City of Darebin
|City of Darebin
Map of Melbourne showing City of Darebin
|• Density||2,719/km2 (7,040/sq mi)|
|Area||53 km2 (20.5 sq mi)|
|Website||City of Darebin|
The City of Darebin is a local government area in Victoria, Australia, in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. It has an area of 53 square kilometres (20.5 sq mi), and at the 2012 Census, Darebin had a population of 144,086. Municipal offices are located at 350 High Street, Preston.
Darebin was rated 386th of 590 Australian Local Government Areas in the BankWest Quality of Life Index 2008.
The City of Darebin was formed in 1994 with the merger of most of the former Cities of Northcote and Preston, with the transfer of the portion of the City of Northcote south of Heidelberg Road to the City of Yarra and minor adjustments with the former Cities of Coburg, Heidelberg and the Shire of Diamond Valley.
- Alphington (Shared with the City of Yarra)
- Bundoora (Shared with the Cities of Banyule and Whittlesea)
- Coburg (Shared with the City of Moreland – A few properties, primarily the eastern side of Elizabeth Street, lie within Darebin)
- Coburg North (Shared with the City of Moreland – A few properties, primarily the eastern side of Elizabeth Street, lie within Darebin)
- Fairfield (Shared with the City of Yarra)
- Macleod (Shared with the City of Banyule)
Economy of Darebin
The 2012 Business Register states that Darebin currently has 11,575 businesses operating within the region. These businesses create 55,278 jobs for locals and residents of Melbourne, and the Darebin area itself has 74,291 employed residents. Darebin had a Gross Regional Product of A$5.23 billion in 2012, a 0.3% increase on the previous year. Since 2001, approximately A$1 billion of extra GRP has been created in the region. The biggest exports in Darebin are:
- Manufacturing ($1,072 million)
- Education & training ($313 million)
- Wholesale trade ($243 million)
Since 2006, gentrification in the Darebin area has seen average incomes and property values increase siginifcantly in the region, particularly in the suburbs of Northcote, Fairfield, Alphington and Thornbury. As a result, there has been a dramatic change in the economy of Darebin and the types of businesses that operate. For example, since 2006, there has been increases in the total exports of the following industry sectors:
- Accommodation & food services – 49% increase ($39 million to $88.8 million)
- Wholesale trade – 39.4% increase ($203 million to $243 million)
Darebin also experienced growth thanks to the mining boom, with a 57% increase in mining-relating exports from 2006 to 2012.
Of the 11,575 registered businesses in Darebin, the most common industry sectors are:
- Construction – 1,992 registered businesses (17.2%)
- Professional, scientific & technical services – 1,442 registered businesses (12.3%)
- Rental, hiring & real estate services – 1,167 registered businesses (10.1%)
- Transport, postal & warehousing – 1,031 registered businesses (8.9%)
Demographics of Darebin
As of 2012, Darebin has 144,086 residents living in its boundaries which include 5,344 hectares or 53 km². This gives the area of Darebin a population density of 26.96 persons per hectare. Darebin residents have a median age of 36 and earn on average $1,178 per week. According to the 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics census, in Darebin:
- 28% of households are couples with children. (4% lower than Victorian average)
- 34% live in Medium/High density housing (11% higher than Victorian average)
- 34% of residents rent their property (8% higher than Victorian average)
- 28% have a Bachelor's degree or Higher (7% higher than Victorian average)
- 21% travel on Public Transport to work (10% higher than Victorian average)
- 29% from Non-English speaking backgrounds (9% higher than Victorian average)
The most common occupations in Darebin are:
- Professionals (28.7%)
- Clerical & Administrative Workers (14.7%)
- Technicians & Trade Workers (12.0%)
With gentrification, more educated and affluent residents are moving to the Darebin area, particularly in the suburbs of Northcote and Fairfield. This has seen a marked change in the occupations of residents in Darebin since 2006. There has been a decline in the number of residents employed in manual labour positions and an increase in the number of residents employed in managerial, professional and community service sectors. This is also related to the amount of residents living in Darebin with tertiary education, with a 6% increase in residents with degrees in the last 7 years. Furthermore, the largest increase in residents in Darebin came from those earning in the top 25%, with a 3.4% increase in households since 2006.
Darebin has a diverse mutlicultural population, with 33.7% of residents being born overseas. The most common countries of birth are:
- Italy (5.3%)
- Greece (3.7%)
- India (3.3%)
- China (3.2%)
26% of Darebin residents also arrived in Australia within the last 5 years.
Darebin as a region is home to many environmentalists and supporters of Green initiatives, and this is reflected in the transportation methods used by Darebin residents compared to Melbourne as a whole. Most residents still drive to work, with 50.1% of residents driving alone to work, however this is 10% lower than the Greater Melbourne average. Furthermore, 14.2% of Darebin residents travel to work by Bus, compared to 11.9% in the rest of Melbourne. Darebin residents also walk to work, cycle to work or catch other modes of Public Transport more often than the rest of Melbourne. Since 2006, the largest single increase in transportation use has been the train, with a change of 2,423 more residents catching the train, compared to 2,416 new drivers. This is the only region in Victoria that achieved this feat.
