Issue 965:                                                      Week ending 14 February 2014

MAV draft response to VSLGA
Electric Line Clearance Regulations – opportunity for input
More power for Local Government Inspectorate
MAV Environment Conference update
Road safety news – Assistant Commissioner attends council road safety meeting
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) seminar
One Planet Living networking event
Aquatics and Recreation Victoria awards
Anzac Centenary Seminar
Fifth anniversary of Black Saturday

In social media news...

MAV draft response to VSLGA

The Victorian State-Local Government Agreement (VSLGA) is currently being reviewed by the Minister for Local Government, with a revised draft agreement released for consultation last November.

The purpose of the VSLGA is to provide a framework that improves the relationship, engagement and consultation between State and local government, and the prevention of cost shifting onto councils. Members have provided us with feedback that the current proposed VSLGA does not meet its intended purpose.

Our draft response has been circulated to council CEOs and councillors. We have proposed a number of changes to strengthen the VSLGA to better achieve its objectives.

Feedback is due by 28 February to Claire Dunn. Following consultation with councils and further negotiations with the Minister, we will put the proposed final VSLGA to our May State Council meeting for sector endorsement.

Electric Line Clearance Regulations – opportunity for input

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has recently sought information from councils with powerline clearance responsibilities under the Electricity Safety Act to help inform the next regulatory impact statement (RIS) for the new edition of the Electricity Safety (Electric Line Clearance) Regulations.

We urge councils to respond to the data request in a timely and considered manner as it provides an important opportunity to address ongoing concerns with the current regulations as raised by the MAV and councils.

Among the changes under consideration are a requirement to prune in accordance with the Australian Standard for the Pruning of Amenity Trees; alternative compliance mechanisms that can be built into the regulations rather than pursued via an exemption; and providing scope for new, alternative engineering solutions in order to qualify for revised clearance distances.

The MAV is encouraged by these developments which could potentially provide greater flexibility and alternative cost-effective solutions; achieve a better balance between safety and amenity; as well as help to prevent excessive pruning by distribution businesses.

The MAV has circulated a copy of the ESV data request and further advice to councils, with responses due to ESV by 28 February. For further information, contact Claire Dunn.

More power for the Local Government Inspectorate

The Minister has announced stronger powers for the Local Government Inspectorate, which we understand will give the Inspectorate powers to investigate serious misconduct and initiate prosecutions for serious and gross misconduct.

The Inspectorate will also have a greater role to investigate and prosecute any breaches of confidentiality or improper direction of council staff.

Once the MAV has further detail of the proposed changes we will seek sector feedback.

The Local Government Amendment (Performance Reporting and Accountability) Act 2013 was passed through State Parliament this week. It will come into effect on 18 April and its objective is to provide Victorians with more transparency and accountability across local government.

The Act includes a new Local Government Performance Reporting Framework which is currently the subject of a pilot program with all councils.

We acknowledge the State’s consultation with MAV members on the framework, however, we remain concerned about data variability and its potential impact. We will seek consultation on the proposed indicator details prior to finalisation by the State so that we can collate council input at an MAV workshop.

MAV Environment Conference update

The MAV has confirmed five speakers for our Environment Conference including Professor Tim Flannery and John Thwaites.

Professor Flannery is the co-founder and councillor of the Climate Council, an independent Australian scientific organisation focused on providing information on climate change.

He became Australia's first chief climate commissioner in 2011 and was named Australian of the Year 2007 in recognition of his contribution to the environment and other fields.

Mr Thwaites is a Professorial Fellow at Monash University and Chair of ClimateWorks Australia and the Monash Sustainability Institute. He was the Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1999 until his retirement in 2007.

During this period he held a number of key roles including Minister for Environment, Minister for Water and was Victoria's first Minister for Climate Change.

The conference will be held on Wednesday 30 April and Thursday 1 May at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Registrations are now open.

Road safety news – Assistant Commissioner attends road safety meeting

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill will attend the next Council Road Safety Officer network meeting to discuss partnerships between Victoria Police, local government and road safety agencies.

The meeting is scheduled for 27 February at the MAV Offices, from 10am-4pm.

Itwill include additional presentations and the opportunity for council road safety officers to share details of funding opportunities, project updates, research and other relevant information.

All council road safety officers are invited to attend. Interested councillors and officers may also be interested in joining the new MAV Road Safety and Traffic Yammer page.

For further information or to access the Yammer page, please contact James Cleaver.

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) seminar

The Centre for Rural Regional Law and Justice at Deakin University is inviting councils to attend a free rural law seminar exploring the role and responsibilities of VCAT.

Topics include:

  • The range and type of issues that can be taken to VCAT
  • What is the process?
  • How do you prepare for a hearing?
  • What happens after a determination is made?

This seminar will be video conferenced to 12 locations across rural and regional Victoria in Ballarat, Bairnsdale, Bendigo, Churchill, Geelong, Horsham, Mildura, Portland, Swan Hill, Shepparton, Wangaratta and Warrnambool.

VCAT’s Principal Registrar Jim Nelms PSM, will answer these and other questions during the seminar.

Questions can be submitted in advance via email. Booking are essential.

Please RSVP by registering online.

One Planet Living networking event

Councils are invited to attend a free networking event on 20 February to learn more about how One Planet Living is being applied by local government throughout Australia.

Hear first-hand from a range of council representatives who are at various stages of applying One Planet Living (many with the aspiration of becoming Australia's first One Planet Council).

Speakers will include the City of Greater Geelong’s Suzzette Jaclson and the City of Yarra’s Russell Fisher.

The event will be held at the Kinfolk Café on Bourke Street. Registrations can be made online.

Aquatics and Recreation Victoria awards

The Aquatics and Recreations Victoria (ARV) award nominations are now open.

This year there are 16 award categories including Swim School Award and Health Club Award.

Nomination for the Facility Management awards closes on 14 March and all other award categories close on 14 April. The ARV Industry Gala Presentation Night is on 13 June.

Nomination guidelines can be read online.

For more information please contact Taya Phillips on 92713800.

Anzac Centenary Seminar

Best-selling author Roland Perry is the key note speaker at the Victorian Government’s upcoming Anzac Centenary Seminar in Melbourne on 4 March

An invitation has been extended to local council CEOs and representatives, the ex-service community, community groups and cultural organisations.

The Anzac Centenary Seminar will inspire communities to develop and undertake creative and interesting projects to commemorate the Anzac Centenary.

Guest speakers will provide examples of commemoration initiatives.

Fifth anniversary of Black Saturday

Last Friday was the fifth anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires. Many of the affected councils held memorial events.

This time of year can be difficult and the MAV acknowledges the complex recovery task faced by affected councils and their communities. While great progress has been made, for many, recovery is far from over and requires ongoing compassion, understanding and support.

Approximately 11-12 councils are currently supporting response, relief and recovery efforts of communities as bushfires continue to burn across the state.

If you or someone in your council would like to speak to someone about Black Saturday, EACH has resources available for people needing assistance. Lifeline (131 114) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) are also available for people seeking help.

In social media news...

  • From the UK Guardian Local Government Network: 10 reasons why councils should embrace Facebook. Read more here.
  • Discover the 190 Victorian Government departments and agencies using Twitter.
  • A new search engine has been created to help find results based on hashtags across multiple social media channels. Find out more here.
Upcoming MAV events...

4 March

The Company Directors Course

26-27 March

Smart Urban Futures

30 April - 1 May

MAV Environment Conference


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