In this issue:                                                                     July, 2015

Education State
Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Employment Framework

Victoria’s Creative Industries Strategy
Gaming regulation and legislation
Councils continue to work for gambling reforms
Building Social Cohesion in our Communities
Home and Community Care (HACC) Fees

Casserole Club Showcase event
Kindergarten Central Enrolment Project
Kindergarten 2016 ratio changes
Early Years: Realignment of Best Start
Supported Playgroups
Public Health and Wellbeing Plans
Graffiti Prevention Grants: applications now open

Education State

In June the State Government briefed key stakeholders on its vision for the Education State - inviting all Victorians to be part of a statewide consultation throughout 2015.

Within a universal system, equity of access and developing new strategies to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children and young people at risk of disengagement, and rebuilding the training system are a particular focus. Discussion papers were released by the State in June, and a series of consultation forums are being held.

In the early years and youth areas it has been indicated that following the consultations, announcements would follow about allocation of resources for more early intervention programs in line with the strategies and actions to be progressed.

The MAV will prepare a response to the discussion papers (as relevant) in consultation with councils. Input can be made to Wendy Allan.

Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Employment Framework

The MAV has written to all chief executive officers to let them know about the MAV’s Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Employment Framework.

Developed as a result of our analysis of case studies in the public and private sectors, and discussions with a variety of councils and Aboriginal people, this framework has been designed as a tool for local government and Aboriginal communities. It uses the Reconciliation Action Plan template developed by Reconciliation Australia, so that it can easily fit within existing council Reconciliation Action Plans or other policies.

A number of fact sheets have been prepared to support the ideas contained in the framework; Getting Started, Resources Guide, Respect, and Relationships.

All councils are encouraged to consider the material and take time to reflect on what their council might be able to do to help facilitate the employment of more Aboriginal people in Victorian councils. By working collectively we can help reduce the gap between social and economic outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.

For further information, contact Lidia Thorpe.

Victoria’s Creative Industries Strategy

The State Government’s Creative Industries Strategy Discussion Paper, released in June, reinforces Victoria’s leading position within the creative and cultural industries, and in particular the significant contribution these industries make to the economic, social and cultural life of Victorians.

The MAV submission to the strategy has been prepared with significant input from councils and oversight from the MAV Arts and Culture Committee. Given the major role and investment by local government in the arts, culture and libraries, of the 11 recommendations put forward, our key recommendation is that the partnership between Creative Victoria and the sector through the MAV is strengthened, and that local government is closely involved in the ongoing development of the Creative Industries Strategy for Victoria.

For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.

Gaming regulation and legislation

This week the MAV met with the office of the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Jane Garrett to discuss local government's concerns with the majority of poker machines being located in communities that can least afford gambling losses. We also discussed the Enough Pokies campaign which launched last year, which is a partnership between the MAV, the Salvation Army, the Inter-Church Taskforce on Gambling, and councils.

The changes that the MAV and councils are seeking to the legislation were outlined. Common interest was expressed in finding solutions and minimising harm to the community, and there is general agreement that timelines and costs for councils during the application process are unnecessarily prohibitive.

We will continue to liaise with the Minister’s office and the regulator, and will provide updates as soon as possible on any concrete legislative, policy or practice reforms.

For further information, contact Jan Black.

Councils continue to work for gambling reforms

Councils are seeking a different approach to pokies regulation due to Australians spending more per person on gambling than any other country in the world, and because poker machines make up 60 per cent of Australia’s total gambling losses with the vast majority of machines located in communities that can least afford to lose.

Following the Enough Pokies for Vulnerable Communities campaign, a gambling reform think-tank bringing together the peak bodies and activists in the electronic gaming machine reform arena was held earlier this year with support of the Reichstein Foundation. There was agreement from all present to continue to collaborate for reform of addictive poker machines with a shared concern about the deeply harmful and unfair impacts of gambling and its normalisation in Australian culture.

The new organisation, called Alliance for Gambling Reform is being supported by the MAV, Salvation Army, VLGA and others, and will work with councils to press for regulatory change to the licensing system for the location and placement of poker machines, as sought in the Enough Pokies campaign, to protect vulnerable communities from being targeted by more machines.

For further information, contact Jan Black.

Building Social Cohesion in our Communities

A new online resource offers councils a practical approach to develop socially cohesive communities and an opportunity to join a national community of practice.

The highly interactive online resource was developed by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government for the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), with input from the MAV.

It is structured around five elements of building social cohesion based on international and Australian best practice, and features case studies from local government (including Victorian councils), tips and templates for implementing good practice at a local level and links to further material.

The resource is part of the National Anti-Racism Strategy, which includes the ‘Racism. It Stops With Me’ campaign to which the MAV recently recommitted.  Together with the AHRC, the MAV will be arranging an event to officially launch the online resource in Victoria, and celebrate its continued commitment to addressing racism.

For further information, contact Bianca Nutt.

Home and Community Care (HACC) Fees

The State Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has now provided the 2015/16 HACC Fees Schedule, with increases set at the HACC programme indexation, and the annual income levels adjusted for consistency with the Centrelink pensions means testing levels.

This was delayed in anticipation of changes to accommodate the proposed national Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) fees policy which would apply in Victoria from mid-2016.

