Dandenong Star Journal - 26th March 2024

Page 1


Answers blowing in the wind

Year 5 student Isaac displays his impressive windmill duringWooranna Park Primary School’s STEM festival on Wednesday 20 March.

Students showcased skills from their STEM specialist classes, such as rockets, catapults, stop-motion animation and robots.

Danh’s the man

A fresh member to the team of councillors at the City of Greater Dandenong was officially declared on Tuesday 19 March.

Phillip Danh the successful candidate, ALP member and law student in his last year feels humbled over winning the race for the Yarraman Ward seat.

“My volunteers worked very hard and to

have the result to come out in my favour is extremely rewarding.

“I’m very grateful to the residents for putting their trust in me and particularly I want to thank everyone I spoke to at the doors for engaging with me despite the disagreements, including those who didn’t vote for me because ultimately that’s what democracy is all about.”

While he gets to know Council’s executive team, he’s eager to start cracking on his cam-

paign promises including his opposition to privatising council’s home and aged care services.

“Some of the councillors have been on council for a long time but I’m sure their experience can be valuable but just needs to be translated into action that can help the local community.”

The topic has caught the community’s attention as Cr Danh said he’s taken calls from the residents even after voting had closed.

“Having that voice and perspective is crucial

because it’s a vital service for people in the area.

“The cost of privatisation will go through the roof and we need to make sure it remains accessible for as many people as we can.”

The next couple of weeks are vital for him to establish relationships with council representatives. But time is tight as he has a little over two months to gear conversations on the privatisation topic.

Continued page 4

40¢ Inc. GST DANDENONG /DandenongJournal @StarJournal_SE dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 26 March, 2024
history for sale
in for charity
PAGE 3 Protest
fighter jets Doveton
premiers wrap 12678755-HC14-24
22-23 DDCA

Singing in true harmony

Students and aged care residents and staff adorned many varieties of cultural clothing for a Harmony Day concert at Mercy Place home in Dandenong.

Residents and staff represented nine different nations for the morning tea, cultural fashion parade, songs and dance.

“Today is a special day to recognise our unique backgrounds,” Mercy Place resident Fr Aidrian Robson said.

“Having the younger generations of the Dandenong community here is so important in keeping the history and culture of our community alive.”

About 30 students from St Mary’s Primary performed songs such as God’s Beautiful Rainbow as well as Ubuntu.

Residents and staff joined the visitors for a group rendition ofWe Are theWorld, I’d Like to Teach theWorld to Sing, and Advance Australia Fair.

Mercy Place lifestyle coordinator Maria Galvante said the celebration recognised the diversity of Greater Dandenong – one of the must culturally diverse council-areas in Australia..

“Today is about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging.”

The home’s service manager Elizabeth Adepoju said: “For staff and residents and to have the local school students come together with our residents was a beautiful way to celebrate Harmony Day.”


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Offender facing 46 charges

An alleged hit-run driver who crashed into a parked car in Springvale while dropping burnoutsisfacingalmost50chargesincluding multiple burglaries.

Police say the 26-year-old Mulgrave man crashed on Hope Street on 31 August 2023 and fled on foot.

He allegedly made a false report to police that the vehicle was stolen at the time.

Dandenong Achilles Taskforce detectives arrested the man on Lonsdale Street, Melbourne about 10.30am on Wednesday 20 March.

He was charged with nine offences relating to 31 August, including:

· Perjury · Making a false report to police

· Failing to give information as to the driver

· Driving a vehicle causing loss of traction

· Failing to exchange his name and address after a collision

· Failing to report to police after a collision

· Failing to render assistance after a collision.

The man allegedly made an earlier report that the vehicle was stolen on 11 August.

Achilles investigators say they linked the vehicleandthemantoaseriesofallegedcommercialburglariesandtheftsacrosssouth-east Melbourne in the early hours of 10 August 2023.

TheyoccurredatshoppingcentresonHigh Street, Cranbourne and Police Road, Mulgrave, as well as a service station on Hall Road, Carrum Downs, police say.

The man was charged with an additional 37 offences.The man appeared at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court onThursday 21 March. He was further remanded to reappear in the same court on 9 April.

2 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au
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
St Mary’s Primary students sing to residents and staff. 396337 Pictures: GARY SISSONS Alexander and Drake Nguyen from St. Mary’s Primary School. 396337 Pictures: GARY SISSONS Staff members Maria Galvante , Lindy Aranas , Irene Weekes and Charthusse Lasco. 396337 Florian Jansen, Maxwell Kerr, Lucas Pino Valle from St Mary’s Primary School. 396337 Mercy Place residents Eileen Boylan and Fr. Aidrian Robson. 396337 Mercy Place service manager Elizabeth Adepoju speaking at the start of the fashion parade and concert. 396337


A small piece from the history of the Doveton community may be lost unless the City of Casey intervenes, says a concerned residents group.

One of the area’s few heritage-listed properties, at 24 Doveton Avenue in Eumemmerring, is up for sale for a maximum $850,000.

The spacious 960m vintage Captain Doveton house is named after Captain John and Margaret Doveton who bought the house in 1894, lived almost a decade before the house was sold on August 1903.

Despite their short stay in the town, in 1954 the area was named after Captain John Doveton.

The Doveton Eumemmerring Township Association (DETA) has written to the council to acquire the property to save it from private hands and maintain the house as part of the area’s history.

“The property holds immense significance for our community, embodying our history and story of our suburb’s creation,” chairperson Stefan Koomen said in his letter.

“However, with the property now on the market, there is a genuine risk that this invaluable piece of our history may stay in private hands, and lead to continued neglect or degradation of its character and periodic features.”

The group remain hopeful of the outcome of their letter as they wait anxiously for a response however City of Casey Manager Planning and Building Tania Asper has told Star Journal that the council has no intention to acquire the property.

“Doveton Height is a rare example of a surviving Victorian house in this urbanised and industrialised area, which demonstrates an early period of settlement and development — it is one of just two early houses remaining in Doveton Avenue.

“The property located at 24 Doveton Av-

enue in Eumemmerring (Doveton Height) is currently protected by a Heritage Overlay in the Casey Planning Scheme. Council has no plan to acquire the property.

“The current Casey Planning Scheme includes Clause 15.03 Heritage, Clause 21.07 Built Environment and Clause 43.01 Heritage Overlay.

“These controls recognise the heritage significanceoftheproperty,ensuresthatthebuilding cannot be demolished without permission and discourages any inappropriate demolition and/or development to occur on the land.”

However, the DETA group doesn’t see any reason why the council have decided against the purchase.

“The house is heritage listed by the council, so they have recognised it but it’s just a matter of whether the council can own and gain

control over it.

“I can’t see why they couldn’t do it,” Mr Koomen said.

“They have lots of other properties, like in Berwick, that are heritage sites.”

According to him, residents around Doveton share the same view.

If the council aquires the house, it could use it for an array of purposes as long as the heritage building is“retained and maintained”, DETA argues.

“DETA understands that the purchase of such a property entails financial considerations,” Mr Koomen says.

“However, we believe that the benefits far outweigh the costs. The property could be rented out for residential, business or community use in the short term, serving as both an investment while retained for the community.”

Currently, the group are concerned about the deterioration of the building and have urged the council to prioritise the purchase as an “opportunity that cannot afford to wait”.

“It’s starting to become run down because it’s in private hands.

“If not purchased now, our concern is it will be beyond repair and be lost to the community.”

Captain Doveton died at the age of 61 on 7 April 1904 of throat and liver cancer. At that time he lived at his Oakleigh house and didn’t have any children.

He was buried at the Oakleigh Cemetery.

Meanwhile his wife, who was also his first cousin, moved to Malvern East and Mordialloc. She passed away on December 1941 at an approximate age of 97 years and was buried at St Kilda Cemetery.

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Stefan Koomen outside the heritage-listed Captain Doveton house, also known as Doveton Height. 396485 Picture: GARY SISSONS

Danh wins the seat

ALP member and favourite Phillip Danh has become Greater Dandenong’s newest councillor after a narrow win in the Yarraman Ward by-election.

After preferences, Danh (2654 votes) took out the postal ballot by 107 votes from former councillor Peter Brown (2547).

A law student from Noble Park, Danh has served as a former electorate officer of Bruce MP Julian Hill and also the late Dunkley MP Peta Murphy.

He’d previously run for Greater Dandenong Council in 2020, finishing a close second to Cr Tim Dark in Keysborough Ward.

During this month’s by-election, he campaigned strongly against privatising Greater Dandenong Council aged and home care services while also calling for greater youth engagement.

Greater Dandenong is publicly yet to decide whether to continue in-house support for residents over 65 or with disabilities.

No changes are expected to be decided before June, and not without a council resolution.

Danh led the 13-candidate Yarraman field comfortably on first preferences with 1189 votes (23 per cent) ahead of Brown (888 votes, 17 per cent) and ALP running mate Alexandra Bryant (499 votes, 10 per cent).

Other high-profile Labor members Zahra Haydar Big (306 votes), Thay-Horn Yim (ninth, 258 votes) and Sam Afra (last, 133 votes) were outside the top six.

The full run-down of first preferences were:

Danh 1189, Brown 888, Bryant 499, Melinda Yim 389, Rahima Rizai 363, Robert Lim (Greens) 332, Haydar Big (ALP) 306, Will Billings 290, Thay-Horn Yim 258, Susantha Abeysinghe 204, Ahmed Shukri 181, Tevyn Gov

169 and Afra 133.

Preference flows favoured Brown, a former Labor member now running as an independent, and top-of-the-ballot Rizai who finished third.

Aged care on the agenda

From page 1

“I look forward to speaking with councillors to try and clarify what can happen between now and June and what other pathways are open in saving the system,” he said.

According to the Australian Union Services, 26 of 79 Victorian councils offer inhouse aged care and home services.

Many councils have opted out of the home aged care service as a result of the reforms in the sector by the government.

The Commonwealth Health Support Program (CHSP) and Home Care Package are merged into Support at Home Program set to commence by July 2027 after it was extended from 2025.

This also changed the funding model from a set amount of funds given to councils to a consumer-direct model where funds are based on individual needs and given directly to the clients rather than service providers.

Many councils such as the neighbouring City of Casey have already outsourced its inhome services and family day care services in 2022 as reported previously by Star Journal in November 2023.

As a result, 168 aged and disability care staff were made redundant.

Council is yet to decide on their stance. The issue was set to be raised in a report at Cr Danh’s first council meeting on 25 March.

The candidates finished in the following order after preferences:

Danh, Brown, Rizai, Melinda Yim, Bryant, Lim, Haydar Big, Billings, Thay-Horn Yim, Abeysinghe, Shukri, Gov and Afra.

Mercy after ‘unfortunate’ mauling

A judge has questioned how a “clearly psychotic” woman who ordered her dog to attack a police officer in Dandenong North was remanded in custody for nine months.

