Issue 941:                                                    Week ending 2 August 2013

MAV councillor census
Planning and Environment Amendment (General) Act 2013
The State of Australian Cities report
Prevention of violence against women update
Councils encouraged to participate in anti-racism campaign
Safer design training: Shepparton
Moreland named Sustainable City of the Year
Is your council relay service friendly?
Federation of Ethnic Communities conference
Aquatics and Recreation Victoria conference
In social media news...

MAV councillor census

The results of the MAV councillor census have been released. The purpose of the census is to better understand the make-up of Victorian councillors and compare the data over time.

The survey was previously conducted in 2003, 2006 and 2009; in each year following council elections. This year 79 per cent of councillors participated in the survey. Key findings include:

  • The majority of councillors continue to be male, but female representation continues to increase.
  • The majority of councillors are above 46 years of age with 56-65 years old the most common age group.
  • There are fewer councillors aged 25 and younger in 2013 as compared to 2009, but a greater number in the 26-35 age group.
  • Most councillors are self-employed or working.
  • Most councillors have a post school qualification - this has risen over time
  • In 2013, the number of female councillors with undergraduate and post graduate qualification was higher than the number of males with these qualifications.
  • The majority of councillors earn above $52 000 per year.
  • Over 40 per cent of councillors are newly elected.
  • About 23 per cent of councillors identify with no political party or are ‘swing’ voters (down from 29 per cent in 2009).
  • Around 28 per cent identify as Liberal (up from 23 per cent in 2009), 21 per cent identify as Labor (down from 26 per cent in 2009) and other party/independent has risen to over 15 per cent (11 per cent in 2006).

Planning and Environment Amendment (General) Act 2013

On 22 July the first stage of the Planning and Environment Amendment (General) Act 2013 commenced. All councils should have received a letter from the Department explaining the changes in detail. Some of the changes include:

  • abolishing Development Assessment Committees
  • providing for the establishment of Planning Application Committees
  • setting out the duties of a referral authority
  • making a referral authority, rather than the responsible authority, liable for compensation in certain circumstances
  • clarifying when a bond or guarantee can be required as a condition in a section 173 agreement
  • amendments to clarify who is liable for compensation arising from the reservation of land for a public purpose
  • amendments to allow a responsible authority to amend a permit issued at the direction of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
  • limiting the scope of VCAT to extend an expired permit
  • allowing VCAT to limit its review of a matter to the specific issues in dispute between the parties
  • altering the time for permit holders to request an extension for an expired permit, and
  • a new definition of 'business day'.

For a quick summary of the impact of the changes view the HWL Ebsworth website.

The State of Australian Cities report

The 2013 State of Australian Cities was released this week. It brings together current research and census data to present a comprehensive snapshot of how our major cities are evolving.

The purpose of the report is to provide an evidence base for policy and investment decisions in our major cities, to explore trends in urban development and to inform people about the factors that are shaping our cities and the lives of their communities.

The main theme of the report is how the change in Australia’s industrial structure is affecting major cities. Given an increasing concentration of high paying jobs in their centres, while at the same time most of the population growth is happening on the edges, the report focuses on what this may mean for productivity and equity.

It found that there are three key ways in which the connection between work and homes in major cities could be improved by:

  • bringing workplaces closer to homes
  • increasing the number of dwellings in areas that have the greatest number of jobs so that people can live closer to work, and
  • improving transport links between work and home.

It also explores population and settlement, sustainability, transport, energy, waste, and governance of Australia’s major cities.

In the liveability section, Melbourne ranks highly on prosperity and quality of life.

Prevention of violence against women update

A new national organisation, the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children, is being established. The Foundation will be based in Victoria, and have Natasha Stott Despoja as its inaugural Chair. The MAV has been invited to participate in a consultation on 8 August to help inform and influence this national initiative. The Foundation’s new website outlines a number of other ways to feed into the consultation via written submissions and a webinar. For more information, please contact Kellie Nagle.

The World Health Organisation launched a report last month highlighting violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’. The report represents the first systematic study of global data on the prevalence of violence against women – both by partners and non-partners.

Thirty-five per cent of all women will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence. The study finds that intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence, affecting 30 per cent of women worldwide. The study highlights the need for all sectors to engage in eliminating tolerance for violence against women and better support women who experience it.

