Winter edition of CiVic Magazine out now
The third edition of CiVic is now available, with copies posted to council CEOs, councillors and senior managers. The magazine can also be read using our free iPad app or through our e-magazine.
This issue is full of uplifting council stories from all over Victoria. Read about the March multicultural happenings across the state celebrating Cultural Diversity Week, Harmony Day and a Taste of Harmony. Innovation by Bass Cast, Baw Baw, Gippsland, Latrobe, South Gippsland and Wellington councils to overcome economic challenges is featured. Don’t miss Monash’s positive steps towards gender equity, Maroondah’s disability inclusiveness, Yarra City’s successful reconciliation initiative, and many more great stories.
If you have a story idea or would like to advertise in CiVic, contact our publisher Puffafish.
Constitutional Alteration Bill passes Senate
This week the Constitution Alteration Bill was passed in the Senate. The Bill received majority support across the political divide, with 46 Senators voting for the Bill and eight against. In the House of Representatives earlier this month, the Bill was supported by 133 members, with only two voting against it.
This outcome reinforces the strong level of federal bipartisan support for constitutional recognition of local government. History shows that bipartisan support is a critical component of a successful referendum.
The MAV has written to all CEOs this week asking that each council nominate a council campaign contact point. The purpose of this role is to ensure we are not sending out information to the wrong people, and so that the person who does receive campaign information has an agreed role to disseminate it, allocate tasks and/or action within councils as appropriate. Responses are due by this Friday, 1 July.
The latest members-only campaign update was distributed to councils last week. If you would like to receive the MAV referendum campaign update, contact Francesca Bennett.
POPE permit reforms
This week the Minister for Planning has announced an amendment which will allow local government, community groups and school councils to hold events without being required to apply for a Places of Public Entertainment (POPE) occupancy permit.
Previously under the Building Act 1993, POPE occupancy permits were required whenever an event collected funds, and councils had the obligation to enforce them. The apparent lack of clarity surrounding local government responsibility for POPEs led to inconsistent application and enforcement of these provisions.
The amended legislation will allow any community-based and non-profit organisation running an event that uses recreational facilities larger than 500sqm and with less than 5000 people to not have to apply for a POPE permit.
The MAV lobbied for this change in accordance with our May 2012 State Council resolution, participating in the State’s consultation process.
Community events will still be subject to Occupational Health and Safety requirements, food safety and liquor licensing regulation and legal and insurance requirements.
Professor Will Steffen to address Councillor Development Weekend
How is the climate changing and what does this mean for councils across Victoria?
On Sunday morning at the Councillor Development Weekend (26 – 28 July), councillors will have the opportunity to hear from and question Professor Will Steffen from the Climate Commission.
Professor Steffen will give an update on the latest climate change science, drawing on the Climate Commission’s latest science report: The Critical Decade 2013: Climate change science, risks and responses.
A number of fundamental aspects of our climate system have shifted, and continue to shift, causing a range of significant impacts for our world. Local government is at the forefront of dealing with some of these impacts which are already increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events and straining emergency management, and endangering our health and our communities.
There will be an opportunity to ask questions and discuss how other councils are being affected, and how they are tackling the challenges and costs.
Don't miss out on the principle training, development and networking event for Victorian councillors - register now.
Review of funding conditions for Roads to Recovery
Earlier this year, thanks to an ongoing campaign by councils, the MAV and ALGA, the Australian Government announced that the Roads to Recovery Program (R2R) will be extended for a further five years from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2019.
As part of the extension, the Government is conducting an operational review of the program, including consideration of the recommendations of previous analysis. The Department has foreshadowed changes to the expenditure maintenance requirements which are set out in Part 3 of the program funding conditions “[on average] the funding recipient must spend on the construction or maintenance of roads an amount of own source funds equal to or greater than the reference amount applicable to the funding recipient.” Whereas the Department has taken a lenient approach to this requirement in the past, indications are that this it will be more stringently applied in the future.
The MAV CEO wrote to council CEOs last week inviting their feedback on the R2R funding conditions with a particular focus on the expenditure maintenance requirements. If you would like to submit feedback, or have any questions, contact James Cleaver on 03 9667 5519.