However, based on consultation feedback on the draft CHSP fees policy and schedule, and the decision announced in the Federal Budget to move towards having one home care programme from 2018, the Federal Government announced it will not immediately introduce a uniform, national CHSP fees policy in 2015/16, but rather will introduce a set of fees principles for service providers, following further consultation.

For further information, contact Derryn Wilson.

Casserole Club Showcase Event

FutureGov and the MAV invite councils to attend a showcase of the Casserole Club which has been rolled out in Boroondara, Macedon Ranges and Moreland.

At the event you will hear from cooks, diners and councils who have already commissioned Casserole Club, and about how Casserole Club can create a positive force for change in a community by addressing social isolation and linking generations and neighbours.

The event is free and will be held at Kinfolk 673 Bourke Street Melbourne on 11 August from 10am – 12pm.

Bookings can be made online. For further information, contact Jan Bruce.

Kindergarten Central Enrolment Project

There has been an excellent response by councils to participate in the MAV/DET Central enrolment project with over 40 applications by councils for grants to set up or strengthen central enrolment schemes across Victoria.

Councils are in the process of being formally notified of their grant allocation through written confirmation from the MAV. The trials being undertaken by Greater Geelong, Moorabool, Greater Dandenong, Maribyrnong and Moreland councils are proceeding well.

All participating councils will also be provided with the next version of the MAV Central Enrolment Guide to support them through their projects with their grant offer. Many councils have indicated their intention to streamline their enrolment systems to make it easier for families to use.

With this in mind – the MAV is progressing discussions so that council enrolment processes can interface with the new Maternal and Child Health Child Development Information System. The MAV will keep councils informed of this progress and will hold a forum for interested councils in August. For further information, contact Jan Barrett or Wendy Allan.

Kindergarten 2016 ratio changes

The State Government has announced additional funding to support kindergartens in transitioning to improved educator-to-child ratios.

Groups of 23 or more will receive the additional funding for all 23 children. For example, based on current standard per capita funding rate ($3,247), and the additional ratio funding ($370 per child), services would receive the following funding per annum:

  • Group of 22 children = $71,434 per group
  • Group of 25 children = $90,425 per group
  • Group of 26 children = $94,042 per group
  • Group of 28 children = $101,276 per group

In addition to this funding there is extra support available to assist services to transition to the improved ratios. The Department of Education and Training has engaged Early Learning Australia Association (ELAA) to provide advice to individual services regarding practical and efficient models that can be applied to accommodate the new ratios.

ELAA can assist by providing tailored advice regarding factors such as the number of educators, enrolments, group sizes, space/licensed capacity and families’ capacity to pay fees and tailored models of kindergarten service delivery. The Department is also working with service providers to ensure access is maintained for all eligible children to kindergarten.

The Department intends to undertake a further survey in Term 3 regarding planning for the implementation of improved ratios in 2016.

For further information about other resources and support available please contact Robyn Bourke, Manager Access Participation and Performance at the Department’s North Eastern Victoria regional office on 8392 9304.

Early Years: Realignment of Best Start

The MAV has been participating in meetings with Best Start councils and the Department of Education and Training to discuss future directions of Best Start, which includes facilitating increased participation of Aboriginal children, and children in out of home care into maternal and child health services and kindergarten.

The MAV is establishing a Reference Group which will have representation across all regions including representative councils and the MAV. The Reference Group will provide input and expertise into a clearer set of Best Start objectives, new program guidelines, a new set of indicators and new reporting templates and reporting structures.

For further information, contact Jan Barrett.

Supported Playgroups

The Victorian Department of Education and Training has revised the Guidelines to support the delivery and administration of the Supported Playgroups they fund.

The Guidelines provide the service delivery specification and outcomes to be achieved by Supported Playgroups along with a revised Performance and Accountability Framework, and other relevant information.

Changes to Supported Playgroups took effect on 1 July and DET will work with each service provider to develop an implementation and transition plan.

For further information, contact Wendy Allan.

Public Health and Wellbeing Plans

The next four-year Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan will be released in September following consultation sessions held over the past month.

It is proposed that an Action Plan and a Public Health and Wellbeing Outcomes Framework be developed following the release of the Plan.

The MAV aims to upload councils’ health and wellbeing plans to the MAV website to create one central repository for all council plans, including the 13 councils that have health and wellbeing plans in their councils plans.

For further information, contact Jan Black.

Graffiti Prevention Grants: applications now open

Applications are now open for the 2015–16 Graffiti Prevention Grants.

Victorian councils are invited to apply for grants of up to $25,000 to partner with community groups to deliver local graffiti prevention initiatives.

The Graffiti Prevention Grants are part of the Victorian Government’s Community Crime Prevention Program which helps promote community safety and prevent crime in communities across Victoria.

Community organisations and groups that may be eligible to partner with councils include:

  • Incorporated and non-incorporated not-for-profit community organisations
  • Local groups and organisations which represent special interests and issues eg. schools, youth, environment, heritage, cultural and sporting groups, residents groups
  • Local retailers, small businesses and local trader associations
  • Local police
  • Public transport and utility companies.

Applications close on 18 September. For further information call 1300 221 249, or contact the Department of Justice via email.

Upcoming MAV events...

19 - 20 August

MAV Technology National Conference

24 & 28 August

Facilitating Living Smart Course

26 - 27 August

The Future of Communities: Power to the People


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