Issue 945:                                                    Week ending 30 August 2013

Energy efficient street lighting update
Defined Benefit Superannuation Taskforce
Ombudsman report on unenforced warrants
Fire Services Property Levy on community housing
Modernising LG service delivery
Car registration stickers not required from 1 January 2014
CEO performance, appointment and re-appointment workshop
Save the date - MAV day for new and returning mayors
Smart Steps: for councils
Local government day at Freight Week 2013
Preventing and addressing racism
In social media news...

Energy efficient street lighting update

Forty-eight Victorian councils have successfully sourced funding to transition to energy efficient street lighting through the Commonwealth’s Community Energy Efficiency Program. Sixty-four councils have either implemented an energy efficient street lighting bulk changeover project or are about to.

The MAV and Ironbark Sustainability have combined to provide a support program for councils transitioning to energy efficient street lighting. The Street Lighting Program provides project plans, design specifications, communications plans, and support to procurement and implementation.

Councils have been purchasing thousands of approved energy efficient street lights through the MAV Procurement panel, following a competitive tender process conducted on behalf of 45 councils. The panel contains all currently approved energy efficient street lights and can be refreshed on a quarterly basis as new lighting becomes approved.

MAV Procurement and Ironbark are currently working with over 20 councils to develop business cases to use LED lighting, which is expected to be approved for usage in some distribution business areas within the next six months.

We will also request an exemption to S186 of the Local Government Act on behalf of a number of councils who did not initially participate in the MAV tender for energy efficient street lighting hardware. If granted, this exemption will provide councils with significant time and project cost reductions.

Based on current and funded projects, over 183 000 inefficient 80 watt mercury vapour lights will be replaced over the next four years, generating greenhouse gas savings of 1.21 million tonnes over the life of the new lights. This will result in combined financial savings for Victorian councils of up to $340 million.

For information on the MAV’s environment policy contact Ben Morris; for more details regarding MAV Procurement contact Cameron Spence.

Defined Benefit Superannuation Taskforce

A revitalised Defined Benefit Superannuation Taskforce met this week to focus on implementing the Taskforce’s final report recommendations. The Taskforce welcomed 13 new members and received a briefing on progress made on the recommendations, including advocating for the return of the scheme as an exempt public sector superannuation scheme, rebating or waiving the contributions tax paid on top-up payments, consolidated borrowing, and changes to Vision Super’s reporting and actuarial timelines.

The Taskforce was briefed by Vision Super’s Acting Chief Executive, who indicated that the fund is currently above its benchmark performance, with strong investment returns over 2012-13 ensuring that it is above 100 per cent on the vested benefit index. The Taskforce developed a draft work plan which will guide its future work and the MAV in advocating for the recommendations in the report. It will next meet in late October.

For further information contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

Ombudsman report on unenforced warrants

The Victorian Ombudsman last week released a report on unenforced warrants, which noted that the unpaid warrants awaiting enforcement by the sheriff were valued at $1.2 billion. A further $886 million in unenforced warrants has been written off since 2005. The report makes several findings about the reasons for the high value of unenforced warrants, including insufficient sheriff numbers, antiquated IT systems, an unwillingness or inability to utilise sanctions under the Infringements Act, and poor quality address data.

Local government has long held concerns about the extent that its infringements remained unpaid and the MAV is pleased that the Victorian Government announced in its budget funding for a fines reform initiative that will increase collection rates. The Government has recently commenced a process to strengthen the enforcement of infringements that is likely to increase collection rates on councils’ infringements.

For further information contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

Fire Services Property Levy on community housing

The Treasurer this week announced that community housing properties will be provided with an ex gratia payment to reduce their Fire Services Property Levy payment to the residential rate. While the MAV welcomes this decision by the Government, we are disappointed that the Treasurer stated that ‘some councils have inadvertently applied the commercial rate’ to these properties. The classification of these properties as commercial was applied accurately in accordance with the Fire Services Property Levy Act 2012.

Councils will this week be contacted by the State Revenue Office with advice on the administration of the ex gratia payments.

For further information contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

Modernising LG service delivery

The advent of web 2.0 technologies and mobile devices has altered the way citizens access local government information and services. Technology has liberated information and knowledge within and outside organisations. This has led to a platform, an ‘information ecosystem’, for shared decision-making for administrators, stakeholders and citizens.

On 6 September the MAV will host a workshop that focuses on modernising local government service delivery. It will describe innovations in service delivery; provide guidance on implementing and managing new technologies; and explain how to involve citizens in the development process to achieve better outcomes for all.

