In this issue:                                                                     October, 2014

Family Day Care
Maternal and Child Health funding
Enough Pokies campaign launch
MAV Aboriginal Employment Project
Building social cohesion in diverse communities
Ice and other drug forums
Save the date: Leading and embracing diversity

Early Years Award winners
Kindergarten central enrollment project
Doveton College: Building a true learning community
Heart Foundation and partners offer a public lecture
MAV Multicultural Policy Development Conference report
Other news of interest

Family Day Care

Recently the Federal Assistant Minister for Education announced that a new taskforce was looking into Family Day Care services in Australia, to clamp down on under-performing services.

Further to this, the MAV is confident that no Victorian local government Family Day Care service is the subject of compliance action referred to in the release.

The MAV has previously expressed concerns to the Commonwealth Government about the proliferation of Family Day Care services in Victoria, which in some cases did not appear to be operating according to appropriate standards. The actions of the government are encouraging as the safety and care of children is paramount.

Council Family Day Care services continue to provide high quality, affordable and accessible education and care to families in their municipalities.

Maternal and Child Health funding

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, along with the MAV, have released Starting out Strong: Giving Victoria’s children a great start through better maternal and child health on 23 October.

The five-year plan aims to modernise MCH services, build the capacity of the workforce, better target resources and increase the focus on early intervention. It has been developed through extensive research and consultation with the sector and key stakeholders.

To facilitate the implementation of Starting out Strong, additional funding of $2.1 million was committed in the 2014-2015 State Budget. This funding will support new initiatives outlined in the plan, including a new MCH principal nurse position to strengthen leadership in the MCH service, more professional development opportunities for nurses, and an innovation fund to encourage services to come up with new ideas and ways to work together.

Enough Pokies campaign launch

The MAV is partnering with councils, the Salvation Army and the Inter-Church Taskforce on Gambling on the Enough Pokies campaign, which calls for better protection for vulnerable communities from inappropriate placement of pokies machines.

Each year, over $2.5 billion is lost in pokies across Victoria. Pokies machines are concentrated in areas of social and economic disadvantage. Those who can least afford to carry this burden are being targeted by big operators.

The campaign seeks simple changes to the approval system that currently favours the applicant, so that instead it puts the best interests of communities as the priority.

Information kits have been sent to all participarting councils, who have also been urged to seek commitments from state election candidates for reforms sought by the Enough Pokies campaign.

You can keep up-to-date with the campaign via Facebook and Twitter.

MAV Aboriginal Employment Project

The MAV welcomes the funding contribution from the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI) to enable continuation of the MAV’s project to increase the number of Aboriginal people working in local government to June 2015.

We have established a cooperative arrangement with Hays, a major supplier of recruitment services to councils, to increase the number of Aboriginal people that might be employed in Victorian councils.

The MAV is liaising with Hays to identify positions that they are currently filling for councils that would be suitable for potential Aboriginal candidates. We will then circulate the job list amongst Victorian Aboriginal communities to inform them of current vacancies within local government, and the commitment from Hays to increase Aboriginal employment.

For further information, please contact Lidia Thorpe at the MAV, or Matt Gowan at Hays.

Building social cohesion in diverse communities

The ACELG has been appointed by the Australian Human Rights Commission to develop an online resource to assist local government to prevent and respond to racism and intercommunity conflict as part of the National Anti-Racism Strategy. They are seeking input from councils before 7 November regarding initiatives undertaken to foster social cohesion.

The National Anti-Racism Strategy was launched in August 2012. Its aim is to promote a clear understanding in the Australian community of what racism is and how it can be prevented and reduced. The Australian Human Rights Commission is leading implementation of the strategy.

For further information, contact the ACELG.

Ice and other drug forums

A series of 19 forums are being held by the Australian Drug Foundation’s Good Sports program, supported by local community partners and the Youth Support and Advocacy Service.

Sports clubs and communities are invited to forums across the state to help build capacity to lead the community response and tackle ice, alcohol and other drugs.

The forums will feature drug and alcohol experts, and will help clubs get informed about what they can do to reduce the impact drugs have on their community.

A listing of the sites around Victoria and the dates for 2014-15 are available online.

Save the date: Leading and embracing diversity

VicHealth and the MAV are holding a forum ‘Leading and embracing diversity: strategies to reduce race-based discrimination’ on Monday 8 December. Registrations will open in a couple of weeks but in the meantime please save the date.

The forum will profile new information and practical strategies from VicHealth and other organisations, which are focused on supporting cultural diversity and reducing race-based discrimination in arts, sports, workplace and local government settings.

