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Forum raises high school concerns

Community forum raises lack of local high school and loss of connectivity among local youth as major factors in Kinglake Ranges community disconnection.

Last week Murrindindi Shire hosted a series of ‘Have Your Say’ forums with 52 Kinglake residents attending Tuesday (28/3) nights forum at the Kinglake Community Centre.

The evening, hosted by Anne Leadbeater OAM, used the ‘world café’ method using four focus groups to discuss three key questions across eight tables.

‘What do you like about living in your community?’
‘What would make your community a better place to live?’
‘What do you think the new Murrindindi Shire Council should focus on?’

Community forums were also held across Murrindindi Shire in Alexandra (27/3), Marysville (30/3) and Yea (1/4). The forums are based on past surveys from residents that had been placed in local businesses and community spaces throughout the shire inviting the community to have their say on any issue that concerned them.

“There was such a buzz and enthusiasm around the room,” Anne Leadbeater OAM said.

“[It’s] great to see so many people out and engaging with their communities”

Councillor Eric Lording and spokesman for table one (green) stated the evening was “A really interesting way of doing things.”

“I think we’ve got some really good stuff…now we just got to make absolutely sure we do something with it,” Cr Eric Lording said.


Following the discussions, an issue often raised during Kinglake’s Have Your Say open forum was a lack of connectivity for local children who must travel ‘off the [Kinglake] hill’ to secondary school in Yea, Diamond Creek, Whittlesea, Seymour or elsewhere. Whilst “a high school is a State Government matter the lack of one does have a significant impact on the local community” spokesman for focus area two (blue) Stuart McConnelly stated.

“This causes local families including both long term residents and families new to the area to move away from Kinglake to be closer to their children’s secondary school.”

“Whilst not a council issue, perhaps we could advocate with the [Victorian] State Government,” Anne Leadbeater OAM said.

Another issue raised was road safety, especially during Kinglake’s winter fogs and the need -though again a State Government responsibility- for yellow line marking. (Roads in high fog mountain areas in NSW all use yellow line marking, such as the Blue Mountains and Bathurst districts).

The forum used four focus areas and the three key questions to discuss ‘spaces, places and living well’ (green tables); ‘strong connected communities’ (blue tables); ‘prosperity and opportunity’ (pink tables) and ‘serving the community’ (yellow tables).

The world café method is described by founder Juanita Brown as a method that “uses seven design principles and a simple method.

World Café describes itself as a “powerful social technology for engaging people in conversations that matter,” that’s “a way of thinking and being together sourced in a philosophy of conversational leadership,” world café said.

Text & Images ©COPYRIGHT 2017 Kinglake Ranges News.
Article first published in The Local Paper, April 5, 2017.


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