Victorian County Court judge Duncan Allen noted the now-33-year-old woman “did not know what you were doing” during the “most unfortunate” incident in which the dog mauled the officer and was shot dead.

“On that day you were clearly in a psychotic state and suffering severe mental illness, delusions and paranoia.”

Upon arrest, the accused was remanded mainly in a jail’s psychiatric unit while treated for psychosis and schizophrenic symptoms.

A psychiatrist later reported to the court the woman had acted out of using ice and not taking her medication – rather than any underlying “criminogenic belief system”.

“One wonders what our criminal justice system is doing when people like you who are clearly psychotic when offending are remanded in jail,” Allen said in sentencing on 22 March.

The woman pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury to an emergency officer as well


Three in alleged stolen van arrested Three men were arrested after an alleged evasion of police in Dandenong.

Dandenong police officers say they spotted a motorbike travelling at speeds of up to 200km/h on the Monash Freeway about 1.30am on Tuesday 19 March.

With an Air Wing above, the rider went to a nearby shopping centre and put the bike into an allegedly stolen white van.

The driver of the van drove on before being brought to a halt by police stop sticks on Corrigan Road in Noble Park.

Police say the driver and his two passengers dumped the van and fled on foot.

With the assistance of the K9 unit, the trio were arrested a short time later on Simpson Street.

Police also seized drugs, cash, ammunition, stolen ID’s and other stolen property.

A 28-year-old Springvale man, a 24-year-old Noble Park man and a 27-year-old Narre Warren man were taken in for police questioning.

Any information to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or crimestoppersvic.com.au

214km/h driver charged

A Longwarry man has been charged and his car impounded after he was caught allegedly driving over twice the speed limit in Dandenong South.

Cardinia Highway Patrol officers initially detected the Holden Commodore travelling at an alleged speed of 142km/h in a 100km/h section of the Monash Freeway just before 4am on Tuesday 19 March.

As officers followed the vehicle, the Commodore allegedly increased its speed to 214km/h.

The vehicle was intercepted shortly after stopping at a red light on Pound Road, police say.

The 30-year-old driver was charged with reckless conduct endangering serious injury, driving in a manner dangerous and two counts of speeding.

He will appear at the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 30 April.

The Commodore was impounded for 30 days at a cost of $1038.

Driver stung

A Noble Park man has been caught driving at more than three times above the blood-alcohol limit in a road police blitz on Eastlink.

The 27 year old who recorded a reading of 0.168 was among 15 drink drivers caught during Operation Chorus II on 1516 March at Scoresby.

His licence was cancelled on the spot, his car impounded and he was summonsed to face court at a later date.

A 44-year-old Carrum Downs man tested positive for meth. He was fined $577 and his licence cancelled for six months.

Police also impounded four vehicles, and detected five drivers who were either unlicenced, disqualified or suspended.

More than 2500 preliminary breath tests were recorded during the operation.

as assault charges, contravening an intervention order, resisting arrest and theft of police OC spray.

Police were called to a home in late 2021 after the accused had allegedly throttled, slapped her mother in the face and slammed her head into the ground.

A pair of police officers arrived and told the woman she was under arrest and prepared to handcuff her.

The woman allegedly thrashed her arms and legs and yelled: “Hunter! Hunter! Get him, get him!”

Hunter – a mixed American Staffordshire Terrier - clenched its jaw just above an officer’s ankle and the officer fell to ground, an agreed prosecution summary stated.

Hunter didn’t let go as the officer tried to punch the dog and his colleague deployed OC spray in vain.

In agony, the mauled officer begged for help, and his partner shot the dog.

The accused, who grabbed and brandished an officer’s OC cannister, escaped over a neighbouring fence. She was arrested and deemed unfit for police interview at the time.

The police officer required surgery for his seriously injured ankle.

Allen praised the woman’s subsequent “exemplary” performance while under intensive support, counselling and treatment under CISP bail.

During that time, she “hardly put a foot wrong” as she tackled her long-term mental illness, substance abuse and PTSD, the judge said.

“You’ve done everything that could be done to show your commitment to your ongoing rehabilitation. You’ve come a long way.”

Her compulsory treatment order was downgraded to voluntary status. She’d also successfully applied for NDIS support.

The woman thanked Allen – who had released her on CISP - for being the “first one” to give her hope.

Judge Allen noted she pleaded guilty despite having a “strong” possible defence to the charges. Instead she chose to take responsibility.

He jailed her for 277 days – the time already served in remand – and placed her on a twoyear good behaviour bond with judicial monitoring.

Given the “extenuating” and “exceptional” circumstances, the court was justified to show mercy, Allan said.

“When you look at the road trauma across the state, we continue to be alarmed at the number of drivers who continue to be caught breaking road rules - in particular, those caught driving impaired,” Inspector Jarrad Dowswell, of Eastern Region Road Policing, said.

“Miscalculation of alcohol consumption is one of the most common reasons given to police when drivers are caught over the limit – suggesting that many people are prepared to risk having a few drinks before getting behind the wheel.”

First time offenders who are fully licenced and aged 26 years or older caught with a blood alcohol limit between .05 and .07 receive a $577 fine and immediate three-month licence suspension.

The penalties increase substantially for those under 26 years of age, those required to have a zero blood or breath alcohol level, those caught for second or subsequent drink driving offences, and those caught over .07 or above.

Punishments include larger fines, longer licence suspensions, alcohol interlocks, attendance at court as well as jail time for the most serious offences


4 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 26 March, 2024
Greater Dandenong Council CEO with the new councillor Phillip Danh after the declaration of results in the Yarraman Ward by-election. 396868 Picture: SAHAR FOLADI Phillip Danh has won the Yarraman Ward by-election, edging out former councillor Peter Brown. 388124 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS



Emad Farag, 64, of Patterson Lakes, and his company E & M Farag Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty to three related safety charges.

They were the owners of the City Edge hotel at 229 Thomas Street - a former four-storey building, which was extended to eight floors, including ground-level shops, first-storey offices and six floors of accommodation.

On 18 March, magistrate Jason Ong noted that completing maintenance records as well as a signed annual ESM report were conditions of an occupancy permit issued in August 2017.

Yet, Farag failed to provide them on inspection 19 months later in March 2019.

Greater Dandenong Council issued him a building order to comply by April that year but again Farag failed to comply on a further inspection in October.

Farag didn’t obtain compliance until June 2022 – a delay described by Ong as “excessive”.

Ong noted that the builder of more than 30 years’ experience and 300 residential or commercial projects in Australia ought to have known about the requirements.

Farag had “great responsibilities” to ensure residents and workers in the building were safe, Ong said.

His failures meant that Greater Dandenong Council had a lack of “visibility” on the occupants’ safety.

Farag’s prior criminal record was “not unblemished”, with fines and good-behaviour bonds from six prior court matters in Greater Dandenong between 2010-‘17, Ong noted.

Ong said two prior convictions for failing to comply with building orders were the “most concerning”.

This included being fined $8000 for failing to obey an emergency order to backfill an unsupported six-metre-deep excavation near adjoining fencelines in David Street Dandenong in 2011.

Farag didn’t comply until four months later.

In 2017, he was also fined $2000 for not complying with a building order to demolish

an unauthorized mezzanine office conversion in a warehouse in Dandenong South.

His company, of which he was sole director, had one prior court matter.

In this matter, Farag had argued against any further convictions, citing his now retirement as well as being hindered from complying by Covid lockdowns and the death of his father.

The grandfather’s guilty plea – albeit at a late stage –and his community references were taken into account.

Ong however found there was a need to “send a message” that “this offending behaviour can’t be tolerated”.

Farag and his company were each convicted and fined $7500. He was ordered to pay the council’s legal costs of $40,000.

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repeat offender has been convicted and fined for failing to comply with building orders and to provide reports on essential safety measures
(ESMs) for at least three
The City Edge building at 229 Thomas Street Dandenong. 269928
Picture: ROB CAREW

Protestors target Dandenong factory

A group of pro-Palestine protesters gathered in front of a Dandenong South manufacturing company demanding an end to an alleged production supply to Israel.

Organised by the Weapons out of Naarm group, more than 100 people including children and families protested at AW Bell on Monday 18 March.

They picked AW Bell for its role in the Lockheed Martin F-35 joint fighter program. The company however, denies it’s supplying Israel.

Amanda from Free Palestine Dandenong who’s also organised multiple protests in City of Greater Dandenong, said the protest was excellent.

“In line with the whole movement everyone wants to see this contract terminated.”

According to her, 12 police officers attended the protest to observe public safety.

“The police blocked off an entire lane on Abbotts Road which caused traffic delays and according to the group it was excessive and unneeded.”

An AW Bell spokesperson called the peaceful protest as a “democratic right of any person”.

“AW Bell employs over 150 locals, manufacturing high-quality components and finished goods to customers spanning the medical, road and rail, agriculture, aerospace defence and space industries – both locally and abroad.

“End use of the products manufactured at our facility is not determined or influenced by AW Bell.“

AW Bell supplies parts for Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets.

“AW Bell has been a provider of componentry for the Joint Strike Fighter program, which commenced in 2001 and involves over a dozen nations.

“AW Bell is not a supplier to Israel.”

Pro-Palestinian activists say companies manufacturing F-35 parts are the “sole producers for every F-35 in the world”.

They are calling for the Australian Government to place sanctions against Israel and terminate contracts that would help them supply parts or weapons to Israel.

Greater Dandenong councillor Rhonda Garad fully supports the protest “that raises awareness about how we contribute to the slaughter of innocent lives”.

Cr Garad criticised Labor’s use of the terminology “weapon” in its persistent denial of the supply of weapons to Israel.

“Technically it’s true we’re not directly supplying weapons but we are a crucial part of the supply chain, particularly for the F-35.

“All of the supply chains to Israel are known in Australia and we have three here in Dandenong.”

Dandenong state MP Gabrielle Williams said neither Cr Garad nor she has any jurisdiction or influence over Australia’s foreign policy.

“I also expressed to Ms Garad that I shared her deep concern and horror at the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, in particular I am heartsick over the death of innocent children. “Like Ms Garad, I want to see a lasting ceasefire and I want to see the provision of aid to those in need.

“Those are matters for the Commonwealth Government.

“As local and state representatives though, we do have a responsibility to pro-

mote social cohesion and harmony within our local communities, and to use the levers we do hold to provide meaningful support.”

Ms Williams says the commercial matters of private businesses aren’t under the control of the State Government.

Instead she has met with local mosque representatives and worked with local community leaders to provide tangible support “at a very challenging time.”

Meanwhile, the Free Palestine Dandenong has organised an Iftar and prayer event for Gaza on Wednesday 3 April at the Balkans Corner in Dandenong.

Casey lab driving road safety

Smart technology in Casey is set to drive ground-breaking research into road safety and waste reduction.

City of Casey has launched its Future Mobility Living Lab (FMLL) which will trial smart mobility technologies to get insight into road safety and schools.

