Issue 989:                                                      Week ending 1 August 2014

Carbon tax repeal: update
Financial Assistance Grants and Rate Capping Taskforce
Draft Productivity Commission report into childcare
Preventing Violence Against Women fact sheets
Innovation in local government
Roads to Recovery
MAV Planning Improvement Conference 2014: Operation Excellence
Open Data workshop with Shannon Spanhake
EOI for .melbourne domain
NGA resolutions
2014 Victorian Health Promotion Foundation Awards
Active for Life
Public forum: City in crisis?
In social media news...

Carbon tax repeal: update

This week the ALGA shared a briefing paper from Norton Rose Fulbright on the implications for local government following repeal of the carbon price.

The MAV is urging councils to consider how reduced costs from suppliers, such as electricity and gas costs, will be dealt with in future budget and rates processes to ensure transparency for ratepayers.

The ACCC has this week released its quarterly carbon monitoring report, and has confirmed that councils who made statements about rate rises attributed to the introduction of the carbon price will be monitored to ensure they pass back cost savings to ratepayers. The ACCC report also states its expectations for how council liable entities should deal with any benefits, where funds collected to meet future waste emissions now exceed liabilities following repeal of the carbon price.

The MAV is also working with the ALGA and the Australian Government to resolve outstanding matters for councils with liable landfills.

Financial Assistance Grants and Rate Capping Taskforce

This new taskforce met for the first time this week to guide the MAV’s response to the recent Commonwealth Government decision to cease indexation of the Financial Assistance Grants to councils over the next three years, and the state opposition’s proposed rate capping policy.

The Taskforce is composed of councillors and officers from rural and metropolitan councils.

The Taskforce reiterated the importance of ensuring councils’ rating autonomy and identified the significant cost that will be imposed on councils through the grant cuts. It has agreed to develop a comprehensive strategy to guide the MAV and council advocacy which will minimise the consequences of the above decisions.

For further information, contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

Draft Productivity Commission report into childcare

The Productivity Commission (PC) has released its draft inquiry report on Childcare and Early Childhood Learning.

The draft report states that its recommendations seek to make childcare more affordable, flexible and accessible, and to provide a more financially sustainable childcare system for taxpayers into the future. It concludes that the current system does not meet the needs of all families and the costs of the system are increasing at an unsustainable rate.

Key recommendations include:

  • A continuation of government support for access to preschool for all children in the year before starting school
  • The National Quality Framework (NQF) to be retained, modified and extended to all government-funded services, but that it needs to be more flexible and targeted for the types of services provided
  • Combining the current multiple care subsidies into a single means-tested Early Care and Learning Subsidy with a ‘top up’ subsidy for children with additional needs
  • Low income families would see around 90 per cent of their reasonable childcare fees paid tapering down to 30 per cent for families earning over $300,000
  • Nannies being eligible for childcare subsidies subject to appropriate qualifications (au pairs would not be eligible)

For further information, contact Wendy Allan.

Preventing Violence Against Women fact sheets

The MAV, in partnership with VicHealth, has developed 10 information sheets for councils on preventing violence against women.

This series of information sheets is designed to assist councils, particularly those just starting out. Information can be used to:

  • build knowledge about violence against women and its prevention
  • obtain commitment from your council to champion the prevention of violence against women
  • help engage on this issue with key community partners, the media or council staff
  • give pointers on where to go for more resources
  • help to plan for the long term, so that councils keep preventing violence against women on the agenda.

The information sheets can be used individually or as a set, and are available in both accessible (html) and PDF formats.

For further information, contact Kellie Nagle.

Innovation in local government

The MAV is convening a national conference on ‘Innovation as Leadership in Local Government’ on 8-9 October.

In the wake of the most dramatic cuts to local government finance in a generation, and the advent of the internet revolution that is transforming citizen expectations, public services are facing increasingly complex demands with fewer funds to tackle them.

This conference will focus on critical success factors in establishing a culture of innovation and will feature presentations on leading case studies from around Australia and overseas.

The conference is at the Rydges Melbourne Hotel, 186 Exhibition Street, Melbourne. Registrations are now open.

Roads to Recovery

Last week Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss issued a statement assuring continued support from the government for Roads to Recovery funding, and their hope that the senate will pass the legislation when it next sits from 26 August.

Labor also guaranteed the continuation of R2R in a statement last week with Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Anthony Albanese confirming he had lodged a private members bill about continuing the R2R program.