This event will be facilitated by Maryantonnett Flumian, who is recognised for her work as a transformational leader across complex areas of public policy and administration. Her current research focuses on leadership, collaboration, governance, and the revolutionary potential of technology in citizen-centered services. Maryantonnett is also presenting at the Governance as Leadership Conference on 4 – 5 September.

Car registration stickers not required from 1 January 2014

In July, the Premier announced that from 1 January 2014 light vehicles will no long require registration stickers. Light vehicles refer to all vehicles, including trailers up to 4.5 tonnes.

Drivers will still be sent registration renewal certificates to remind them to pay their registration.

As part of the reform, VicRoads is developing a mobile-friendly service which will allow people to check their registration details online and set reminders in case they forget to pay.

The Government has stated that registration enforcement will not be impacted because most police vehicles have online access to registration data through their in-car mobile terminals.

The MAV has contacted VicRoads communicating the urgent need for consultation with councils regarding impacts on parking infringements, and identifying abandoned and unregistered vehicles.

For further information contact James Cleaver.

CEO performance, appointment and re-appointment workshop

The MAV is holding a workshop for mayors and councillors to provide a better understanding of the issues around CEO appointment, re-appointment, performance management and appraisal. Highly experienced practitioners will help participants to understand roles and responsibilities, legal issues and obligations, the appointment process and performance management and appraisal.

The workshop will assist councillors to better understand:

  • councillor/CEO relationship and engagement
  • statutory requirements under the Local Government Act
  • roles and decision-making responsibilities of council
  • contractual context and obligations
  • appointment and re-appointment of the CEO
  • performance management and reviews, and
  • the balance of public and confidential information.

The program will be held on Monday 16 September from 10 am – 2.30 pm at the MAV. It is free of charge but registrations are essential.

For further information contact Andrew Rowe on 9667 5549.

Save the date - MAV day for new and returning mayors

On Thursday 5 December the MAV will be holding a day for all new and returning mayors. It will assist mayors to understand their role, appreciate expectations, establish the aspirations for their own support, and for themselves. The day will focus on the needs of mayors, development, networks and challenges of the role.

It will feature the experience and wisdom of many existing and former mayors and allow detailed discussion and debate, followed by a small cocktail event.

All intending mayors should save this date and urge their council to keep this day clear.

Further details will be made available shortly.

Smart Steps: for councils

Victoria Walks is launching Smart Steps: for councils – a range of resources and events to help councils create more walkable urban environments and promote walking as part of everyday life.

The seminar Getting Communities on Their Feet, will be held in Melbourne on 26 September and bring together leading experts to outline best practice planning for walkable environments and present projects that are translating policy into action.

Victoria Walks has also launched an online information toolkit for councils on walking policy, planning, infrastructure and promotion.

The toolkit is designed to make it easy to find the best and most relevant walking related information, in any area of local government activity. It includes case studies from around Australia of successful projects that promote walking and better public spaces. The toolkit includes a new Guide to Walking Strategies and the soon to be released Guide to Measuring Walking.

The seminar and resources will be of interest to anyone involved in transport or land use planning, urban design or promotion of physical activity.

Local government day at Freight Week 2013

The 2013 Freight Week conference will include a special day covering local government freight issues on Tuesday 3 September. The program includes presentations by the MAV, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), VicRoads and the ARRB Group. There is a special deal for local government delegates; two for $400.

The MAV is continuing to work with VicRoads and the NHVR in the lead up to the regulator’s launch, including a series of information sessions on councils’ new roles and responsibilities, scheduled between 11 and 17 September. Details have been provided to council infrastructure directors.

For further information contact John Hennessy or James Cleaver.

Preventing and addressing racism

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is offering a training opportunity to all councils. The MAV encourages uptake of this program designed to prevent and address racism. Evidence shows to do this we need:

  • capacity building
  • development of conscious cultural competence
  • evidenceā€based, experiential education
  • a focus on individual and organisational unconscious biases
  • education starting at the top of the organisation.

To find out how your council can take-up this training, contact Jane Lewis on 9032 3400.

In social media news...

  • A recent sacking case featured in the Age highlights the pitfalls of social media. Read more here.
  • Want to know more about social media record keeping for government and how to do it well? Find out more here.
  • The Rio de Janeiro Operations Centre acts as a master control for the city. Read more here.
Upcoming MAV events...

3 September

Cutting edge governance practices workshop

6 September

Modernising LG service delivery workshop

19 September

MAV planning improvement conference


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