Until recently, Darebin Council elections have been dominated by the Australian Labor Party (ALP). At the first City of Darebin election in 1996 and at subsequent elections in 1998, 2002 and 2004 only ALP member candidates were successful. The ALP endorsed candidates for the very first Darebin Council elections, but in subsequent elections the local party organisation supported particular candidates in each contested ward. The decision of the party not to endorse candidates almost certainly arises from the performance of the very first elected council, in which a deal between ALP factions determined the preselection of the party's council candidates.
Dissatisfaction with the performance of the first Darebin Council led to the Kennett Government holding an Inquiry under David Elsum, which reported to the Victorian Parliament in April 1997. The Elsum Report found that factional differences led to poor governance on the Council. As a result the Kennett Government sacked the Council and appointed a commissioner, but decided to return to an elected council about eighteen months later in 1998.
The council consisted of nine single-Councillor wards at each of the four elections totally dominated by the ALP. In 2008, following a representation review by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC), Darebin was divided into three wards comprising three councillors in each elected by proportional representation. For the first time the ALP stranglehold was broken with the election of Trent McCarthy, a Greens candidate, to the Rucker Ward. In 2012, the ALP stranglehold was further weakened with the election of independents Julie Williams and Bo Li elected to the Cazaly Ward, along with Oliver Walsh, a Liberal Party member, elected to the Rucker Ward. In the current term, Vince Fontana of Cazaly Ward and Gaetano Greco of La Trobe Ward quit the ALP, leaving only three ALP members, Tim Laurence, Steven Tsitas and Angela Villella, on the Council.
The first election in 1996 was by attendance voting. Postal voting has been used at each subsequent election.
ALP factions provided much of the interest in Darebin politics, given that the ALP has traditionally been in a commanding position within the municipality. Two councillors elected from the Right or Labor Unity faction, Nazih Elasmar and Marlene Kairouz, were subsequently elected to the Victorian Parliament. Both Elasmar and Kairouz have at various times served as Mayor of Darebin, Kairouz having held the office of Mayor on two occasions.
At the first Darebin Council Election no faction held control, with four councillors from the Preston area being members of the Labor Unity (Right) faction, four councillors from the Northcote area being members of the Socialist Left, and one Councillor from the Preston area being a member of the Pledge faction, a breakaway group from the Socialist Left frequently voting with the Right. After elections in 1998, 2002 and 2004 the Labor Unity group held almost all Council positions, but complications existed within Labor Unity as two sub-factions competed for dominance and for the election of Mayor. In 2008, with the introduction of the proportional representation voting system, no faction again held dominance.
Ethnically the Council reflected non-English speaking background (NESB) residents in a way that the previous Preston and Northcote Councils did not, for the latter were for much of the time dominated by Anglo and Celtic councillors who were often prejudiced against residents from NESB backgrounds. All Darebin Councils have been ethnically diverse.
The first Council was one-third Greek, with councillors Bilias, Tsitas and Politis of Greek-ethnic background. The first Council also saw the election of Crs Keirl (of German-Chinese background), Elasmar (Lebanese), Laurence (Indian) with Anglo-Celtic councillors Anderson, Donohue and Kelly.
Greek membership of the Council declined at the elections of 1998, with only Tsitas returned, and his defeat in 2002 meant that there we no Greeks on the Council for the 2002–2004 term. Tsitas was again elected in 2004, and he was joined in 2008 by a second Greek, Nick Katsis. Tsitas was re-elected in 2012 and is again the only Greek on Council.
Anglo-Celtic representation remained at three in 1998, but was reduced to two in 2004. Crs Kelly, Perry and Stephenson were returned in 1998, and were re-elected in 2002. In 20.04 billion Kelly and Stephenson were returned, but neither contested the elections of 2008. Crs Morgan and McCarthy were elected in 2008. In 2012, McCarthy was re-elected and Walsh and Williams were elected.
Lebanese representation on the Council has also been significant, with two of their number later being elected to the Victorian Parliament. Lebanese councillors elected were Elasmar in 1996, Kairouz in 1998, 2002 and 2004 and Asmar in 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2008. All three have served as Mayor.
Italians have served in all Darebin Councils other than the first. Italians elected have been Fontana in 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2008 and 2012, Salata in 1998, 2002 and 2004, Greco in 2008 and 2012, and Villella in 2012.
Other ethnic groups represented have been Indian (Laurence in 1996, 2008 and 2012), Chinese (Chiang in 2002, 2004 and 2008 and Li in 2012) and Macedonian (Kundevski in 2004).
The City of Darebin has been served by five Chief Executive Officers:
Kelvin Spiller (1994 to 1998) was the chief executive officer of the former City of Preston, and stayed on at amalgamation to become the first chief executive officer of the City of Darebin. He left the City of Darebin to take up the role of chief executive officer at the Shire of Maroochy in Queensland. His involvement in the events leading up to the Council dismissal made his position untenable upon the return of democratically elected Councillors, and he departed the City of Darebin on 28 August 1998, 15 days before the 1998 Council Election.
