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All your local government news this week

Issue 1054: November 20 2015
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  • The Local Government Amendment (Fair Go Rates) Bill 2015 has been debated and voted on in Parliament’s lower house. It received support from the Labor Government, and the Liberal opposition, but was opposed by the Greens. It has been introduced into the upper house and debate will continue on 19 November. Our Rate Capping Forum is locked in for 26 November and registrations can be made online.
  • The State Government has released its Regional Statement to give regional communities a stronger voice in government decision-making. The centrepiece of the Statement is the establishment of nine new regional partnerships across the state, with representatives from community, business and all three levels of government.
More than 40 mayors, councillors, and CEOs attended the MAV roundtable on 12 November, to help shape our sector submission to the State Government’s discussion paper on the review of the Local Government Act 1989.

A preliminary submission is being prepared based on feedback at the roundtable session.

We intend to circulate the proposed submission to MAV members on 27 November with comments due by 14 December. This will enable our submission to meet the 18 December deadline.

In addition to informing the sector submission, councils and councillors are encouraged to make their own submissions direct to the Minister on all, or any part of the discussion paper.

Councils are invited to join the inaugural Victoria Against Violence - 16 Days of Activism education and awareness campaign to unite Victorians to end family and gender violence.

During the 16 Days, from 25 November to 10 December, the whole Victorian community is encouraged to ‘go ORANGE’ and join the Unite and Change movement to end family and gender violence.

Resources for councils to use during the campaign have been emailed to council communications staff.

it's time to unite and change

Councils can also access a new 1800RESPECT online toolkit which will launch on 25 November. It has been developed with experts to educate frontline workers, help them to better identify signs of domestic and family violence and equip them with the skills to safely refer to specialist services. Council frontline workers could include MCH staff, youth workers, HACC workers, child care staff, local laws officers, library staff or customer service centre workers.

Councils are encouraged to promote the toolkit to staff, networks and colleagues using the materials in the campaign kit.

The Victorian Government has introduced an Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill 2015 into Parliament where it is currently awaiting debate.

The Bill proposes a number of reforms, including giving greater certainty for Victoria’s land use and development industries, establishing a clear traditional owner consultation process where there is no Registered Aboriginal Party, and introducing evaluation timeframes for cultural heritage permit applications.

It will also create an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Fund, introduce a process for dealing with Aboriginal Ancestral Remains, and establishes the role of Aboriginal Heritage Officers. This Bill has been developed as a result of a number of consultation reviews about the Aboriginal Heritage Act held over the last few years to which MAV has contributed input and submissions.

Councils across Melbourne are participating in the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The Resilient Melbourne Strategy is currently being drafted.

To help metropolitan Melbourne become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges of the 21st century, the project team is working with 32 metropolitan councils, government, the MAV and other stakeholders to develop a framework for community, business and government to adapt, thrive and survive at times of unprecedented change and great uncertainty.

All council staff and elected representatives are invited to attend a project update and hear about how they can be more involved.

Dates are as follows:

Please register online using the links provided for each session. For further information, contact Nicholas Barda.

Shade forum 2015

Local Government Shade Forum

Architect and planner from Ryerson University in Canada, George Kapelos, will join a long list of impressive presenters at our all-day Local Government Shade Forum on 8 December, run in partnership with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Cancer Council Victoria.

George will discuss how to think differently about shade in public places. He will also discuss how architecture, landscape and urbanism can mitigate the effects of harmful UVR through shade policy and a creative design response to shade.

Resilient urban communities

Resilient Cities and Communities

Join us on 1-2 December for an exceptional opportunity to hear from leading international and Australian professionals in the fast-evolving practice of urban resilience. The conference will explore the multi-faceted dimensions of resilience and feature outstanding case studies.

Speakers include Craig Lapsley, Emergency Management Commissioner, Victoria; Stephanie Alexander, chef, food educator and creator of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation; and Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation.

  • Grants of up to $40,000 will be available for 10 councils in the most drought affected areas in Victoria's north-west. This will assist councils to implement localised drought support programs
  • The State Government is fast tracking the consideration of regional development projects in identified drought-impacted areas which meet Regional Development Victoria funding guidelines
  • Applications for the first round of the Community Shade Grants Program close on 13 December, with grants to be awarded from later that month. Funding rounds will be conducted every year for the next three years.

National Disability Insurance Scheme 

The MAV hosted a forum on 11 December about the National Disability Insurance Scheme and its impact on local government. It was well attended with over 110 participants. Presentations will be available on the MAV website shortly.

We explored the potential impact of the major social and economic reform for local government, and speakers acknowledged that this major change will offer both challenges and opportunities in three main areas - economic development, citizen engagement and inclusion, and service provision.

Governance as Leadership 

The MAV Governance as Leadership conference held on 9-10 November discussed a number of matters relevant to the review of the Local Government Act.

One of the principles to come out of the conference was that councils should use the review to redefine the relationship with the State Government and the community.

For further information, contact John Hennessy.

  • Join Clearwater and the City of Kingston on a Sensitive Urban Design tour to view a variety of established rain gardens as well as an award-winning innovative stormwater harvesting system retrofitted in an old industrial estate on 11 December.
  • The Victorian Government has established the new Young Farmers Ministerial Advisory Council to advise the government about practical actions and opportunities to attract and retain young people in agriculture.
  • Councils who actively participate in the ‘Get to kNOw Asbestos this November’ Campaign will be eligible to enter the 2015 Betty Awards. To be eligible for the awards, entrants must register their intended participation in Asbestos Awareness Month before the end of November.

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