The FMLL will respond to parents’ concerns about student road safety in trips to and from Narre Warren South P-12 as well as during drop-off and pickup times.

By installing sensors, data will be collected and analysed by Federation University and Swinburne University research teams.

Their recommendations will help inform the school and Casey to improve safety in the local school zone.

The lab will also focus on reducing waste and emissions, and building streets and transport infrastructure with a lower environmental impact.

Leading research organisation National Transport Research Organisation (NTRO) will also collaborate with the FMLL.

NRTO’s work includes researching construction materials that incorporate recycled waste that would otherwise go to landfill.

City of Casey chair of administrators Noelene Duff said the FMLL project aligned with goals of protecting residents and a sustainable environment.

“The Future Mobility Living Lab will take great strides towards creating a space where everyone can feel secure and our city can thrive sustainably as we shape the future of mobility in Casey.

“Through Living Lab projects, council can test and implement new ideas and technologies, developed with the active participation of the community, with the intent to deliver better outcomes for our community.”

Alarming 26 per cent rise in kids crime, statistics reveal

Children as young as 10 breaking into homes to steal cars for joy-riding are of the greatest concern, police say.

Official crime stats showed there were 607 offenders aged 10-17 in Greater Dandenong last year – up 26 per cent from 2022 and at its second-highest level in eight years.

In contrast, 18-24 year olds were down by 15 per cent in 2023 – the lowest number in a decade.

Car thefts were up 32 per cent and residential aggravated burglaries up 50 per cent in Greater Dandenong.

Overall in Greater Dandenong, recorded offences were up 10 per cent in the 2023 calendar year – with Springvale (up 24 per cent) and Keysborough (up 30 per cent) spiking largest.

Tradies tools and registration plates were

common targets in thefts from cars (up 27 per cent in Greater Dandenong).

Meanwhile, many first-time shoplifters were stealing liquor, groceries and clothing in a 69 per cent rise in thefts from retail stores.

This was linked to cost of living and inflation pressures, according to police. Forty per cent were first-time offenders.

The ‘other theft’ category which includes targets like petrol and mobile phones was also up 18 per cent. Bike thefts were also up 23 per cent.

Meanwhile, drunk and disorderly was down 57 per cent as well as begging offences (down 72 per cent).

Speaking on the statewide crime trends on 21 March, Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson said “much of the child and youth offending we’re seeing is mindless and driven by the pursuit of notoriety or social media likes”.

Police requests for social-media companies to remove such posts were often rebuffed, he said.

“When cars are stolen by children their driving is particularly poor. That’s not surprising because they have very little experience on the road.”

The offenders would steal car keys inside homes and then take off with the vehicles in what he said was a “new method of operation”.

“When interviewed, offenders are telling us they will walk up and down a street until they find a door or window that is unlocked.”

“Young people know the technology around cars. It’s harder to steal a car than it has been.

“The only way is to steal the keys.

“We’re calling on everyone to lock their doors, lock their cars. This will make a big impact on those types of crime.”

During Operation Trinity, there have been more than 1400 arrests relating to burglaries and car thefts by young people.

It was Victoria Police’s most heavily resourced operation including frontline officers, Dog Squad, Air Wing and Highway Patrol units in action every night.

“These operations have led to over 5,000 combined arrests over the past year, with Operation Trinity alone leading to the arrest of almost four burglars and car thieves every day – the vast majority children.

“Most kids in this state are law-abiding citizens… we’re talking of a much smaller cohort that are quite concerning.”

Dep Comm Paterson said police were cautioning new offenders more than ever to try to keep them out of the justice system.

A “whole-of-society fix” was required.

6 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 26 March, 2024
More than 100 protesters outside AW Bell manufacturing company in Dandenong South. 395705 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS Protestors with placards outside the Dandenong South manufacturer. 395705

You can keep fighting fatigue, until you can’t.

Working 17 continuous hours causes impairment equivalent to .05 blood alcohol concentration level.

Working long, multiple days in a row by yourself can be part of the job but consider the cost to you and your family.

Check in with yourself and others around you.

Know the signs of fatigue, visit worksafe.vic.gov.au/farmfatigue

It’s never you, until it is.

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 7
for farm safety support.

Jail term for glass attack

A Casey man has been jailed over an “extremely dangerous” glassing that cut a pub-goer’s throat and jugular vein.

Clint William Bellingham, 33, pleaded guilty at the Victorian County Court to recklessly causing serious injury over the incident at The Deck bar in Frankston in February 2023.

Attending his brother’s buck’s night, Bellingham acted out of “drug and alcohol fueled aggression”, sentencing judge Peter Lauritsen said on 19 March.

Earlier, he had got drunk in the afternoon, followed by cocaine cut with meth as well as about 15-20mL of GHB.

The victim, who was at the bar to celebrate his wife’s 30th birthday, got in a verbal dispute with some of Bellingham’s friends.

Soon afterwards, Bellingham approached with a beer glass.

A friend tried to restrain him but Bellingham shouted “you f***ing rat” and thrust the glass into the victim’s throat.

The glass broke, causing “horrific” and profuse bleeding from the victim’s lacerated left facial artery and right jugular vein.

It was an “extremely dangerous area” to strike, Lauritsen said.

A security guard wrapped towels around his neck and an ambulance was called.

The victim began to feel tired and wanted to go to sleep.

The father of now two children thought that he was going to die, Lauritsen noted.

Without surgery and multiple blood transfu-

sions, the victim was likely to have succumbed, an expert told the court.

The victim has been scarred on his neck and jaw, with nerve damage preventing him from fully bringing his lips together.

He stated that he could no longer speak, sleep and eat comfortably and his social life is impaired.

An hour after the attack, Bellingham went to Casey Hospital emergency department to treat the glass injury to his right hand.

He was arrested at his home eight days later – having been using meth for the past

nine days.

Bellingham claimed to police at Narre Warren police station that the victim punched him and so he acted in self-defence.

“I definitely regret it, it’s nothing I am proud about,” Bellingham told police.

“I’m sorry for the bloke, I feel sorry for myself.”

Bellingham didn’t pursue the self-defence argument at court.

The father of four had been previously found guilty of 213 charges in 18 court matters including 13 acts of violence – including four times for

Treasurer unswayed by SEMMA plea

A South East manufacturers peak body has called for a Parliamentary inquiry as its campaign against steepling land taxes and valuations failed to move the state’s treasurer.

HoniWalker, who is chief executive of South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance (SEMMA), said that at a sought-after meeting with Treasurer Tim Pallas, he “basically ignored our request for a freeze (on land tax rises) for manufacturers and passed us to the Valuer General Victoria (VGV).”

The alliance were then “irate” with the response from VGV which reportedly said: “If you don’t like the valuation – then object”.

The land tax rises were introduced as part of the State Government’s ‘temporary’ Covid Debt Repayment Plan.

SEMMA, backed by an emphatic survey of manufacturers, is calling on a cap on the hikes which are “gouging” manufacturers to cover

the Government’s “Covid debt burden”.

A Hallam firm’s land tax bill soared more than $119,000 in the past year – tripling from $58,575 to $177,400.

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

“Our members are hurting,” Walker said.

“These increases have been felt across our entire membership base and the effects will be felt at the consumer level when we are forced to increase our prices to cover these tax hikes.

“If you thought the cost of living was high now – just wait until manufacturers and the supply chain pass on their land tax increases. It just doesn’t pass the pub test.”

SEMMA argues that manufacturers should be exempt from land tax rises due to providing an “essential service” and putting “our sovereign capability” at risk.

reckless conduct causing serious injury. He’d been jailed 11 times previously – the longest stint being 12 months.

Born and raised in Dandenong, Bellingham was a “product of your earlier life which was appalling but you seem incapable of change”, Lauritsen said.

His upbringing was said to be linked to his later drug abuse, his psychological state and his disproportionate response to perceived threats.

He was diagnosed with major depressive, panic and complex post-traumatic-stress disorders.

On the night of the glassing, he’d broken a two-year abstinence on a drug-and-alcoholtreatment court order.

The DTO was successfully completed three months beforehand.

“The order had so little lasting effect that you used methamphetamine consistently over a nine-day period before you were arrested as well as alcohol and drugs on the day of the offence,” the judge said.

Lauritsen rated a “genuinely remorseful” Bellingham’s rehabilitation prospects as “poor” and “not uncertain”.

Six previous community corrections orders including drug treatment were “all apparently to little avail”.

Bellingham was jailed for up to three years and nine months, with a two-and-a-half-year non-parole period. It was his longest ever sentence.

His term includes 400 days of pre-sentence detention.

Beware the ‘idles’ of March

Students at St Anthony’s Primary School are keeping their eyes on the prize as part of this month’s ‘Get Active, Get Moving in March’ challenge.

During the month, the school House Captains have been encouraging the students to walk around the oval for at least 10 minutes every day.

For each lap, the student gets one stick. By the end of March, the student with the most sticks will win a prize.

The Greater Dandenong Council initiative is aimed at getting children on the move.

“By walking, cycling or scooting to school you help get your body and brain moving for the day ahead,” mayor Lana Formoso said.

“Physical activity is not just good for the body, but it also supports concentration in the classroom and improved learning outcomes.

“This campaign was created by school students through our Children’s Advisory Committee and it is wonderful to see schools signing up to join in.”

Meanwhile SEMMA was hopeful that its call for a Parliamentary inquiry will be heeded.

Walker said the land valuations were a result of VGV’s contracted valuers who use a “complex calculation” with a 10 per cent statistical variation.

“Suffice to say, you need an economics degree and a degree in land valuation to work out these increases.”

The Government argues that the land tax scale remains “progressive” – in that smaller property owners pay proportionately less than those with larger landholdings.

A spokesperson said the Treasurer met with SEMMA and “will continue to engage with industry”.

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

The most active schools are in the running for trophys, a ‘bounce’ voucher and sport equipment.

The winning student will get a scooter.

8 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au
SEMMA chief executive Honi Walker has stepped up the campaign against land tax hikes on manufacturers.
Picture: CON CHRONIS/AAP St Anthony’s students Zarce 5, Aayansh 5, Aanika 8, Evelyn 9, and Levi, 9 with guardians Angelica, Gita, Bindhu and Luisa for a lap of the oval. 395855 Picture: LJUBICA VRANKOVIC

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 in Melbourne’s south east. We’re also removing dangerous and congested level crossings and building the Metro Tunnel.

