MAV response to stage two of library review
The MAV held a forum with all councils and regional libraries in early May to formulate the MAV’s response to the second stage of the Ministerial Advisory Council’s library review. While councils and regional libraries are in general supportive of the key elements of the ‘Victorian library’ proposal, the sector expressed significant concern about committing to a model whose benefits and costs are not yet demonstrated, either at the statewide or local level. All statewide initiatives would also require additional funding to be allocated by the State. Councils expressed concern that the system reform should not obscure core funding issues facing public libraries.
We are proposing that a joint governance and decision-making structure be established to oversee the development of a business case for the statewide proposals on the table. The MAV’s response letter to Minister Powell will be discussed with the Minister at our next meeting in early June.
NDIS and implications for Victoria’s HACC service
The Prime Minister and Premier Napthine announced earlier this month that the Victorian Government has signed up to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), known as DisabilityCare Australia.
The new agreement includes that the National Health Reform Agreement 2011 will be amended so that responsibility for Home and Community Care (HACC) for over sixty-fives will be transferred to the Commonwealth.
This change will reverse the previous agreement of the National Health Reform Agreement, which specified that transferring responsibilities to the Commonwealth in relation to basic community care services currently delivered through the HACC program did not apply to Victoria (and Western Australia); that in these states, basic community care services will continue to be delivered under HACC as a joint Commonwealth-State funded program; and that the Commonwealth and these States will maintain bilateral agreements for that purpose.
The MAV is disappointed that this matter was not discussed with local government as a key funding, planning and delivery partner of HACC services prior to the Premier and Prime Minister signing the agreement.
This does not represent an immediate change to Victoria’s HACC services. Victoria will transition to the NDIS scheme from 2016-17, with it being fully operational by 1 July 2019.
At the MAV meeting with Minister Davis on 23 May, the State advised that it will establish a formal advisory process with the MAV and other key stakeholders to articulate the strengths of the Victorian system and develop the position/options we can put to the Commonwealth to maintain the benefits of our effective and stable service platform in Victoria. The Minister also agreed to address an MAV forum of all councils to discuss the way forward.
The MAV will consult with councils at the upcoming Human Services Committee and HACC Sustainability Group meetings, in regard to the development of an advocacy strategy on an agreed position.
For further information contact Clare Hargreaves on 9667 5543.
Gender and emergency management
The MAV has developed a gender and emergency management strategy which aims to reduce the negative consequences of gender-blind practices. The strategy was approved by the MAV Board on 3 May.
Evidence shows that the incidence of family violence increases post-disaster. Men are more likely to die in floods and bushfires than women, and men strongly influence family decisions to stay and defend homes during bushfires, sometimes with tragic results. To positively affect such outcomes, the influence of gender roles and differences must be understood and addressed.
Our strategy will help councils improve their understanding of gender differences and incorporate gender considerations into their emergency management policy, planning, decision-making and service delivery.
To help implement this strategy the MAV is seeking nominations from individuals to become a member of a new gender and emergency management advisory group. This group will meet to discuss how the project can be implemented to effectively meet its objectives.
If you would like to nominate to be on this advisory group, or would like further information contact Martijn Gough.
Prevention of Violence Against Women
At a recent International White Ribbon Conference the MAV launched a new publication, Prevention of Violence Against women: Leading change in the Victorian local government sector. This handbook, developed with funding support from VicHealth, showcases the innovative work of eight Victorian councils in their efforts to eliminate violence from our society. It also provides background and context to the work occurring in local government and a summary of the MAV’s achievements in this area. This publication is being sent to every council across Australia.
For further information contact Kellie Nagle.
What is Patchwork?
Patchwork is a web application developed by FutureGov that allows people across the public and voluntary sectors to understand who is working with their clients at any given time. It is a simple way for frontline practitioners to share their contact details around a client or case. By knowing who is in the team, practitioners can communicate and coordinate service delivery in a more effective and linked way for the client.
In short, Patchwork has been designed to help workers:
get a quick and easy overview of the people they are supporting
find out who else is working with them and how to contact them
invite in other people they think should be involved
keep the picture up-to-date for all involved
coordinate across area boundaries if families move around.
As a result, it hopes to help build connections between different organisations and agencies enabling true partnership working, earlier intervention (helping to ensure that no client falls through the gaps) and ultimately, better outcomes for children and families.
Patchwork will be tested in five Victorian councils (Kingston, Yarra, Brimbank, Wyndham and the City of Melbourne) across both the Youth Services Team and the Maternal Child Health Service for four months, starting in July. A range of clients and organisations will be added, to see how Patchwork helps with delivering more seamless and holistic services to families.
