Rate capping consultation paper released
The Essential Services Commission (ESC) has released its consultation paper on the proposed rate capping framework. The paper provides an overview of the local government sector, key principles that will guide the ESC’s review, and a series of questions about the potential design features of the rate capping framework.
The questions raised include whether CPI is an appropriate benchmark for cost increases, what consultation should occur with the community as part of a rate increase decision being made, how supplementary valuations should be treated, and the factors that should be taken into account for proposed rate increases above the rate of CPI.
The MAV will be providing a comprehensive response to the consultation paper and encourages all councils to participate in the ESC consultation process. Submissions to the consultation paper are due on 15 May.
For further information, contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.
Meeting with Minister Mikakos
The MAV met with the Victorian Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos to discuss the Maternal and Child Health Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), and the unit price increase due from July 2015.
The Minister reiterated that MCH is an important service. At this stage the State are proposing to rollover the MoU for a further year, while a major review of the funding model and price is undertaken with the MAV and councils in the lead up to the 2016/17 budget, with the aim of placing the service funding on a more sustainable model.
The estimated shortfall in the State’s contribution to the 50/50 agreement is currently about $10 million. This service is a critical area in which the quality and level of service would deteriorate if the State is unable to maintain its funding share as committed to under the MoU.
We also raised the potential financial impacts on councils and communities due to uncertainty around the Commonwealth's funding for 15 hours of kindergarten, changes to the kindergarten child to staff ratios in 2016, as well as the implications of the kindergarten industrial agreement. The Minister expressed her appreciation for the work of councils and the MAV on advocacy to the Commonwealth regarding the 15 hours of kindergarten campaign.
New regional funding legislation introduced
Legislation for the State Government’s regional and rural funding program has been introduced into Parliament.
The Bill will establish the new funding package, which is expected to receive funding in the upcoming 2015-16 Victorian Budget.
The $500 million fund will provide $200 million in funding for six previously announced programs. Given the expiry of the Local Infrastructure Program, the Putting Locals First Program and the Country Roads and Bridges program, the MAV will be calling on the government to direct funds to rural and regional councils on an as-of-right basis.
Meeting with Minister Neville
Last week the MAV President and CEO met with the Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water to discuss a range of topics relevant to local government.
Matters raised by the MAV included the future of the Victorian Adaptation Sustainability Partnership, domestic waste water management, climate change mitigation, and landfill rehabilitation.
It was a productive meeting and we look forward to working with the Minister to achieve positive outcomes for the sector and for the environment.
MAV Technology Innovation Fellowship
Entries are now invited for the 2015 MAV Technology Innovation Fellowship - a $10,000 grant to advance a current or proposed technology project.
The successful project will:
- demonstrate outstanding innovation
- advance the objectives of the MAV Technology Strategy
- support council business objectives
- influence or assist other councils to improve service delivery.
Entries can be emailed to Lisa Bennetto by 30 April.
National Timber Councils Association conference: final RSVP
It’s the last chance to register for the National Timber Councils Association (NTCA) Local Government Forest and Timber Industry Conference with RSVPs closing on Monday 27 April.
The NTCA looks forward to a presentation from Senator Ricky Muir, who will give a first-hand account of working in the timber industry, who prior to being elected experienced many years working in the ASH Sawmill in Heyfield. Senator Muir will be joined by a range of other speakers including Tim Lee, ABC Landline presenter; and Rob De Fegely, President Institute of Foresters Australia, Co-Chair FIAC.
The conference will have a focus on socio-economic issues and the relationship between local government and the timber industry.
It will be held on 29-30 April at Bayview Eden, Melbourne. A full program is now available.
National General Assembly motions: closing 28 April
Submissions of council motions for the National General Assembly (NGA) will close on 28 April. The ALGA Board is calling for motions for this year's NGA with the theme Closest to the Community: Local Government in the Federation.
Motions that are agreed at the NGA become resolutions. These resolutions are then considered by the ALGA Board when setting national local government policy, and when the Board is making representations to the Federal Government at Ministerial Councils, during meetings and in ALGA publications.
To assist councils in preparing motions a Discussion Paper is available.
Immunisation Week 2015
Councils have been sent materials by the Department of Health and Human Services to help them support World Immunisation Week 2015 which runs from 24-30 April.
Councils are encouraged to support the event through electronic or print publications and social media.
The week aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect, or immunise, people of all ages against disease. The week also acts as a reminder for people to find out if they are due for an immunisation.
Supporting children’s mobility and walking to school
On 19 May Victoria Walks will host a Walking Tall forum on walking to school and children's independent mobility.
Keynote presentations will include:
- Professor Karen Malone, an internationally recognised expert on children's independent mobility from the University of Western Sydney
- Brisbane City Council will share its experiences of a successful active travel to school program.
A range of other organisations, including VicHealth and Victorian councils will outline successful programs that support walking to school, and help children to get out and about in their community.
The forum will be held from 9am-4pm at the Theatrette, Level 5, 121 Exhibition Street. Registrations can be made online.
2015 Stormwater Victoria Conference
Stormwater Victoria is holding a conference on 5-7 May called Climate Change – Does it Matter Anymore?
The conference presents stormwater practitioners with a unique opportunity to discuss the challenges currently faced by local government, and explore practical solutions that will have lasting, long term benefits as we strive for more liveable cities.
Keynote speakers include Dr Roger Jones, Victoria University, and Dr Karl Braganza, Bureau of Meteorology.
It will be held at RACV Cape Schanck Resort. Registrations can be made online.
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