- Essential Services Commission (ESC) Chairman Dr Ron Ben-David has said in media reports that the Minister is obliged to make their final rate capping report public within 30 days. It was handed to the State Government on 30 September. This week Local Government NSW has accused the NSW Government of …”stacking the deck against councils by demanding they meet own source revenue benchmarks and then slamming them as greedy when they propose rate rises”. We hope a more sophisticated approach will prevail in Victoria, where we have strongly argued the need for councils to continue adequate asset maintenance and renewal spending, which had been excluded from the ESC’s proposed rate cap.
- Business papers have been circulated to MAV Representatives for our State Council meeting next week, including motions received from members on issues of significance facing local government.
- Disaster assistance has been announced for communities affected by last week’s bushfires in Macedon Ranges, Mitchell, Surf Coast and Murrindindi shires. Affected councils can contact the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance on (03) 9651 2327 or by email to discuss the availability of assistance.
- Registrations for our Annual Conference and Dinner are still flowing in to hear some great speakers share their views on topical challenges facing councils including community-driven transformation and participatory budgeting. More than 50 councillors will also receive awards recognising long service to their communities at our Annual Dinner. Registrations close on 19 October
MAV response to Early Childhood Consultation Paper
The State Government recently released the third consultation paper – focusing on Early Childhood - in their Education State consultation series. In addition, they sought input on a “Roadmap for Reform” project to set directions and develop practical steps to improve Victoria’s child and family service system, including early intervention for vulnerable families and child protection.
In preparing a combined submission to both consultations, the MAV drew on many previous submissions to governments on early childhood. We also received input from our Human Services Committee and the Early Years Strategy Group, and gathered key points for consideration for inclusion from member councils.
The MAV will discuss proposals contained in our submission with Minister Mikakos as they represent a starting point for reform and further development with local government, as considered appropriate.
For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.
MAV Risk Management Award
MAV Insurance is pleased to announce the second annual Risk Management Award. This award recognises excellent risk management practice by a member of the MAV’s Liability Mutual Insurance scheme. Eligibility is open to officers from all current LMI scheme members. This year, two awards will be provided – one for a Victorian scheme member and another for a Tasmanian scheme member.
The MAV has introduced this award to recognise outstanding risk management practice in the sector, and to provide an opportunity for professional growth through attendance at a major international conference.
Nominations will be accepted until 5pm on 4 December. Contact Owen Harvey-Beavis for a copy of the nomination form.
Vale Don Chambers
It is with great sadness that the MAV acknowledges the recent passing of Cr Don Chambers. A long-term Indigo Shire Councillor, Don was serving his fourth term on council, and will be remembered as a passionate and active advocate for his community. Cr Chambers also made a significant contribution to the MAV, serving on our Planning, Environment and Human Services Board Advisory Committees. He will be sadly missed. Our sympathies are with Don’s family.
Refugee Intake Planning
The MAV has attended a senior level Victorian Government meeting regarding the intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. The State Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship (OMAC) is negotiating with the Federal Government about where and how many refugees will be settled, and what support they will provide. It is likely that Victoria will take 4,000 people, with a Government aim to process 500 people a week, and 200 identified for urgent resettlement.
Prioritisation is being given to children, women and families. We anticipate the arrival of many female-headed households, children aged 0-4 years and unaccompanied minors. These refugees will have experienced very recent trauma, grief and loss, and many will have professional skills, qualifications and English language proficiency. It is likely that adolescents will face additional challenges and will be a target group for support.
The Government is establishing working groups, such as one on mental health and wellbeing. The MAV is focusing on the capacity of councils and service providers to support refugees, in particular the delivery of early childhood services, and have asked that formal funding arrangements be agreed for extra places required in kindergartens and Maternal and Child Health to support families.
Several councils have approached the MAV expressing interest in assisting these refugees. Planning discussions have included the need to harness the goodwill being expressed by councils, and the MAV will provide further information as it becomes available.
Safe Haven Enterprise Visa Program Update
At the end of August the Minister for Finance and Multicultural Affairs, Robin Scott advised the MAV that the Victorian Government had given in-principle agreement to the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) program, subject to securing appropriate Commonwealth support for SHEV holders and regional areas. They emphasised that they would require these resourcing issues to be addressed before the program could be implemented in regional Victoria. The State has sent the Commonwealth a list of postcodes to potentially participate in the program, including those that councils preferred be opted in on a trial basis.
