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Municipal Association of Victoria

BULLETIN

All your local government news this week

Issue 1073: 21 April 2016
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Strategic priorities
  • Federal election: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed this week that following release of the 3 May budget he will be calling an election for 2 July. The Australian Local Government Association will launch its election plan tomorrow which will outline six main priorities including the reintroduction of indexation to Financial Assistance Grants, and community infrastructure and local road funding. We will be encouraging councils to be active in relation to their community infrastructure funding needs and will provide resources to assist councils' advocacy in the lead-up to the Federal election.
  • Electoral regulations: The MAV has sent councils our discussion paper on the proposed changes to the Local Government (Electoral) Regulations 2016 for feedback by 2 May. Given the government’s short consultation period of one-month, there was insufficient time to prepare a full report. Following member feedback, we will prepare a report to meet the submission deadline of 6 May. We also encourage councils to make your own submissions to Local Government Victoria, and provide a copy of your submission to the MAV to assist our consideration of the proposed regulations. Please send all comments and submissions to Steve Goldsworthy.
  • State budget: In the lead-up to next week's State budget, the MAV has highlighted priority funding issues to the government. Cost shifting from the State to councils is costing ratepayers millions of dollars each year, and this is no longer sustainable in a rate capping environment. We want to see the government reach a more balanced funding model for services including Maternal and Child Health, public libraries, VicSES units, and school crossing supervisors. We are also seeking priority allocation of unspent landfill levies for local government waste management initiatives, as well as dedicated funding for rural and regional roads from the Port of Melbourne sale proceeds.
The MAV has invited governance and communications staff from member councils to the launch of our Stand for Council campaign on 5 May.

The aim of the campaign is to inform prospective election candidates about the role of a councillor, and to encourage a diverse mix of community-minded citizens to nominate.

More than 70 Candidate and Community Information Sessions have now been booked by councils as part of our Stand for Council campaign.

The launch is a great opportunity to receive a campaign overview. Councils will also receive a package of free promotional materials to leverage the campaign locally. The package includes a suite of resources developed by the MAV to support a statewide effort to raise awareness of council elections and encourage Victorians to consider standing for council.

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The Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy was released by the State Government this week. We acknowledge the open door approach of the Department in developing the policy, and the efforts made to address some recommendations previously made by the MAV and councils.

However, the MAV remains concerned about a number of consequences facing councils in trying to manage issues that the Strategy raises. There are both risk and cost implications for local government that remain unresolved - and divided views among councils about who should have responsibility for levees and flood gauges. Our most recent submission to the strategy is available online.

We hope to continue constructive dialogue with the government to resolve outstanding issues. Councils can meet with DELWP to discuss the Strategy by contacting Viktor Brenners on 9637 9014, or Susan Lengyel on 9637 8060 or via email vfms.inquiry@delwp.vic.gov.au

This week the State Government launched Victoria’s first Creative Industries strategy – Creative State.

We are pleased the strategy includes adoption of a key MAV recommendation from our submission - that the role and contribution of local government in supporting Victoria’s creative and cultural industries is recognised through a Local Government Partnership.

The strategy states that Creative Victoria will establish and resource a formal partnership with the MAV to work with councils on the growth of creative industries and activities, ensuring that actions are aligned with local priorities and increase the impact of the creative industries at the local level.

Further advice will be provided to councils regarding the partnership and the proposed MAV role following discussion with the MAV Arts and Culture Committee.

The MAV has circulated a draft submission to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2036 strategy for council feedback.

The draft plan is a 20-year approach for halting the decline of Victoria’s biodiversity and encouraging more Victorians to value nature.

The MAV recently hosted a local government briefing on the draft plan, and DELWP is also holding regional consultation sessions to gather stakeholder feedback.

Feedback can be sent to Claire Dunn by 6 May.

In 2015, 56 councils participated in the seventh local government human resource benchmarking survey which enabled the MAV to develop and issue a comprehensive report to participating councils.

The report is a valuable resource and management information tool that has assisted councils to make comparative assessments with like councils, thereby enabling the identification of issues, and development of relevant responses and programs.

