Issue 964:                                                      Week ending 7 February 2014

Fire Services Levy reforms
No Exceptions, No Excuses
Meeting with Local Government Minister
Big opportunities at 2014 Rural Summit
Living Victoria Fund
Company Directors Course - registrations closing
Sports without borders
Summer power outages campaign
Spiritual reflection space for council staff
Local councils building a culture of welcome for refugees

In social media news...

Fire Services Levy reforms

The MAV has welcomed the State Government’s Fire Services Levy (FSL) reforms, announced this week.

The government has introduced legislation which will reduce the FSL on over 60,000 residential rental properties and over 860 outdoor sports grounds across Victoria from 1 July.

The reforms adjust several land use categories, with the residential units (AVPCC 131 category) being shifted from the commercial to the residential rate. Further changes include outdoor sporting categories and water industry properties.

The MAV has this week also distributed a Fire Services Property Levy Costing Survey to all councils. This will inform the MAV’s advocacy for ongoing funding for the collection and administration of the FSL.

The government has commenced a project in partnership with the MAV to establish the cost of councils’ administration of the FSL to inform funding decisions for 2014-15 and beyond.

For more information contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

No Exceptions, No Excuses

The MAV is partnering with the Victorian Government to ensure wide dissemination of the message to not leave children unattended in cars during hot weather.

Last week we provide information to councils to help spread the message via social media. With another heatwave upon us, we encourage councils to keep sharing information and advice to communities.

This week the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development launched a new campaign called No Exceptions, No Excuses to warn parents of the dangers of leaving their children inside cars on hot days.

The campaign, running in partnership with KidSafe Victoria, steps up the warning to parents and carers that leaving children inside parked cars during the heat – even for a moment – can be fatal.


Meeting with Local Government Minister

The MAV was pleased to hold our regular meeting with Minister Powell this week.

It was a positive meeting with many topics discussed including the key elements of our State Budget submission, our Funding Regional Communities campaign and the local government performance framework.

The new powers for mayors were also discussed but we are still awaiting further details.

The MAV President Bill McArthur invited the Minister to attend one of our board meetings this year which she agreed to.

Big opportunities at 2014 Rural Summit

Economist Saul Eslake, chef Stefano De Pieri and Frank Delahunty are among the speakers at this year's Rural Summit run by Rural Councils Victoria to be held in Nhill on 27 and 28 March.

Titled Small Communities, Big Opportunities – Facing the Future and Embracing Change, the program features a session specifically targeted at local government CEOs looking at the role of innovation in sustainable organisations.

This year’s summit will be hosted by Hindmarsh Shire Council and includes two networking dinners.

Bookings can be made online. Tickets are $225 per person, with discounts for group bookings.

This event is aimed at CEOs, mayors, councillors, economic development officers, tourism staff, business and community leaders.

Living Victoria Fund

Round two of the $50 million Living Victoria Fund is now open for submissions.

Up to $15 million is available for new alternate water system projects across the state, including up to $3 million for community-led projects and up to $5 million for projects in Victoria’s regions.

Interested councils are invited to a Living Victoria Fund Information Session, which will held in Ballarat, Benalla, Echuca, Melbourne and Traralgon.

Following the release of the final Melbourne’s Water Future Strategy, the MAV is continuing to work closely with councils and the Office of Living Victoria to develop local water cycle plan guidelines and the regional water future strategies.

For further information, including about opportunities to develop a pilot local water plan, contact James Cleaver.

Company Directors Course - registrations closing

Registrations will close soon for the Company Directors Course, conducted for the MAV by the Australian Institute of Company Directors on 4 March.

All registrations are required before 7 February.

Over the past two years more than 100 Victorian councillors and officers have completed the five-day program to enhance their learning and to contribute to councils at a higher level. For 2014 we will offer this program again in August.

All participants will be from local government to maximise the experience for councillors and officers. Numbers are limited to 20 people.

Sports without borders

The 2014 Sports Without Borders Conference will be held on 2 May at the Moonee Valley Racing Club as part of the Sports Participation Conference & Sports Technology Expo.

It aims to provide inspiration and practical support to ensure everyone, including young migrants, can get involved in sport.

Attendees, including sportspeople, clubs and local government staff, will get inspiration for the year ahead, learn how to use technology to recruit and retail players and supporters, and learn how to foster an ethical framework without compromising a winning spirit.

Guest speakers will include the Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty and Senator Nova Peris. The day will also include a great debate.

Registrations can be made online.

Summer power outages campaign

The Department of State Development Business and Innovation's summer campaign, Your Guide to Power Outages, is helping people prepare for the Victorian bushfire season.

The campaign has been developed by the Powerline Bushfire Safety Program in advent of improving safety devices that may cause an increase of power outages during Total Fire Ban and Code Red days.

The guide has been designed to provide information encouraging people to prepare for power outages that occur during the bushfire season. The key messages remind people to consider the need for back-up power, especially if they are highly reliant on electricity, and to remember that power outages can affect many household items including phones, radios and water pumps.

Now in its third year, the campaign includes regional radio and print advertisements, a webpage and brochure.

Spiritual reflection space for council staff

The City of Melbourne’s human resource team is currently undertaking some preliminary research looking at the provision of a spiritual reflection space for internal council staff.

Examples of policies, protocols and practices that your council has in place to address the prayer and religious needs of staff would be greatly appreciated, along with any other insight into how a spiritual space was implemented and now evaluated (if your council has a dedicated space).

Ideally the council would like to collate any information you have over the next couple of weeks. Please respond to Tahnee Jones.

Local councils building a culture of welcome for refugees

The contribution made by local councils to welcome refugees and other humanitarian new settlers has been documented in a research paper, Refugee Welcome Zones (RWZ).

The research sets out the aims and benefits of becoming a RWZ; and how other councils can become involved in the initiative.

The paper highlights examples of best-practice from some of the 87 local councils in Australia that have built a culture of welcome for refugees by signing up as RWZs.

In social media news...

  • Facebook turns 10: Read more here.
  • Enhancing organisation capacity through mobile apps: Find out more.
  • From the UK: #Fail - Staffordshire social media campaign to cut underage drinking. Read more.


Upcoming MAV events...

4 March

The Company Directors Course

13 March

Managing contracts in local government

26-27 May

Smart Urban Futures


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