The MAV will keep councils up-to-date as the matter progresses.

MAV Planning Improvement Conference 2014: Operation Excellence

The fifth annual MAV Planning Improvement Conference will be held on 17 October. This event will be hosted in Melbourne, and will be a chance for councils to review how to translate operational changes into a lasting organisational culture of excellence.

The conference will focus on many aspects of performance improvement in planning, including the important shift towards customer focus, following the journey of process improvement, and reflecting whether your council has a whole-of-council approach towards effective and efficient planning outcomes.

We will have many inspirational speakers, and case studies from councils who are innovative in this important space.

Speakers will be announced in the coming weeks, and ticket sales opening soon. Following the success of the 2013 event, we will be moving to a larger venue to accommodate a big crowd of local government planners from across Australia, senior decision makers, CEOs, and councillors.

It will also be relevant to those that interact with local government on a regular basis.

Please set 17 October aside for this important event, we look forward to seeing you there.

Open Data workshop with Shannon Spanhake

Do you know why your council should publish data?

On 15 August from 9.30-11.30am, Director of Communications & Community for Planet Labs, Shannon Spanhake, will lead a discussion on how local government is benefiting from data publishing, and what we can do better.

Brought to you by MAV Technology, this free event will bring together local, state and federal government representatives with designers, coders, developers, researchers and hackathon organisers to develop better business models to work together for community gain.

Registrations are now open. Venue is to be confirmed.

EOI for .melbourne domain

Melbourne councils have an opportunity to be involved in an expression of interest (EOI) process for the .melbourne domain.

The Victorian Government in partnership with the City of Melbourne, own the new .melbourne domain. This initiative is part of a move to expand the Internet's Domain Name System.

The .melbourne initiative is in line with the Victorian Government’s ICT Strategy supporting innovative approaches that leverage opportunities provided by major technology trends to improve service delivery for Victorians.

The EOI timeframe is from 29 July to 12 September. An information session will run on 7 August from 10am-11.30am at Victorian Investment Centre, Level 46, Collins Place, 55 Collins Street.

If you cannot attend send an email to register your interest for an additional session. Councils can apply online.

NGA resolutions

The ALGA board has considered the resolutions from the National General Assembly to determine the most appropriate action to take on policy positions expressed by delegates attending this year's Assembly.

More than 150 motions were received for the 2014 NGA, and 75 motions were carried. The resolutions from the NGA can be viewed on the ALGA website.

The board also confirmed the dates for the 2015 NGA. It will be held in Canberra from 14 to 17 June, 2015.

2014 Victorian Health Promotion Foundation Awards

Nominations have opened for the 2014 Victorian Health Promotion Foundation Awards – Victoria’s only awards recognising the state’s world-class innovative and successful health promotion work.

Entries are invited from state and local government, health agencies, non-government, not-for-profit and private sector organisations. All of Victoria’s leading health promotion projects – from large programs with a broad reach, to the best health promotion ideas at a local level are encouraged to enter.

The categories for 2014 are:

  • Promoting healthy eating
  • Encouraging physical activity
  • Preventing tobacco use
  • Preventing harm from alcohol
  • Improving mental wellbeing
  • Communications in health promotion
  • Building health through sports
  • Building health through arts
  • Research into action.

Entries close Friday 28 August.

Active for Life

VicHealth’s Active for Life is a new resource that brings together Australian and international research to challenge thinking and inform ways to increase children’s physical activity at school, through sport, within communities and in the home, to benefit children aged 4 – 12 years.

Local government has an important role to play in creating more opportunities for children to be active in their neighbourhoods, and to support a safer, better-connected community. By taking action today, we can start to create a better future for our children, and get them active for life.

Public forum: City in crisis?

This forum, hosted by the Inner Melbourne Planning Alliance will explore housing and public realm challenges facing an expanded Melbourne.

This event follows on from the Future Melbourne Network series and is designed to raise important questions about Melbourne’s future.

Panelists include Victorian Government Architect, Geoffrey London; RP Data Victorian Housing Market Specialist, Robert Larocca; and City of Melbourne, Chair of the Planning Committee Cr Ken Ong.

It’s on 4 August, 6pm-7.30pm at Deakin Edge, Federation Square.

In social media news...

Upcoming MAV events...

13 August

MAV Technology Annual Conference 2014

22 August

Evaluation & Negotiation in LG

28 August

Social media for rural and regional councils


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