 1pm-3pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Rowley Allan Reserve 352 Cheltenham Road Keysborough. Tea and coffee provided. Membership for remainder of F/Y 23/24 is $5. Details: Julie, 0428 561 694.

Adult Exercise

Improve fitness and energy levels for good health and wellbeing at this adult exercise group class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a self-paced, gentle aerobics class suitable for all levels.

· Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9.30am at Jan Wilson Community Centre, Halton Road, Noble Park North; $5 per session. No registrations required. Details: 8571 1436 or communityfacilities@cgd.vic.gov.au

Fun for retirees

New members from Dandenong North and Noble Park are sought by the Waverley Gardens Combined Probus Club. In addition to other activities, club members also meet for coffee & listen to a guest speaker.

· last Tuesday of the month 9.45am-noon at Southern Community Centre, 27 Rupert Dr, Mulgrave (near Police Rd). Details: Don, 9560 6046.

Meditation and positive thinking

Learn how to make your mind your best friend through open-eyed meditation. Led by Bhavani Padmanabhan, these free sessions are open to all. Presented by Bakhtar Community Organisation and The Brahma Kumaris Organisation.

· Saturdays 2pm at 23-47 Gunns Road, Hallam. Registrations: 9703 2555 or 0403 551 596.

Weekly badminton

Adults welcome (Mondays 7pm-9pm) and ladies and retired (Wednesdays 12pm-2.30pm).

· Hallam Badminton Club, Frawley Road Recreation Reserve; $5.

Yoga Classes

For all ages, experience and abilities. Mats and other equipment available. No Booking required.

· Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9.30am-10.30am at Noble Park Community Centre, Memorial Drive, Noble Park; $5 per class or $40 for 10 classes. Details: programs@nobleparkcc.org. au or 9547 5801

Mindfulness meditation

Held weekly for people to learn the basic skills of concentration. Meditation may benefit people with spiritual and mental health support.

· Thursdays, 2.30pm-3pm at Dandenong Hospital’s Sacred Space, 135 David Street, Dandenong. Free, no bookings required. Details: Chuentat Kang, 0405 421 706 or chuentat@ hotmail.com

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Basketball Picture: MIKAYLA HAUPT
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Thunderous clash called off

Ugly scenes brought an abrupt end to Dandenong Thunder’s round five National Premier League (NPL) clash with Oakleigh Cannons on Friday night as play was abandoned during the second half due to alleged fighting in the crowd.

At the time, Thunder trailed 2-0 after a poor first half, and at time of publication, the status of the match is postponed, with a new date yet to be confirmed.

The live stream of the game was made private on the NPL’s YouTube channel on Friday night following the incident.

Football Victoria (FV) released a statement on Saturday morning saying it was aware of a “serious incident” that took place during the match, and encouraged witnesses to share footage of the incident to FV’s disciplinary committee.

“FV condemns all forms of anti-social behaviour and violence, in line with FV’s Rules of Competition and Spectator Code of Behaviour,” the statement read.

“FV has contacted both Clubs, who join FV in condemning the behaviour and will fully cooperate with the investigation.

“FV will share further detail on sanctions in due course.”

Both clubs shared FV’s statement on their Facebook pages and confirmed that they were “actively working alongside Football Victoria to ensure such incidents are eliminated from our beloved game.”

Oakleigh Cannons’ Monday night fixture against Altona Magic was played behind closed doors in an effort to “mitigate risk”, the league said, as the investigation into the scenes during the Friday night game remained active.

No indication has been given as to whether Friday night’s upcoming Dandenong Derby will be played under the same circumstances.

Police say they responded to reports of fighting at Jack Edwards Reserve in Oakleigh but no arrests were made.

“Around 500 people were present during the incident just after 8.30pm, some throwing

items toward police and other people in the area”, police said.

“Three people were treated for injuries but did not require hospitalisation.

“The exact circumstances surrounding the

incident are being investigated but no one has made a police report at this stage.”

On Sunday, Dandenong City secured a point away against Melbourne Knights in a 2-2 draw, with much of the action coming in a frenetic four minutes of play.

The Knights took a 2-0 lead in the 64th minute but scores were level shortly after thanks to two City goals in a quick reply.

City worked the ball methodically and patiently around their penalty area before Kenny Athiu consolidated possession by nailing his third goal of the campaign, close to the goalline.

A minute later, the scores were tied through a Tim Atherinos strike in the 68th minute.

A long ball from JackWebster found a bursting Michael Martinovic down the right-hand side line, who squared the ball back to Atherinos on the edge of the area.

Atherinos took a touch with his right foot before cutting inside his defender and curling the ball into the left side netting with his left foot.

City conceded first after passing around the back half brought them unstuck.

