Call to Parties update
Following last week’s response by the Victorian Greens, the Liberal Party has this week responded to our local government Call to Parties. It has reaffirmed a re-elected Coalition Government is committed to abiding by the recently signed Victorian State-Local Government Agreement and does not support rate capping or the Essential Services Commission approving council budgets or rate rises above CPI.
A previously unknown commitment that councils should note is the Coalition’s intention to establish a Parliamentary Inquiry into local government financial sustainability and rating powers if re-elected. This inquiry is intended to examine the sustainability of revenue and rating powers open to councils in the context of the Commonwealth’s review of Federalism, and will look at rating equity across the business sector and between rural, regional and metropolitan areas as well as what influences council costs of providing services in different regions.
A number of commitments sought by local government have not explicitly been supported in the Liberal’s response. These include improvements to the performance monitoring framework sought by the MAV, extension of the Living Libraries capital program beyond 2015 and increased recurrent operational funding for libraries, as well as funding for a number of MAV-led sector initiatives and a range of planning and environment commitments sought by local government.
Victorian Labor is the only major party yet to respond to our Call to Parties. All party responses are being published on our State Election campaigns page. To keep up-to-date with election news and how it impacts on the sector, subscribe to our State Election newsletter.
MAV responds to Competition Policy Review Draft Report
The MAV has responded to the human services provision aspects of the Competition Policy Review Draft Report, as well as recommendations that could impact on restricting councils' role in planning, and advice on the provision of alcohol. This is a follow up from our earlier response, to the review discussion paper.
There are key features of community services, such as long term community relationships, connecting and cross-referrals between networks of services, and links to other community capacity issues that are important to the provision of services, especially for disadvantaged or vulnerable client groups.
Within the report some of these issues are canvassed; however the conclusions drawn in framing the recommendations don’t necessarily reflect this complexity, nor the role of local government, and the community sector in planning as well as in service provision.
For further information, contact Jan Black.
Enough Pokies in vulnerable communities
The Enough Pokies Campaign has continued to gather momentum with public forums in Dandenong and Whittlesea to highlight issues that councils are facing. Approximately 40 municipalities have joined the campaign to seek reforms that allow councils to represent their communities on a level playing field when considering pokies applications.
The MAV has sought advice on changes to legislation that would be required. The changes we are seeking are simple and easily implemented, and include allowing the VCGLR and councils enough time to properly consider and respond to applications, as well as requiring the applicant to meet the social and economic impacts tests – instead of the council trying to prove that there will be detriment to the local community.
The third edition of Enough Pokies campaign position paper outlines more about the campaign and the specific legislative reforms sought. The final roundtable for this campaign will be held at the MAV on 5 December from 2pm.
For further information, contact Jan Black.
Food Sampling App launched
The MAV has been working with the Department of Health to create a Food Sampling App to allow council Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) to use a more efficient electronic based system when collecting food samples.
Many councils have begun using the app following training sessions run by the Department. To date the Department has delivered 10 sessions across the state with 160 EHOs attending. The sessions will end in December.
The paper form is no longer required if councils submit samples through the app, but can still be used if preferred.
The app is available via the Google Play store. The iOS version is available via the Acresta website and councils have been sent login details. As an incentive, the electronic food sampling app will be available for councils at no extra cost over the next five years.
For further information regarding the food sampling app, contact Lisa Bennetto.
Councils on board for White Ribbon Day
The majority of councils are participating in White Ribbon Day next week on 25 November, and will hold a range of events in a bid to end family violence.
From hosting morning teas, to creating local White Ribbon artworks, councils are going above and beyond to spread awareness about preventing violence against women. The MAV and many councils will participate in the Walk Against Violence in the CBD, while others will host walks in their local areas.
White Ribbon Day marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign which ends on 10 December, the International Day of Human Rights.
Hume City Council's 3000 square meter sign, visible to thousands flying in and out of Melbourne Airport.
Leading and embracing diversity
The MAV and VicHealth are inviting councils to our forum, Leading and embracing diversity: Strategies to reduce race-based discrimination, on 8 December.
Many organisations have contributed to building knowledge and practice in this area. This forum will profile these organisations, new evidence and promising strategies which are focused on supporting cultural diversity and reducing race-based discrimination in arts, sports, workplace, training and local government settings.
VicHealth will be releasing two publications at this forum:
- Findings from the 2013 Victorians’ Attitudes to Race and Cultural Diversity Survey
- Localities Embracing and Accepting Diversity (LEAD) Program Summary Report
The forum will be held at the ANZ Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, from 9am-4pm. Please RSVP online before 1 December. For further information contact Tara Szafraniec on 9667 1355.
Regional meetings: MAV WorkCare Self Insurance Scheme
The MAV will run regional meetings to update members on our MAV WorkCare Self Insurance Scheme.
The meeting dates are:
- Metro East and Metro West, Melbourne: 8 December, 10am-12pm, Room 1201, MAV, Level 12, 60 Collins St
- Gippsland, Morwell: 8 December, 3pm-5pm, Meeting Room 4, Latrobe City Council Headquarters 141 Commercial Road
- South West, Ballarat: 9 December, 10am-12pm, York Conference Centre, Red Lion Hotel, 217-229 Main Road
- North/North East, Bendigo: 9 December, 2:30pm-4:30pm, Reception Room, Council Offices, 195-229 Lyttleton Tce
- North West, Horsham: 10 December, 11am-1pm, Horsham Rural City Council, Roberts Avenue, Horsham.
Registrations can be made online. For further information, contact the MAV events team on 9667 5555.
Rural Councils Victoria chair election
Nominations are now open for the role of RCV Chairperson and will close at 5pm, 10 December. All rural councillors are eligible to nominate themselves or be nominated using the nomination form.
If more than one nomination for the role of RCV Chairperson is received, a ballot paper will be drawn up and an election conducted by email between 11-17 December. Each of the 38 member councils will have one vote in the election of the RCV Chairperson, to be exercised by the mayor of each council.
Please submit nominations by email to Alison Lyon. For further information, contact Olwyn Redshaw on 9667 5590.
Victorian voters to get a truly ‘appy election
The VEC has launched a new elections Vote Victoria app. The app identifies your home district, the location of early and election day voting centres, opening hours and candidate information.
It is available to download on both Google Play and iTunes app stores. Once voting has closed, the app will provide live result information as the count progresses.
A record 896 candidates have nominated, up from 711 candidates who contested the 2010 State Election. More than 30 current councillors are running as candidates in the State Election, along with at least 20 former councillers.
Image courtesy of the VEC.
National State of the Assets Report
The 2014 National State of the Local Road Assets Report has found that, on average, 11 per cent of local roads need urgent upgrading, while one in five timber bridges is in a poor state of repair.
The report, launched at the 2014 ALGA National Local Roads and Transport Congress, includes data from 396 councils (77 from Victoria).
While funding for Roads to Recovery has bipartisan support to continue until 2019, at the congress, Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said the government's legislation for the R2R program has brought a degree of permanency to the program, which no longer has an end date specified in the legislation.
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