Listen.Talk.Local. Community Conversations

Join a conversation with your neighbours

Organised by – and for – local residents

We run regular conversations across Port Phillip to share ideas, meet our neighbours, and build momentum for a positive future that includes everyone. Our planning for more conversations in 2023 is underway.  We look forward to meeting you soon.

Next Event:   Breaking the Grip - council and the neo-liberal agenda 

Join the sharpest economist in the country, Dr Richard Denniss, in a conversation about the narrowing ideology of lower taxes and smaller government that has a majority of our councillors in its grip.  Tuesday 6 June 7:00pm to 9:00pm.  Middle Park Library Community Centre, 254-256 Richardson Street (upstairs - lift access).  Click here to book a free place.

Past Events

convo #5

The Defunding of Local Culture (2023)

Council's proposed 45% cut the Cultural Development Fund: Projects was the starting point of reflection on Council's overall attitude to community arts and culture. We were reminded that in about 2001 Council adopted the ideas in Jon Hawkes' book The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability: Culture’s Essential Role in Public Planning, committing  City managers to apply cultural significance to every council proposal—alongside the usual economic, sustainability, and equity considerations. 

No trace of the fourth pillar remains at Council today, leaving us with the challenge of how to strengthen the cultural advocacy voice in Port Phillip.



Nature Food & Community (2022)

In October, we looked at how citizens can reclaim streets and public spaces for the common good, and do a better job living with nature.  Our guest speakers 

  • Emma Cutting, Founder and Chief Doer of The Heart Gardening Project
  • Gio Fitzpatrick, urban ecologist, naturalist and member of the Yalikut Willam Nature Association (formerly Elsternwick Park Association
  • Bec Scott, CEO of social enterprise STREAT, and also a member of Moving Feast
  • Russell Downing, member Veg Out community garden

explained how you can turn your street, your apartment block or your neighbourhood into a productive, thriving, enriching source of food, nature and community.


Fisherman's Bend - community Conversation and Bus Tour (2022)

Fishermans Bend is the largest urban development project in Australia. We explored what that will mean for Port Phillip residents, where the project is heading, and the issues it raises. The bus tour gave us a chance to see what is happening on the ground.

The bus tour (2 Oct) was led by Fishermans Bend experts and former Port Phillip mayors Janet Bolitho and Bernadene Voss.

The community conversation (11 Oct) was led by a panel comprising Janet Bolitho, from Fishermans Bend Development Board,  Bernadene Voss, from Fishermans Bend Business Forum, Professor Alex Felson ecologist, Melbourne School of Design and Dr. Kate Shaw urban analyst, University of Melbourne


Welcoming a new, independent local news outlet to Port Phillip (2022)

The 2022 Federal Election highlighted just how important and precious a robust, independent and thoughtful media is. With a new online local media -  *PS Media - about to get going in Port Phillip, our June community conversation met with founders:

to learn more about their new venture and commitment to decent journalism.



Aboriginal vision for the future of Port Phillip (2022)

At our first community conversation, in April, we welcomed, and were honoured to host:

  •  N'arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs, Boon Wurrung Elder
  •  Jack Latimore, The Age Indigenous Affairs journalist

We were shocked to learn of the decision of Port Phillip Council to suspend well-known Boon wurrung senior elder N'arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM from delivering any further Welcomes to Country. 

We were gratified that she was so frank about matters of which the mainly white audience had little or no knowledge, including the continuing legal challenges around the State Government process that has accepted the similarly named Bunurong Land Council as the relevant Recognised Aboriginal Party (RAP) for Port Phillip. 


Musical Balconies (2021)

In May, we presented a day of free, local tunes, hosted by residents at 25 & 26 Esplanade (opposite Luna Park), for the enjoyment of passing pedestrians.

With so many local music industry folk impacted by Covid-19 lockdowns, we wanted to help. So, we applied for a City Of Port Phillip Local Festival Fund Grant to ensure that musicians were paid a fair rate for their set, and techies for their sound support. 

The line-up featured a mix of genres presented by local musicians and community bands/choirs, including Tanya-Lee Davies, Stiletto Sisters, Aidan McGartland, John Wayne Parsons, Elwood Community Choir, Jack Howard, Grubby Urchins, Nicky Kurta, the Accordion Community Band and Bornstein Ultimatum with guests Paul Brown, Marc Bornstein and Jules Boult.

The event was produced for free by Progressive Port Phillip volunteers.