David Graham (1998–1999) was seconded to the City of Darebin from the City of Port Phillip to lead the organisation and during the tumultuous period following the Council's 1997 dismissal. His major priority was to undertake the recruitment of a permanent chief executive officer. Mr Graham made it clear to staff he was at Darebin for a temporary assignment and would not be a candidate for the permanent role. Upon the recruitment of Philip Shanahan, Mr Graham returned to the City of Port Phillip.
Philip Shanahan (1999–2005) was Darebin's longest serving chief executive officer, and Victoria's most experienced local government Chief Executive. Mr Shanahan came to Darebin after serving as the chief executive officer at the City of Maribyrnong since amalgamation in 1994. Mr Shanahan retired from full-time work in 2005.
Michael Ulbrick (2005–2010) came to Darebin from the Victorian Workcover Authority, but was already known to Darebin staff, having served a period on Philip Shanahan's Executive Management Team from 1999 to 2003. In 2002, Mr Ulbrick served a six-month period as temporary chief executive officer at the Surf Coast Shire following the departure of their chief executive officer.
The current CEO Mr Rasiah Dev (2010–present) was also already well known by the Darebin community as he had served under Philip Shanahan. During that period Mr Dev championed the introduction of the developer contribution levy. Mr Dev's softly-spoken manner and warm smile was put to good use by Philip Shanahan to handle many controversial issues such as the Merri Parade Bridge road works and flooding in Bundoora. After a stint as CEO at Moonee Valley Mr Dev returned to Darebin to take up the CEO role in May 2010. Mr Dev took leave in September 2012 for health reasons and resumed his duties in December 2012.
Council has been investigated by the Victorian Ombudsman in recent times due to allegations of corruption resulting in numerous resignations. Amidst these allegations the current CEO's salary was raised to approximately 400k without seeking public approval.<http://m.theage.com.au/victoria/darebin-council-overlooks-concerns-over-chief-executive-rasiah-dev-to-boost-rich-pay-packet-20140902-10bk2o.html>The council is known for its lack of consultation with local residents, recent high density developments and lack of transparency in making decisions that affect its constituents. They are synonymous for being extremely difficult & autonomous towards private residents who want to make minor & moderate alterations to property.<http://m.theage.com.au/victoria/ombudsman-told-of-darebin-bribes-20120620-20okd.html> <http://m.heraldsun.com.au/leader/north/northcote-man-defies-darebin-council-order-to-pull-up-synthetic-turf-on-his-nature-strip/story-fnglenug-1226586282615?nk=c9086d3870197969e5334df6cc44d110>
Corruption within council is suspected regarding councillor expenses & planning matters so much so that a Victorian government appointed officer via the ombudsman's office will sit in council for the next 3 years - 2014-2017 <http://m.theage.com.au/victoria/supervisor-to-safeguard-against-corruption-in-darebin-council-20140113-30qz3.html>
Arts and entertainment
Darebin City has an active artists community which is contemporary, experimental and culturally diverse. Writers, musicians and visual artists flock to the locality for performance, collaboration and acceptance. Notable contributors to the Darebin arts community are locals, Rose Turtle Ertler, Sundown and/or Last Stand, The Contrast, The Melbourne Ukulele Kollective, DIY artshows and housegigs collective, Loveanarchistpress Publishing, Performing Older Women's Circus (POW Circus) and TRAX Arts.
Darebin celebrates the artistry and diversity of the community with regular festivals and events such as the Darebin Music Feast and the High Vibes festival. The city also funds community music, such as the Preston Symphony Orchestra and public artwork, such as the Fairfield Industrial Dog Object.
The Preston Markets are a central feature of Darebin and attract people from all around the area.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Darebin (Local Government Area)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "BankWest Quality of Life Index 2008" (PDF). BankWest Quality of Life Index 2008. BankWest. 20 August 2008. p. 8. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
- Lyle Allan (2010), "Dummy candidates and the end of Labor endorsements. The Darebin Council election of 1998," in Recorder (Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Melbourne Branch), No. 268, Page 4.
- David L. Elsum (1997), Inquiry into the Darebin City Council (Elsum Report), Victorian Government Printer, Melbourne
- Elsum Report, p.53
- Lyle Allan (1984), 'Ethnic Transition in Inner-Melbourne Politics,' in James Jupp (ed.) Ethnic Politics in Australia, George Allen and Unwin, North Sydney, p.141
- Lyle Allan (2004), 'Changing the political landscape. A history of Darebin Greeks and their political involvement,' Neos Kosmos English Edition Darebin Special, 20 December, p.8
- "Inner-city haven – Property – Domain". The Age. www.theage.com.au. 24 June 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2008.
- Population – Darebin City Council – Research and Statistics
- Official website
- Metlink local public transport map
- Link to Land Victoria interactive maps
- Australian Places – Darebin
- Darebin Council Waste Management photos