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 exit 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 eight new intersections so far as part of the Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road Upgrade

Train disruptions: Buses replace trains in both directions

Cranbourne and Pakenham lines


Road disruptions: Closed roads, lanes and ramps



dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 9 Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne Check before you travel at bigbuild.vic.gov.au
14 AprilCaulfield to Westall
Freeway, Berwick 6pm to 7am, until early April Lanes closed at Clyde Road in both directions
Warren-Cranbourne Road, Cranbourne East Until mid-2024 Closed between Berwick-Cranbourne Road and New Holland Drive
Road, Cranbourne East Until mid-2024Closed at Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road, Pakenham South 7pm to 6am, 24 to 27 March Closed between Southeast Boulevard and Ballarto Road Clyde Road, Berwick 8pm to 6am, 26 March to late April Closed northbound between Kangan Drive and Enterprise Avenue Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road Service Road, Cranbourne 26 March to late MayClosed between Clarendon and Marklin streets Healesville Koo-Wee Rup Road, Pakenham 8pm to 5am each night, 7 to 19 April Closed between Princes Freeway and Peet Street Princes Freeway, Pakenham 8pm to 5am each night, 7 to 19 April Gippsland-bound entry and exit ramps closed at Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road Ballarto Road, Pakenham South 7am to 6pm, 8 to 13 AprilWestbound lane closed on eastern side of Healesville Koo Wee Rup Road
Road, Beaconsfield 8pm, 9 April to late AprilClosed at the level crossing

Welcome to the theatre

Visitors at The Drum theatre are now greeted with a spectacular display of Welcome Flags.

Four local Bunurong and Aboriginal artists have uniquely conveyed a ‘welcome’ message in each of the banners outside the theatre, which were unveilled on Thursday 21 March.

Uncle Mark Brown, Kylie Armstrong, Adam Magennis and Lakeisha Clayton are the commissioned artists for the Wominjeka project.

Wominjeka means ‘Welcome’ in languages of the Boonwurrung Bunurong peoples and Woi Wurrung Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation.

Armstrong, who descends from the Arrente people in the Central Desert, says she uses art and deep listening to “heal, learn, trust, love and connect with my culture on a deeper level”.

Her flag artwork Art and Sound features clapsticks as a means of community coming together and connecting in a shared experience.

Modern-day theatre was an important accessible place to enable more people to share and experience Aboriginal culture from across

Australia, Armstrong said.

Living on the Mornington Peninsula, she creates contemporary paintings based on her personal journal and connection to Nature.

Meanwhile, Magennis – a Bunurong visual artist for 30-plus years – regularly creates public art murals and sculptures.

His design was about the Barraemal (emu) ceremonial dance and Barraemal footprints across Bunurong Biik (Country).

It features the unique colours of Magennis’s self-created Kaptify art style.

The style dating back to the early 1990s is influenced by surrealist Salvador Dali, contemporary landscape art, geology and ecology as well as archaeology, anthropology, graffiti style, caricature illustration and cultural symbols.

Based in Shoreham, Magennis is director of Kaptify Art Services and Victorian Indigenous Business.

The four flags will be displayed each day, as well as taken to Drum Theatre excursion events.

Advocating for victims and encouraging them to speak up

The Southeast Monash Legal Service is shining more light on advocacy against sexual harassment in the workplace, encouraging victims, no matter how tough it may be, to speak to someone as soon as they can.

The community legal centre has been running a program called Advocacy Against Sexual Harassment for roughly three to four years, aiming to support and provide services for victims and highlighting the next steps to take.

Ariz Ansari, a lawyer who has been with the SMLS for the last year and a half, advises clients on these next essential steps, whether that be compensation, going through tribunals and so on.

Mr Ansari said: “This has been in the works for a while, but there’s always been a need - from what I know - for clients experiencing sexual harassment in workplaces.

“The main thing is it usually comes in through other claims when they’re talking about other topics such as underpayment, or unfair treatment, sexual discrimination, discrimination based on race.

“Very often people don’t think what they experienced is sexual harassment, it might be a joke or something but it’s still unwelcome and still causes them harm,” he said.

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission in November 2022, one in three people have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the last five years since then.

In the same survey, which is the AHRC’s fifth on the topic of workplace sexual harassment, it is highlighted that half of the incidents are repeated and half are also ongoing for more than a year.

At the same time, reporting of these incidents remained low in 2022, with only 18 per cent of them being reported.

Mr Ansari said that the first step depends on the type of harassment, and if it were

physical at any point to contact the police as soon as possible.

If the harassment was verbal, and targeted the victim’s body, appearance, gender, or even against a generalisation of a person’s particular sexual characteristics, then recording events and submitting a witness testimony is a key step for further action.

“Sexual harassment is any form of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, and legally it’s a bit tricky to determine since there is an objective and subjective component.

“It’s good to speak to a lawyer so we can assess if there is a reasonably arguable claim, what other steps you can take and so on.

“It’s important that after you speak to the police and relevant parties, it’s good to speak to a psychologist as well.

“Not only is that good for you in terms of assisting to deal with that you experienced, but it’s also going to be helpful in conversation, with calculating if you’ve mitigated your loss.”

An article published by the SMLS in August 2023 highlights that the legal centre has

an internal program that guides and empowers their support workers to navigate the multi-jurisdictional waters of workplace sexual harassment.

It also highlighted that young women and women from culturally diverse backgrounds are more prone to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Furthermore, those aged 18 to 29 experienced the highest rates of workplace sexual harassment out of all age groups at 45 per cent.

In a corporate setting, dealing with the issue immediately by getting in contact with the HR department is what Mr Ansari recommended.

Furthermore, he also advised to not only make a complaint against the individual harasser, but the company as a whole seeing as that they could be“vicariously liable depending on the steps they have taken to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace”.

“Even if you haven’t taken these steps, and it’s historical, even if it’s been three or five years, still speak to a lawyer.

“Limits on sexual harassment matters are discretionary for a reason, they recognise that this is a very difficult thing to unpack.

“In the moment you may try and tell yourself that this didn’t happen and then you realise it much later on,” Mr Ansari said.

While Mr Ansari knows that it’s easier said than done, he wants victims to be “gentle with themselves [and] to stop blaming themselves for what happened”.

“Even though there’s a more progressive discourse around right now it’s very much ingrained for victims to think how they contributed to the situation.

“You can withdraw consent at any time, even if you consented to something a minute ago and something else happens that you didn’t consent to, it doesn’t make it okay because you said so earlier,” he said.

As for organisations and employers, Mr Ansari highlights that a harassment and dis-

crimination policy should be mandatory.

“Very often you’d have this code of conduct, ethics and all these things, so you need to have a good policy that has proper procedures for reporting based on the size of the company.

“For example, what happens when someone makes a complaint, what are the next steps you take; you also need to provide training for the employees, especially at the managerial level,” he said.

Mr Ansari also clarified that these pieces of training he mentioned should be more than just a short seminar with a piece of paper to sign at the end.

“That’s the minimum approach, but the best kind is to be interactive with discussions and questions.

“People may not really agree or understand but at least they know what this is what would be expected of them in the workplace,” he said.

The SMLS provides free legal assistance for those who have experienced workplace sexual harassment, with the availability subject to eligibility criteria and capacity.

For Mr Ansari, he applauds not just those who have decided to speak out, but also those who have gone through the experience.

“I think everyone is incredibly brave for just going through that experience, whether vocally or quietly.

“All we’re saying is if you speak out about it to someone that could help, it would set in motion a chain of events that could help yourself and the people.

“It may bring some form of closure, it may not make all the pain go away but it’s a start,” he said.

If you or someone you know requires legal aid related to workplace sexual harassment, the SMLS can be contacted through 9545 7400 or 9038 8002 for an appointment.

For any additional information, you can visit their website at smls.com.au/contact-us

10 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au NEWS
Southeast Monash Legal Services lawyer, Ariz Ansari is encouraging victims to speak about their experiences. Picture: SUPPLIED Adam Megennis with his Welcome Flag creation outside The Drum. Pictures: HILTON STONE Greater Dandenong mayor Lana Formoso with Welcome Flag artists Kylie Armstrong and Adam Megennis. The Welcome Flags were unveilled at The Drum on 21 March. Welcome Flag artist Kylie Armstrong with her Art and Sound design.

Donation ban undecided

An IBAC recommendation to ban property developers from making political donations remains up in the air.

The State Government has announced it will accept most of IBAC’s 34 recommendations arising from its Operation Sandon inquiry into Casey Council and property developers.

On 20 March, Premier Jacinta Allan announced the Government would accept 32 of them in full or in-principle.

However, IBAC’s recommended ban on political donations from “high-risk groups” such as property-developers is still being considered.

It follows a recently-released report by the state’s Electoral Review Expert Panel which found prohibiting donations by property developers was “unnecessary”.

“Victoria’s disclosure requirements and low general cap on political donations make it unnecessary to introduce bans on donations from particular industries,” the Panel stated.

It found there were “significant policy and administrative challenges” to such a ban, such as the cost and burden of doing background checks of donors and determining what industries an organisation belonged to.

’At the moment, there does not appear to be a clear, established policy rationale for determining which industries a ban should apply to,” the panel stated.

“Industry-specific bans may unreasonably slur or stigmatise an industry.”

IBAC’s Operation Sandon report found developer John Woodman had “invested” across political parties and levels of government through donations of different guises.

Former Casey mayors Sam Aziz and Geoff Ablett were especially highlighted for accepting more than $1.15 million in payments and in-kind support from Woodman.

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

Woodman was also found to cultivate influence at state government level, paying lobbyists and donating generously to Labor and Liberal party coffers.

Woodman unsuccessful in IBAC damages bid

Developer John Woodman’s claim that his reputation was unreasonably damaged by IBAC has been dismissed by the Victorian Supreme Court.

Woodman had claimed for damages against the State Government and IBAC over being publicly examined for six days in late 2019 during the IBAC Operation Sandon inquiry.

IBAC had probed alleged corruption involving Casey councillors and property developers.

In the Supreme Court,Woodman alleged that IBAC knew or ought to have known that holding his examination in public would unreasonably damage his reputation, safety and wellbeing.

He argued the examination and media reporting of it caused economic and reputational harm.

In her summary dismissal of the claim, Justice Jacinta Forbes said it had “no real prospect of success”.

She ordered Woodman to pay IBAC and the Government’s legal costs.

“The chance of harm resulting from an examination in public (is) not only foreseeable, it is in some circumstances likely or even inevitable given IBAC’s function to identify, investigate and expose corrupt conduct,” Forbes noted.

Forbes noted that Woodman had legal representation and other judicial avenues available to “remedy any deficiency” in the examination process.

“Nor could it be said that IBAC assumes some responsibility to act in the interest of witnesses or perform some task for their benefit.”

Woodman earlier abandoned a ‘public law claim’ that IBAC’s decision to conduct his interrogation in public lacked

John Woodman’s claim for damages over his public examination by IBAC was summarily dismissed by the Victorian Supreme Court.

procedural fairness.

Under the IBAC Act, the anti-corruption commission will ordinarily hold private examinations of witnesses.

It can only hold a public examination if there’s exceptional circumstances, it’s in the public interest and not causing “unreasonable damage to a person’s reputation, safety or wellbeing”.

Last year, Woodman had initially lost a Supreme Court injunction bid to halt IBAC’s report being transmitted to Parliament.

He’d also previously taken successful Supreme Court action to compel IBAC to provide additional documents for him to comment on its draft Sandon report.

