The Australian Local Government Association Board has endorsed the development of a campaign with the objective of reversing the decision in the 2014-15 Commonwealth Budget to cut the real value of Financial Assistance Grants to local government.
A senior member of the ALGA will this week present an overview of the campaign strategy to the MAV’s Finance and Rate Capping Taskforce. The taskforce will have primary responsibility for providing advice to the MAV Board on the Victorian component of the campaign strategy.
The strategy will include consolidated local government responses to the current Federation Review, as well as the upcoming Taxation Review.
However, Victorian Labor has committed to a range of other Call to Parties priorities if elected, including a review of the Local Government Act, a commitment to reduce performance measures that councils are required to report on, and $50 million for kindergarten infrastructure. In addition, Labor has committed to a range of transport, public transport and community infrastructure funding programs that broadly meet some of the commitments sought in our Call to Parties.
The MAV also received a brief response from the Palmer United Party, which states they will respect the autonomy of local government if elected.
Also this week, the Coalition formally confirmed continuation of the $100 million successful Local Government Infrastructure Program if re-elected, a commitment that was sought in our Call to Parties and through our Funding Regional Communities advocacy campaign launched last December with councils.
All Call to Party responses can be viewed on our State Election campaign page on our website.
Desktop review of social media resources for councils
Following a 2013 State Council resolution adopted by member councils, the MAV has conducted a desktop review to investigate opportunities, best practice strategies and potential risks of using social media by Victorian councils or individual councillors.
This resource is now available on our extranet. It contains some great links to local, national and international resources and case studies that might be useful.
During the course of this review it became evident that the fast pace of social media adoption by the community has created resource and knowledge gaps in how councils progress from developing their social media policies and strategies to applying them effectively into practice across various council work streams.
Our report recommends approaching the Australian Centre of Excellence in Local Government to determine if a national partner project can be developed. Further updates will be communicated through the bulletin.
MAV Mayoral Program: registrations closing soon
The MAV Mayoral Program will run on 4 December, with registrations closing next week on 2 December.
The program is designed to draw out the real world challenges and experiences of mayors and provide a rich opportunity to learn, debate, challenge and understand the complexities of being mayor. Learning will be enhanced by sharing of experience and by the program design.
It will draw on the shared wisdom of current and past mayors. It will examine relevant mayor/CEO dynamics and will examine the requirements under the Act, community expectations, and the many roles and practical challenges of the position.
It runs from 9.30am-5.30pm at the MAV office, level 11, 60 Collins Street. Registrations can be made online.
National Occasional Care Grants: closing 5 December
The recent announcement of National Occasional Care Funding may have particular benefits for rural and regional communities. Expressions of interest close on 5 December, and can be completed online.
The MAV welcomes these new grants as we have been lobbying hard for reinstatement of occasional care funding since the loss of Take a Break funding.
Priority will be given to services in rural, regional and remote areas, and in areas with limited or no access to flexible early childhood education and care services. Municipalities with a high proportion of vulnerable families, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and refugee or asylum seeker families will also be given priority.
Services can apply for funds to wrap around care for their kindergarten programs. In addition, services offering three-year-old programs can apply.
For further information, contact Rose Stewart. Councils wishing to discuss occasional care models can contact Wendy Allan or Jan Barrett at the MAV.
Native vegetation regulations
DEPI Native Vegetation Support (Melbourne) will be hosting a discussion on the implementation issues of Clauses 52.16 and 52.17 of the Victorian Planning Provisions with environment, biodiversity and statutory planners from local government.
This forum will be an open and friendly discussion of the highs and lows of the past 12 months, a sharing of learned knowledge, and a review of ‘The Guidelines’.
To ensure that DEPI has enough time to respond to a broad range of questions, they must be pre-registered prior to the event by contacting Amanda Dodd.
The forum is on 10 December from 1.30pm-3.30pm at the MAV office, Level 12, 60 Collins St. Registrations to the forum can be made online.
Green Army Round Two now open for applications
Applications are now open for Round Two of the community-led Green Army projects and will close on 9 December.
Projects must run for 20-26 weeks and may be carried out across urban, regional and remote Australia on public land, Indigenous-held lands, or private land where there is a clear community, environmental and heritage benefit.
Green Army projects may involve restoring and protecting native habitat, weeding, revegetation, cleaning up waterways, creeks and rivers, fencing, gully remediation, preventing erosion, protecting and conserving heritage places and values, or monitoring and surveying on Indigenous and non-Indigenous lands.
Applications can be made online.
Poppies in Victoria
A strictly regulated alkaloid poppy industry is now operating in Victoria, and a small number of commercial poppy crops have been planted at locations around Victoria since mid-2014.
Access to land where poppies are grown is restricted, and advice is being provided to council employees who may need to enter such land in the course of their business.
A person cannot enter a poppy crop unless they are accompanied at all times by the licence holder, an employee of the licence holder, or an authorised DEPI inspector.
More information about poppies in Victoria can be found on the Department of Environment and Primary Industries website.
Government Communication Australia awards
The deadline for entries to the the annual Government Communications Australia (GCA) Awards for Excellence has been extended, and will now close on 27 February.
The awards are presented to organisations and communicators who have achieved outstanding success from innovative and effective communication practices in the government sector.
There are 12 categories, catering for all areas of government communications, marketing, engagement and public relations.
Entries can be submitted online. For further information, contact Government Communication Australia. Winners will be announced at the GCA2015 conference in Sydney on 13-15 May.
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