For further information, contact Bianca Nutt.
Stay Smart Online Week
It’s national Stay Smart Online Week (12-16 October) to raise awareness about online security among small businesses, community organisations, families and individuals. This year the theme is 'Your business is YOUR business'.
There are some great community resources available including a newly launched Stay Smart Online Small Business Guide, and posters about common online threats, terminology and preventative measures that can be taken by individuals.
Councils are encouraged to make these resources available through your service centres, libraries and other venues, and to share the Stay Smart Online Facebook and Twitter messages with your online communities #staysmartonline #SSOW15
Grants for councils and your community
- Applications are now open for local councils, or directly funded Maternal and Child Health services, to receive funding from the Victorian Government’s $950,000 Maternal and Child Health Service Innovation Fund. Applications can made online using the applicant guidelines and must be received by 4pm on 27 November.
- The Small Town Transformation program is offering six small towns $350,000 each for collaborative projects that deliver with cultural, social and economic benefits for their town. Expressions of interest open on 9 November and close on 5 February 2016, with Regional Arts Victoria hosting information sessions and workshops across the state from November for communities interested in taking part.
Next Tuesday, 20 October at 9:30pm the ABC will broadcast a new documentary called Ka-ching! chronicling the powerful lure of poker machines through the stories of gamblers, game designers and politicians.
Australia has 20 per cent of the world’s poker machines and each poker machine takes $59,700 every year – almost an average wage. Victorians lost almost $70 million more on gaming machines last year compared to 2013-14. There are more than 115,000 Australians who are being seriously harmed by gambling, and between 5 and 10 of their friends, family and others, including employers, are also affected.
The MAV has partnered with 38 councils and other organisations concerned about poker machine addiction through the Enough Pokies campaign to seek better protection for vulnerable communities.
Tune in to find out what makes poker machines so treacherous, leading to one expert calling them the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.
#RespectTheLine – You can’t undo violence
Our Watch has launched a national advertising campaign ‘You can’t undo violence’, targeting young people to challenge and change the attitudes that excuse, condone or trivialise violence towards women.
The campaign sends a clear message that there is no excuse for violence and there are lasting consequences if you hurt someone. It addresses findings from research commissioned by Our Watch, which found that 1 in 4 young people hold attitudes that put them at risk of perpetrating, excusing or tolerating violence against women.
The ad campaign encourages young people, parents and role models to visit www.theline.org.au/respect to find out about the facts, myths, types and impacts of violence; and how they can take action to reject violence. The ad campaign is part of The Line, a national initiative that encourages young people to reject violence and develop healthy, respectful and equal relationships.
News in brief
- The MAV President and ALGA Vice-President, Cr Bill McArthur represented local government at the recent annual meeting of state and federal Cultural Ministers. Local government’s interest in the important relationship between arts, culture and tourism was a key topic of discussion. See the Communique for more details.
- The State has released a 'What’s important to YOUth' discussion paper inviting Victorians to help shape the Government’s new youth policy framework to be released in mid 2016. Submissions can be made until Friday, 6 November.
- The 2016 Rural Women’s Award is accepting applications until 30 October to recognise and support emerging leaders across rural Australia.
- A new report Delivering Sustainable Urban Mobility by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA), shows that the cost of urban congestion in our capital cities will increase four-fold in two decades, reaching $53.3 billion by 2031, unless a new approach to urban transport is taken that prioritises people rather than one particular mode of transport.
- Councils are invited to an Australian Climate Leadership Summit in Sydney on 5 November.
- A free community seminar on responsible dog ownership with renowned Canadian animal expert Bill Bruce will take place on Thursday 22 October, 1-3pm at the Clocktower Centre in Moonee Ponds. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In social media news...
- MAV workshop: Social Media for Emergency Situations, 13 Nov 2015. Register to attend
- Are infographics dead? Not if they’re done well. Find out how
- Free iSentia webinar: 5 tips for great social media community management, Fri 16 Oct 11am-noon. Register online