We are now calling on councils to participate in the 2016 survey, and members have been sent further details on how to get involved. The survey and report process will run from May-November.

To participate in the survey, contact Geoff Pawsey by 6 May. For further information contact Geoff on 9667 5526.

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VCOSS-MAV Emergency Management Forum

The MAV and the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) are running an Emergency Management Forum on 20 June.

This year’s theme is Working with Communities in Emergency Planning. Keynote speakers include Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley, and Myra Giardini from the City of Mandurah (WA) who will discuss the Beyond the Gate Aged Care Emergency Support Network, winner of the 2015 Resilient Australia Awards.

The event is at Community Hub at The Dock, 912 Collins Street, Docklands from 9.30am-4.30pm. Registrations can be made online.

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Transforming local government in an innovation era

The MAV is hosting a one day workshop on 20 June with city leaders from Boston, Massachusetts discussing urban regeneration projects and creating innovation precincts.

This special event will explore what Boston is doing to capitalise on its strengths – and how they have overcome weaknesses. The workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to plot some lessons and potential actions for your city.

It will be held at Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Conference Centre, 250-290 Spring Street, East Melbourne from 10am-3.15pm. Registrations can be made online.

  • The Age-Friendly Victoria Award is open to any organisation or business working with an age-friendly approach. The award recognises excellence and innovation in creating age-friendly communities, promoting active ageing and improving quality of life and inclusion for older people. Nominations close on 30 June.
  • Victoria Walks, in partnership with VicHealth, is offering grants of $40,000-$50,000 to a small number of Victorian councils under its Change to Walking program. The grants will help councils trial behavioural interventions to increase local walking trips. Applications close at 3pm on 6 May.
  • Councils can encourage local writers to enter the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. The awards are open to Australian authors, poets, illustrators and historians for books published in 2015. Journals, magazines, websites and multimedia works can be entered in the Australian history category. Applications close on 20 May.
  • Nominations for the 2016 Victorian Senior of the Year Awards are now open. The awards celebrate the many women and men, aged 60 and over, whose volunteer work supports and encourages others in their community. Nominations close on 30 June.

Community Crime Prevention program

The State Government has announced new funding that will be included in the 2016/17 State budget for councils and community groups under the Community Crime Prevention program.

The program will include grants of up to $250,000 under the Public Safety Infrastructure Fund for councils to install CCTV, lighting and strengthen urban design to improve community safety.

Resilient Melbourne: Toolkit Webinar

Council communications staff and council officers are being asked to help build awareness about resilience and the Resilient Melbourne strategy in the local community.

Resilient Melbourne will be issuing a communications toolkit in May to support councils, and staff are also invited to take part in a webinar on 28 April to find out more about the project. The webinar will run from 2pm-3pm. Registrations can be made online.

  • The Federal Government has launched a $30 million national campaign called Stop it at the Start, designed to help break the cycle of violence against women and their children. It targets the disrespectful attitudes and behaviours adults might dismiss or ignore in young people – often without realising it. The campaign will help influencers – such as parents, family members, teachers, coaches, community leaders, employers and other role models – become more aware of what they say and do.
  • Victoria will be home to Australia’s first $15 million Pride Centre as part of the State Government’s equality agenda in the 2016/2017 Victorian Budget. It will showcase LGBTI art and history, bring together advisory, health and support services, and feature community spaces to provide a safe social environment.
  • The 2016 Stormwater Victoria Symposium is on 5 May with a mixture of keynote speakers, 30 minute concurrent presentations and six minute ePoster presentations. The Symposium will conclude with a ‘Stormwater Great Debate’ where a range of industry experts will speak.
  • Councils are encouraged to attend the Bully Zero Charity Ball on 10 September to help raise funds so the organisation can continue delivering programs and initiatives to schools, sporting clubs and community groups.
  • The Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority is hosting a one-day conference called the Knowledge Banquet on 16 May from 10am - 3pm at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from a range of local councils, organisations and industry leaders on important environment and planning topics.

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