Funding for 15-hours kindergarten and increased KCM funding
The MAV has welcomed the Federal Government’s investment of $406 million to fund 15-hours of kindergarten in 2015, ensuring universal access continues for all children.
Extension of the national partnership agreement will offer some relief for Victorian families for another 12-months.
Until now, funding of the 15-hours was in limbo. While the State Government funds 10-hours, the Federal Government was undecided on whether it would continue to fund the extra five hours beyond December.
The funding announcement is a good start, however long term funding certainty is urgently needed. We hope that we can continue working positively and productively with the state and federal governments to find a permanent resolution.
The MAV will continue to work with both levels of government to this end. For further information, contact Jan Barrett.
In other news, Minister Lovell has announced an immediate increase to base funding for kindergarten cluster management (KCM) by 10 per cent, double the start-up grant (payable to a KCM when a new service joins), and a new transitional grant. This is in addition to start-up funding when a service with complex issues joins a KCM.
We will provide councils with more information when it's released.
Preventing Violence Against Women: funding win
This week, the Minister for Crime Prevention, Edward O’Donohue announced a further $200,000 for the MAV to deliver our preventing violence against women initiative for the next two years.
This will build on our earlier work to develop local government engagement in the prevention of violence against women, and we are thrilled to continue this vital work with councils statewide.
The funding will enable us to develop a Gender Equity Action Plan, and provide support to councils to embed gender equity, and the prevention of men’s violence against women into council policies and programs.
For further information, contact Kellie Nagle.
New national planning and development guidelines
The Commonwealth Department of Education has released its Guidelines for the Planning and Development of Child Care Facilities, prepared in consultation with the MAV and a number of Victorian councils, by UTS Centre for Local Government and Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government.
While the guidelines are broad for the national context, largely to address planning inconsistencies in other states, they provide evidence-based guidance and easy to use checklists that may be useful for Victorian councils in their strategic planning/partnerships, land use planning, and development assessment functions.
The MAV is also currently supporting local councils and the Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA) in the development of a MPA benchmark for kindergarten planning in growth corridors.
This will also be applicable for broader council use. We will inform councils once this benchmark is available.
For further information, contact Jan Barrett.
Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) report
The PwC report Putting a Value on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Australia is a first for the Australian context. It may be useful for councils in their Municipal Early Years Planning (MEYP) and decision-making processes. PwC has modelled three impacts on the Australian economy of providing quality ECEC services:
- impacts of an increase in female labour force participation
- productivity impacts of participation in quality ECEC
- impacts of increasing vulnerable children’s participation in ECEC.
The findings demonstrate that there are potential benefits across the board for providing quality ECEC including:
- growing Australia’s GDP
- improving workforce participation choices for parents and in particular women
- helping realise the full potential of Australian children
- reducing the impacts of disadvantage.
It found that provision of high quality education and care would add between $7-$9.3 billion to Australia's GDP, and that all of these benefits can be achieved with a net saving to government.
Age-friendly Communities and Local Government National Conference
This conference on 29-30 October at the Arts Centre Melbourne will explore how councils can develop a vision and response to creating age-friendly communities. It will provide information on leadership and commitment when working with older people to meet the challenges of an ageing community in the 21st century.
Speakers including Dr Jane Barratt, Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing, will present on the age-friendly communities direction, and the importance of local government leadership in achieving better communities to grow old in.
A program is now available online. Please register by 27 October. For further information, contact Jan Bruce.
Positive Ageing: State-MAV partnership agreement
The State has developed a ‘Seniors Count - Victoria’s Seniors Participation Action Plan’ (SPAP) 2014-2018.
Age-friendly communities are a focus of the SPAP and the role of local government is recognised as critically important to achieving better places in which to grow old.
One of the initiatives of the plan is to build a strong partnership between local and state government around age-friendly communities. This will occur through the signing of a partnership agreement between the State and the MAV. It will encourage local government interest and commitment to the principles of the WHO age-friendly communities direction.
A draft partnership agreement has been developed to guide a commitment. It is expected that the completed agreement will provide an opportunity for councils to endorse, or support, as with other MAV leadership statements.
For further information, contact Jan Bruce.
Casserole Club Pilot Projects
Suburbs have been announced for the MAV's pilot of Casserole Club in three municipalities.
The project, funded by the Department of Health, will be rolled out in Brunswick (Moreland), Canterbury and Surrey Hills (Boroondara) and Lancefield (Macedon Ranges) in early October.
This exciting meal sharing and social connections program will see volunteer ‘cooks’ prepare an extra portion of home cooked food for older ‘diners’ who have difficulty cooking for themselves.
The project will test a range of technical and local issues with FutureGovUK, the technology company that developed the concept, with the aim for a broader roll out across Victoria in future years.
For further information, contact Jan Bruce.
2014 VLGMIN Forum
This year’s forum theme is 'enhancing cultural wellbeing and cultural citizenship through arts', and will be held in Ballarat on 30 October.
Local government has a responsibility to respond proactively to the needs of its diverse citizens. While councils include diverse cultural groups in festivals and special celebrations, much more can be done to embrace the diversity of people from all cultural backgrounds, and enhance cultural wellbeing and citizenship.
The event is directed at local government staff, elected representatives and partner organisations who have responsibilities for the cultural development of their communities.
Registrations can be made online.
Addressing Cultural Diversity : Opportunities for Partnerships
The MAV’s multicultural policy development conference, hosted by Wyndham City Council last week, was a big success.
At the conference attendees deliberated on statewide local government cultural diversity planning issues.
Our keynote speaker was Fatima Shama, the former Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (via Skype). She presented on NYC’s 12 Blueprints for Migrant Integration.
Conference presentations and related resources will soon be available on our website.
Commonwealth funding for Indigenous programs
Applications for Indigenous programs and projects funding are now open, and close on 17 October at 2pm. The objective of this grant is to align current Federal Government funding with the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, announced earlier this year as part of government’s budget.
It is an open tender process with a budget of $4.8 billion over four years for projects across Australia. The objective is to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians with a particular focus on five program areas:
- Jobs, land and the economy
- Children and schooling
- Safety and wellbeing
- Culture and capability
- Remote Australia strategies.
More information is available online.