On 13 June the MAV is holding a forum on Patchwork for all councils, which will also be webcast. Register online.
Patchwork’s project manager Kirsty Elderton is in Melbourne helping councils prepare for the project kick off. We will share the Patchwork story as the project develops, but to find out more now visit the Patchwork website or read the MAV media release for background.
National Settlement Framework
In November 2011, the Council of Australian Governments established the Select Council on Immigration and Settlement (SCIS). The SCIS was tasked with developing a National Settlement Framework to support economic and social participation and greater productivity outcomes for migrants and refugees. The Australian Local Government Association is a member of the Select Council and participates on the SCIS working group.
It is envisaged that the National Settlement Framework will provide a common set of high-level guiding principles and focus areas to improve services and settlement outcomes for migrants and refugees. The Framework aims to strengthen coordination of settlement-related service delivery within and across jurisdictions and enhance collaboration, as well as foster the effective use of resources across the three tiers of government. The Framework also encourages each jurisdiction to develop more detailed, tailored implementation actions.
The MAV is currently engaged in discussions with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship on how the Framework will operate in Victoria.
For further information contact Con Pagonis.
Universal Access to 15 hours of kindergarten
Councils have been meeting with their regional Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) offices and the MAV to discuss the new localised kindergarten participation data; kindergarten population forecast; and availability of 15 hour places ongoing in the municipality as provided in the National Partnership on Early Childhood Education implementation plans for each area. Issues raised by councils including sustaining 15 hours implementation, further capital funding rounds, three year-old provision and planning for the 2016 new ratios are being progressed with DEECD through the MAV.
For further information contact Jan Barrett.
Workplace English Language & Literacy
The focus of a recent MAV-sponsored workshop was to showcase the support that Industry Skills Councils can provide to local government through Skills Connect programs including Workplace English Language & Literacy (WELL). The MAV encourages councils to contact the following brokers to find out what assistance and funding is available from the Australian Government Skills Connect and the Industry Skills Councils:
For aged care, home and community care, family day care, childcare, disability or community services managers interested in funding and application support for vocational and/or literacy and numeracy training, contact Isabel Osuna-Gatty.
For a free workforce audit in relation to applying for funding support for vocational training and/or workforce development (National Workforce Development Fund application support through Government Skills Australia) contact Lora Smith.
If you are interested in applying for funding and application support for literacy and/or numeracy training, contact Lisa Giammarco.
All general queries to the Innovation Skills Connect State Network Victoria should be sent to WELL-VIC@innovation.gov.au
A document containing information and contact details for the whole range of federal Department of Innovation programs and services is available on request to the WELL- VIC inbox. This may be useful for business development officers in local government who engage with employers in their area.
The MAV recently convened an information session on how councils can more effectively engage culturally diverse artists and communities in their arts and culture programs. The session provided insight into the workings of Multicultural Arts Victoria’s “Emerge Cultural Network” program - an innovative community cultural development platform which provides pathways into the arts for newly arrived refugees and culturally and linguistically diverse communities across Victoria. For more information about the program contact Anita Larkin.
Councils around Australia will be participating in Refugee Week from 16 to 22 June. It is the peak annual activity to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees to our local communities and the wider society. This year’s theme for Refugee Week is 'Restoring Hope'.
Twenty-six Victorian councils are Refugee Welcome Zones. Find out how your municipality can become one on the Refugee Council website.
National Reconciliation Week
National Reconciliation Week is taking place this week, from 27 May to 3 June. It is an annual celebration and a time for all Australians to reflect on our shared histories, and on the contributions and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This week is framed by two key events in Australia’s history that provide strong symbols of the aspirations for reconciliation - the historic 1967 Referendum and Mabo Day. The theme for this year is 'Let’s Talk Recognition'.
Councils around the state are celebrating with their local Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities with a wide range of activities, including flag raising ceremonies, a Sorry Day Walk, Aboriginal art exhibitions, film and theatre events, story-telling in libraries and a schools Indigenous arts program. For a list of events, see the Reconciliation Victoria website.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Every year, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is held on 15 June. The day provides an opportunity to focus on the rights of older people and how they can be protected from abuse. Councils are encouraged to promote WEAAD and elder abuse prevention by providing information to older people and the wider community, and promoting awareness through council newsletters and websites. Material has been forwarded to councils for this purpose.
For further information contact Jan Bruce.