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Municipal Association of Victoria

BULLETIN

All your local government news this week

Issue 1097: 6 October 2016
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Strategic priorities
  • Council elections: Residents have begun receiving their postal election ballot materials this week, and early voting centres are open for attendance elections. We encourage all voters to read candidate statements and published questionnaire responses for their ward to ensure they are properly informed ahead of voting. Also this week, The Age launched a real time Melbourne City Council donations register with voluntary participation of candidates.
  • Infrastructure Victoria stategy: The state's 30-year draft infrastructure strategy was released this week with 134 recommendations. Of these, around 35 per cent are new projects, 45 per cent are about optimising current assets, and remaining recommendations are about planning and prioritisation. The strategy covers a range of areas including education, transport, housing, telecommunications, energy and justice. Further information below.
  • Responsible Gambling Awareness Week: Councils can get involved in Responsible Gambling Awareness Week from 17-23 October to encourage communities to support the concept of responsible gambling. A range of resources are available to assist with promotion of events and activities during the week, including a social media kit.
Last week the MAV met with the Minister for Local Government, Natalie Hutchins to discuss a range of current issues including our submission to the Local Government Act review; the Victorian State Local Government Agreement and the new requirement for Cabinet impact statement. We also briefed the Minister on our comprehensive induction and training program that will be tailored for both new and returning councillors.

The MAV also met with Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne this week. We congratulated the Minister on adopting the sector’s preferred planning fees option, gazetted last week. We also sought development of a community information pack and joint community engagement strategy to better inform property owners about the pending introduction of broadened Bushfire Management Overlays, as well as a support package to improve planning assessment outcomes through the SMART planning program.

We look forward to further meetings with both ministers to discuss these issues and others as they arise.

Infrastructure Victoria has released its draft 30-year Infrastructure Strategy following months of consultation.

During the consultation process we worked closely with Infrastructure Victoria and this is reflected by a number of options in the draft plan referencing local government as key partners.

Following further review of finer details in the strategy, we will develop a draft submission which will be circulated to the sector for comment. We are also holding a sector briefing on the strategy on 11 October, where Infrastructure Victoria CEO, Michel Masson will present the draft to councils.

Submissions are due by 31 October. Previous MAV submissions to the draft strategy can be viewed on our website.

The Productivity Commission has released its Preliminary Findings Report on Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services; Identifying Sectors for Reform.

The Commission has identified six priority areas including social housing, services at public hospitals, specialist palliative care, public dental services, services in remote Indigenous communities, family and community services.

The MAV responded to the Productivity Commission in July, which is available online.

Comments are sought by the Commission on the preliminary report by 27 October. The final study report will be released in November. An inquiry report will be completed next year and will include recommendations on policy reform.

The MAV has sent a survey to all member councils to inform a range of sector-wide digital transformation activities.

The survey is the first recommendation from our Local Government Digital Transformation Taskforce and will assist the taskforce to:

  • Identify sector-wide digital transformation challenges and opportunities
  • Develop capability, culture and conversation for digital transformation benefits
  • Secure resources and funding for collaborative digital transformation initiatives
  • Establish collaboration and inter-connectivity networks.

Responses to the survey should be made by corporate services directors and returned via email by 17 October. Only one response per council is required.

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The MAV will run a workshop on Drones: Implications for Local Government on 12 October.

The workshop will be facilitated by Dr Catherine Ball, National Corporate and Queensland Telstra Business Woman of the Year 2015. She will discuss ethics, best practice, risk management, health and safety processes, and drone policies and strategies for future projects.

The workshop will also explore the current and potential legal framework surrounding the use of drones.

It will run from 10am-3pm at the MAV Office, Level 12, 60 Collins Street.

Solar PV for Low Income Households forum

Council CEOs and directors are invited to a unique, cross sector forum on solar photovoltaic (PV) for low income households. The session on 18 October will cover how to unblock the barriers to low-income households accessing lowest cost renewable energy.

The interactive session will seek input from attendees on recommendations for an integrated strategy led by state and local government, centering on revising the scope for the state’s energy concessions and using councils’ position to grant access to low interest finance.

Presenters include MAV CEO, Rob Spence; Brotherhood of St Laurence Senior Manager, Energy, Equity and Climate Change, Damian Sullivan; and Gavin Mountjoy of City of Darebin.

It will run from 10am-1.30pm at the MAV Office, Level 11, 60 Collins Street, Melbourne. Registrations can be made online.

  • Grants of up to $15,000 are available for regional councils under the Small Regional Presenters program, to deliver professional arts events and experiences in communities. Grants will support the presentation of a single show or live event, a series of shows, or an annual program.
  • The State Government has announced 32 recipients of grants that will be used to build Men’s Sheds and upgrade existing ones in communities across Victoria affected by fire, drought and flood.
  • We would like to congratulate Maroondah City Council for winning an Age-Friendly Victoria Award for its Active Health and Ageing Initiative. The awards are part of the 2016 Victorian Seniors Festival.

MAV event management survey

The MAV wants to help members improve practices and knowledge about council event management. We have developed a survey for members to outline their preferred means of MAV support for event management.

In particular, we want to better understand the ways councils undertake approval of external events and their own events, as well as better understand the type of support that would be valued.

For further information, contact Julie-Ann Undrill.

Support and safety hubs workshops

We are encouraging councils to attend a State Government workshop to help develop a statewide concept for Support and Safety Hubs.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence recommended the introduction of hubs in the 17 Department of Health and Human Service Areas to perform triage, risk and needs assessment, and to ensure people are linked in with the services they need at the local level.

These workshops will inform how the hubs will function and operate, and how they can contribute to a service system delivering effective prevention, response and recovery for anyone experiencing family violence and for families with children at risk of abuse or neglect.

  • The Department of Social Services has updated its Beginning a Life in Australia booklet, which provides helpful settlement information and links for newly arrived migrants, humanitarian entrants and their sponsors, and service providers.
  • The University of Melbourne and City of Melbourne have announced internationally-recognised scholar, Professor Lars Coenen, as the inaugural Professorial Chair in Resilient Cities. He will co-ordinate academic work on practical resilience-building actions in Melbourne.

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Municipal Association of Victoria · Level 12 · 60 Collins Street · Melbourne, Victoria 3000 · Australia