Family day care update
The 2014 Federal Budget included changes to the Community Support Program (CSP) guidelines and eligibility criteria for services in receipt of funding through this program.
The budget papers provide the reason for changing the eligibility as:
The Government will amend the eligibility criteria for the CSP to address cost overruns and ensure consistency of access for all child care service providers. The CSP is designed to strengthen a service provider's ability to set up and run a child care service in an area where the service might not otherwise be viable. The eligibility criteria for new family day care services applying to the CSP from 1 April 2014, and existing providers from 1 July 2015, require applicants to be the only provider of family day care in the surrounding area, with weighting towards services setting up in regional and remote or disadvantaged communities. Similar criteria currently applies to participating long day care and out of school hours care providers.
The MAV has commenced discussions with the Commonwealth regarding the impacts of these changes if they go ahead, and is holding a meeting for councils involved in FDC on 17 July, from 11am – 1pm.
For more information, contact Wendy Allan.
MAV continues its advocacy on early childhood changes
The MAV has written to the Prime Minister urging him to review the changes to the Family Day Care (FDC) Community Support Program funding, and has requested that the July 2015 deadline be extended until the full impact of the changes is understood.
We have requested that consideration be given to a special circumstances funding category to ensure that high quality established FDC services do not close, leaving vulnerable and working families without an affordable and flexible FDC option.
Last week we made a submission to the Senate Enquiry into the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Measures) Bill 2014, which proposes to maintain the current child care rebate limit at $7,500 per child, and maintain the child care benefit income thresholds as at 30 June 2014 for three income years - to 30 June 2017.
The MAV advocated that these measures will place additional burden on families already facing significant affordability impacts from other Federal Budget reforms.
We has been contacted by over 45 councils who are undertaking advocacy around 15 hours.
We will keep councils informed of the outcomes of the National Partnership Review, which is due to be finalised in June.
For further information, contact Jan Barrett.
Funding for Children’s Facilities Capital Program
A new capital grants round is now open with calls for expressions of interest.
There are three major grants including: Integrated Children’s Centre grants, New Early Learning Facility grants, and Early Learning Facilities Upgrade grants. There is also a minor Infrastructure Grant and Information Technology Grant.
In each of these grant categories priority will be given to applications that:
- increase the capacity to meet local demand for kindergarten programs in the year before school
- provide quality early childhood infrastructure to meet the needs of local communities
- support services that are accessible for all in the local community, and engage and support vulnerable families
- involve the location of early years services on government school sites.
The main grants close on 11 July and minor and IT grants close on 25 July.
Maternal and Child Health Data Management System
A new data management system for Maternal and Child Health (MCH) will transform the way information about Victorian children will be handled, improving services and providing better outcomes for mothers and babies.
We have welcomed a $2 million funding boost from the State Government for the MAV Maternal and Child Health Service Information Technology Project to assist with the procurement of a new MCH data management system that will offer a standardised approach across Victoria.
The project will provide a holistic picture of the needs of a child and its family, and will give more reliable and consistent information in support of policy development and the targeting of programs.
The project was developed following an Auditor General report in 2013 that found a system-wide process for managing reliable and accurate MCH data was needed. So far 65 councils have formally agreed to participate in the EOI process. This is a great result in such a short period of time.
For further information, contact Joanne Fittock.
Community Building Program: update and ongoing funding
The MAV has written to the Minister for Disability Services and Reform, Mary Wooldridge, seeking assurances regarding the future of the DHS Community Building Program, which funds local government Metro and Rural Access positions.
The response from the Minister’s office confirms that during the NDIS trial in Barwon, existing arrangements for community capacity building programs will remain in place. It also indicates the future of the Community Building Program in the longer term will be addressed in relation to the ongoing negotiations with the rollout of the NDIS.
Although there is no immediate cause for concern, as councils have agreements for the program through to 2015, the program will be under review and the value of the Metro Access and Rural Access workers for enhancing social inclusion in local communities should be documented and promoted.
The MAV will continue to liaise with the local government disability planners network to realise opportunities to promote and support the Community Building Program.
For further information, contact Jan Black.
Australian Citizenship Day
Please ensure your council’s citizenship conferral ceremony organisers are aware that Australian Citizenship Day is celebrated each year on 17 September.
Citizenship Day is an opportunity for all Australian citizens, whether by birth or by choice, to reflect on the meaning and importance of their citizenship. It’s an opportunity to think about what unites all Australians, to take pride in Australia’s democratic values, and to celebrate the role citizens play in shaping the nation.
This year is the 65th anniversary of Australian citizenship. On 26 January 1949 the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 came into effect. Prior to this, most people living in Australia were known as British subjects. This important piece of legislation meant that for the first time we could truly call ourselves Australians.
Celebrate NAIDOC Week, 6-13 July
The Victorian theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations is ‘We Have Survived - Lets Honor Our True History’.
NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s, which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.
It is one of the most important events of the year for many Aboriginal people, as it provides an opportunity to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and recognise the contributions that Aboriginal Australians have made to our country and our society.