Transport connections program ends
The Transport Connections Program is concluding. The MAV wishes to acknowledge those involved in the program over the past years, particularly the dedicated transport connections coordinators at many councils.
The Transport Connections Program demonstrated what is possible when communities are encouraged to develop innovative responses to their local transport challenges. Community transport innovations which were launched under the auspice of Transport Connections include: web-based and app-based transport access initiatives, active transport, community transport and community-based driver training. As a result, many people who are transport disadvantaged found it easier to access education, healthcare and employment.
With many benefits, community transport crosses traditional government departmental boundaries and provides for a challenging implementation environment. Despite these challenges, the MAV and councils continue to consider the Transport Connections Program an overwhelming success. We encourage the Victorian Government to acknowledge the place of community transport planning and provision in overall transport policies and funding, and to develop new and ongoing initiatives in this field.
Child care capital funding grants now open
Further to last week’s Bulletin article on child care planning, the Australian Government has announced a $5 million Child Care Accessibility Fund which will provide grants to councils to increase the supply of child care in areas of high demand.
One-off discretionary grants of up to $250 000 can be applied for if councils can successfully demonstrate innovative strategies to address critical child care supply shortages in their communities.
Proposals may be submitted by councils undertaking child care supply initiatives independently, or in partnership with local community organisations or businesses. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis, with proposals assessed against selection criteria. Grants can include projects that:
partner with businesses or community organisations to build new child care centres
extend or modify new or existing centres, to provide for more child care places
remove child care planning and development red tape
streamline approval processes
extend child care opening hours, or
collaborate with state governments to free up Crown land or better access underutilised capacity at existing sites (e.g. schools).
For further information contact Wendy Allan or Jan Barrett.
Workplace diversity: how hard can it be?
The MAV is partnering with the Victorian Local Government Multicultural Issues Network (VLGMIN) to deliver the annual VLGMIN Forum. This year it will target local government workforce, staff development planners and recruitment decision-makers. Registration will also be open to other local government stakeholders such as Victorian and Australian Government departments, and community sector organisations.
The forum will address issues arising from recent academic research findings that people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds are under-represented in the local government workforce. The forum will increase the knowledge and skills of local government around our workforce profile and planning; the benefits of a culturally diverse workforce; equal opportunity employment and human rights perspectives; and current good practice.
New training on sustainable urban water management
Clearwater offers a number of capacity building initiatives that may help broaden councils' skills and knowledge in sustainable urban water management. They have just launched their six month training calendar which features a number of new courses, including a new tailored range of training for councils.
General enquiries can be directed to email@example.com
Vale: Cr Bill Harrington
On 21 June, Councillor Bill Harrington of Baw Baw Shire Council passed away.
The MAV would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge his commitment to Victorian local government, and his dedicated contribution to community life.
Bill served on council since the first elections following amalgamation. He was a dedicated husband and father, a well-respected Justice of the Peace, and active member of the community, participating on many sporting club and community boards.
His passion and enthusiasm for his local area, particularly his service and loyalty to the arts will be sorely missed.
Our thoughts are with his family, friends and Baw Baw Shire Council colleagues.
Stand up to street violence
Manningham City Council will be standing up to street violence by wearing the Step Back Think shoe laces in support of the Lace Up campaign at their June meeting, where it will go on public record that as a council they advocate against violence.
There is a need for culture change. Violence should not be tolerated; it affects our communities. As the tier of government closest to the community, we are well-placed to lead by example. The Lace Up campaign provides an opportunity for individuals, councils and clubs to put their best foot forward by lacing up in support of Step Back Think.
Contact Eliza at Step Back Think if your council would like to get involved and receive free shoe laces.
In social media news...
The City of Adelaide has released an intuitive smart phone app that enables you to identify and report council-specific issues. Find out more here.
LandCare has developed a simple, ‘dummy’s guide to’ social media kit for groups that want to connect. Read it here.
From the US: The White House has named a Detroit crowdfunding project a ‘champion of change’. Read more here.