Issue 940:                                                     Week ending 26 July 2013

MAV Members Brief on the landfill levy
Reform to the State Planning Policy Framework
Native vegetation reform training
Call for speakers - RCV Rural Summit 2014
Heavy vehicle law meetings
LGICT Awards for Excellence and Innovation Fellowship
New work on climate change adaptation good practice
Fire Services Property Levy reporting
Walk to School grants for councils
Energy information campaign
Neighbours, the law and you
In social media news...
Events

MAV Members Brief on the landfill levy

The MAV and councils have been advocating on the landfill levy – its collection, distribution and transparency - for several years. While there have been a number of ‘wins’ - such as a re-focused Sustainability Victoria and Sustainability Fund, and increased support for rural landfills - the collection of the landfill levy remains disproportionate to the spending. The reporting transparency on the levy through the EPA Victoria and Sustainability Victoria Annual Reports, has also recently increased.

In 2011-12, $135.12 million representing the municipal and industrial landfill levy for that year was distributed to Sustainability Victoria, EPA Victoria, and metropolitan and regional waste management groups, with the remaining $99.15 million going to the Sustainability Fund. At the end of 2011-12 the balance of the Sustainability Fund was $181.1 million.

Since November 2012, the Victorian Government has allocated $55.6 million from the Sustainability Fund to strategic waste and resource recovery projects; $6 million for climate adaptation, including $4.7 million for the Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership; and $10.6 million for Communities for Nature projects.

The MAV has prepared a Members Brief based on these findings which is available for councils on the MAV Members Only website. For further information contact Ben Morris.

Reform to the State Planning Policy Framework

The Hon. Matthew Guy, Minister for Planning has announced a review of the State Planning Policy Framework. This review aims to integrate key strategic directions identified in the new Metropolitan Planning Strategy and Regional Growth Plans in the framework so they can be implemented into planning schemes across Victoria.

Chairman Geoff Underwood, alongside Lester Townsend, Cazz Redding and Nicola Smith will review the role, structure and format of the State Planning Policy. The Advisory Committee will deliver its first report in October.

Native vegetation reform training

Following the release of the new native vegetation permitted clearing regulations and information sessions for local government, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is now offering training to relevant local government officers. This full-day course is essential training for council planning and biodiversity/environmental officers assessing or advising on applications for permits to remove native vegetation.

Training sessions are being held across the state from the middle of August to early September. Visit the DEPI website to learn more about the training and register to attend. The reforms will commence in September, when the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes are amended.

Call for speakers - RCV Rural Summit 2014

Hindmarsh Shire Council is now calling for speakers to present at the 2014 Rural Summit, to be held in Nhill on 27 and 28 March 2014.

The Rural Summit is an annual conference that attracts around 200 delegates from local government and the community. Topics explored include regional, community and economic development, tourism, business, technology and youth in rural Victoria. The Rural Summit is a great opportunity for speakers with expertise in rural issues to deliver a strong message that focuses on the 2014 Summit theme “Small Communities, Big Opportunities – Facing the future and embracing change.”

Interested speakers are asked to contact Katherine Colbert or Angela Stewart on 03 5391 4444 or by email at ruralsummit@hindmarsh.vic.gov.au for a Call for Speakers information sheet and expression of interest form. EOIs must be submitted by 5 pm on Friday 16 August.

Heavy vehicle law meetings

New Heavy Vehicle National Laws will come into effect in September, at which time councils will receive queries from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) about specific route applications. The MAV will be convening regional meetings in September to discuss the new laws, council responsibilities and proposed processes to interact with the NHVR.

For further information contact John Hennessy.

LGICT Awards for Excellence and Innovation Fellowship

Entries for the 2013 LGICT Awards for Excellence close next Wednesday, 31 July.

The awards recognise outstanding achievements by local government information and communication technology (ICT) practitioners and encourage innovation in council service delivery. Award categories include: team achievement, individual achievement, project of the year and collaboration of the year.

The LGICT Innovation Fellowship is a $10 000 grant provided by the LGICT to advance the local government ICT project that most successfully:

  • demonstrates outstanding innovation
  • advances the objectives of the LGICT Strategy
  • supports council business objectives, and
  • influences or assists other councils to improve service delivery.

The fellowship grant can be used to fund current or proposed ICT projects.

Read about last year’s successful entries on the LGICT website.

New work on climate change adaptation good practice

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) has undertaken work to highlight good practice examples of climate change adaptation from across the country. The Adaptation Good Practice (AGP) project provides tangible, real-life examples of adaptation processes and activities helping practitioners learn from the experience of others.

Sixteen case studies and nominated examples of AGP from across Australia have been produced to help guide future actions. They cover different levels of government and industry approaches at a variety of spatial scales. The overall report identifies the similarities that have been seen across all examples and the 16 case studies.

Fire Services Property Levy reporting

The State Revenue Office (SRO) is required to play an active role in monitoring the collection of levy funds. The level of reporting is aimed at reducing the need to conduct formal audits. Production of the following reports have been outlined in the Manual of Operating Procedures and specified in enhancements to council rating systems:

  • return (an annual return of expected levy to be collected)
  • remittance (four remittances that detail payments collected), and
  • reconciliation (an end of year reconciliation which identifies levy data movement throughout the financial year).

FSPL Express is a secure online system specifically related to the reporting requirements of the levy. FSPL Express provides councils with functionality complimentary to their primary reporting method via web service, which operates directly from council rate collection systems.

Installation of a digital certificate, previously issued to all councils by the SRO, is required to access FSPL Express. The due date for the annual return has also been revised from 31 July to 31 August.

For further information contact Craig Findlay on 03 9628 6935.

Walk to School grants for councils

VicHealth are offering councils Walk to School grants of up to $10 000 to promote Walk to School month in 2013. Walk to School is an annual event which has been funded by VicHealth since 2006. The event is designed to raise awareness of the physical, environmental and social benefits of active transport (walking to school), and encourage school children to walk to and from school more often. Last year more than 14 000 students from 151 primary schools in 53 council areas took part in Walk to School. This year Walk to School will take place in November.

The MAV is working with VicHealth and the Department of Transport to improve walkability throughout Victoria on the Victorian Pedestrian Advisory Council. For further information contact James Cleaver.

Energy information campaign

The Victorian Government has launched a public information campaign to help Victorians take charge of their power bills and make informed decisions about new flexible electricity pricing options being introduced from mid-September.

An Energy Information Fund is being set up to provide funding to not-for-profit organisations to help make sure that information about the electricity market and flexible pricing is received by multicultural, disadvantaged and hard-to-reach members of the community.

The public information campaign will also include an interactive web-based tool to help people understand their power usage profile and whether flexible pricing could help them save money.

Neighbours, the law and you

To help ensure all Victorians know their rights and responsibilities as a neighbour, Victoria Law Foundation has published Neighbours, the law and you, a guide which covers common neighbourhood issues including pets, noise, trees and fences. It aims to be a first port of call for anyone experiencing neighbourhood issues and to help prevent these issues escalating.

Councils are encouraged to order copies to distribute to your residents in customer service centres and share the publication’s link on your website and social media channels.

For further information contact Elisa Berg on 9604 8100.

In social media news...

The Say Yes referendum campaign website, Facebook page and twitter accounts are all now live.

Upcoming MAV events...

6 August

VLGMIN forum

14 - 15 August

LGICT annual conference

21 August 

Leadership from the inside out workshop

 

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