Now is the time to start planning how your council might acknowledge and celebrate your local Aboriginal community. Victorian councils are encouraged to attend the official Victorian NAIDOC Flag Raising to mark the beginning of the week’s activities across Victoria.
The flag raising will be held at Federation Square on Monday 7 July from 9.30am.
Victorian Local Government Multicultural Issues Network
The VLGMIN is a peer support network for council officers responsible for cultural diversity planning and municipal multicultural policy development.
Network meetings are held every two months at the MAV. Remaining VLGMIN meetings are on the following Tuesdays from 12pm-2pm on 12 August, 14 October, and 9 December (lunch is provided). Non-local government people are invited to present to the group only when particular issues are on the agenda.
VLGMIN also holds an annual one-day forum focusing on a different aspect of multicultural policy each year where a wider audience is invited. Previous forums have been held around CALD workforce participation, CALD communications, and migrant and refugee settlement.
The 2014 VLGMIN Forum will be hosted by the City of Ballarat at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka on 30 October, and will focus on local government and multicultural arts. A program is being developed in consultation with local government arts and culture practitioners.
For further information, contact Con Pagonis.
CiVic magazine Issue 6
The latest CiVic magazine profiles engagement between local government and the Victorian Aboriginal community, and has received wide-spread recognition within the Aboriginal community, particularly in social media.
This has been a great way to promote to both councils, and the Aboriginal community, the great work happening in local government, and how practical reconciliation can lead to real employment opportunities.
For further information, contact Lidia Thorpe.
National Awards for Local Government
The MAV would like to congratulate the Victorian councils who won a National Award for Local Government last week at the National General Assembly.
Among the six category winners was Latrobe City Council, awarded for its Steps to the Future Indigenous Employment Program; Hume City Council for its School Holiday Program for Indigenous Children with a Disability; and Greater Dandenong City Council for its ‘Racism. Get Up. Speak Out.’ Campaign.
The awards are an annual celebration of Australian local government achievements. They recognise the important role of local governments in delivering targeted quality services to Australians in urban and regional communities.
HACC transition: assessment and the My Aged Care Gateway
The My Aged Care Gateway began operating on 1 July 2013 with the introduction of the My Aged Care website and a national contact centre. The second stage of its development will be systems and processes for screening, assessment, and referral to services.
The Victorian Demonstration Project, which will demonstrate the business capabilities, assessment practices, processes, and technology, will be implemented nationwide from July 2015.
The Victorian Project will operate from January-June 2015 using these capabilities, processes and systems, and is one of two nationally - the other is being conducted in Queensland. It will be located across Kingston, Greater Dandenong and Bayside, which are in the catchment for the Kingston Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS).
It will be operated by the existing council and ACAS services and assessment staff, but operating together as a virtual team, in a way that can be applied in all locations across Victoria, aligned with ACAS catchments.
The project aims to ensure that incorporating Victoria’s assessment capability into My Aged Care retains two important benefits:
- Locally based, face-to-face, person centred assessment and care planning with a wellness promoting, restorative and diversity focus, to achieve better outcomes for individuals and to reduce reliance on health services
- Strong local connections between community care, primary care and health services supported by common client management practices and electronic information exchange.
All HACC assessment services will remain where they are up to 1 July 2018, given the Commonwealth’s commitment to funds stability over that period. ACAS will remain where they are till 1 July 2016 with the possibility of extending to 1 July 2018, in line with the agreement between DSS and the Victorian Department of Health.
Deb Warren from the Department of Health, and Derryn Wilson from the MAV, will be making contact with councils to organise regional discussions about assessment in August/September.
For further information, contact Derryn Wilson.
Positive ageing projects
Three projects funded by the Department of Health are being developed by the MAV.
The New Futures for Seniors Centres and Clubs, Innovative Age-friendly Projects, and Casserole Club are in the early stages of development.
All projects are being developed as ‘pilots’ so that the findings can be shared across local government.
The projects will provide valuable information to assist councils over time in providing responsive processes and outcomes to make local communities better places to grow old in.
For further information, contact Jan Bruce.
Age-friendly shopping precincts
The Department of Health through the Seniors Card Program has been exploring the development of age-friendly shopping precincts at a number of pilot sites in Melbourne.
Docklands has recently joined the program which sees councils, retailers and traders associations work with local older people to create shopping areas that are more welcoming, user friendly and accessible for older people.
For further information, contact Jan Bruce.
Aged services, access and support
Home and Community Care (HACC) access and support services aim to improve access to a wide range of services for HACC eligible people, with complex needs due to diversity.
The roles are similar for all access and support workers, whilst variation lies in the target special needs groups they are funded to work with.
Most of the access and support services focus on either Aboriginal or CALD communities, however there are some that work across all the HACC five special needs groups, and several have a dementia or homelessness/financial disadvantage focus.
Community members and councils can contact their local HACC assessment service or Department of Health HACC Program and Services Adviser for access and support services in their local area.