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Municipal Association of Victoria

BULLETIN

All your local government news this week

Issue 1057: 11 December 2015
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  • The MAV will develop a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration’s inquiry into domestic violence and gender inequality. One of the main focuses of the inquiry is the role of gender inequality in all spheres of life in contributing to the prevalence of domestic violence. We will release further detail on how councils can contribute to the MAV submission early in the new year. Submissions close on 31 March. The reporting date is 24 August.
  • The Federal Government has announced 19 successful projects in Victoria that will receive Round Two funding under the National Stronger Regions Fund. The funding goes towards the construction of new infrastructure, or the upgrade or extension of existing infrastructure. Guidelines for Round Three funding have just been released. Round Three will open for applications on 15 January 2016 and will close on 15 March. Grant funding must be matched on at least a dollar for dollar basis. The MAV encourages councils to apply.
  • A new version of the State Emergency Relief and Recovery Plan became effective on 1 December. Local and regional relief and recovery arrangements and accountabilities remain unchanged. The Plan has been reviewed to clarify state departments' and agencies' responsibilities in relief and recovery activities, and confirms lead and support roles at the state level.
The Legislative Council’s Environment and Planning Committee has released its first report into the State Government’s rate capping policy.

While the MAV welcomes the four recommendations from the report, we acknowledge that councils already comply with some of them. We were pleased to see a recommendation calling for the State to re-establish the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program. The MAV, along with councils, campaigned hard to ensure the longevity of this vital funding program, however it was scrapped this financial year.

The Committee also recommended that detailed data on council rates be published annually; that the ESC monitor and report annually on levels of debt held by councils; and that councils provide information to ratepayers explaining what is and isn’t subject to the cap, and explain each component on the rates notice including where councils have collected money on behalf of the State Government.

This is one of six reports that the Committee will produce until 2018. The next report is due in May 2016. We encourage councils to read the report in full.

Key event dates for the MAV in 2016 have been released, with a range of workshops, forums and conferences.

Events to kick off the year include our Metropolitan Forum on 14 April, and Rural and Regional Forum on 21 April.

Our first State Council for 2016 will be held on 13 May, followed by our Rural and Regional Planning Conference on 23-24 June, and our Environment Conference on 14 July.

Other MAV events and workshops will be announced as 2016 progresses.

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The MAV and Local Government Victoria recently commissioned an independent analysis of the benefits and costs of collaborative approaches to emergency management by councils.

The report is based on a financial cost-benefit analysis of the Northern Victorian Emergency Management Cluster Pilot, and on a qualitative analysis of the Wimmera Emergency Management collaboration and the Eastern Metropolitan Councils Emergency Management Partnership.

The analysis found that local government collaborations contribute to better outcomes for the community during and after emergencies, and concludes that the net financial cost to councils of emergency management collaborations should be seen as a marginal cost with the potential to deliver substantial long-term benefits to councils, communities and other stakeholders.

The report explores a range of benefits, key factors for success and lessons identified through a review of three existing collaborations between councils on emergency management.

The MAV is seeking expressions of interest from senior council officers interested in representing the MAV on the Earth Resources Ministerial Advisory Council.

The Earth Resources Ministerial Advisory Council is a non-statutory council constituted by the Minister to advise her on matters relating to emerging earth resources issues.

In line with the terms of reference, we are seeking candidates who have experience or expertise in understanding:

  • The Victorian earth resources industry
  • Specialist issues relevant to earth resources
  • Local community issues relevant to earth resources.

The Council will meet quarterly and the term of office is until 1 November 2018. For further information, contact Claire Dunn.

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LG Preventing Violence Against Women forum

Registrations for our Local Government Preventing Violence Against Women forum close on 14 December. The event, run in partnership with Our Watch and the City of Melbourne, will be held on 16 December.

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MAV strategic plan consultations

Our 2016 consultation sessions will take place in February and early March to gain councils’ input into common strategic priorities that members would like the MAV to focus on in our 2016-17 annual work plan.

  • The State Government has announced $13.6 million in grants and funding investments for kindergartens and children's centres as part of its election promise.
  • Small kindergartens in rural Victoria will receive State Government funding of up to $33,000 as part of a new $500,000 base level of funding to help keep their services strong and viable in the face of fluctuating enrolments.
  • Engineers working within local government can apply for a Municipal Engineering Foundation Victoria overseas study tour scholarship award. The study tour will be in America and Canada in 2016 for three weeks. Applications can be sent via email and close on 29 January.

Plan Melbourne refresh

A Plan Melbourne online engagement hub is now available to help people get involved in the refresh.

It includes the discussion paper, an ‘At A Glance’ summary, information sheets, and the report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee.

On the website you can share ideas about the refresh, comment on ideas, ask a question and lodge a submission.

The MAV has prepared a draft submission which focuses on implementation and governance issues, as this is where we believe the success or failure of Plan Melbourne will rest.

Submissions and comments close at 5pm on 18 December.

For further information email the Plan Melbourne refresh taskforce or call 9098 8921.

Unconventional gas

The Victorian Parliament’s Environment and Planning Committee has tabled its final report on the inquiry into onshore unconventional gas.

The Committee began its work in late May and received an unprecedented volume of public submissions and took evidence from around 125 individuals during the inquiry.

The report makes 15 recommendations addressing the extensive terms of reference, and examining all aspects of the controversial issue of onshore unconventional gas production in Victoria.

The government announced that the existing moratorium on onshore gas drilling, extraction and hydraulic fracturing will remain while they consider a response, with a gas policy to be announced in the first half of 2016.

  • The extension of Commonwealth funding for 15 hours of kindergarten in 2016/17 was confirmed through a formal offer on 12 November. Further details on funding for universal access is available online.
  • Women's Health Victoria has developed a new online resource called The Victorian Women's Health Atlas that provides sex-disaggregated data to assist local government, health services and other organisations to bring a gender lens to health issues.
  • Maribyrnong City Council is a primary partner of The Wominjenka Festival, which will be held at the Footscray Community Arts Centre from 15 – 17 January. The festival will include art, music, performance and activities that reflects Indigenous culture in Melbourne’s west, and Australia.
  • VicHealth, Superfriend, and WorkSafe Victoria are collaborating to help workplaces create positive and supportive work cultures and environments that enable workers to be happy, healthy and productive.

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