Issue 1004:                                           Week ending 15 November 2014

MAV launches Australia’s municipal bonds market
Call to Parties advocacy
Ombudsman: Local Government Complaint Handling Good Practice Guide
Reinstatement of occasional care
New ALGA President and Vice President
MAV Technology survey

Celebrating 100 Years of Women in Local Government
VCAT changes
ESV briefing on Electric Line Clearance Regulations

Stormwater Victoria Seminar: conference recap
In social media news...

MAV launches Australia’s municipal bonds market

We are pleased to confirm that last Friday the Local Government Funding Vehicle (LGFV) established by MAV on behalf of councils issued Australia’s first municipal bonds.

Representing 30 Victorian councils, the inaugural bond issuance launched with a volume of $240 million across two instalments to provide councils with access to five and seven year fixed rate, interest only loans.

By accessing capital markets, the LGFV will save councils significantly compared with traditional bank borrowing. This offers councils a long-term finance solution, with the intention to issue bonds to the market annually.

To aggregate the requirements of councils, the MAV has put in place an ongoing interim facility provided by the Commonwealth Bank which provides councils with competitively priced short-term loans, to be consolidated and issued to the market as bonds once a minimum volume of $100 million is achieved.

We would like to acknowledge the support of our partners Ernst and Young, NAB, Commonwealth Bank and Linklaters Allens in the establishment of this landmark transaction.

For further information, contact Cameron Spence.

Call to Parties advocacy

This week the MAV has provided a copy of our Call to Parties document to all 21 political parties registered with the VEC. We will be publishing all responses received, and highlighting those parties who didn’t respond on our campaigns page ahead of election day. The Victorian Greens is the first party to respond, which is available on our website.

Recent commitment wins outlined in our Call to Parties include a Coalition promise to provide a further $10.4 million for roadside weeds and pest management; and a Victorian Greens promise to invest up to $28 million into cycling infrastructure on a 1:1 matched basis with council investment.

The Coalition has also confirmed a boost for early years infrastructure investment with $10 million for kindergarten centres on council or school sites. This is the first time a Victorian Government has fully funded kindergarten facilities on or adjacent to school sites and the MAV understands the funding will proceed regardless of the election outcome for the kindergartens located in Ballarat, Kingston, Mitchell, Whittlesea and Banyule.

For more election news relevant to local government, please subscribe to our State Election newsletter.

Ombudsman: Local Government Complaint Handling Good Practice Guide

The Ombudsman circulated a draft Guide to councils for comment by 7 November. The time provided was inadequate for councils to present the matter to committees or council meetings for formal council resolution.

The MAV has expressed these concerns to the Ombudsman - particularly given the principles inherent in the Victorian State-Local Government Agreement - and has advised we will be consulting councils in order to develop a sector response.

An email has been forwarded to CEOs by the MAV requesting comments on the draft Guide by 25 November. The email raises some issues for consideration. If your council has already provided a response to the Ombudsman, we would appreciate receiving a copy of your submission.

The MAV Board will consider the feedback received at its meeting on 4 December and adopt a sector position on the draft Guide.

Responses should be sent to Steve Goldsworthy by 25 November.

Reinstatement of occasional care

The MAV welcomes confirmation of the signing of a four-year funding deal between the Australian and State Government of $8.55 million to reinstate occasional care in Victoria.

Funding was withdrawn for this service (formerly known as Take–A-Break) at the end of 2011 despite a concerted campaign by the MAV, families and other peak bodies. The funding was a 2013 election commitment of the current Commonwealth Government.

The MAV believes there is now the opportunity for this funding to provide wrap around care, which is critical in rural locations where there is often no access to any form of childcare.

The reinstatement of funding is an opportunity to look at innovative models of care that support local communities through increasing equity of access to services, particularly for vulnerable families and can provide other outcomes such as employment for qualified staff and linking of services.

New ALGA President and Vice President

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has elected a new President, Mayor Troy Pickard, at its annual general meeting in Tamworth this week.

Mayor of the City of Joondalup, Mayor Pickard is also currently the President of the Western Australian Local Government Association. He has been a director of ALGA since 2007 and served as a Vice President of the organisation since 2010.

The MAV President, Cr Bill McArthur was elected a Vice President of the ALGA. Tribute was paid to outgoing President, Mayor Felicity-ann Lewis.

MAV Technology survey

Members of MAV Technology are invited to participate in a quick survey to help determine which datasets are provided by councils, to discuss at next month’s MAV Technology Forum (December 4 & 5 in Healesville), where we will initiate an open data project for all councils.

The forum will hear from councils who currently publish open data, along with representatives from Code for Australia, and we will confirm which datasets our members have decided to publish.

We will also take delegates through the process of publishing and discuss the anticipated benefits. Registrations for the forum can be made online.

Celebrating 100 Years of Women in Local Government

A list of all women councillors who have served with Victorian councils was launched last week at the ‘Celebrating 100 Years of Women in Local Government’ event held by the VLGA and hosted by Hobsons Bay City Council.

The booklet called ‘The right to vote; the right to stand: the involvement of women in local government in Victoria’, was researched and compiled by Cr Helen Harris OAM for publication by the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (Victoria). It details the legislative history of the right of women to be candidates for councils, a right denied from 1863 and allowed only from 1914.

The information about women in Victorian councils will be of interest to many, but particularly those councils seeking to implement the principles of the Victorian Local Government Women’s Charter by profiling the legacy of women leaders in their communities.

VCAT changes

Recent changes to the provisions relating to failure to determine appeal applications have now been introduced at VCAT. The MAV has written to the State Government highlighting the following matters:

  • There is no evidence to suggest that council inefficiency is the primary reason for the high number of Failure to Determine applications to VCAT
  • Sixty days is not a statutory timeframe to determine an application and decisions after this time are still valid decisions
  • Improvement initiatives to any part of the planning process should not be considered in isolation.

To enable us to monitor the impact of the change, please report circumstances where your council has been required to pay applicant fees. To discuss this matter, contact Gareth Hately.

ESV briefing on Electric Line Clearance Regulations

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has released the regulatory impact statement (RIS) and an exposure draft for the Electricity Safety (Electric Line Clearance) Regulations 2015.

The MAV has circulated a Members Brief to all council CEOs outlining the key proposed changes of interest to local government, and the MAV’s preliminary view on these changes. Overall we believe the draft regulations are a step in the right direction in terms of achieving a better balance of safety and amenity considerations when managing trees around power lines.

ESV will run through the details of the draft 2015 regulations at a session for councils on Thursday, 20 November, 2pm-4pm, at the MAV. Register here to attend. The MAV will run through our proposed response to the RIS at the session.

The deadline for responses to the RIS is 13 January 2015.

Stormwater Victoria Seminar: conference recap

Stormwater Victoria will present ‘The Best of Adelaide – Stormwater National Conference Recap’ Breakfast Seminar on 27 November at Boyd Community Hub, 207 City Road, Southbank  from 8.00 am to 10.00 am.

This seminar will highlight a number of the Stormwater 2014 National Awards for Excellence winning projects from Victoria, along with a selection of some favourite papers from the conference program.

Further information and registration details are available online.

In social media news...

Upcoming MAV events...

18 November

MAV Aboriginal Employment Forum

20 November

2015 Electric line clearance regulations

4 December

MAV Mayoral Program


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