This will be an excellent networking opportunity to progress this work and build an understanding of how a range of approaches to reduce race-based discrimination can be put into practice.

For further information, contact Tara Szafraniec.

Early Years Award winners

The MAV would like to congratulate all the finalists and winners of the Early Years Awards presented by Minister Wendy Lovell on 20 October.

All 13 finalists in the three categories were either a council or were in partnership with a council.

The three winners were Swan Hill Rural City Council for their Family Friendly Rooms - supporting transition and belonging; City of Ballarat for their Parent Place - a volunteer-led information, resource and drop-in centre; and Mansfield Shire Council for their Better Communities for Children Leadership Network.

In addition to these fantastic winners, a Minister's Award was presented to the Wyndham Refugee Family Resource and Mentoring Program which is a partnership between VICSEG New Futures, Wyndham City Maternal and Child Health and the New Hope Foundation.

Kindergarten central enrolment project

Approximately 50 councils facilitate kindergarten central enrolment for their municipalities.

In March the Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development, Wendy Lovell announced a $1.2 million grant for the MAV to work with councils to improve centralised enrolment for kindergarten programs to better support access for vulnerable families as an initiative under the DEECD Early Years Strategic Plan.

It is anticipated that approximately $900,000 will be available for direct financial support to local government to strengthen, take up or expand their central enrolment processes.

The MAV has had initial discussions with our Early Years Strategy Group and DEECD. We are currently undertaking a comprehensive mapping survey of current central enrolment policy and practices across the state, and will consult with our group in February to discuss potential financial grant support to local government for central enrolment initiatives for the 2015/2016 financial year.

We will also undertake a revision of the MAV Central Enrolment Guide to include policy and practices that support standardising enrolment data, increasing enrolment of vulnerable children, practical guidelines for councils wanting to take up or expand central enrolment, and case studies to demonstrate best practice.

The MAV will work closely with councils through the MAV Early Years Strategy Group and will provide communiqués to all councils at each stage of the project.

For further information, contact Jan Barrett or Wendy Allan.

Doveton College: Building a true learning community

The award winning Doveton College will open its doors to the community on 21 November from 9am-3pm.

The school is built on a unique partnership between the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Colman Foundation, to provide wrap-around services for the families and children of Doveton.

Doveton families, residents and community groups are welcome to use the College’s performing arts centre, fitness centre, internet café and community meeting spaces. The day will include tours of the school and presentations by a number of expert practitioners.

Registrations can be made online.

Heart Foundation and partners offer a public lecture

The City of Vancouver is consistently identified as one of the world’s most liveable cities.

Beyond this, it is renowned for its great urban planning and strategies that have created a ‘complete city’, not just a liveable one.

The Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, in partnership with the Heart Foundation, is hosting a public lecture with Brent Toderian, former Chief Planner for the City of Vancouver. Brent is a widely respected practitioner in advanced urbanism, city planning and urban design.

This free public lecture provides an opportunity to be inspired and learn from Vancouver’s urban planning achievements.

It’s on 29 October from 6pm-7pm at the Basement Theatre, Melbourne School of Design. Registrations can be made online.

MAV Multicultural Policy Development Conference report

A report about the MAV’s recent Opportunities for Partnerships conference is now available.

The conference was held on 12 September at the Wyndham City Civic Centre. It was themed around developing stronger local government partnerships to address social cohesion, settlement planning, and access and equity.

Other resources from the conference are also available online, including a video of the keynote address.

Other news of interest

Ararat featured on the ABC

Ararat Rural City Council has featured prominently on the ABC’s 4 Corners program.

As one of the 14 Healthy Together sites supported by the Victorian Department of Health, the council has capitalised on ‘The Biggest Loser’ coming to town, and developed a whole-of-council campaign to Activate Ararat.

Gowrie Victoria: leadership positions vacant

The advertisements for both the Manager of Early Learning and the Manager of Professional Learning are now on the Gowrie Victoria website.

Australian Early Development Census

This census (formerly called the AEDI) will again be collected in 2015. Communication will be sent out to all councils by the end of the year informing them of the AEDC process, and how councils can benefit from and assist locally to promote this important data collection.

Primary Health Network Boundaries released

The boundaries for the Primary Health Networks were released last week. A frequently asked PHN questions document is also available on this site.

Upcoming MAV events...

29 October

MAV Age-Friendly Communities and Local Government National Conference

30 October

2014 Victorian Local Government Multicultural Issues Network Forum

30 October

Patchwork training session


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