Councils encouraged to participate in anti-racism campaign

Councils have an important role to play in creating respectful and inclusive local communities which are free from racism. One way councils can take a stand against racism is to sign up as supporters of the national Racism. It Stops with Me campaign. The campaign aims to ensure that more Australians recognise that racism is unacceptable and gives people the tools and resources to take practical action against it.

So far, around 150 organisations have signed up to support the campaign, including 11 councils. Supporters agree to promote the campaign through their networks, and undertake activities to prevent and respond to racism. Victorian councils that have signed up include the cities of Greater Dandenong, Darebin, Monash, Port Phillip, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Moreland and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.

Signing on to support the campaign sends a powerful message that racism will not be tolerated in your community. For further information about what your council can do, email the campaign secretariat. You can also follow the campaign on twitter.

Safer design training: Shepparton

Crime and the fear of crime in public places are real issues for communities. Well designed and managed public places have a significant role in promoting community safety and attractive urban environments.

Training is available in Shepparton on 29 August to assist local government officers and other professionals to understand and apply safer design principles in their work.

Understanding principles of safer design is relevant to all officers responsible for the planning, design, management or use of public places. The case studies at this session will be particularly tailored to those working in regional, interface and rural locations.

Presenters will include senior urban designers from the Department of Planning, Transport and Local Infrastructure, representatives from local government, Victoria Police and the Community Crime Prevention Unit in the Department of Justice.

It is designed to support safe, accessible and liveable places that encourage community participation and minimise the opportunity for crime.

This training costs $100. For further information or to register, visit the Urban Design Training webpage or email

Moreland named Sustainable City of the Year

The City of Moreland has been named the 2013 Sustainable City of the Year at the Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria Sustainable Cities Awards ceremony held last week.

The council also came away with the community government partnerships award for its work on carbon neutrality; and the cultural heritage award.

Moreland will now compete in the national awards in November this year, where it will vie for the title of Australian Sustainable City 2013.

The MAV congratulates all Victorian councils that achieved recognition at the awards, including:

  • Clean beach - Bayside City Council
  • Community action and leadership - Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden (Melton City Council)
  • Litter prevention - Monash Pride Crew (City of Monash)
  • Pam Keating Award for Environmental Sustainability - City of Yarra
  • Protection of the environment - Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden (Melton City Council)
  • Resource recovery and waste management - City of Yarra.

Is your council relay service friendly?

The National Relay Service (NRS) is a government initiative helping people with hearing and/or speech impairment have successful phone conversations.

If someone can’t hear clearly over the phone, or has trouble being understood, it is hard to do ordinary things like ringing their council to access services.

The NRS provides a solution. It helps people with hearing and/or speech difficulties get things done over the phone, and have conversations with less misunderstanding.

The NRS works with councils to improve their accessibility to members of their community who use the NRS. Being accessible through the NRS helps councils better serve those in their community with hearing and/or speech loss.

For further information visit the NRS website, phone 1800 555 660 or email

Federation of Ethnic Communities conference

ALGA President Felicity-ann Lewis will present at this year's Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia (FECCA) conference, to be held from 7 - 8 November on the Gold Coast.

The biennial conference draws together leading decision-makers, thinkers and practitioners to discuss and debate the key issues that relate to Australia's cultural and linguistic diversity relevant to this year's theme - Breaking down the barriers: A strength-based approach for a just society.

Aquatics and Recreation Victoria conference

On Thursday 22 and Friday 23 August, the Aquatics and Recreation Victoria (ARV) Industry Conference will take place.

This event brings together industry decision-makers including CEO’s, directors and managers of local government, aquatic and recreation facility managers, commercial organisations, universities, peak bodies and directors and managers of government departments.

The conference will cover a range of strategic and operational issues including:

  • health, wellness and community benefits of aquatic and recreation facilities
  • employment arrangements and enterprise bargaining
  • managing hygiene - implications for operations and centre design
  • place-making and future infrastructure requirements, and
  • digital technology, marketing and current trends.

In social media news...

  • Parramatta City Council has switched on the first 5G wifi network for CBD visitors. Find out more here.
  • Tourism Victoria in partnership with the Office for Disability has released a new resource kit to raise awareness within the tourism industry of the accessible tourism market. Read more here.
  • The June social media statistics for Australia are now available. Read more here.
  • From the US: National Day of Civic Hacking – is it good for cities? Find out more here.
Upcoming MAV events...

14 - 15 August

LGICT annual conference

21 August

Leadership from the inside out workshop

22 August

Solving major community issues via collaboration


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