Issue 942:                                                    Week ending 9 August 2013

Referendum disappointment
Inquiry into local economic development initiatives in Victoria
Identify family violence - Training for local laws officers
National local government workforce strategy
Social media for high impact and engagement
Heritage planning for regional councils
Glen Eira aims for a low density future
New report into the benefits of active travel
Workplace diversity forum
Infection prevention and control review of tattoo premises
Victorian Community Road Safety Partnership Program
Vale: David Powell
In social media news...

Referendum disappointment

By now you will be already aware that the Prime Minister’s decision to hold the election on 7 September means that the referendum will not proceed at this time.

The MAV is very disappointed that it will not be going ahead at the federal election, especially after so much work has already gone into the Yes campaign, and the polls have shown strong support for a Yes vote.

During the election, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) will be seeking a commitment from all major political parties for a date on which to hold a referendum, as we hope to build on the momentum that our campaign has already gained among the public.

We have been contacted by a number of councils seeking advice on whether their contribution to the campaign will be refunded.

The MAV’s objective is to get the money that councils contributed returned, however we are aware that some funds have already been spent and it is unreasonable for other states to carry the financial load for Victoria. The ALGA is in talks with the Commonwealth to work through this issue and when we have further information we will let you know.

We would like to thank participating councils for their hard work and support throughout the initial phases of the campaign. The work that has been done means that we are well-placed to continue the campaign should a referendum proceed, and that our communities are more aware of the issues at stake.

Inquiry into local economic development initiatives in Victoria

The Victorian Parliamentary Committee for Economic Development and Infrastructure has returned from its study tour of Europe to release the findings from its Inquiry into local economic development initiatives in Victoria. The MAV suggests all councils read and review the recommendations of this extraordinary report, which among other things include an overhaul of the Municipal Association of Victoria Act 1907.

In both our written submission and attendance at an inquiry hearing, the MAV emphasised the State and Federal Government roles in driving economic development by delivering major infrastructure investment, and the role of local government to leverage off that investment with local strategies and a supportive planning environment.

For further information contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

Identify family violence - Training for local laws officers

Local laws staff are often exposed to signs that family violence is occurring and may not know how to recognise these signs or respond appropriately.

The MAV is pleased to offer local laws officers the Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) training for identifying family violence. This is the same framework used by the police, maternal and child health nurses, and community service organisations. The City of Casey will also discuss the approach they’re taking to mitigate the increased risk of violence to women in situations of local laws enforcement, including parking and animal management.

Two free sessions are being held in:

  • Melbourne - Tuesday 20 August at the MAV, Level 11, 60 Collins Street Melbourne (this session will be followed by a presentation by Maddocks on dangerous dogs and nuisance dogs) – register here
  • Bendigo - Wednesday 28 August at the City of Greater Bendigo Town Hall, 195 Lyttleton Terrace, Bendigo – register here

For further information contact Kellie Nagle or Claire Dunn.

National local government workforce strategy

Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) have released the first national local government workforce strategy.

Future-Proofing Local Government: National Workforce Strategy 2013-2020 provides a comprehensive, consistent national approach to local government workforce planning and development.

The strategy is designed to address retention, development and attraction at a time when Australia is experiencing higher demand for skilled workers, and local government is taking on increasing responsibilities for service delivery at the local level.

The nation’s ageing population means one third of local government employees are over 50 years old and will soon retire, increasing the pressure on the development of a sustainable workforce. The strategy addresses this by providing long-term solutions for building diverse and flexible workplaces that draw on local resources to deliver local services.

The MAV was a member of the ACELG National Local Government Workforce Development Reference Group and the LGMAs Local Government Workforce Development Group that contributed to the development of the strategy.

Social media for high impact and engagement

On Friday 23 August the MAV will host a workshop on using social media for high impact and engagement. Participants will hear from people who have used social media to engage their communities and to mobilise people to advocate for policy changes.

This workshop will be facilitated by Liz Weaver, vice president of Tamarack, which leads the Vibrant Communities Canada team and provides coaching, leadership and support to community partners in 100 cities across Canada; and will use real-life case studies to provide insights into social media strategies that work.

This event is suitable for councillors, CEOs, directors, organisational development managers, communications managers and social media officers.

Heritage planning for regional councils

The Victorian Government has announced a $440 000 funding boost for rural and regional councils to support further planning to protect heritage significant areas.

