Creative Victoria Partnership Agreement
The Creative State strategy was launched by the Victorian Government in April. It included adoption of the MAV’s key submission recommendation - that the role and contribution of local government in supporting Victoria’s creative and cultural industries be recognised through a formal partnership.
The Strategy states “Creative Victoria will establish and resource a formal partnership with the MAV to work with local councils across the state 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.”
Creative Victoria and the MAV have now signed a four-year Partnership Agreement, with funding to be provided from 2016 - 2020 to establish a new Arts and Culture Policy Adviser position at the MAV. We are pleased to announce Francesca Valmorbida commenced in this role in late October.
We look forward to working with councils on this exciting initiative across the areas of arts, culture, libraries and economic development. Francesca will make contact with Arts and Culture staff in the near future to ensure all councils can be involved.
For further information, contact Francesca Valmorbida.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
The MAV held a Human Services Directors forum in October on the NDIS and what the scheme means for local government. Presentations from the forum are now available on the MAV website.
As the scheme rolls out across the State, the challenges for implementation include a continuous process of review and change. The Aged Care Branch of the Department of Health and Human Services is working closely with the MAV and impacted councils to provide as much certainty as possible about funding.
The Victorian Government will continue to fund Home and Community Care (HACC) services until all NDIS-eligible participants who are currently supported by councils have entered the scheme.
This means that:
- The Department will continue to fund councils to deliver HACC services for their municipality during the NDIS transition period
- Councils will not be required to register as NDIS providers during the transition period, if they do not intend to provide services through the NDIS in the longer term
- Continuity of funding and support aims to ensure that through a time of great change, people with a disability will continue to receive support from a local, trusted source.
The Victorian Government and MAV are also exploring intermediary options for rural communities where, as a result of increased demand for services under the NDIS, there is no alternative provider. This will include addressing price differences and administrative burdens for existing providers.
For further information, contact Jan Black.
Water Liveability and Health Research
The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) will be identifying a list of key quantifiable benefits of investing in livability and health that could be used as key performance indicators. Having a better understanding about the health benefits associated with water projects will provide critical information to influence future planning and investment, particularly for councils and water corporations.
Water plays a crucial role in improving the quality of a space through greening, providing visually attractive blue space, and providing relief from high temperatures by cooling open space. Contact with attractive, accessible green space or nature encourages greater levels of physical activity; and can improve mood, and lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
Research has found that tree shading can also lower the temperature of a street, as can two irrigation events on a sporting field, creating cool refuge islands among heated housing. The WSAA project is now being scoped. The MAV will provide updates as their project progresses.
For further information, contact Nicky Kindler.
Social Cohesion in Practice Portal
The MAV Social Cohesion in Practice Portal allows council staff to share and view the work that Victoria’s local government sector is doing to build social cohesion and community resilience, and to support and celebrate culturally diverse residents.
While every municipality is different, our goals are often the same and the portal aims to showcase accumulated wisdom and practice-based evidence. It gives councils the opportunity to share their work, see what others are up to, learn from peers, and avoids ‘reinventing the wheel’. The portal will also allow the MAV to map various approaches, and identify trends and gaps.
Your council is invited to submit as much or as little information as preferred on relevant:
- policy, plans, strategies or frameworks
- events, grant or training programs
- advisory groups or consultations
- research, projects or services.
Every council has some work to contribute, and as more work is submitted you can search by category, view project titles, and contact the relevant officer for details and discussion.
For further information, contact Bianca Nutt.
Safe Haven Enterprise Visa: Opt-in postcodes online
The Victorian Government agreed to the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) program in August 2015, and they have recently finalised an implementation plan with the Commonwealth.
Victoria’s ‘opted in’ postcodes now appear on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website. Victoria is the only state where the relevant regional areas are included at a local government, rather than state-wide level. For information on which areas are opted in, it is best to use DIBP’s list of postcodes.
This update means that Victorian SHEV holders can now meet Visa requirements to work or study in a specified regional area in Victoria, rather than interstate. If they do so for at least 3.5 years of their five year Visa and don’t access income support for more than 18 months, they are eligible to apply for certain permanent Visas. It is understood that less than ten people in Victoria currently hold a SHEV.
Councils wishing to change or add postcodes should contact Victoria’s new Multicultural and Social Cohesion Division (previously OMAC) on 9651 0640.
Online Presentations: “From Multiculturalism to Inclusion”
The MAV’s 2016 multicultural policy development conference was held on 31 August, and we thank the City of Greater Dandenong for generously hosting this event.
The conference featured keynote speaker Mariam Issa of Resilient Aspiring Women, and focused on shifts from multiculturalism to ‘interculturalism’ and inclusion.
Speakers from local and state government, academia and community organisations covered topics including:
- Exploring policy approaches: specific, universal and mixed approaches to supporting multicultural communities
- Countering racism and Islamophobia
- Diversity within diversity
- Social cohesion, Welcoming Cities and Victoria’s Community Resilience Unit
- Countering IS ideology
- Sector and governmental leadership in social policy and inclusive economic growth
- Cultural identity, religion, language and belonging.