The Knights’ high press forced a turnover after Aaron Hall put Thomas Giannokopoulos under extreme pressure in City’s penalty area.

Giannokopoulos tried to play the ball across goal to Webster but the Knights attackers read the pass to perfection.

Hall saved the initial shot from Mitch Hore but could do nothing about Gian Albano’s follow-up strike, hammered in with a volley.

City and Thunder will go head-to-head in a long-awaited Dandenong Derby on Friday night at Frank Holohan Soccer Complex.

City sits in sixth place while Thunder finds itself in 12th, with a game in hand as a result of the postponed fixture on Friday night.

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Dandenong Thunder’s clash with Oakleigh Cannons was postponed midway through the game on Friday night. Picture: SUPPLIED

Bucks to take on Bloods

Buckley Ridges has qualified for a thirdstraight Dandenong District Cricket Association (DDCA) Turf 1 grand final after ending Narre South’s fairytale run at home on Sunday.

The masters of the chase, Buckley successfully reeled in the Lions’ total of 302 in the 79th over on Sunday evening at Park Oval, with only two wickets to spare, setting up another showdown with Springvale South next weekend.

With a well-lubricated crowd swelling around Park Oval, it was down to tail-end pair Hussain Ali and Westley Nicholas to guide the home side to safety.

The pair added 32 for the final wicket and handled the pressure of Narre South’s three frontline bowlers brilliantly in the dying stages, with Nicholas clipping a four off his pads into the Buckley support area to seal the result.

They chased 303 after letting the Lions off the hook on day one, with Harsha De Silva hitting a brilliant hundred to rescue his side from trouble.

De Silva survived another Lions collapse in the middle order before steering his side to the ascendency late on Saturday as the Buckley Ridges bowlers tired in the sweltering heat.

After Kyle Hardy (46) and Riley McDonald (36) laid the foundations for a decent total in the opening session, three quick wickets on the stroke of the tea break saw Buckley claw its way into prime position.

In eerily similar scenes to the previous week, three wickets fell without the score moving in a horror handful of minutes that blew any advantage Narre South possessed.

McDonald, who the home side was convinced edged a hook shot into Troy Aust’s gloves the previous over, was snaffled with a sharp catch at slip by Cronin off Nicholas.

The next over saw Jeevan Mendis run out in a disastrous mix up with De Silva and then Alex Cruickshank lost his leg stump, seeing the Bucks head into the sheds to replenish with their tails well and truly up.

CallanTout was unable to repeat his batting heroics from the previous week, falling shortly after the interval to make it a collapse of 5/32, beginning with the dismissal of Hardy.

With De Silva occupying the other end, Brad Parker crunched a boundary-heavy 49, the two adding 74 for the seventh wicket before Parker was caught in the gully.

Sean Wilson fell shortly after for one, and at 8/199, the Lions looked as though they would be bowling late in the day.

But De Silva received sensational support from Jawed Hussaini, the two punishing the Buckley bowling attack as tempers flared and frustration bubbled late in the day.

Hussaini, who scored 58 total runs in the season prior to Saturday’s knock, hit 30 and was resolute in his defence while allowing De Silva to attack from the other end.

The longer the innings went, the lengthier the discussions between the Buckley leaders became, and the more De Silva pressed, one six penetrating the fences on the Pultney Street side and crashing into a roller door on the other side of the road.

He reached his hundred in the penultimate over before holing out on the next, caught on the boundary in pursuit of quick runs with one wicket remaining.

Narre South’s bowlers bowled tight, stumpto-stump lines for much of the second day and knew that anything slightly wide or off-line would be punished.

Hardy worked his bowlers with short spells, mindful of the heat, to maximise impact at the crease.

Hussaini made the initial breakthrough by removing Josh Holden for 32, but brought Ben Wright to the crease in doing so.

He and Jake Cronin added 103 for the second wicket, dulling the impact of Mendis and keeping the scoreboard ticking.

Wright was caught in the gully just before the tea break, having laid an excellent foundation with Cronin, as the opener closed in on a statement hundred.

Cronin picked up boundaries when needed and took the attack to Mendis where possible, reaching his 50 after advancing down the wicket and hitting him for six into the cricket nets, but hardly offered a chance to surrender his wicket in a brilliant innings.

He fell agonisingly short of the milestone,

bowled on 97 by Tout, and his departure set in motion a worrying period for the Bucks.

Jayson Hobbs came and went for a duck, Michael Davies only managed 11 and Ishan Jayarathna eight, as the rejigged middle order failed to reap rewards, and the run rate slowed to a crawl.

With each wicket Narre South clawed their way more and more into the contest, the belief building in the Lions huddle having proven themselves in big games in the back half of the season.

