Issue 949:                                             Week ending 27 September 2013

Local government electoral review
Emergency management – the fourth “R” in local government
The role and future of citizen committees in local government
Victoria’s first Emergency Management Commissioner Designate
Local economic development for changing times
Local government NHVR webinar
Premier’s Sustainability Awards
Community Safety Month 2013
Government Relations Summit 2013
GLBTIQ information session
Road safety education storybooks and apps
In social media news...

Local government electoral review

The Local Government Electoral Review Panel has released its discussion paper to stimulate ideas on how local government democracy can work best. The Review Panel will be holding formal public hearings across Victoria in October and the closing date for written submissions is 5 November. The MAV will be making a submission and we encourage councils to make their own submissions too.

In response to feedback from the sector, the MAV Board at its last meeting agreed that the four priority local government election issues that need to be considered in more detail by the MAV are:

  • additional candidate information
  • campaign donation disclosure
  • community awareness about local government elections and access to information that is useful
  • complaints processes, and the role and powers of VEC and the Local Government Inspectorate.

In order to inform our review and response to the Review Panel’s discussion paper, the MAV is seeking examples and details of issues experienced by councils that relate to any of the four dot points above. Please provide details to Claire Dunn by 11 October.

Emergency management – the fourth “R” in local government

Northern Grampians Shire Council CEO, Justine Linley will present at the MAV Annual Conference on risk as the fourth R – roads, rates, rubbish and risk; specifically the risk factors arising from emergencies and natural disaster. Justine brings considerable experience to this subject, having led Northern Grampians Shire through the 2005-06 fires and the 2011 floods, as well as financially significant events such as landslide and locust plague.

It is such experiences across the state that has led to the sector’s development of the Local Government Emergency Support Teams and Regional-State Coordination model. The model articulates a way in which the sector can proactively move towards removing some of the big organisational risks that councils face in times of natural disaster and emergency - risks that have also been identified through the State Government’s Victorian Emergency Management Reform White Paper.

The role and future of citizen committees in local government

New research from the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government, the MAV, the Victorian Local Governance Association, Wyndham City, Nillumbik Shire, Surf Coast Shire and newDemocracy Foundation has explored the role of citizens’ committees in local government decision-making processes.

The report, The Role and Future of Citizen Committees in Australian Local Government is a resource for councils looking to enhance the effectiveness of both council-appointed committees, and incorporated non-for-profit organisations.

The study explored the role and future of citizens' committees as vehicles for sustained community engagement. It also considered how the function of citizens’ committees might be strengthened in view of Australian and international research on public participation and community governance.

The research highlights the importance of integrating citizen committees into community governance approaches to ensure their democratic potential is realised, and the valuable role that well-managed and adequately resourced citizen committees can play in local governance.

Victoria’s first Emergency Management Commissioner Designate

The Victorian Government has proposed that Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley take over-arching responsibility for emergencies as Victoria’s inaugural Emergency Management Commissioner Designate.

This role would be a key component of the Victorian Coalition Government’s reforms to emergency management in Victoria set out in the White Paper.

During major emergencies, it is proposed he will take an over-arching management role to ensure a systematic and co-ordinated response, and to avoid the duplication of roles.

It is expected that the Government will announce details of the formation of a new umbrella body for the emergency management sector, Emergency Management Victoria shortly.

Local economic development for changing times

The work of councils and those involved in developing local places and economies is not easy. Technological change and big structural shifts in the operation of the global economy are impacting the nature, scale and pace of change in the economies of our cities, suburbs, towns and rural areas. To keep abreast of these changes we need to understand the big future trends, learn from elsewhere and try new things.

On 30 October, a workshop held at the MAV offices will explore how we can rise to the challenge and even ride the wave of change by improving our understanding of what is happening to local places and sharing some new and interesting ideas about local economic development.

The workshop will explore key themes, including:

  • creating a vibrant future for our centres and main streets
  • developing local jobs
  • resourcing the infrastructure our local economy needs
  • delivering enduring public services
  • attracting and retaining population
  • local economic resilience.

Register now.

Local government NHVR webinar

From 10 – 11 am on Friday 27 September the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is giving local government the opportunity to have their questions answered live online at a local government webinar. To view and listen live, visit the NHVR website on 27 September and click through from the front page.

You can submit questions before and during the webinar to and the NHVR will endeavour to answer them live.

The webinar will be uploaded to the NHVR website so that people who are unable to participate in the session will still be able to watch it.

Premier’s Sustainability Awards

The MAV would like to congratulate the councils who have been named as finalists in the Premier’s Sustainability Awards, and wish them the best of luck. Finalists include Glen Eira City Council (for their Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre), Surf Coast Shire Council (for the Surf Coast Community and Civic Precinct), Yarra Ranges Council (for their HabitAT Schools Program), and Moonee Valley City Council (in partnership with Wingate Avenue Community Centre for their Ascot Vale Housing Estate Household Recycling Project ). Winners will be announced on 22 October.

Community Safety Month 2013

Each year throughout Australia, the month of October is designated as Community Safety Month. The objective of Community Safety Month is to promote and advocate for community responsibility for safety. The recurrent theme of Community Safety Month is Working Together for a Safer Community. This message underscores the need for people and communities to actively address the circumstances of their own safety. It also recognises local safety initiatives and the many volunteer-based agencies that make a difference to safety at a community level.

This year the launch of community safety month will be held at the MFB Burnley Complex from 10.15 am on 1 October. RSVP by Friday 27 September to

Government Relations Summit 2013

The seventh annual Government Relations Summit will take place on 14 November at The National Press Club, Canberra.

Exploring the theme ‘What does an Abbott Government mean for you?’, the conference will aim to provide attendees with an understanding of who the likely winners and losers are under the new Government; the impact of election policies and who’s making the decisions; how to define priorities and key messages for Federal stakeholders; and where, when, why and with whom to engage and provide input into the policy process.

GLBTIQ information session

Hobsons Bay City Council invites interested Victorian councillors and officers to participate in discussions around gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ) leadership challenges, and ways to break down barriers and promote inclusiveness and diversity within councils and communities. The council is hosting an initial workshop on Thursday 24 October from 7 pm at 115 Civic Parade, Altona.

To RSVP contact Andrea Agius on 9932 1044.

Road safety education storybooks and apps

In a first for road safety in Australia, VicRoads has developed two road safety education storybooks and apps to promote walking to school safely, and the importance of child restraints and booster seats.

The apps bring to life the engaging storybooks – That’s the Sound the Street Makes and Click Clack, as part of Victoria’s new Road Safety Education Action Plan 2012-13.

The tablet versions have bonus games to further learning about road safety. The free apps can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play.

Councils are encouraged to promote these resources to their communities to help spread the road safety message.

In social media news...

  • A new video is a useful tool in teaching people about the possible consequences of using social media. View it here.
  • Gamification: Governments are using gaming principles to get citizens involved. Read more here.
  • Kansas City Public Library to launch software lending library pilot. Find out more here.
Upcoming MAV events...

23 October

Effective mentoring - strategies for success

24 October

MAV annual conference

31 October

Local government legislative framework workshop


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