This week's local government news.
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Municipal Association of Victoria


All your local government news this week

Issue 1064: 19 February 2016
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  • This week the MAV released data to demonstrate how State Government cost shifting impacts council budgets. The data shows how funding from the State for services that origininally began under 50:50 funding agreements with local government has not kept pace. We will continue pursuing this issue with the State and adding to our data set of where the government is under-funding services delivered through local government.
  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has released a range of council case studies about the impacts caused by the freeze on indexation for the Financial Assistance Grants. Victorian case studies show that the impacts vary from one council to another with many rural councils losing more than $1 million over the four-year freeze. We will continue our work with councils and the ALGA to achieve immediate restoration of the indexation freeze.
  • Warren Truss has announced his plans to retire at the next election, and has stepped down from his ministerial duties. Fiona Nash has been appointed Minister for Regional Development, and Darren Chester as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Barnaby Joyce has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister. A range of other appointments were made as part of the reshuffle.
We’re seeking feedback by 23 February on our draft submission to the Gaming Machines Arrangements Review, which was sent to all councils this week. Councils are also encouraged to read the consultation paper and terms of reference.

We welcome this review and the opportunity to submit, particularly on the issue of the entitlement term for licences, and other issues that have been of concern to councils, articulated through the Enough Pokies Campaign, State Council resolutions, and more recently through the Alliance for Gambling Reform, of which the MAV is a founding supporter.

To submit feedback, or for further information, contact Jan Black.

The MAV will be lodging an application to establish the MAV WorkCare Self-Insurance scheme with the Victorian Workcover Authority.

This move follows extensive consultation with the sector about the scheme and how it can help councils improve workplace safety while saving financially.

We would like to thank all councils who took part in our consultation process and we look forward to continuing to work with those members who have opted into WorkCare.

The MAV has received positive correspondence from the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Sussan Ley, following our advocacy in December seeking confirmation around the transition of home and community care (HACC).

The Minister has reiterated her commitment to working with the State, councils and key providers during the transition period, and to finalising a ‘Trilateral Statement of Intent’ to recognise the significant role of local government in the Victorian system. We have sent this correspondence to all councils.

Two preliminary drafts of the Trilateral Statement have been circulated to all councils, and once the final draft is developed we will call a meeting of councils to discuss and seek advice to determine progress of this document.

For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.

Infrastructure Victoria has released a discussion paper titled Laying the Foundations to inform its 30-year infrastructure strategy. The strategy will be provided as recommendations to the State Government.

Feedback is now being sought on the discussion paper. The MAV will develop a submission on behalf of our members, informed by a survey that will be sent to councils shortly. We will also be inviting members to an information session with Infrastructure Victoria’s CEO, Michel Masson on 2 March.

For councils wanting to develop individual submissions, the consultation period finishes on 11 March.

For further information, contact Kevin Peachey.


Procurement Essentials course

This introductory level course is ideal for those new to procurement or those who have oversight of expenditure within council.

It covers the end-to-end procurement cycle, planning for procurement, legislation and regulatory obligations, and how to introduce strategic procurement.

It will be held on 10 March from 9am-5pm at the MAV office, Level 11, 60 Collins Street.

Registrations can be made online.


Future of Local Government summit

The MAV is holding our annual Future of Local Government summit on 17 – 18 May.

The summit features an array of Australian and international speakers providing thoughtful leadership for those who want to design a better future for local government.

Speakers include Gary Porter, Chairman, UK Local Government Association, and Mike McAllum, Founder, Global Foresight Network.

A program is now available and registrations can be made online.

  • Applications for the final funding round of the Taxi Rank Safety Program 2015-16 are now open. Approximately 40 councils have successfully applied for grants in previous rounds totalling over $3.66 million to install infrastructure at taxi ranks.
  • The State Government has announced that applications are open for the Carol Friday Scholarship, honouring the highly respected City of Casey maternal and child health nurse Carol Friday who died in 2015. Applications close on 17 March.
  • The first round of recipients of the State Government’s Community Shade Grants Program have been announced. At least one grant was awarded in each Victorian municipality.

Preventing violence against women

The MAV has been working with various State Government departments to secure additional support for councils to progress their initiatives in preventing violence against women and children.

We have also been following up the MAV and council recommendations made to the Royal Commission into Family Violence - which is now due to report on 29 March.

Councils are playing an important civic leadership role on this issue and this is recognised by the State.

The MAV is hopeful of gaining further State support to strengthen the capacity of councils to progress this work.

Child Safe Standards legislation

The new Criminal Law Reform and Child Safe Standards legislation applies to all councils from 1 January 2016. It effectively states that CEOs must ensure their council meets the requirements of the legislation and is ready for compliance by 1 January 2017.

The MAV has convened a working group that will work closely with DHHS on implementation and compliance requirements. Other resources are also available to councils.

In short, all councils must have a Child Safe Policy or Statement of Commitment to child safety that is council endorsed; and a Code of Conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children.

  • Communities are encouraged to have their say on the review of the Local Government Act, with consultations opening this week across Victoria.
  • Infrastructure Australia has released its Australian Infrastructure Plan which sets out the infrastructure challenges and opportunities over the next 15 years.
  • The Federal Government has released the locations of the first 78 mobile base stations scheduled to be constructed by the end of June under round 1 of the $385 million Mobile Black Spot Programme.
  • Young leaders who want to make their voices heard and help shape legislation in Victoria’s parliament can apply now for the 2016 Youth Parliament program. Applications close on 7 April.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services is seeking feedback by 25 February on its proposal to enable pharmacists to administer funded flu and whooping cough vaccines to eligible adults. For further details, or to submit feedback, contact Jessica Malone.

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