Roshane Silva withstood the chaos, the Sri Lankan Test cricketer not overawed by the occasion and the context as wickets fell at the other end.

His wicket, bowled by Cruickshank for 73 during a magnificent spell late in the day, was the big breakthrough the Lions so desperately craved, and at 8/273, having lost 6/91, the chances of an upset looked stronger than ever.

But Nicholas, a former Narre South junior, and the experienced Ali, were up to the task, showing batting capabilities belying their tailend status.

Like their teammates higher in the order, they played the aggressive boundary stroke where applicable and ran hard between the wickets, with each run vociferously cheered from the swelling Buckley supporter base.

The final boundary was ecstasy for the Bucks and heartbreak for their opponents, the heroic run reaching a shattering conclusion within touching distance of a Turf 1 grand final berth.

Cruickshank finished with 4/73 while Hussaini was the pick of the bowlers with 3/57.

The DDCA Turf 1 grand final will be played at Berwick’s Arch Brown Reserve on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 March, the same venue that saw Springvale South triumph 12 months ago to secure back-to-back premierships.

The Bloods will be well-rested, having earned the weekend off in the qualifying final against Buckley and escaping the taxing heat.

Should Springvale South prevail, they will become the first team in the history of the DDCA to win three consecutiveTurf 1 premierships.

Formet Mayor Memeti has grand plans for Dandy Derby

A new football stadium in Dandenong forms part of former Mayor of the City of Greater Dandenong Jim Memeti’s vision for an expanded Dandenong Derby in the National Premier League in the coming years.

Frank Holohan Soccer Complex will be packed to the rafters on Friday night as Dandenong City welcomes Dandenong Thunder for a Dandenong Derby for the first time since 2022.

In a city like Melbourne dominated by Australian Rules, Dandenong is undoubtedly one of Melbourne’s football hotspots, boasting more teams in the Football Federation of Victoria than any other municipality according to Memeti.

Having impressed former A-League great Besart Berisha with crowd numbers during a previous fixture, Memeti wants to see the occasion develop, in line with the passion for the game in the community.

“I remember a couple of years ago, (Besart) Berisha came to watch one of the Derby’s and he couldn’t believe it,” Memeti said.

“He told me ‘you get this many people at games? We only get 1000 at Western United games’.

“It definitely can grow, it can get to 4-5000 people.

“Hopefully in the not-to-distant future, we can build a stadium and hopefully the Derby can grow bigger, and they can play out of the big stadium in Dandenong.”

Up for grabs will not only be three points, but the Memeti Cup, named after Memeti himself.

Thunder has a stranglehold over City in the most recent contests, having not suffered

a defeat since the cup was created back in 2016.

Thunder has won six of the last 10 contests, with four ending in draws.

The last contest back in June 2022 finished 3-1 in Thunder’s favour.

Even in 2019, when City finished seventh


forced to stave-off a relegation threat, a second-half comeback saw Thunder snatched the points 4-3 at Frank Holohan, before holding City to a 1-1 draw in the season’s second fixture.

While unable to attend the fixture, Memeti is excited for the occasion, and bouyed

by City’s promising start to the new season.

“The NPL is not the same when Dandenong City is not in the league,” he said.

“I think it’s very good and very encouraging that (City) got promoted, and are doing well so far.”

Kick-off is at 7.45pm on Friday night.

22 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au
the table and the Thunder was
Dandenong Thunder and Dandenong City are set to go toe-to-toe again on Friday night for the Memeti Cup. 229862 Picture: GARY SISSONS Jake Cronin’s 97 gave Buckley Ridges an excellent platform to build their chase on Sunday. 369685 Picture: ROB CAREW

Coomoora celebrates flag

Coomoora laid a foundation and took the scoreboard out of the equation.

Berwick Springs, naturally more aggressive, took the game on and stuttered.

Ultimately, both teams had 81 runs on the board after 40 overs.

The difference?

The Roos got through the first session unscathed, enabling them to unleash an assault late on a hot day.

The Titans lost four wickets and never truly recovered.

Winning the toss and batting first in the DDCA Turf 3 decider aided Coomoora, but their margin of victory reflected the monopoly the team has had on the competition since Christmas.

An experienced squad peaked at the right time and, after perennially threatening, has finally taken the step back into Turf 2 cricket.

Rahoul Pankhania and Lance Baptist set the game up with patient knocks and excellent temperament at the crease knowing the firepower they had to come.

Baptist, limited somewhat in output by a hand injury, was dismissed for an atypically patient 37, playing his role perfectly alongside Pankhania who anchored the innings with 78, shifting tempo excellently in a player of the match performance.

Joel Robertson (60 not out off 77) and Dean Krelle (46 off 27) were the beneficiaries of the openers’ hard work.

