Issue 963:                                                      Week ending 31 January 2014

Living Libraries Infrastructure funding
Referendum refund
Work for the dole announcement
Road funding revolution

Councils contribute to Victoria’s outstanding results in early childhood
Australia Day 2013 honours
Onsite domestic wastewater toolkit
MAV Environment Conference
Revamped Streetlife grants now open
Social enterprise development presentation
Community Fire Refuges
Public safety grant applications
Unity Through Partnerships Grants Program

In social media news...

Living Libraries Infrastructure funding

The MAV is encouraging councils to apply for the State Government’s individual grants of up to $750,000 that are now available for the refurbishment and redevelopment of Victorian libraries.

The Minister for Local Government opened round four of the Living Libraries Infrastructure program urging libraries to take full advantage of the $4.7 million 2014 program.

All local councils and regional library corporations are eligible to apply.

As part of the MAV’s state election campaign we will be asking for renewed funding of the Living Libraries Infrastructure program, which concludes 2014-2015.

In our state budget submission our advocay continues for additional recurrent library funding to better reflect a state-local partnership approach.

Contact Clare Hargreaves and expressions of interest close on 28 March.

Referendum refund

Following the Commonwealth’s commitment to reimburse local government for all costs incurred in the constitutional recognition referendum campaign, the MAV has now been refunded Victoria’s contribution.

We are preparing to disseminate this money to councils. All councils that contributed to the campaign should receive their refund within the next seven days.

This is the second of two reimbursement payments; the first one occurred late last year. This payment will be the final one, with all councils now reimbursed 100 per cent of the funds they contributed to the campaign.

Contact Claire Dunn for more information.

Work for the dole announcement

The Federal Government has announced an ‘enhanced’ work for the dole program.

The MAV is awaiting more information from the government to fully comprehend what the changes mean for the sector.

The government is encouraging local councils to recruit volunteers from Australia's unemployed to work in communities, including rubbish collection and park maintenance.

Under the Howard Government, individual councils participated in work for the dole programs. Councils provided work in the realm of general labouring and maintenance of public lands and council infrastructure.

Ultimately, any initiative to implement a local government orientated work for the dole scheme would be a decision for individual councils.

Road funding revolution

The Federal Government’s Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment (HVCI) reform project has been singled out as a priority project by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The HVCI project will see heavy vehicle charges (some $3 billion annually) being dedicated entirely to road improvements, including local roads for the first time. Currently, these funds are directed to the Federal Government’s consolidated revenue.

HVCI funds will be allocated to regional groups of councils according to road use and forecast need.  A final report to the government will be made in late 2014 by the HVCI Reform group.

The MAV convened a meeting of councils in December 2013 to discuss the HVCI proposal. The meeting generally supported the proposed HVCI direction. The MAV will work with councils to gain commitment for the establishment of Regional Road Groups by 31 March.

Contact John Hennessy for more information.

Councils contribute to Victoria’s outstanding results in early childhood

The MAV commends the effort of local government which has greatly assisted in the positive results for Victoria as outlined in the early childhood section of the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services.

The Minister’s announcement outlined that Victoria has the best quality early childhood education and care in the country and higher kindergarten enrolment rates than any other state, with Victorian children’s services outperforming their interstate counterparts under Australia’s new rating and assessment regime of the early years sector.

Every local council has played an active planning role in ensuring every preschool child has access to 15 hours of kindergarten.

Councils invested over $240 million of its own funds to build new kindergarten facilities and has been working to support the introduction of quality reforms in their planning, capacity building and service provision roles.

Australia Day 2013 honours

The MAV would like to congratulate the following individuals who were among recipients of Australia Day honours for their work with Victorian local government.

  • Colin McDonald – Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
  • Elsie Brown – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
  • Cr John Chandler –  Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
  • Doug Evans – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
  • Merridee Hardinge – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
  • Peter Mercer – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
  • John Vinall – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
  • John Bennie – Public Service Medal (PSM)

Nearly 4500 new Victorian citizens, originally from 118 different countries, made the pledge to become Australian citizens in 76 ceremonies, 73 of which were hosted by local government.