Presentations are now available on our Cultural Diversity Presentations website.
New Victorian Multicultural and Social Cohesion Division
The Victorian Government has announced a new division bringing together the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship (OMAC), the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) and the Community Resilience Unit (CRU).
All remain under the Department of Premier and Cabinet, with the VMC continuing as a separate body with commissioners (with its staff moving to the new Division), and the CRU continuing its focus on young people and addressing extremism of all forms.
In the short-term there will be little change, however a significant benefit is that the new Division will enable better and more efficient relationship building between State and local government.
Syrian and Iraqi Refugee Settlement Update
According to the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS), the arrival of refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict has increased and they are approximately half way through processing an additional 12,000 intake of humanitarian entrants nationally.
The majority of refugees arriving in Victoria fall under the special humanitarian program; where people arrive as permanent residents and are supported by Australian family members (who mostly reside in north-west metropolitan Melbourne).
Most settlement support services are managed by a DSS-funded service provider for the first year. Councils are encouraged to contact DSS about services and local planning settlement committees in their areas.
Community Care Diversity and Active Service Model Planning
Councils funded through Home and Community Care / Commonwealth Home Support Program are required to finalise diversity plans by 2 December for the period December 2016 to December 2017, along with a review of their previous plan and population planning data. An information kit distributed to councils was developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, and agreed to by the Commonwealth.
Plans apply to those aged over and under 65 (or 50 for Indigenous Australians). While councils are encouraged to develop integrated plans with local agencies, councils do require their own plan. HACC Diversity Advisers and active service model industry consultants remain as councils’ primary contact, with the MAV supporting councils to develop Diversity Plans through the provision of information, resources and advice.
In 2017 the MAV will run a series of Diversity in Community Care Masterclasses to assist councils, with each session to be run in both Melbourne and a regional area.
For further information, contact Bianca Nutt.
Proposed Compact - Children and Families in the Early Years
Following our successful Human Services Directors Forum in September, the MAV and five representative councils have been working with the Department of Education and Training, and the Department of Health and Human Services to developed wording for the proposed Compact, incorporating feedback from councils.
The Compact is intended to be a formalised partnership between State and local government to provide a set of principles, priorities and outcomes along with clarity of the roles and responsibilities of each party to guide strategic planning.
As previously outlined to councils, this will be a high level Agreement to recognise that all councils have varying roles in and commitment to the provision of early years’ services. It is anticipated that the Compact will be sent to councils for comment in early December.
For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.
State Government Early Years Reforms
The MAV is actively involved in a number of new high level steering groups and taskforces related to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Roadmap to Reform and Family Violence Royal Commission recommendations. Our role is to ensure the input and directions of councils are considered up front when rolling out these critical reforms.
We represent councils on the Social Policy Taskforce, the Family Violence Steering Committee, Victorian Children’s Council, the Aboriginal MCH Initiative Steering Committee and the Roadmap to Reform Universal Services Working Group. MAV staff are also represented on other committees including the Prevention of Violence against Women Ministerial Taskforce and the Common Risk Assessment Training Review Steering Group.
These bodies are in the early planning stages and the MAV will keep councils informed of progress and any opportunities for council input as the reforms roll out.
For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.
Kindergarten Central Enrolment (CE) project
The highly successful MAV/Department of Education and Training (DET) project final report and Central Enrolment Guide has been completed and provided to the Department for discussion and feedback.
Forty nine councils were actively involved in this project to improve enrolment processes for their local communities or set up new central enrolment schemes. It is pleasing to report that 40,000 four-year old children enrol through local councils.
The MAV is in discussion with DET about how councils can be supported to further strengthen their CE processes and we will keep councils informed of our progress.
For further information, contact Jan Barrett or Wendy Allan.
News in Brief
Recipients of the State Government’s Community Harmony and Capacity Building and Participation programs have been announced. The MAV congratulates all successful council recipients, and looks forward to learning more as the projects progress. The program included Australia’s first LGBTI Multicultural Grants, and also sought to build community capacity to respond to family violence.
The Department of Health and Human Services has released documents to accompany the four year Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2015 -2019. An outcomes framework provides a transparent approach to monitoring and reporting progress to achieve better health and wellbeing for Victorians, and to decrease inequalities. It brings together a comprehensive set of indicators from multiple data sources to help track whether our combined efforts are improving Victorians’ health and wellbeing over time.
Vichealth has launched its latest VicHealth Indicators Survey Report which focuses on the social determinants of health. Local government area profiles provide a snapshot of wellbeing indicators for each municipality across Victoria. The survey complements other Victorian population health surveys, with the data intended to assist council planners to gain a comprehensive insight of health and wellbeing in their area.
VicHealth has also released local government action guides. These resources provide evidence-informed actions for councils to consider when preparing their Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing plan and other strategies. They include objectives and recommended actions for each topic. Fact sheets are available for: reducing harm from alcohol; supporting healthy eating; improving mental wellbeing; increasing participation in physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour; gender equality and respectful relationships; and preventing tobacco use.