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A four-year multicultural action plan has been endorsed by Whittlesea council. The plan is designed to boost support for the municipality’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Twelve consultation sessions, involving members of women’s, seniors and youth groups and local agencies, were held as part of the plan’s development.
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Pokies plan out for comment
Whittlesea council has released its draft gambling strategy and action plan. The strategy is aimed at reducing harm caused by the municipality’s 648 electronic gaming machines. Submissions can be made until July 4. For more details, visit www.whittlesea. vic.gov.au.
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Kelsey, Vanessa, Jasmine, Hailey and Layla with Casey Nunn
Locals love their libraries
New era for Hume hockey Hockey Victoria and Lacrosse Victoria chiefs visited Craigieburn last Thursday to seal a partnership for new match and training fields. Hume mayor Casey Nunn signed on for the development of a hockey centre at Newbury Reserve, a five-hectare park in the Highlands estate. Also on hand were Hockey Victoria chairman Rob Dalton and chief executive Andrew Skillern, and Lacrosse Victoria president Tim Fry. The development includes two flood-lit pitches separated by a concourse for players and spectators. Around these will be walkways and seating in landscaped areas, a pavilion with changerooms, a social room and canteen, kitchen and storage areas. The development comes after Hockey Victoria pushed for a stronger presence in Melbourne’s growth corridors. Work on stage one will start later this year. Helen Grimaux
Hume libraries are well ahead of the Victorian average for community participation, with a membership base of more than 59 per cent of the population. The state average is 49.1 per cent. Hume libraries received more than 30,000 votes to win the award for Australia’s favourite library service during Libraries and Information Week (May 19-25).
Tree day volunteers needed
Planet Ark is looking for residents to co-ordinate National Tree Day activities in their area on Sunday, July 27. Schools Tree Day will be held on Friday, July 25. For more details, phone 1300 885 000 or visit www.treeday. planetark.org.
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THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW: Telstra services on the NBN not available to all premises. The Telstra standard professional installation and T-Gateway charges (normally $192) will be waived (charges apply if the installation of NBN Co’s or Telstra’s equipment is non-standard). Offer ends 30 June 2014. NBN is a trademark of NBN Co Limited and is used under licence from NBN Co Limited. The spectrum device, ™ and ® are trade marks and registered trade marks of Telstra Corporation Limited, ABN 33 051 775 556 NBN1206_MIG_187x261_MYF 6 NORTHERN STAR WEEKLY \ JUNE 3, 2014
Crime’s up ‘due to fewer police’ (Damjan Janevski)
By Melissa Cunningham
leisure centre staff Lauren Dahaby and Daniel McShane
Fresh face for leisure After more than a year behind hoardings, Broadmeadows Leisure Centre will have a more striking public face next month. The centre’s new Tanderrum Way entrance features a street-art mural by local artists. A more user-friendly ground floor and amenities area, extra floor space in the upper-level gymnasium and new landscaping will also be unveiled at a first-stage opening. The much-anticipated $13.23 million centre upgrade was delayed last October when original contractor Waldon Construction was put in the hands of administrators after suffering heavy losses in its Melbourne building operations. Hume mayor Casey Nunn said last week construction was again under way after the appointment of 2Construct Pty Ltd as new construction manager.
“It’s great to see action happening again on-site,” Cr Nunn said. She said the first-stage revamp would be open to patrons midway through next month, with the final stage due to be finished by the end of the year. While the delay had cause great angst among local tradespeople caught up in the shutdown of the initial contractor, the council had worked hard to retain many of the subcontractors on the new team. “This is a fantastic result for everyone involved,” Cr Nunn said. “This will ensure that even more people can access this community facility.” Project information: www.hume.vic.gov.au Helen Grimaux
A drop in frontline police numbers has been linked to a steep increase in crime in Melbourne’s north. Staffing levels at northern suburbs police stations have fallen since the last state election, according to police documents obtained by the state opposition. In Whittlesea, frontline police numbers have been cut from 123 to 115 since November 2010. The number of recorded offences climbed by 21.27 per cent in the same period. According to one document, frontline officers at Hume police stations have reduced in number by 10 per cent since 2010. Victoria Police crime statistics released last week show the number of offences in Whittlesea in the year to March soared from 12,000 to 13,363. In Hume, the number of offences rose from 15,354 to 15,949. The documents reveal only six of Victoria’s 56 police service areas have more police now than in November 2010. More than 20 areas have suffered cuts to frontline staffing of more than 20 per cent, but the government argues they are due to decisions made by police command. The figures were released as Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay announced that he wants to cut the number of police officers on the beat as part of a radical overhaul of the force. Under the plan which was expected to be outlined today, police would be moved from local stations into specialised taskforces.
Whittlesea MP Danielle Green said the figures were concerning due to the soaring crime rates in Melbourne’s north. “Most locals would be shocked to hear [about the figures] while we are crying out for more police and a new police station in areas like Mernda, which is one of the biggest population growth areas in Australia,” she said.
State Labor is desperately misleading - Kim Wells Victorians
Opposition leader Daniel Andrews said the plan would break the government’s 2010 election commitment for 1700 new frontline officers. “Every Victorian has a right to expect that Denis Napthine will deliver on his commitment and that these police will not be squirrelled away in some office,” he said. Police Minister Kim Wells said Mr Lay was responsible for deciding where officers were located. “Once again, state Labor is desperately misleading Victorians with alarmist claims about police numbers,” Mr Wells said. “The facts are the Coalition government is on track to deliver 1700 additional frontline police by November this year at a cost of $602 million.” Mr Wells said there were 1525 more police than when Labor left office, with many officers allocated to areas such as crime command and road policing.
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Kids go back to their roots Westmeadows Primary School pupils have disposed of the tired shrubs growing at the school’s front gates and given the entrance an autumn makeover. A local Bunnings crew brought fresh soil, plants and fertilisers to reinvigorate the garden beds, and explained good planting techniques to grade 6 pupils. Teacher Anton Mahony said the whole school was gearing up for a major planting effort next month. That’s when Hume council and a team of corporate partners, under the guidance of expert Melissa Doherty, will help plant in the school grounds about 1300 grasses, wildflowers and selected food, fibre and medicinal native plants, including rare and threatened flora species. Helen Grimaux 10006814-14-a3Jun©MMP
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