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Municipal Association of Victoria

BULLETIN

All your local government news this week

Issue 1092: 2 September 2016
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Strategic priorities
  • How-to-vote cards: A disallowance sought by the Victorian Liberals to the Local Government (Electoral) Regulations 2016 was passed in Parliament this week, which revokes the allowance of inclusion of how-to-vote cards in postal ballot packs. The amendment was supported by the Nationals and the Greens. This is a disappointing outcome as the MAV has consistently advocated that voters should have as much information as possible about the candidates they are voting for, and that understanding candidate preferences is critical information to assist voters.
  • Fracking ban: This week the Victorian Government announced a permanent ban on the exploration and development of all onshore unconventional gas in Victoria, including fracking and coal seam gas. The MAV welcomes the announcement as it aligns with State Council resolutions and our submission to the 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry into Onshore Unconventional Gas in Victoria, which reflected concerns raised by the sector.
Our draft submission to the Local Government Act Review directions paper has been sent to members for feedback. The draft submission is based on feedback from the MAV Local Government Act Review Taskforce.

Submissions are due to the State Government by 16 September. Due to the short timeframe we are asking for councils to urgently review our draft and provide any feedback to Steve Goldsworthy by COB on 13 September. This will provide time for our submission to be amended to reflect wider sector views.

Councils are also strongly encouraged to make individual submissions.

The MAV is seeking feedback on our current publications and communications channels to gain a better understanding of what our members receive, read and find useful.

As a loyal bulletin subscriber you are invited to have your say and participate in our MAV Communications Survey.

Your views about our current communications will help us to improve the information we provide, and ensure our member communications are informative, timely and meet your needs.

The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. The survey closes on 23 September.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning has released its Marine and Coastal Act consultation paper. The paper seeks feedback on the vision and objectives for marine and coastal management, and discusses a number of alternatives to the current system.

The paper suggests a number of proposed reforms, some of which would have significant implications for councils. One such proposal is to transition smaller Category 2 Committees of Management (CoMs) into either larger Category 1 CoMs or to local government to manage as the CoM.

The MAV will be drafting a response to the paper in consultation with the sector. The deadline for submissions is 23 October.

For further information, contact Claire Dunn.

On 1 September changes to the Building Act 1993 came into effect. This has changed the powers and functions of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA).

The VBA is seeking council support to update communication material and website content to reflect the changes. Key changes include the abolition of the Building Practitioners Board and new requirements for owner-builders.

Building practitioners, building surveyors and owner-builders are also encouraged to read about the new changes.

Recent amendments to the Local Government Act 1989 included the requirement for all councils to adopt an election period policy by 31 March 2016.

In response to those changes, the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate recently conducted an election period policy review, which showed the majority of councils had followed the legislative requirements.
 
The inspectorate makes six recommendations to assist councils in complying with caretaker requirements. The MAV encourages all councils to read the review and distribute to staff as required.
 
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Registrations for the MAV Annual Conference and Dinner will close on 5 September. An updated program is now available.

Presenters include the Hon David Davis, Shadow Minister for Local Government; the Hon Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning; ABC political journalist Emma Alberici; and ALGA president Troy Pickard.

The conference is on 8 September at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins.

Registrations can be made online.

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There is still time to register for our Power to the People Conference on 14-15 September, which will highlight innovative ways to create vibrant communities led by active, caring and engaged citizens.

Program highlights include inspiring speakers and case studies that offer insights into citizens as co-designers and co-producers; a choice of five inclusive learning workshops; and a gala dinner.

A full program is now available. The conference will be held at the Rydges Hotel, Melbourne. Registrations can be made online.

  • There is still time to apply for the Fire Awareness Awards, with nominations closing on 15 September. The Awards are open to anyone who has implemented a project or program over the last two years that helps to reduce the effect of fire in Victoria.
  • Finalists have been announced for the Victorian Early Years Awards, which includes a number of Victorian councils. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on 18 October.

Councils sign Age-friendly Declaration

The Age-friendly Victoria Declaration has been signed by 18 councils following signing of the document by the MAV President, Cr Bill McArthur, and Minister for Ageing, Martin Foley in April this year.

The declaration makes a statement about a council's commitment to the age-friendly direction, and the MAV looks forward to more councils signing the declaration in future.

Further information and a downloadable copy of the declaration is available on the Seniors Online website. For further information, contact Jan Bruce.

Smart Cities and Suburbs Program: roundtables

The Australian Government recently announced a $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program to support local government to fast-track innovative technology solutions that improve long-standing urban problems.

A roundtable will be held in central Melbourne on 14 September to introduce the program and encourage input on how it can be designed to best meet council and community needs.

The program seeks to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of urban service delivery, infrastructure, and planning to improve the liveability of cities and their suburbs.

Registrations for the roundtable can be made online.

  • Victorians are being reminded that some bird species, including Magpies, may start to swoop people as part of their normal breeding behaviour. The 2016 Victorian Magpie Map shows locations where people have been swooped during the spring breeding season. Councils are encouraged to promote the map and invite community members to add data to the map.
  • The State Government has launched the new Victorian Waste Education Strategy to help Victorians keep more waste out of landfill, reduce the amount of waste generated and boost recycling.
  • Melbourne turned 181-years-old on 30 August with a range of special events to celebrate.

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