Robertson ran hard and dropped the ball into gaps as theTitans tried to limit the damage, while Krelle went over the top, crunching four massive maximums in a morale-sapping finish to day one for Berwick Springs.

Having kept the run rate relatively contained despite struggling to pick up wickets, the Roos exploded with 85 off the last 10 to turn what

looked a 220-230 score into 5/269.

Berwick Springs’ batting innings never seriously threatened the total despite Archit Vora backing up his semi-final century with an unbeaten 54.

Riley Hillman was dismissed early, crunching one to backward square which summed up what awaited Berwick Springs.

Radomir Badzoka nicked off to first slip, Jackson Marie nicked off for 28 and Shalika Karunanayake had his stumps rattled.

Those three wickets came in a lethal and ultimately game-sealing six over period of the opening spell from Dean Krelle and Joel Robertson.

Much like the semi, albeit with fewer runs on the board, Vora and Braydon Hillman were left to pick up the pieces, and put on 51 together before the drift of Malan Madusanka brought him into the game.

After he got Hillman, it was a relative procession despite Vora ticking the scoreboard over at the other end.

Madusanka’s 19.5 overs yielded 4/32 including the winning wicket - a slower full ball driven straight to mid off.

The well-supported Roos were equal parts relieved and exuberant after a share of grand final heartbreak.

The appreciation for coach Nick Suppree

and captain Liam Hard who have complemented each other beautifully this year was palpable from all the flag winners and was another storyline that precipitated premiership glory.

Premiership XI: Rahoul Pankhania, Lance Baptist, Nick Suppree, Liam Hard, Joel Robertson, Dean Krelle, Charith Sylvester, Lalanka Dhanasekara Mudiyanselage, Michael Klonaridis, Nick Lloyd, Malan Madusanka. For full coverage on the game, including post-match interviews, pick up a copy of next week’s Dandenong Journal or this week’s Pakenham Gazette.

Brilliant Bulls go back-to-back to earn shot at Turf 1

Dandenong West has gone back-to-back.

In a strong advertisement for the quality of the Dandenong District Cricket Association Turf 2 competition and a gritty display of two-day cricket, the Bulls took the upper hand late on day one and never surrendered that ascendancy.

Parkfield pair Riley Payne and Travis D’Souza were in control at 2/157 after Nathaniel Cramer (41) set a strong foundation, before D’Souza lobbed one to square leg on 40, sparking a collapse of 8/50.

After initially biding their time against him, the Bandits’ middle and lower-order went hard several times to Malinga Bandara, but repeatedly holed out as he finished with 5/79 to back up his five wickets in the semifinal.

The catalogue of quick wickets were a product of Parkfield looking to clear the ropes, after it was Payne’s patience which set the game up - he hit just five boundaries in an innings of 64.

Chasing 208 to win, every partnership did just enough for Dandenong West to remain ahead in the game.

Shaun Weir played an unusually patient knock, top-scoring with 55 off 127 as he was challenged by Parkfield’s tight lines.

Cramping resulted in the opener retiring at tea, which saw youngster Bailey Howarth join skipper Anthony Brannan at the crease at a crucial juncture in the match as both batters looked to establish themselves.

After absorbing early pressure, Howarth played free flowing cricket, sapping the energy and momentum of the Bandits to keep his team on top with a deceptively crucial 33 before hitting one to extra cover.

Vice captain Riley Siwes was the calm head at the crease for the remainder of the game, ultimately not winning it until the 78th over but never letting the scoreboard seriously threaten a Bulls lineup with five left in the shed when they passed the total.

Bandara killed the tension that slowly built up as the target drew nearer with a cracking

drive over mid off.

Siwes played a similar shot off Jeffrey the following over to level the scores, and two balls later won the grand final for his side with a cut through backward point.

After a season that stuttered and was occasionally reliant on too few, it was fitting that Dandenong West’s depth and team balance won it the grand final against a side renowned

for just that.

Five members of the top six made at least 27, while four bowlers took wickets on a special weekend which represents a big step for an aspirational, respected and strong cricket club. The premiership is a testament to DandenongWest’s strong off-field presence, led by president Peter Lindsay, and well supported by Greg Siwes, Maree Parnell and others.

Premiership XI: Nathan Power, ShaunWeir, Venuk Hemachandra, Anthony Brannan, Bailey Howarth, Riley Siwes, Nuwan Kulasekara, Malinga Bandara, Matt Collett, Adam Reid, Peter Atkinson

For full coverage on the game, including post-match interviews, pick up a copy of next week’s Dandenong Journal or this week’s Pakenham Gazette.

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 23
The premiers celebrate the flag.
Picture: ROB CAREW Coomoora hoist the flag. 393915 Picture: ROB CAREW
24 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au 12675775-FC11-24
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