Issue 1040:                                                  Week ending 14 August 2015

Review of the Local Government Act
Royal Commission into Family Violence
Regulation of public lighting charges
Review of gaming machine entitlements
MAV to host level crossing removal info session
New agriculture fund open to councils
Deadline for having a say on the Future of Australia’s Federation extended
Energy Efficiency and Productivity Summit
Procurement Leaders Conference program released
International Water Scheme scholarships now open
In social media news...

Review of the Local Government Act

The State Government this week released the Terms of Reference for its review of the Local Government Act. An Advisory Committee consisting of six members has also been established and will be tasked with providing independent advice on the review.

The MAV has been calling for a review of the Act for many years due to the numerous amendments that have been made to the Act since the last review in 1989, making it more and more prescriptive.

The MAV expects a review of the Act will see a move back to a more enabling legislation that recognises the independence of local government.

The MAV will be preparing a submission to the review in consultation with the sector and encourages all councils to be part of this process, as well as preparing their own submissions.

Royal Commission into Family Violence

This week the MAV provided evidence at the Royal Commission into Family Violence highlighting the leadership role councils are demonstrating through their commitment to gender equity across a diverse range of policy and program areas. Local government was also shown to be a progressive employer by the significant number of councils that have introduced family violence leave into EBAs.

MCH Coordinator from the City of Greater Dandenong provided the Commission with evidence demonstrating the diverse demographic and the delivery of MCH in their municipality. A case study was provided demonstrating the situations that MCH nurses deal with when family violence is an issue, as well as describing a future collaborative multi-disciplinary model to deliver services for vulnerable families.

Yesterday was the final day of public hearings and the Commissioners will now examine submissions and evidence to formulate their report and recommendations to the State Government in February 2016.

Regulation of public lighting charges

Following advocacy from the MAV, councils and other stakeholders, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has announced that it will not press ahead with its proposed reclassification of all dedicated public lighting services as negotiated services. This means that all public lighting services will continue to be regulated as alternative control services in the forthcoming 2016-20 regulatory control period. There will be no distinction between standalone and dedicated public lighting.

The MAV had a range of concerns about the proposed move to negotiated pricing for dedicated street lights and had advocated to the AER to retain its role as an independent arbitrator. We welcome the AER’s decision. For further information, contact Claire Dunn.

Review of gaming machine entitlements

The MAV will be calling on the State government to ensure the community and councils have a say in the upcoming Review of Gaming Machine Entitlements. Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation Research data shows
Victorians lost 2.7 per cent more on gaming machines last year compared to 2013-14.

The MAV believes extensive consultation regarding the future distribution and operation of gaming machines was critical to reversing this trend.

The entitlement term for current electronic gaming machine operators ends in 2022. This review is an opportunity to reduce the number of machines in this state and refrain from providing any entitlement in perpetuity.

The State Government has said there will be a consultation process as part of this review and we look forward to learning more about what it will entail and how we, councils and communities can contribute.

MAV to host level crossing removal info session

The MAV will host an information session regarding the State Government’s Level Crossing Removal Project and how councils can contribute.

The event will run from 3-5pm on 2 September 2015 and include an overview of the project from Level Crossing Removal Authority CEO Kevin Devlin, who will also discuss ways councils can consult with the Authority throughout the program.

The State Government has committed to removing 50 level crossings over eight years with 20 of those to be removed during its first term.

Due to space constraints there is only capacity for one officer and one Councillor from each council to attend. Click here to register.

For further information email Kevin Peachey.

New agriculture fund open to councils

Local councils will be eligible for new funding aimed at supporting and growing Victoria’s agricultural industry.

The State Government has announced a $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund will be established following the successful passage of the Port of Melbourne lease legislation through Parliament.

Funding will be made available for practical projects and programs that wholly benefit the agriculture sector, including transport, irrigation and energy projects, as well as skills development programs and market access campaigns.

Farm businesses, industry and agribusiness organisations, and asset owners such as water authorities will also be able to apply.

Deadline for having a say on the Future of Australia's Federation extended

The deadline for completing The Future of Australia’s Federation Survey: Australian Policymakers & Practitioners Study has been extended to 31 August.

This is the first major national survey of public officials and policymakers from all levels of government on issues related to the functioning of the federal system.

Councillors, CEOs and staff experienced in intergovernmental relations are encouraged to take part.

The survey is being led by Griffith University’s Centre for Governance & Public Policy.

For more information email Polly Banks.

Energy Efficiency and Productivity Summit

The Victorian Government is holding an Energy Efficiency and Productivity Summit.

The Summit will bring together leaders in energy efficiency, consumer and environmental advocates, and energy businesses to share innovative ideas for improving energy efficiency and productivity in Victoria.

The discussions will help inform the program and policy options for Victoria’s forthcoming Energy Efficiency and Productivity Strategy.

The Summit will be held on 25 August 2015 from 9:30am – 4:45pm at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Register by 18 August. This is a free event but numbers are strictly limited.

Procurement Leaders Conference program released

Learn more about how strategic procurement can help councils deliver valuable services to the community at the Procurement Leaders Conference on 3 and 4 September 2015.

The program for the event has just been released and features presentations, workshops and discussions with highly respected leaders from a variety of disciplines. Guest speakers include General Manager of Telstra Procurement, Tony Huang and Joanne Wilson, Manager of Strategic Projects and Knowledge Services, Barossa Council SA.

The conference is an opportunity for current and aspiring procurement leaders to learn more about the latest examples of innovative approaches in procurement strategy being applied within both the government and private sectors.

The conference will be held at the Novotel Forest Resort Creswick. For more details or to register for the conference, visit our event page.

International Water Scheme scholarships now open

IWC is currently offering a range of scholarships for professionals interested in joining the Master of Integrated Water Management or Water Leadership Program next year.

The programs are designed to equip participants with technical, leadership and managerial skills for tackling management challenges in an effective and integrated way.

While most scholarships are open Australia-wide, there are several scholarships funded by Melbourne Water targeting emerging water leaders in Victorian local government.

Applications for the Master of Integrated Water Management scholarships close 1 October 2015 and applications for the 2015/16 Water Leadership Program Scholarships close 15 September 2015.

In social media news...

Upcoming MAV events...

19-21 August

MAV Technology National Conference

26-27 August

The Future of Communities: Power to the People conference

26 August

Managing contracts in local government course


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