For further information visit the Governor-General's website.

Onsite domestic wastewater toolkit

The MAV, in conjunction with EPA Victoria and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries has recently updated the model Land Capability Assessment Framework.

This assesses a site’s suitability to support an onsite domestic wastewater system.

The update reflects recent changes to the Code of Practice for Onsite Domestic Waste Water. The update is published on the MAV website.

As a part of this project, the Minister for Water recently wrote to councils and water corporations promoting awareness of existing resources, including the Model Municipal Domestic Wastewater Management Plan, which was developed in 2005 by the MAV with assistance from EPA Victoria.

MAV Environment Conference

The MAV is excited to announce the date of our 2014 Environment Conference.

Full details on the conference program, speakers and registrations will be released in the coming weeks.

Contact Hannah Fitzgerald for more information or register here.

Revamped Streetlife grants now open

Applications for the Victorian Government’s Streetlife program are now open with more funding available for trader associations.

Streetlife provides grants to improve retail management skills and develop local marketing and customer attraction strategies to boost foot traffic, sales, investment and employment.

Council-owned retail precincts such as major markets can now also apply for Streetlife funding through their local council.

Up to $20,000 will be available for business and trader associations, up from $5000 in earlier rounds, provided they can match 20 per cent of the total grant amount.

The program will be offered on an ongoing basis and will no longer have a fixed closing date.

Further information is available online.

Social enterprise development presentation

The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and the MAV will host a free presentation about how local government can support the development of social enterprise.

The presentation will draw on a recent pilot partnership between SSE and Moreland City Council and will be followed by a Q&A with social entrepreneurs and a Moreland representative.

Social enterprise continues to build interest with local government as a new approach to delivering combined economic and social value into communities.

The presentation will be held on 11 March from 11am-12.45pm at the MAV. It will be simulcast by webinar. For webinar participants, contact Mirai Kirsanovs.

Community Fire Refuges

In late December three pilot Community Fire Refuges (CFR) were officially endorsed by the Fire Services Commissioner.

Two of the refuges are located in the Yarra Ranges Shire at primary schools in Ferny Creek and East Warburton and one refuge is located in Moorabool Shire at the Blackwood CFA station.

The MAV worked closely with the councils involved in the pilot, as well as State Government agencies to ensure the pilot process was implemented effectively and respected each council’s role, capability and capacity.

At the conclusion of the pilot program in May 2014, an evaluation will be conducted to consider key aspects of the pilot program and provide a report to the Fire Services Commissioner to assist with informing planning, policy and procedures for future CFRs.

Public safety grant applications

Applications for the next round of Public Safety Infrastructure Fund grants will close on 21 February.

Councils can apply for grants of up to $250,000 to help fund the development of new, or redevelopment of existing infrastructure to help improve community safety, security and confidence in public places.

This can include lighting systems, other physical security or safety measures, streetscape and amenity improvements, and CCTV systems.

Unity Through Partnerships Grants Program

The Unity Through Partnerships (UTP) Grants Program provides funding of up to $100,000 for projects undertaken in partnership by two or more of Victoria’s diverse ethnic, cultural and religious communities, culminating in a public festival, event or gathering.

The UTP Grants Program, administered by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship will close on 28 February.

Applications will be accepted for festivals and/or events that are scheduled to run between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015.

Read the Unity Through Partnerships Grants Program Guidelines to ensure your project aligns with the objectives of the program.

Local government can auspice funds or act as a primary or secondary partner.

Contact Claire Millar for more information or apply online.

In social media news...

  • Victorians take up the new FireReady app: Find out more.
  • The social media landscape infographic: Read more here.
  • Tourism apps: Find out more.
Upcoming MAV events...

February & March

Strategic Planning Meetings 2014

26-27 March

Smart Urban Futures

3 April

Local Laws: Identifying Family Violence


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