The support is designed for heritage studies and advisors, and is primarily to guide the development of heritage assets, promote heritage conservation and to provide free advice to owners of heritage buildings. Heritage Victoria has also produced a new heritage toolkit to help councils develop their Municipal Heritage Strategies.

Glen Eira aims for a low density future

Glen Eira City Council has become the first Victorian council to announce its intended application of the Victorian Government’s new residential zones.

Following community consultation over a review of its Planning Scheme in 2010-11, the council has chosen to directly translate its existing Minimal Change Areas into the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, where a maximum two storey height limit will apply. Other additional built form controls designed to maintain canopy trees and minimise storm water runoff will also apply in these areas.

Four storey development will be achievable in only 2.2 per cent of the municipality via the allocation of land into the Residential Growth Zone, which will be limited to urban village precincts centred on the Elsternwick, Carnegie and Bentleigh railway stations.

New report into the benefits of active travel

Last week the federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport released the report Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport: supporting active travel in Australian communities. The report highlights the significant economic benefits of active forms of transport, such as reduced congestion; reduced environmental impacts; improved public health; reduced healthcare costs; and improved community wellbeing and social cohesion. It cites research which claims that for each person who cycles 20 minutes to work and back, our economy benefits by $14.30, and for each person who walks 20 minutes to work and back benefits our economy by $8.48.

The MAV is currently reviewing our Transport Position Paper, which defines the Victorian local government sector’s vision for transport policy and investment. The new document will include increased coverage of the benefits of active travel.

For further information contact James Cleaver.

Workplace diversity forum

The annual Victorian Local Government Multicultural Issues Network (VLGMIN) Forum was held earlier this week, and attended by over 120 people representing councils and other stakeholder organisations.

The forum deliberated on issues arising from research findings that show people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are significantly under-represented in the local government workforce. It provided a valuable opportunity to increase the knowledge and skills of local government around our workforce profile and planning, the benefits of a culturally diverse workforce, equal employment opportunity and human rights perspectives, and current good practice.

For further information visit the MAV website.

Infection prevention and control review of tattoo premises

The Victorian Department of Health is conducting a review of the risks of blood borne virus (BBV) transmission associated with tattooing premises. This review has arisen in response to the increasing popularity of tattoos over the past two decades, particularly amongst younger populations; and anecdotal evidence of increased numbers of both registered and unregistered tattoo premises.

The aim of the review is to ensure that the Department’s infection prevention and control efforts are keeping up with these changes. As councils register businesses involving tattooing, information is being collected on the current issues and challenges facing councils with regard to tattooing practices, and the guidance and support available.

A survey has been sent to council environmental health managers, and participation is voluntary and confidential. The results will be collated and used to inform policy recommendations and the production of educational supports and materials, and be fed back to the sector.

Councils seeking more information should contact their Regional Environmental Health Officer located in the regional DHS office or Katherine Ong. (Katherine will be away until 19 August, please contact Michael Ackland before then).

Nominations for Victorian Community Road Safety Partnership Program

VicRoads is currently accepting expressions of interest for seven community member positions on the Victorian Community Road Safety Alliance. Successful applicants will perform an important role overseeing the Victorian Community Partnership Program, which distributes $1.6 million each year to registered community road safety groups to deliver local road safety initiatives. Applications must be submitted by Friday 23 August.

Others with a passion for road safety may want to join their local community road safety registered groups, which are independently administered by volunteers with VicRoads support.

For further information about nominating contact

If you have any questions about the MAV’s role in the Partnership and on the Alliance, contact James Cleaver.

Vale: David Powell

The MAV was saddened to hear of the sudden death of David Powell, Director Environment and Infrastructure at the City of Boroondara last week. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge his commitment and contribution to Victorian local government.

Described as a calm, confident and knowledgeable mind, David counted Boroondara, Bayside, Nillumbik and Baw Baw among his many council appointments over the years.

His career in local government spanned more than 30 years and his passion and enthusiasm for the sector is an inspiration.

Our thoughts are with his family, friends and Boroondara Council colleagues.

In social media news...

  • The Victorian Department of Justice has released a seminar presentation, Digital innovation: bringing your staff along with you. Find out more here.
  • Livable Housing Australia (LHA) has launched a new app to guide the design and construction of homes that are more liveable. Download it for Apple or Android.
  • From the US: a new police department app is leading citizen engagement. Read more here.
Upcoming MAV events...

14 - 15 August

LGICT annual conference

20 August

Volunteer engagement and support workshop

27 August

Writing for the web workshop


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