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Southbank Residents’ Group

15 Jan 2013

New year, new opportunities

A new year always lends itself to looking at things afresh and starting anew. My hope is that 2013 will be the year that as residents we collectively shape our suburb by promoting our needs and aspirations to both local and State Government.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that we need to protest, march on Spring St or sign endless petitions. It simply means taking a more active interest in the plans and development that occur within our suburb – and have discussions and ongoing dialogue with our local council and state representatives outlining what we desire. After all, our local representatives are there to advocate change for us.

Here are a few pointers on what you can do to have your voice better heard and help influence the ongoing development of our suburb in 2013.

Southbank Residents Group

If you’re not already a member, sign up to the Southbank Residents Group – your community organisation focussed on advocating the big issues facing our suburb with government. We’re here to advise you on how to best navigate the complexities of dealing with council or State Government.

You can become a member by visiting

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (3006ResiGroup) and “like” us on Facebook ( You’ll be kept abreast of upcoming resident group information meetings, and can also find out what’s on in and near Southbank.

Melbourne City Council

Contrary to popular belief, councillors are more than happy to hear from you and meet with you. And now that a new council has been elected, it’s a great time to introduce yourself to the new team. I’ve recently met with Cr Stephen Mayne to discuss planning matters in Southbank, and have also met with Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and his senior planning team. Barry Janes (VP Southbank Residents Group) has also had meetings with councillors Oke and Watts.

Contacting councillors is easy. Simply visit and go to “About Council”, “Lord Mayor and Councillors” where you will find all their contact details.

You can also attend council meetings, which are open to the public – and can request at the start of the meeting to speak about matters on the agenda or ask general questions at the end. For the schedule of meetings in 2013 and upcoming agenda items, visit and go to “About Council”, “Council and committee meetings” for all the information you need.

Remember, if you want to discuss an issue that affects a number of residents (eg. development), you should consider contacting your body corporate or the Southbank Residents Group – and we can help facilitate a meeting for you.

State Government

It’s certainly the hardest level of government to engage with, but it’s not impossible. We have a great local member, Martin Foley MLA (ALP) who, in my experience, has been very willing to make himself available to hear our views and issues.

We also have a number of MLCs who oversee the greater southern metropolitan region, which Southbank forms a part of.

You can find all State Government contact details by visiting

So there you have it – a brief introduction to the key groups that are happy to hear from you throughout 2013 – with the sole aim of finding out what you want as residents of Southbank in the months and years to come.

Of course, if at any stage you have any questions on how best to handle a local matter, please drop me an email at, send a tweet to 3006ResiGroup or drop a comment on our Facebook page. We’re happy to help and point you in the right direction.

Have a wonderful 2013!

Michael Smolders
Southbank Residents Group

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