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Municipal Association of Victoria


All your local government news this week

Issue 1065: 26 February 2016
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  • This week we had a meeting with Minister for Local Government, Natalie Hutchins. Topics discussed included cost shifting, concerns around the increase in VEC election costs, and the review of the Local Government Act. We were pleased that the Minister reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the Victorian State-Local Government Agreement, and advised that a priority activity for Local Government Victoria’s new Executive Director, Dr Graeme Emonson will be the VSLGA.
  • Victorian councils will soon receive this quarter’s Financial Assistance Grant payment, which will be the third of four instalments for 2015-16. The MAV is still working closely with councils, state and territory local government associations, and the Australian Local Government Association to reverse the freeze on indexation to the grants, which has created a $134 million funding hole in Victoria over three years.
  • Over the past four months the MAV, along with several councils have been working with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to inform the review of planning fees. This has involved coordinating the collection of activity-based costings and a review of the draft fee options. A draft Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) is proposed to be released in May for public comment. We intend to establish a working group to inform our submission to the RIS. Further details will be provided to councils shortly.
With council elections set for October, we are again offering councils the opportunity of hosting a Community and Candidate Information Session as part of our extended Stand for Council campaign (which will launch in May).

The sessions are aimed at giving community members and prospective candidates information about the role and purpose of local government. Our sessions complement the role of the VEC and we work closely with them to ensure provision of consistent information as sought by prospective candidates.

The MAV has sent member councils further information about what is included as part of the session, and a link to register online.

Registrations can be made until 3 June. For further information, contact Andrew Rowe via email or call 9667 5549.

To help inform our 2016 Stand for Council campaign development and assist us in better understanding some of the key issues and challenges in becoming a councillor, we are asking all current councillors to complete a 10 minute survey by 24 March.

The data collected will inform a number of campaign activities ahead of the council elections in October including presentation material for candidate sessions, media releases and website content. All survey responses are anonymous and strictly confidential.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is progressing the development of a new plan for water management in Victoria.

The MAV has been involved in consultation on the plan, which should be released in mid-late March. During the public consultation period there will be a range of opportunities for local government to discuss and provide feedback on the issues raised. Stakeholder forums and separate community forums are planned for April, with an option for councils to arrange targeted briefings with DELWP staff on key issues.

The public consultation period is designed to start a conversation with the broader Victorian community about the role of all aspects of water management in Victoria’s social fabric over the next few decades. The State is keen to emphasise that local government has a critical role to play in this challenge. Please contact the water plan team to find out more or organise an engagement opportunity.

MAV Technology has released a document called Cloud Services Research and Guidance for Local Government for all Victorian councils. The resource provides an overview of what the prevailing approaches to cloud services are in government and private sectors, and which of these methods are appropriate and useful for council adoption.

The document also provides a framework for the secure, effective and efficient use of cloud-based services to provide benefits to council business and your communities. It offers clear guidelines on what cloud service types are permitted and how they should be procured, as well as instructions on complying with legislative and regulatory obligations to protect the privacy and security of council and customer information.

It will be officially launched at the MAV Technology Forum on 4 March in Nagambie. The forum is free for MAV Technology members.


Procurement Essentials course

There is still time to register for our Procurement Essentials course on 10 March.

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 from 9am-5pm at the MAV office, Level 11, 60 Collins Street.


MAV Strategic Planning Meetings

There is still time to register for the remaining four strategic planning meetings in Edenhope (26 Feb), Wangaratta (3 March), Geelong (10 March) and Warrnambool (11 March).

Input and feedback from councillors, CEOs, and council officers is essential to ensure that the MAV remains focused on meeting our members' needs. Discussions held will help inform the MAV’s 2016-17 strategic work plan.

To RSVP or for more details contact Gavin Mahoney.

Safe Haven Enterprise Visa program

The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship (OMAC) has advised that Victoria has opted into the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa program, despite being unable to secure additional resources from the Commonwealth for regional areas and the visa holders (which they will continue to pursue).

OMAC has committed to working closely with the MAV to confirm the councils who have selected to opt in, and develop and agree upon an implementation plan for the program in Victoria (together with the Commonwealth).

For further information, contact Camilla Macdonnell.

Digitising service delivery: positive ageing

The MAV is seeking expressions of interest from councils who see benefits in developing a digitised directory of local services and facilities for older members of the community.

The project aims to create a directory that will allow users to search for key health information and related local services, programs and community events and facilities specific to their local area, personal service needs, and age and health profile.

Further information has been sent to all councils by the MAV. If your council is interested in participating, please register your interest with Polly Banks by 4 March.

  • Councils are invited to a Yarra Riverkeepers event hosted by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects on 26 February from 3-9pm. This will be an opportunity to learn about the pressures of development on Melbourne’s Yarra River and what landscape architects can do to ensure Melbourne continues to be a most liveable city.
  • Councils and communities are invited to visit Seeing Eyedogs Australia's National Kennel and Puppy Centre in Kensington for their annual Open Day on 5 March. Community and local business support is essential to provide volunteer puppy carers, fundraising support and education about access rights. Councils are encouraged to share this information with relevant council staff and community groups.
  • Dental Health Services Victoria and the Department of Health & Human Services have developed an action guide to help local government improve oral health within communities. The guide outlines a range of evidence-informed actions that councils can consider when preparing Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plans, Municipal Early Years Plans and other strategies.

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