The property development industry was one of the biggest donors in federal politicsabout $54 million in disclosed donations from 1999-2019.

However it was conceded that Victoria’s general cap of $4000 over four years reduced the ability of a person to make an “exceptional” donation.

Banning developers arguably may be counterproductive and push donations “underground”, IBAC stated.

Meanwhile, the State Government partially accepted the proposed creation of an interdepartmental taskforce to oversee the recommendations’ implementation.

It didn’t support the taskforce making quarterly progress reports to IBAC, stating it was “not appropriate”.

“Significant policy development and legislative change is ordinarily subject to Cabinet consideration.”

The taskforce will report back to the public within 18 months.

Many of the recommendations were accepted by the Government as part of its Housing Statement, which will shake up the state’s planning system.

As a part of this, it will look at taking planning decisions out of councillors’ hands.

The Government has already announced reforms at local councils, including mandatory training for councillors, a uniform councillor code of conduct and more powers for the Local Government Minister against errant councillors.

He’d also funded 11 ‘friendly’ candidates’ campaigns in the Casey elections in 2016, and was linked to a community residents action group funded by developer Leightons.

IBAC stated that a developer donation ban in Victoria – which is the case in NSW and Queensland - would have “legitimate purpose”.

It’s yet to be seen whether Aziz and Ablett will face criminal charges.

IBAC has powers to refer alleged criminality to the Office of Public Prosecutions to make that call.

Both councillors and Woodman have denied wrong-doing.

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 11 1/31 Princes Hwy, Dandenong VIC 3175 AnnMarieHermansMP 9794 7667 Ann-MarieHermans.com.au ann-marie.hermans@parliament.vic.gov.au Wishingyouall theblessings, hopeandlovethat Easter celebrates. Happy Easter! 12678383-KG13-24
Premier Jacinta Allan has announced the Government has accepted 32 of IBAC’s 34 recommendations arising from Operation Sandon. 374312 Picture: ROB CAREW

World fashions on parade

Along with a smorgasbord, the school celebrated with a fashion parade in a colourfully decorated quadrangle.

The day was part of Harmony Week – a national celebration of cultural diversity and inclusiveness

Gender wage gap at 21.7%, statistics reveal

Addressing the gender pay gap issue could be as deep as tackling foundational aspects of Australian society and culture, it’s been stated, following statistics revealed by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

While Casey Council’s Safe and Equal Casey strategic plan began in 2022, with the local government pledging to continue creating a safe and equal community, with these statistics further bolstering resolve for their strategic plan which is currently in its second phase.

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), Australia’s average gender wage gap is at 21.7 per cent, which means for every $1 a man makes, women earn 78 cents.

As for the employer wage gap data, 30 per cent of employers have a median gender pay gap between the target range of negative five per cent and positive five per cent.

However, 62 per cent of median employer gender pay gaps are over five per cent in favour of men.

Dr Claire Charles, a sociology professor from Deakin University said that “it’s really a reflection that we do live in a patriarchal society that is structured by men, for men”.

“Part of the issue comes when you decide that you’re going to make those spaces available to women now, and we’re going to give them laws and policies that say that we need to pay them equally.

“In sociology, we call that add-womenand-stir approach, that in order to make things gender equal you admit women into

spaces that were previously dominated by men,” Dr Charles said.

While women are being integrated into male-dominated areas, Dr Charles added that historically, it has only been relatively

recently that laws and policies relevant to gender equality have been put in place.

“What happens when you add women and stir, you’re still going to have the residual effect of all the cultures and practices, in the workplace that originally went with that patriarchal structure,” she said.

Callum Pattie, Casey’s connected communities manager said that the council is in its second year of implementing the Safe and Equal Casey strategic plan, which has a focus on gender equality and prevention against women.

With an end goal of 2032, the plan was “developed in consultation with local residents, community organisations and sector experts”.

“It outlines how council will deliver on its commitment to gender equality and prevent family violence by addressing the underlying drivers of violence,” he said.

While the council’s focus may be on violence, putting together a strong sense of togetherness through its eventual outcome echoes Dr Charles’ sentiments of targeting the foundations behind the gender pay gap.

Mr Pattie said that a focus of the first and second phases is building the foundations to apply an intersectional lens, which also began as an internal council campaign in 2022 called the Gender Equality Action Plan.

Another factor that needs to be considered, according to Dr Charles, is the cultural and social practices in our current society.

“There is significant pressure on people to sort of perform their gender ‘correctly’, so when you’ve got a culture that says women are more suited to nurturing or caring roles -

since that’s the role of women in a patriarchal structure - they’re more likely to feel that’s how they need to act subconsciously.

“Often there are more women in jobs that are lower paid, jobs that are more caring and nurturing, such as teaching, nursing, aged care and also the lower levels of hospitality.

“As people grow up they might feel that they gravitate towards those roles, it’s not simply just a matter of choice, we’re choosing in a system we didn’t create and that puts us in positions and certain ways from the beginning,” she said.

Overcoming these aspects is a slow and tedious journey according to Dr Charles, but progress can begin in the workplace through continued support, where a primary example could be more help on child-caring responsibilities.

“Sometimes these things operate on an unconscious level, so they really need to be pulled out through programs around raising awareness in workplaces around these issues.

“There can be a bit of a club mentality in workplaces, and you can see that being talked about even in our Federal Parliament, and if that’s a safe space for women to work.

“It’s a slow process, but the only way to challenge that is to raise awareness around it,” Dr Charles said.

Casey’s second phase of its strategic plan sees them further connecting with the community regarding the overarching issue and also would potentially have the gender equality plan progress into the council’s internal policies, procedures and systems.

12 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au
Dr Claire Charles from Deakin University says that certain aspects of the cultures and foundations of society need to be addressed to curb the pay gap. Picture: SUPPLIED Students and families shared bright fashions and tasty foods from around the world for an annual Harmony Day event at Southern Cross Primary School. Aisha, 11, brings vibrant fashion to the family day. 389242 Pictures: LJUBICA VRANKOVICHadiyaz, 6, in elaborate costume for Harmony Day. 389242 Dakota 10. 389242 Sarab, 6. 389242 Ridwan 7, Aisha 11, Lomani 11, Destinee 11.Sakura, 9. Ridwan, 7.

Living life your own way

Aveo’s elegant Edrington Park Retirement Living community in Berwick empowers residents to live life to the fullest in a unique setting surrounded by friendly and supportive neighbours.

At the heart of the vibrant community is a gracious, heritage-listed home and extensive tranquil gardens.

The historic Mansion House, once home to former Governor-General Lord Casey and his wife, now hosts the community centre where residents gather for their social activities. Edrington Park is conveniently located

close to major retail facilities, cafes, restaurants and medical facilities including hospitals, while a shuttlebus takes residents to appointments and shopping adventures.

With a range of in-home services available, residents can continue living the independent lifestyles they love in modern and spacious villas with access to a range of personalised services including meals and domestic support such as cleaning and heavy laundry.

As an approved provider of Commonwealth-funded Home Care Packages, the Aveo team at Edrington Park can guide you and your

family through the process of accessing the tailored support you need.

Home-care services can be covered through your government package or Aveo’s fee for service option.

With someone else to take care of the chores, residents have more time to do the things they enjoy.

The community’s busy social calendar of events including functions, fitness and fun are held in the lavish community centre where there’s a library, movie room, dining hall, billiards room and beauty salon. The

onsite cafe is the perfect spot to meet friends and family.

Edrington Park’s residents have the choice of low-maintenance fully equipped studio or two-bedroom villas, all providing the convenience of a 24/7 emergency call system.

Pets will be considered with prior approval.

Edrington Park is located at 6 Melville Park Drive, Berwick, with prices ranging $385,000 to $590,000.

To book a tour of the beautiful community, call Aveo on 13 28 36 or visit aveo.com.au

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 13 Price Range $385,000 to $580,000* Book your discovery tour today. 13 28 36 | aveo.com.au/edringtonpark 6 Melville Park Drive, Berwick Apartments with services now selling Edrington Park Retirement Living is a welcoming and supportive community set on prestigious gardens and a heritage-listed community centre - Mason House. Residents enjoy a low-maintenance lifestyle and an active social calendar catering to all interests such as a garden club, a craft group and trips on the community bus.
and two bedroom apartments with services are now available, with 24/7 emergency call system, well-suited for a range of lifestyles and budgets. Discover retirement living with a little extra support *Price correct as at 14 March 2024. The entry payment and any other amounts payable depend on any available contract option you select. A regular general service fee will be payable and you may have to pay a departure fee when you leave the village. Furnishings not included. Services, facilities and activities vary between communities, and are subject to change. 12664150-MS13-24 BUSINESS IN FOCUS
Live your best life with a little support.

Definitely rocket science

20 March.

At the array of activity stations, budding engineers were designing catapults, balloon rockets and windmills as well as picking up ice with salt-laced string.

Students also created stop-motion animation videos, made Oobleck slime and worked with Beebots robotics and Microbits coding.

“The STEM festival has come about as a way of sharing the exciting learning our students are doing in our STEM specialist classes,” a spokesperson said.

“Each class will be designing, planning and showcasing an activity that shows their knowledge and understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts.”

A Science School assembly was also held earlier that day.

30 years and counting for CFA championships

Michele Lovett will be ticking off 30 years as she continues to take part in the State Firefighter Championships.

The CFA Hallam captain has been involved since she was just 11 years old and competed in the juniors division, with Michele saying that “it’s always been part of our family.”

“My brother and sister were also part of Juniors and my dad has been involved in the CFA for 55 years or something ridiculous!” she said.

However, it’s not just the family aspect that Michele enjoys about the championships, but also the camaraderie and friendships that she’s made over the years.

“You go up there and you see people that you only see once a year but you know their name and they know you, some people I’ve known since juniors,” she said.

Although some time off was needed in recent years due to injury, Michele continues the championship tradition by helping to marshal the brigades off at the competitions.

“I make sure all the brigades are lined up in the order set out in the program, it’s like a roll call,” she said.

Just last year, Michele competed in the trial of the female-only event, something she described was “a dry work event so there was no water”.

“Each competitor needed to connect certain hoses together and you have to do it as fast as you can within certain rules.

“It can be quite a challenge particularly when everyone is watching you,” she said.

Michele is also quick to encourage anyone thinking of taking part in champs to “give it a go”.

“If you’re a competitive type of person, you can challenge yourself as much as you want either individually or as part of a team,” she said.

For those who aren’t looking to compete

however, there are also other options where the event showcases a variety of aspects of the CFA, while allowing teams the opportunity to meet face to face.

“They’ve got all the different areas of CFA, last year the Aviation and the Personal Protective Clothing (PPC) teams were up there.

“Pretty much all of us that were up there for fitted out with the newWildfire PPC and it was a good opportunity to speak to people in person rather than always over the phone,” Michele said.

The Victorian Fire Brigade and Country Fire Authority 2024 State Firefighter Championships will be held over the next two weekends at Mooroopna Recreation Reserve.

