Federal Budget 2013-14
The Federal Budget was released this week and contained few new measures of interest to local government. Two quarterly Financial Assistance Grants (FAG) payments for the 2013-14 year are being brought forward into the 2012-13 year, which has been the consistent practice of the Commonwealth Government in recent times. This decision does not affect the overall quantum of FAGs received by councils, but early payment may influence each council’s operating result for specific financial years.
It is understood that despite significant budget savings, the Roads to Recovery program remains funded until at least 2019. Other large transport initiatives include $3 billion to the Melbourne Metro rail project.
Other initiatives of interest to local government include continued operational funding for the early childhood education reforms, the establishment of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication agency, and $12.9 million for councils to connect to the National Broadband Network.
For further information contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.
NDIS and implications for Victoria’s HACC service
The Prime Minister and Premier Napthine announced earlier this month that the Victorian Government has signed up to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), known as DisabilityCare Australia.
The new agreement includes that the National Health Reform Agreement 2011 will be amended so that responsibility for Home and Community Care (HACC) for over sixty-fives will be transferred to the Commonwealth.
This change will reverse the previous agreement of the National Health Reform Agreement, which specified that transferring responsibilities to the Commonwealth in relation to basic community care services currently delivered through the HACC program did not apply to Victoria (and Western Australia); that in these states, basic community care services will continue to be delivered under HACC as a joint Commonwealth-State funded program; and that the Commonwealth and these States will maintain bilateral agreements for that purpose.
The MAV is disappointed that this matter was not discussed with local government as a key funding, planning and delivery partner of HACC services prior to the Premier and Prime Minister signing the agreement.
This does not represent an immediate change to Victoria’s HACC services. Victoria will transition to the NDIS scheme from 2016-17, with it being fully operational by 1 July 2019.
The MAV will provide further advice to councils on this matter following our meeting with Minister Davis.
For further information contact Clare Hargreaves on 9667 5543.
Councillor Development Weekend registrations open
This year we return to the Novotel Forest Resort in Creswick for the 15th MAV Councillor Development Weekend on 26 to 28 July. The theme for the 2013 Councillor Development Weekend, See the Forest through the Trees, will invite councillors to remember the basics but not forget the bigger picture. The focus will be on the big challenges ahead and how to get on top of the game.
Confirmed key notes speakers include:
Beverley O’Connor, journalist & former Melbourne Football Club Board member
Tony Jones, host of Q & A on ABC
Katrina Byers, former journalist & media trainer
Kurt Fearnly, paralympian, wheelchair athlete & recent London Marathon winner
The weekend will feature workshops on planning, media, dealing with difficult people, meeting conduct, finance and equity, and leadership.
Further speakers will be announced shortly. Register now.
Garage Sale Trail
The Garage Sale Trail is a not-for-profit mission to create positive social and environmental change. By working with councils to organise communities around Australia to hold garage sales on the same day, 26 October, the program aims to promote sustainability, community and commerce.
The MAV Board recently endorsed a partnership with the program and is encouraging councils to participate and experience the many benefits including promoting reuse; reducing waste going to landfill; creating community connections; and stimulating local economies.
Participating councils include Moreland, Hume, Port Phillip, Bayside, Kingston, Bendigo, Whittlesea, Yarra Ranges and Monash, with other municipalities in the process of signing up. Fore a fee, participants are provided with branding and communication tools, and human resources and digital support. Sign up by the end of May to take part in one of the largest community and sustainability programs in the country.
Climate change and road management financial modelling workshop
A workshop on 12 June will present the results of a National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility project to develop a financial model to calculate the impacts of climate change on three major asset classes of importance to councils – sealed roads (both hotmix and spray sealed) and unsealed roads.
The outputs of the model will provide local government with an indication of the likely impacts of climate change on road asset useful life and corresponding changes to maintenance and repair costs. The model developed in the project has been tested using real data for 139 councils across southern Australia.
Register online by 7 June. For further information contact Ben Morris.
Funding available for local sport and recreation facilities
The Community Facility Funding Program (CFFP) is now open for applications. The CFFP provides grants for a broad range of sport and recreation projects, including planning and building new and improved facilities where communities meet, interact and participate in sport and recreation.
Only councils are eligible to apply directly for funding, and local sporting clubs have been encouraged to submit an expression of interest form to their council to obtain support.
CFFP funding is available under six categories:
Better Pools – grants of up to $3 million to build new or upgrade existing aquatic centres.
Major Facilities – grants of up to $650 000 to develop or upgrade major sport and recreation facilities.
Seasonal Pools – grants of up to $200 000 to upgrade seasonal pools in rural, regional and outer metropolitan locations.
Minor Facilities – grants of up to $100 000 to develop or upgrade local sport and recreation facilities.
Soccer Facilities – grants totalling $100 000 for up to two projects are available to upgrade existing and construct new facilities.
Planning – grants to fund initiatives that assess the future sport and recreation facility needs of local and regional communities.
National crime prevention fund
Applications for grants as part of the National Crime Prevention Fund are now open.
Well-planned crime prevention strategies can build the social and economic well-being of communities. Funds are available for local councils and not-for-profit organisations to seek finance for projects that help to stop young people from getting involved in crime and to fund security-related infrastructure projects like CCTV cameras and lighting. Funding is available for:
projects addressing societal disconnection, with applicants able to seek grants of up to $300 000
security-related infrastructure projects, with applicants able to seek funding of up to $500 000
Applications must be lodged by 9 pm on Wednesday 29 May.
Local research builds a Knowledge City
The Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) has published a discussion paper about the research capacity within local government. Knowledge City focuses on the work of a research unit within the City of Melbourne, and describes the difference an in-house research team can make to a council and its community.
Knowledge City contributes to a national discussion about research taking place inside local government, and how knowledge is strengthened when it is seen through multiple ‘lenses’. The aim of the paper is to inform thinking about what role a council can take in research and how it can change the way a council works.
The paper focuses on some of the specific research work undertaken by the research unit including a census of land use and employment of the municipality, and collaboration with other council branches on an array of strategies and studies.
Unlicensed motor car traders
The Minister for Consumer Affairs is encouraging councils to report unlicensed motor car traders.
Anyone who offers to buy, sell or exchange four or more cars in 12 months is deemed to be acting as a motor car trader, and may require a licence under the Motor Car Traders Act 1986. Vehicles purchased from an unlicensed trader may not come with a warranty, cooling-off rights and a clear title.
The Government has a hotline which enables the reporting of suspected unlicensed trading. The number is 1800 351 591, and the hotline operates during business hours. Alternatively, councils can report the matter through the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
Community trust study
In Mext Consulting’s latest community trust study, over 1300 respondents rated their trust in their local community. Mext analysed what drives and inhibits trust and examined the effect of more or less trust on community behaviour and attitude towards councils.
Trust is a key driver for residents’ attitudes and behaviours that makes communities strong and successful. The study looks at four community engagement areas: neighbour relations; community support and safety; community prosperity; and political support.
NYC research: bike lanes lead to increase in retail sales
A New York Department of Transportation report called Measuring the Street: New Metrics for the 21st Century, highlights the benefits to local business from bike-lanes, including a 49 per cent increase in retail sales to businesses adjacent to the new separated bike lanes.
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