- The State Government has issued a warning to all Victorians to prepare for a potentially severe fire season, as Fire Action Week (1-8 Nov) begins. The MAV has previously sent State Government resources to all councils for use during the week.
- The NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into local government, which was prompted by the NSW Government's Fit for the Future reform program, has handed down its final report. The Inquiry questioned whether the Fit for the Future program was the best way to achieve reform. It considered that the implementation of other recommendations from the Independent Local Government Review Panel report would have been a more constructive approach prior to embarking on any structural reforms to the sector.
- The Victorian Government is trialling a 24-hour weekend public transport timetable that will launch on 1 January. The night bus network includes 21 bus routes, with 10 departing from the CBD around every half an hour, and 11 departing from suburban train stations including Dandenong, Elsternwick, and Frankston every hour. It will also add 300 train services and 250 tram services each weekend.
Defined Benefit Taskforce meeting
The MAV’s Defined Benefit Taskforce met last week to discuss progress on the implementation of the Taskforce’s report recommendations, and to receive a briefing from the CEO of Vision Super, Stephen Rowe.
Stephen provided an overview of the changed regulatory obligations on superannuation schemes, which require defined benefit plans to continually be in a satisfactory financial position. The Taskforce heard that the defined benefit plan had assets well in excess of its vested benefits at the end of June 2015, and has implemented significant internal reform to de-risk the fund, and reduce the magnitude and likelihood of a future call.
In addition, the Taskforce was briefed on the MAV’s proposed WorkCare Mutual Scheme, which would remove any WorkCover premium liabilities on future defined benefit shortfall contributions.
The Taskforce will next meet in May 2016. For further information, contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.
MAV Mayoral Program
The MAV is running its annual Mayoral Program again this year for both newly elected and returned mayors on 3 December.
This full day program is designed to draw out the real world challenges and experiences of mayors and provide a rich opportunity to learn, debate, challenge and understand the complexities of being mayor.
The program will share the wisdom of current and past mayors. It will touch on relevant mayor/CEO dynamics, and will examine the requirements under the Local Government Act, community expectations, and the many roles and practical challenges of the position.
It will be held at the MAV office, Level 11, 60 Collins Street, Melbourne. Registrations can be made online.
Asbestos Awareness Month
Councils have been invited to get on board during Asbestos Awareness Month in the ‘Get to kNOw Asbestos this November Campaign’.
Councils can now officially register their interest in the campaign, and there are a range of ways councils can participate including issuing a media release to promote support of Asbestos Awareness Month, hold a ‘Blue Lamington Drive’ morning tea, or host information sessions for staff and community members.
Campaign material is available online for councils, and registered councils will receive resources including briefing notes, media release templates, graphics, posters and brochures.
Grants for local government
- The State Government has announced $1.15 million of Victorian Climate Change Grants to support councils to help their communities and businesses prepare for climate change, and to build resilience to the challenges it will create
- A mix of councils and community organisations have successfully secured State Government grants for their FReeZa programs
- The State’s $10 million Community Shade Grants Program is now open for the first round of applications
- Councils can apply for between $30,000-$100,000 in Capacity Building Grants from the Myer Foundation’s Sustainability and Environment Program.
MAV Rate Capping Forum
The MAV is holding a Rate Capping Forum on 26 November.
The forum will provide case studies and focus on strategies that councils can employ to ensure the maintenance of existing service levels and outputs under a rate cap model.
Speakers at the forum include Dr Ron Ben-David, Chairperson Essential Services Commission; Matthew Gordon, Co-Founder OurSay Australia; and Joseph Drew, Research Fellow in Local Government UNE Business School, University of New England.
A full program for the event is now available. It will be held at the Sheraton Melbourne Hotel, 27 Little Collins Street. Registrations can be made online.
VicRoads LG consultation: cycling on footpaths
Councils can encourage community members and staff to take part in a VicRoads workshop in Melbourne on 1 December that aims to increase awareness of road rules relating to cycling, encourage safe and respectful behaviours from all road users, and ensure bike riders and other road users have appropriate rights and responsibilities.
VicRoads is seeking non-elected representatives to participate in the local government workshop on two rule changes that allow cyclists aged 12 and over to ride with children on footpaths, and cyclists with trailers or young children in child seats to cycle on footpaths.
If staff members within your sustainable transport, children's services, disability and ageing policy areas at council are interested in participating, please contact Kevin Peachey by 13 November to register interest. Please note places are limited.
For more information on the session, please contact Rachel Carlisle at VicRoads on 9854 2676.
Local government award winners
Disability parking permits for interstate and overseas visitors
As a result of changes to the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2009 on 27 October, disability parking permits from interstate and overseas are now recognised in Victoria.
Provided it is current and valid, interstate or overseas disability parking permit holders may park in reserved disability parking spaces displaying the International Symbol of Access (ISA) for the specified time only, and may also park in ordinary parking bays for twice the specified time (upon payment of any initial parking fee, if applicable).
The MAV is advocating for VicRoads to create a resource that councils can use to identify common international disability parking permits.
For further information please contact VicRoads via email.
News in brief
- Read about how Bigbelly Bins are cleaning up in Australia
- The State Government has launched a new campaign called Towards Zero, which demonstrates how Victoria can achieve major road trauma reductions
- VicDeaf has launched an online Deaf Emergency Information resource for deaf and hard of hearing people, particularly those living in regional Victoria.
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