14 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au
Michele Lovett at the National Emergency Medal presentation. Picture: SUPPLIED Connecting hoses was one of the challenges of the event that Michele took part in.
Michele Lovett has been involved with the Championships for 30 years and has been part of it since she was just 11 years old. Wooranna Park Primary School students explored the wonders of science at a fun-filled STEM festival on Wednesday Year 6 student Cameron launches a cup rocket in one of the STEM festival activities. 388842 Pictures: GARY SISSONS Year 5 student Isaac holds his windmill up in the breeze. 388842 Photographer Gary Sissons cloned student Ayaan in a version of ‘stopmotion’ at the ‘stop-motion’ animation station. 388842 Estelle and Archer concoct Oobleck slime. 388842 Siblings Amir and Ayesha lift ice cubes with string and salt. 388842

Hair gone for a top cause

Years in the growing, Jethro’s long locks got the chop for charity this month.

The Wooranna Park student decided to donate his healthy crop of hair for a wig and to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation.

On 15 March, Jethro was the lead act of a Crazy Hair Day. He’d grown his hair for two years in preparation for the event.

Students and staff got behind the cause with donations and sporting their best ‘crazy hair’.

“Each classroom promoted the event within their room and discussed the importance of the event,” Jethro’s Year 5/6 teacher Leanne Vancuylenberg said.

“We also promoted how proud we all were of Jethro for doing this.

“He loved the fact Mrs Ellaby had on her colourful wig and that the school mascot in the foyer even made it onto the school Facebook page sporting a new hairstyle - a fluffy green wig - for the day.”

As Jethro’s hair starts to sprout back, donations continue to come in.

A final total is yet to be tallied at this stage.

Medical waste facility charged over fire

A medical waste facility in Dandenong South has been charged by EPA Victoria over a fire on-site on 8 June 2022.

It’s alleged Cleanaway Daniels Services Pty Ltd breached a condition of its EPA licence to ensure waste does not burn at the 34 Cahill Street site.

The fire resulted in clinical and related waste burning in a hammermill which was used to treat the waste, the EPA stated on 15 March.

“The fire emitted a large plume of dark smoke over Dandenong South until firefighters from Fire RescueVictoria brought it under control.”

The matter is listed for Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 18 April.

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 15 Keeping up to date with your local news has never been so easy... Simplyregistertodayandgetourlatest news articlesandDigital EditionsinyourinboxforFREE SenttoyourinboxeveryTuesday 12665970-AA09-24
A ladder platform used during the firefighting effort at Cleanaway Daniels in June 2022.
A fire crew at the scene of the Cleanaway Daniels fire in Cahill Street Dandenong South in June
Picture: GARY SISSONS Jethro with hairdresser Angelique, who helped crop his long locks for the Leukemia Foundation fundraiser. 390400 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS Jethro looking pretty sharp after his effort. 390400 Crazy hair kids Mira, Indianna, Riley and Ralph. 390400 Jethro gets a fist pump from his dad Jordan 390400 Jethro counts down from 5 to 1 sending the assembly into a frenzy before the clippers did their thing. 390400


27 March 1924

The British Fleet

On Sunday afternoon, about 3.00pm men from the British Special Service Squadron who motored to Dandenong were accorded a hearty welcome by the townspeople, who assembled in large numbers in the vicinity of the public Park and Gardens, where a fine display of flags and bunting was made.

An official welcome was given from the band rotunda, where the Shire President made quite an interesting and appropriate speech, worthy of the occasion, and having spoken eulogistically of the British Navy, extended a hearty welcome on behalf of the people within the municipality.

Members of the Dandenong Brass Band rendered appropriate selections during the afternoon, and the local improvement association dispensed fruit and cigarettes to the visitors.


27 March 1974

‘Victimised’ No Tie, No Job

Teachers at Doveton High School claimed last week that a colleague had been victimised because he refused to wear a tie. The teacher, Mr Kevin Donovan, 33, was told on Tuesday that he would be transferred to Dandenong North High School because Doveton

Festival of Purim joy


I am very pleased to present Messages of Hope for this issue of the Dandenong Journal.

This month I would like to focus on the Jewish festival of Purim.

This festival is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar.

Pruim begins on Saturday night 23 March and continues through to 24 March extending through Monday in Jerusalem.

It commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian empire.

It is considered to be one of the most fun, happy and joyous holidays in the Jewish calendar.

It is regarded as a day of joy, in fact rarely if ever a day was filled with more joy, happiness and sincere celebrations more so than Purim.

Purim is celebrated with food, charity and gatherings.

The four observances of the holiday are to read the book of Esther, give charity to at least two needy individuals, share the gift of food with at least one friend and partake in a festive meal.

Jews all over the world share the Book of Es-

Roz Blades details the traditional Purim festival.

ther on Purim.

Like many Jewish holidays, food and drink are exchanged during Purim.

Some people celebrate by dressing up, having carnivals or sometimes a parade.

The name of the game is to have fun and be happy.

Purim has become synonymous with hamantaschen, which are three cornered pastries typically filled with things like apricot jam, prunes, chocolate or poopy seeds

As a child, I really looked forward to spending time with family and friends over Purim and reading the Book of Esther.

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

had too many teachers. However, the Victorian Secondary Teachers Association VSTA branch at the school alleges Mr Donovan has been asked to leave because he did not wear a tie. Doveton High School principal Mr E Johnson refused to comment. A spokesman for the VSTA, Mr Ken Slater, said the English faculty, of which Mr Donovan was a member had just enough teachers to cover classes. Mr Donovan said the school had a surplus of maths teachers, not English teachers, and that he intended to stay at the school. Mr Donovan said the principal had told him last year and again this year to wear a tie. He added: “I do wear a tie some days and I wore one for two terms last year.” The Education Department has never issued an instruction that teachers must wear a tie.


March 2004

Meet our youngest mayor

Clare O’Neil says news that she became Australia’s youngest ever female mayor when she took the chair on St Patrick’s Day came as an

‘absolute surprise’. The 23-year-old of Irish decent said age, or lack of it, was incidental to her ability to lead Greater Dandenong. “It is not an issue of being deserving or underserving, it’s about leadership. In some ways my youth is an advantage.” Cr O’Neil vowed to bring a ‘fresh and inclusive approach’. Symbolically, she refused to wear the traditional mayor robes and chain. Despite joining the Labor Party at 17, Cr O’Neil said she did not consider her role on the council as a launching pad to higher political office.


25 March 2019

At one with community

Two vigils at Dandenong’s Harmony Square sent powerful messages of unity and grief in response to the recent horrific events of the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch. Greater Dandenong Interfaith Network organised a one-hour ceremony at Harmony Square on 21 March. Members of the public were welcome to place flowers and write tributes during the event.

Easter hunt for cat homes

A Keysborough animal shelter’s “short-eared bunnies” will be hopefully hopping into new homes as part of an Easter Open Day.

Australian Animal Protection Society is talking not of rabbits but of cats. And on the day, it’s offering cut-price adoption fees for its adult felines.

“Too many cats are sitting at our shelter praying to be adopted,” chief executive Megan Benton said.

“We hope that people interested in animal welfare attend our Easter Open Day, have a hopping good time and consider adoption.”

Also at the family-friendly event, there will be family-and-pet photos with Easter Bunny, face painting, behind-the-scenes shelter tour, vegan barbecue, coffee truck and raffles.

Cat adoptions won’t be processed on the day to avoid impulse purchases. But applications will be taken.

The shelter and charity was established more than 50 years ago. It relies on volunteers and community support to care for dogs, cats and rabbits in need.

Easter Open Day is at 26 Aegean Court, Keysborough on Easter Saturday, March 30, 10am-1pm.

16 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au
Django gets into the Easter spirit at Australian Animal Protection Society, Keysborough. 396196 Pictures: GARY SISSONS Lizzy at the AAPS cat enclosure. 396196 Grey tabby-cat Lizzy is among the felines up for adoption. 396196
LOOKING BACK Compiled by Dandenong and District Historical Society
Prayers for slain worshippers in Christchurch in 2019. 191667 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERSA message of solidarity. 191667 Spiritual leaders were among a vigil at Harmony Square in response to a massacre in two mosques in Christchurch in March 2019. 191667

Refugee helping others

A young Afghan refugee who was a leading academic in his homeland is now supporting newly arrived refugees in Melbourne’s south east.

Muqtader Yousafzai arrived in Melbourne in May 2023 and was reunited with his mother and one brother.

He is now working as acting case manager with migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia.

“I’ve been working with AMES for three months and I’m enjoying the work. It’s rewarding to be supporting people who are also arriving as refugees,” Muqtader said.

“The team and all of my colleagues are awesome.”

Muqtader was the youngest Afghan to be awarded a full scholarship to study for a PhD. In 2020, he travelled to India to take up his doctoral studies in business administration.

But when, in October 2021, Kabul fell to the Taliban and the Afghan government collapsed, his future seemed uncertain.

The collapse of Afghanistan meant Muqtader’s mother and brother were forced to flee their homeland.

And he soon realised that because he had previously worked in a senior role in Afghanistan’s interior ministry, it meant he also could not return to Afghanistan.

“I had worked as a VIP member of the government. It was my job to work closely with the government VIPs. Before starting work as a VIP member, I was working as policy and strategy advisor to the ministry of commerce and industry in Afghanistan,” Muqtader said.

“Meanwhile, I was also a university lecturer and have three years of experience in this field. I was teaching business subjects in both Master’s and Bachelor’s degree courses. I have was interviewed onTV about economic issues more than 30 times as well as and being guest lecturer.

“My mother was also a senior official in the Ministry of Defence and our family was well

known in Afghanistan.

“This meant we could not return home to Afghanistan as we would have been targets of the Taliban.”

Fortunately, Muqtader has been able to continue with his studies and complete his PhD at Lucknow University.

“I have published research papers related to business administration in international journals,” he said

A few days after the fall of Kabul, Muqtader’s mother was able to get on a flight to leave Afghanistan safely.

“She went to Europe and then came to Australia on a humanitarian visa,” he said.

Muqtader is keen to returning to academia.

“In India, when I was studying, I was also teaching business administration. Academia was my comfort zone,” he said.

Muqtader says he wants to be a role model and represent Australia in different areas.

“This country is full of opportunities and he wants to make a contribution.

“For now I am focusing on my role with AMES and I would like to progress in the settlement and humanitarian sector. But I would like to do both academia and work for society.”

Muqtader says he and his family are happy with their new lives in Australia.

“Life is good for us.We are doing well and we are very happy to be in Australia,” he said.

Muqtader also thanked Australia for providing the opportunity to come here.

“Australia was my favourite country as a kid. I always thought that if I was to leave Afghanistan I would want to go to Australia. It was my childhood dream.

“I’ve been a cricket and sports fan since I was four-years-old and I always liked the Australian team. I could name the entire squad.”

