Issue 983:                                                      Week ending 20 June 2014

Fire Services Property Levy funding
National General Assembly
MAV continues advocacy on early childhood changes
Changes to bicycle lane road markings
Councils celebrate Refugee Week
National Awards for Local Government
Emergency Management Victoria update
MAV Uderstanding Local Government program
Stormwater Victoria seminar

'Love Where You Live’ with Peter Kageyama
CIV new indicator data to be released
In social media news...

Fire Services Property Levy funding

The MAV understands that councils have now been advised of the funding for the administration and collection of the Fire Services Property Levy for 2014-15.

We have been in negotiations with the Victorian Government on the quantum of funding that will be provided to councils to offset their costs in collecting the levy. We are pleased with the funding package and believe that it is likely to cover the costs incurred by councils.

The current funding package will be indexed annually until 2017-18, when a review of funding will commence.

For further information, contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

National General Assembly

The 20th National General Assembly of local government was held in Canberra this week. The assembly brought together approximately 900 council delegates from across the nation.

The three-day assembly featured addresses by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss, Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, Julie Collins, and Greens Leader, Christine Milne.

At the assembly councils voted to call on the Commonwealth Government to reverse the decision included in the 2014 Federal Budget to freeze indexation on Financial Assistance Grants for the next three years.

The 2014-15 State of the Regions Report, Regional Development in a Globalised Economy, was launched during the assembly. Key findings of the report included a widening gap between the prosperity of Australia's regions, the need for strategic infrastructure investment, and an uncertain outlook for youth employment in many regions.

MAV continues its advocacy on early childhood changes

The MAV will write to the Prime Minister urging him to review the changes to the Family Day Care (FDC) Community Support Programme funding, and will request that the July 2015 deadline be extended until the full impact of the changes is understood.

We will also request that consideration be given to a special circumstances funding category to ensure that high quality established FDC services do not close, leaving vulnerable and working families without an affordable and flexible FDC option.

Last week we made a submission to the Senate Enquiry into the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Measures) Bill 2014, which proposes to maintain the current child care rebate limit at $7,500 per child and to maintain the child care benefit income thresholds as at 30 June 2014 for three income years - to 30 June 2017.

The MAV advocated that these measures will place additional burden on families already facing significant affordability impacts from other Federal Budget reforms.

For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.

Changes to Bicycle lane road markings

VicRoads has released the latest Road Rule Amendment package, which includes a change to the bicycle lane rules around how a lane is marked.

This new change is intended to clarify and improve legislation regarding new and existing bicycle lane markings relating to new markings where a bicycle lane starts and ends.

The intended start date for this change is 1 October, however VicRoads is seeking feedback from councils to ensure this change will not have any adverse effects on current bike paths.

For further information, contact Rodney Blythe.

Councils celebrate Refugee Week

Councils across the state have embraced Refugee Week (15-20 June) with a range of activities including cultural festivals, food days and music events.

In the lead up to Refugee Week, the MAV held a Refugee Welcome Zone Forum for councils to learn more about what is involved in being a RWZ, and what they can do to continue their support of refugees settling into Victorian communities.

Refugee Welcome Zones are an initiative from the Refugee Council of Australia, and defined as a council area that has made a commitment to welcome refugees into the community, uphold their human rights, demonstrate compassion, and enhance cultural and religious diversity in the community.

Councils are showing strong support for refugee settlement in local communities with 30 municipalities now formally declared as Refugee Welcome Zones.

National Awards for Local Government

The MAV would like to congratulate the Victorian councils who won a National Award for Local Government this week at the National General Assembly.

Among the six category winners was Latrobe City Council, awarded for its Steps to the Future Indigenous Employment Program, Hume City Council for its School Holiday Program for Indigenous Children with a Disability, and Greater Dandenong City Council for its ‘Racism. Get Up. Speak Out.’ Campaign.

The awards are an annual celebration of Australian local government achievements. They recognise the important role of local governments in delivering targeted quality services to Australians in urban and regional communities.

Emergency Management Victoria update

As part of the State’s emergency management reform agenda, Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) will be formally established on 1 July.

EMV will incorporate staff from the Fire Services Commissioner’s office, Integrated Fire Management Planning, the Emergency Management Division of the Department of Justice, as well as some newly created positions.

Two new statutory positions - the Emergency Management Commissioner and the Inspector-General Emergency Management - will also commence on 1 July.

The Department of Justice issued an update on the establishment of EMV and other reforms earlier this week.

From August, there will be a series of regional forums jointly held by Emergency Management Victoria and Inspector-General Emergency Management to introduce stakeholders, including local government, to these and future reforms.

For further information, contact Emma Lake.

MAV Understanding Local Government program

The MAV will hold an Understanding Local Government program on 27 June, facilitated by local government expert Fiona McAllister.

The program helps new and longstanding council staff to understand local government, its role, responsibilities, and history. It examines local government’s place within our federal systems and its legislative relationship with the State Government.

It also examines how councils are structured, funded and governed. It explores the role of the administration and issues of governance community engagement and the role of the council and councillors.

It will be held at the MAV, Level 11, 60 Collins Street, from 9am-4.30pm. Registrations can be made online.

Stormwater Victoria seminar

Stormwater Victoria is holding an On Site Sediment Control Seminar on 24 June, open to all interested councils.

This seminar will focus on erosion and sediment control, particularly, planning and risks, legislative requirements, control measures, and water quality measures. Presenters include Ken Fraser, Graeme Christie and Leisa Brough from Statewide River and Stream Management, and Nicole Lowes from EPA Victoria.

It's at Assembly Hall, Boyd Community Hub, 207 City Road, Southbank from 3.30-5pm. Registrations close on 20 June.

Further information and registration details are available online.

'Love Where You Live’ with Peter Kageyama

Internationally renowned economic development practitioner Peter Kageyama, co-founder of the Creative Cities Summit, is holding a workshop ‘Love Where You Live’ on 29 July at the MAV.

In support of his book, Peter has developed an interactive workshop that allows communities to develop their own approaches to becoming a more lovable community.

The workshop identifies key community assets including the emotionally engaged citizens that shape the city/town, and develops strategies and tactics to engage these local development resources. Peter emphasises locally-based solutions that do not require significant resources and can be quickly implemented.

For further information, contact John Hennessy.

CIV new indicator data to be released

Community Indicators Victoria (CIV) will be releasing a number of new indicators by mid July.

These include 14 new measures of alcohol outlets according to location, licence type and population density for LGAs. New indicators have also been developed for library membership, and median rental prices for houses and apartments.

Metadata pages and maps are currently under construction and will be available online soon.

The 2012 release of the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) will also be updated, as will Literacy and Numeracy results for the National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).

In social media news...

Upcoming MAV events...

26 - 27 June

MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference 2014

10 July

Demystifying local government finance and the new reporting framework

25 - 27 July

MAV Councillor Development Weekend 2014


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