Muqtader still plays cricket and soccer with friends in pick-up games.

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Muqtader, a refugee academic, is helping other refugees at AMES.


A Tra$hy Dreamland

Exhibition on display until Saturday 8 June at Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre, cnr Walker and Robinson streets, Dandenong.

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 27 March at the multi-use court, George Street, Dandenong. Free event, register at greaterdandenong.vic.gov.au/greaterdandenong-council/events/come-and-try-basketball-program

Talks on Spirituality

We are thrilled to have Stancea Vichie as our guest speaker from ACRATH, a not-for-profit Catholic organisation whose mission is to eliminate human trafficking. Stancea shares this subject in a gentle manner and offers ideas on how we can support the mission by shopping ethically and awareness raising.

· Wednesday 27 March 5.30pm-6.30pm at 110 Ann St, Dandenong; suggested donation $5. Bookings/enquiries: 9791 8664 or Theopendoor@ssjg.org.au

Trees: A Canopy Extraordinaire

An exhibition that celebrates, reflects and recognises the significance of trees in the local landscape over time and the timber industry that grew the local community. It marks 80 years since community forest planting began at Greaves Reserve, Dandenong in 1944. Features artwork, local historical society collections and the council’s civic and cultural heritage collection.

· Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10am2pm from 28 March-19 July at Benga, Heritage Hill Museum and Historic Gardens, 66 McCrae St, Dandenong. Free event.

Dinner with a View

The next dinner meeting of the Dandenong Evening VIEW Club features guest speaker Darren Hayes from The Smith Family. The club supports The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program. New members and guests very welcome.

· Tuesday, 2 April 7pm at Dandenong RSL Bookings essential. Details: Brigitte,0491 626 527.

Qing Ming

In 2024,Qing Ming is on Thursday 4 April and the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) welcomes community members to honour and celebrate their loved ones at Springvale Botanical Cemetery.

· Friday 29 March-Monday 1 April and Saturday

6 April-Sunday 7 April at Song He Yuan and Clarence Reardon Centre, Springvale Botanical Cemetery, 600 Princes Highway, Springvale. Free event.

Zimbabwe Easter Challenge

Join us for an exciting community festival with Zimbabwe Consular Services, soccer, netball and basketball, Cricket Blast for kids, Mini-Roos for little ones, Zimbabwean music and cuisine, and fun games.

· Saturday 30 March, 10am-7pm at Tatterson Park, 62 Chapel Road, Keysborough. Free event. Details: info@zimcommunity.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 and fifth Tuesday of the month, line dancing on Wednesdays ($3 entry), Thursday ballroom dancing lessons (12.30pm-1pm) and ballroom dancing (1pm3pm, $3 entry). Entertainers include Marcia Rae

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, 1834 Buckley Street, Noble Park. (Ample parking rear of centre off Frank Street).

(16 April) and Rob Foenander (30 April). 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 until 31 May is $5. Details: Julie, 0428 561 694.

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, 10.30am at the Hallam Community Learning Centre, 56 Kays Avenue Hallam. Details: Robert Read, 0455 566 570.

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

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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Bronze look for Fevola

AFL great Brendan ‘Fev’ Fevola has been immortalised in copper form, with a statue of the popular radio host now at Narre Warren’s Webb Street.

Whether they were there for the statue’s unveiling or for the performance from Australian musical legend Shannon Noll, an excited crowd welcomed Fev at Bunjil Place for the statue’s unveiling on Friday 15 March.

Also joining in on the festivities were cohosts Fifi and Nick, as the team ventured to Fev’s home turf for Brekky in the Burbs.

“This is a big moment for the show as Brendan Fevola stands here in front of his home people in Narre Warren,” co-host Fifi Box said.

“Let’s talk about what this man has achieved. Six-hundred-and-twenty-three career goals. 204 AFL games. Three-time All

And Fev, who was simply relieved the statue actually looked like him, also relished the honour.

“Oh my God, this is like a mirror!” he said.

“What an amazing honour because dead people normally get this, and I’m not dead yet.

“Please don’t wreck it, make sure you look after it. If people poo on it, clean it. If other people want to get around it… I reckon we should be roping it off.

“People have been bronzed around the world and it doesn’t look like them… I think I look amazing!”

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Australian. Two-time Coleman Medallist. Italian Team of the Century. King of the Jungle 2016. Two Guinness World Records. It’s the great build-up… Narre Warren, here is your statue of the great man himself… Brendan Fevola!” Hundreds of excited locals were eager to see the new statue when it was unveiled at Bunjil Place. Brendan Fevola statue in Webb Street Narre Warren. 395876
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Cobras trial tackling ban

A ban on full-blown tackling is being trialled in a series of exhibition football matches involving Sandown Cobras.

In response to widespread fears of headinjury risks, the FIDA League has invited the All-Abilities club to pioneer the trial for 6-14 year old juniors.

Cobras coach Doug West hopes the safer, modified rules will win back concerned parents and players to the game from schools across such as Emerson.

“Any head-highs (tackling), you’ll be out for the game. If you tackle the bloke and throw them over onto the ground, you’re off as well.”

Players can still restrain players by the waist and arm to win a holding-the-ball decision.

“I think it will become a common rule. It’s otherwise getting too dangerous.”

Several retired AFL players as well as the widow of ex-Richmond player and boxer Shane Tuck have been pursuing concussion lawsuits against their former clubs and the league.

A state coroner examining Tuck’s death at his parent’s home in 2020 recommended less full-contact training at AFL and AFLW clubs.

Tuck was found to have severe stage-three chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) –linked to repetitive brain injuries such as concussions.

Long after retiring from AFL in 2013, he suffered debilitating voice hallucinations and suicidal thoughts despite psychiatric medication and treatment.

The Cobras will showcase the concept with Wednesday skills training sessions and Sunday exhibition games this year.

Short-staffed with just eight players, the club is hoping to rebuild to 40 and rejoin the FIDA league in 2025.

The exhibition carnivals are scheduled for Sunday 28 April, 26 May and 30 June.

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Doug West, front left, with older members of Sandown Cobras All-Abilities Football Club. 385977 Picture: GARY SISSONS

Made of the Wright stuff

There were no match-winning hundreds in the Dandenong District Cricket Association Turf 1 grand final last weekend despite a playing surface that appeared suited for having a stick.

Ryan Quirk won the toss and made the tactical choice to bowl, gifting the Bucks first crack at the best of the batting conditions in warm conditions, as their attack went to work with the new ball.

In a stacked batting card, the Bucks have been blessed with players stepping up here and there whenever the situation required someone throughout the campaign.

Be it Josh Holden’s hundred in round 12, Jake Cronin’s 97 and Roshane Silva’s 73 in the preliminary final, Michael Davies’ match-winning 49 against St Mary’s in round 10, such was the depth and spread of talent in the squad, the Bucks had contributors at every turn.

On day one, it BenWright’s turn, with his 55 as crucial as any hundred you could possibly ask for, recognised with the Fleming Medal as the player of the final.

“We’ve always been a club that, hasn’t relied on just one or two players,” Wright said.

“The addition of ‘Roshy’ (Silva) into our team helped us massively, because being honest, he has really stood out in terms of his batting, and he’s given the opportunity for a few of us to bat around him, and take a bit of pressure off us.

“But we’ve always been a team that, there’s been situations where everyone can say they’ve won a game this year.

“What we’ve struggled with in the last two years is bringing that to a grand final, which I felt like, today, we actually showed how good we are as a team.

“Everyone contributed with runs, everyone contributed with wickets and that’s probably what got us over the line today and yesterday.”

The manner in which he took the attack to Springvale South shifted the contest.

Jarryd Straker has been a thorn in everyone’s side in the Turf 1 in recent years with his ability to control the tempo of a contest, and finished well-clear of the next-highest wicket taker in Turf 1 cricket in 2023/24.

Honing-in around the wicket to left-hand-


ers, Straker varies his pace and his lengths to trap batters infront and leave them with no room to move when pinned on the crease. His first over to Wright was a maiden, and the events of two weeks ago when he bowled unchanged for 23 overs, began to loom. Wright, a right-hander, however, was not going to play his game.

On the second ball of his third over, he advanced down the wicket and put him into the sheltered area underneath the tennis club at Arch Brown Reserve.

Later in the over, Straker dropped short, andWright cut him to the square boundary for four on the off side.

Wright revealed this was no accident, fol-

lowing the blueprint that worked so successfully for the Bucks back in round 12.

“I feel like when we played him at Springvale, the conditions have been in his favour, and I think we made a conscious effort when we played him at Park and played him today when maybe the conditions weren’t in his favour that we weren’t going to let him dictate,” Wright said.

“He’s obviously a real big cog in their bowling attack and if you let him bowl, it brings everyone else in their bowling attack into the game and (if) you can kind of try to take him out of the game a little bit, it brings bowlers back on early, doesn’t give them a chance to settle with the likes of Baxter and him bowling in-tandem for a long period of time.

“It was definitely a ploy of ours to take them on a little bit yesterday.

“What helped us as well was we got off to a pretty decent start and by the time we came on, we were probably slightly ahead in the game, so it gave us the opportunity to do that.”

Straker would have the last laugh in the one-on-one, trapping Wright attempting to sweep for 55 just before lunch.

Little did anyone know that that would be the highest individual score of the grand final.

Silva hit 24, Jayarathna 30 and Hobbs 34, while Jordan Wyatt made 30 and Ryan Quirk 36. For Wright, the innings and the result meant plenty, having brought into the club as much as anyone in his three seasons since moving from the UK.

“It was a big move for me and my family,” he said.

“I think one of the things that made it so easy for us is Buckley Ridges - it’s such a family-orientated club (with) such great people, supporters, players, families.

“Seeing the crowd today and the amount of Buckley people here today, it means a lot to a lot of people, not just the 11 that played.

“The amount of supporters we have that come and watch us every single week.

“Then ‘Hobba’ (Hobbs) and ‘Slicky’ (Davies) as well, the amount of times they’ve fallen short, I’m really really pleased for those guys that they’ve had the opportunity and they now know what it feels like to win a medal.”

Dream for dedicated Davies who finally has his day

Comfortably the biggest cheer of the afternoon in the aftermath of Buckley Ridges’ Dandenong District Cricket Association was reserved for Michael Davies.

The man commonly known as ‘Slick’ in local cricket circles was gunning for his first Turf 1 premiership from seven attempts, and with sand plummeting from his career hourglass, time was running out.

His laid-back personality combined with undeniable talent, with a Wookey Medal and multiple Turf 1 Team of the Year selections to show for it, made him one of the competition’s more popular players.

But for all the personal achievements, he lacked the one that mattered most to him.

He’d come so close the prior two years, and in 2022 he was unfortunately in the middle when the final wicket fell in Buckley’s chase of 226.

When his partner, Westley Nicholas was run out with a direct hit from the boundary, Davies, having reached the Striker’s end and seen his opponents sprinting past him to initiate chaotic celebrations, slapped the stumps with his bat, contrasting the frenzy of victory with the heartbreak of defeat.

Two years on, as he reached the centre of the pitch to join celebrations, he quickly found himself in the centre of a huddle as his teammates mobbed him like a popstar in a crowd.

“All I wanted in the DDCA was to win a Turf 1 flag and now I’ve finally got it,” Davies said.

“I’ve been on the sad side for six years and finally I’m on the winning side.

“This one’s going to go down really well.”

On day one, he put his big shots away and ground out a tough 29 from 67 deliveries late in the innings, and grabbed the wickets of Brayden Sharp and Jordan Mackenzie in the defence 24 hours later.

When he beat Mackenzie’s defences to

grab his second scalp, he turned to cover and embraced Jayson Hobbs in a mighty hug before teammates converged.

Later, when Hobbs called him forward to collect his premiership medallion, he gave his eyes a quick wipe before the two repeated the hearty embrace.

When he walked back to the group, and his devoted children in Buckley Ridges tops with

their dads’ name on the back, he gripped the medal tight, as if it would somehow be taken away, as the enormity of the achievement began to take hold.

As JordanWyatt rode his luck with the bat, surviving multiple dropped chances, Davies feared the worst, that the triumph would be cruelly stripped from him at the final hurdle once again.

But this occasion was different.

Former skipper Ben Wright said the players used Slick’s hunger for success as motivation, saying, “We take the hurt that Slicks had in previous years, not at the club, and we wanted to win trophies for him.”

Davies found words difficult to come by as he was showered with good will, but reinforced his gratitude.

“It means a lot, I’ve got a lot of mates that play for different clubs and I’ve been hard on the ground for 10-15 years,” he said.

“Everyone saying that they really want me to get one, and I finally got it.”

His contributions with bat and ball will be long remembered in Buckley blue, no matter what his playing future looked like.

“The mind thinks that I can go until I’m 50 but the body, getting older now with two kids, we’ll see how we go,” he said when asked about his playing future.

“I got a lot of stick for going there (To Buckley Ridges) but they’ve been so successful over the years and all I wanted was a Turf 1 flag, and I’ve finally got it.

“You can always keep going and going, but flags are very hard to come by.”

22 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au SPORT
Ben Wright is mobbed by his biggest fans, his two sons, after being awarded the Fleming Medal. 395159 Picture: GARY SISSONS DDCA The hunt for a Turf 1 premiership is finally over for Buckley Ridges all rounder, Michael Davies. 395153 Picture: ROB CAREW DDCA DANDENONG DISTRICT CRICKET ASSOCIATION THE ULTIMATE REWARD - MICHAEL DAVIES

Built from the ground up

Most clubs would view that as a successful year in the Dandenong District Cricket Association.

For some, it may be their best ever year, and even cause for celebration.

Buckley Ridges did all that, and added the most elusive prize of all in the form of a Turf 1 premiership.

Success like that doesn’t happen overnight, and is built on the backbone of committed volunteers and members from top to bottom.

De Silva is not only the President but a jack-ofall-trades, a chauffeur when called upon and often found in the canteen and behind the bar while ensuring everyone is welcomed and in a positive environment at Park Oval.

So how do you build a winning culture?

“I would hate to say that it’s from leadership but I think it starts with the committee; if you’re the head of the club I think you need to lead by example and I think, that culture grows within the club and to absolutely everyone within the club,” De Silva said.

“We do have a really good club culture and winning the is the by-product, I believe, of structure and the right conditions and everything else that goes along with it.

“The ultimate is a premiership but I think if you get the club right in terms of the structures and on the ground, organising of everything that goes on on the ground, starting with juniors, I think success is a by-product.”

A heritage-listed tree protrudes the surface at the cricket nets at Park Oval, which is synonymous for its funky playing dimensions and short boundaries, and borders the Dandenong Creek, with play often halted as to fish the Kookaburra out with a pool leaf-catcher.

They may not have the flashiest facilities, but the Greg Dickson Pavilion, aka ‘The Manor’, is like a home to so many that play their cricket for the Bucks, one of the better attended clubs at home or away games.

At Pultney Street, the shaded areas under the trees are dotted with the same spectators week-in, week-out.

Former players from differing eras, from Daniel Watson to John Robertson, Michael Frost and Bernie Olson, barely miss a minute, often in the navy blue playing shirt or supporter’s polo.

“Cricket is what we deliver on the field but it is a club,” De Silva said.

“At the end of the day, the club harbors a lot of people from different backgrounds, cultures, different ways of thinking, social dynamics, but as soon as someone walks through the doors, they’re absolutely welcome, they’re part of the family and we get around them.

“There are things that you can control in life and things that you can’t really control in life.

“We concentrate on what we can control and that’s in terms of running the club and the success of the club.

“There’s so many people that have become a part of the Buckley family because of the culture we have brought up.

“That goes beyond players, it’s ex-players and that culture doesn’t just evolve over a couple of years, it’s evolved over a long time.

“It is a club culture that we almost put ahead of success, but success follows that.

“I’m proud that I’m able to lead this club but I’ve got so much support and so many people (saying) that we’re doing the right thing.”


Master tactician Munasinghe believes the balance in his side was the key to Buckley Ridges winning this season’s Turf 1 premiership.

A top order of left and right-handers, stroke players, and players who can occupy time, with hitters late, and a bowling attack that offered variety and complemented each other’s strengths and weaknesses, all made for a premiership-winning mix.

Depth players, meanwhile, such as Josh Holden, Westley Nicholas and Faridullah Khil, didn’t secure their places in the side until late in the piece, but each went on to play crucial roles.

It takes a squad to win a championship,

and in Khil and Nicholas, Munasinghe never underestimated their value, and used them expertly as he and the leaders calculated plans for each player in the Springvale South lineup.

Plenty rested on the shoulders of Jordan Wyatt for Springvale South, and his wicket was the one the Bucks wanted the most in the decider.

In Khil, the Bucks unearthed a weapon that delivered in spades, with the wickets of Ryan Quirk, and Wyatt shortly after, to put his side right on-top before lunch.

“We kept Farid (Khil) for a reason,” Munasinghe said.

“I was thinking from the mid-season, if ‘Jordy’ (Wyatt) comes to the scene, this guy could be a difference.

“People are saying that spin is easy to get him out, I felt that spin is his strength.

“If it’s a seaming wicket, this Farid is going to be an x-factor.”

Nicholas, meanwhile, made an impression on Munasinghe in his early days at the club, and the coach kept his skill-set up his sleeve.

When it came down to a decision between Nicholas and Sanka Dinesh for the spin-bowler’s spot in the grand final side, it was Nicholas’ height, and the variations he could offer, that got him over the line.

“As I walked into Buckley for a senior role, when I saw Wes bowling, (he was the) number one bowler I have seen for a long time,” he said.

“I reckon when you come to the finals, Sanka was in our team, the left-armer, but when you come to the two-dayers, Sanka’s skill set is so different.

“I was going to go with Wes more than Sanka; we back him up more, we gave him more confidence to rest and change a few things.

“… He’s been around for a long time in the DDCA and I hope he gets his other side of his body right and can play more years to come.”

At stumps on day one against Springvale South in round 12, when their season looked on the brink of catastrophe, Munasinghe had already formulated a plan with checkpoints to outline how they were going to chase what seemed like an impossible score of 361 on day

two – a job they completed with five overs to spare.

But his crowning glory came in the grand final win, putting the despair of previous grand finals behind his side and piloting them to a famous premiership.

Having become so adept at chasing targets this year, Munasinghe believes their prowess impacted Springvale South captain Quirk’s decision to send them in to bat.

The Bucks, however, were ready to flip the script, according to their coach.

“(Our) Main weapon was, Springvale (South), mentally, they were focused on (us) chasing the targets,” Munasinghe said.

“We knew that if we lose the toss, they were going to come back to give us a bat.

“Me and (Jayson) Hobbs, in the morning… we were trying to bat first.

“Finals, it’s always a bit hard to chase.”

Munasinghe marshalled his men expertly throughout the season and relayed positive feedback at all times, even when the going was tough.

The continued belief in their approach, and the resilience they showed throughout the year, steeled their resolve, and made them believe that anything was possible.

“When things go wrong, we bounce back,” Munasinghe said.

“If you talk about lots of negatives, they will be seeing the negative side only.

“What I did was, I took those negative ones to me and I applied in the training sessions, and make them to do better in the next game.

“(It was) not an easy year this year, we had a bit of a tough time and it’s turned out alright.”

JAYSON HOBBS - CAPTAIN Hobbs’ decision to return to the captaincy at Buckley Ridges has been vindicated in the best possible manner, claiming his first senior premiership with a club that means so much to him.

When Ben Wright chose to step-down from the role after last summer and two grand final defeats, the question was put to Hobbs, having held the capacity before.

He took the role head-on, despite being wary, as he weathered the demands of first-

time fatherhood, but the decision could hardly have had a better outcome.

De Silva described Hobbs as an “unbelievable person” and an “exceptional man-manager”, while Munasinghe was delighted to see him finally break through for a senior premiership.

Hobbs beamed with pride when holding the microphone for the post-game presentation and held back tears as he reflected on the adversity that sharpened and hardened his side throughout an at times turbulent season.

“We had a hiccup earlier in the year and we moved on, we spoke about it once and then we moved straight on,” he said.

“We knew that we had to hunt down some teams like we spoke about and we were fourth with three rounds to play, with the three top sides above us.

“To chase down 360 against Springvale South, and then against Berwick they were 2/200 looking like a big score and we bowled them out for 225 and won convincingly in the end, then to get Narre South in the last game and play for a top-two spot and get us into a position to get that second chance, we executed again and got into that position.

“Nothing’s come easy for us and I feel like we thoroughly deserve this.”

His 13th year proved to be a lucky one, finally climbing the mountain and sharing the honour with his cousin, Troy Aust, who took the winning catch.

“He’s the reason I came to the cricket club, him and a few other boys,” Hobbs said of Aust.

“He’s got safe hands, he’s a tremendous keeper and I knew he was going to catch it, to be honest, and that was the end.

“We’ve lost a couple together and it hurts but to get this moment, it’s very special and something I’ll never forget.

“Did I ever think I’d be in this position? Probably not.

“I’m very proud and privileged to be a premiership captain of Buckley Ridges Cricket Club, it’s a great feeling.

“A lot of work goes on behind the scenes and it’s just a special moment, I’m very proud of our group.”

dandenong.starcommunity.com.au Tuesday, 26 March, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 23 SPORT
A Turf 4 premiership, theVeterans flag, the first ever Women’s T20 title, and runner up in the Turf 1 Reserves grand final. ThecrowningmomentforBuckleyRidgescoachManjulaMunasinghe(left)andcaptainJaysonHobbs. 395159 Picture:GARYSISSONS DDCA DANDENONG DISTRICT CRICKET ASSOCIATION BUCKLEY RIDGES - THE LEADERS
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