Aged and Disability Reform advocacy
The MAV has received positive correspondence from the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Sussan Ley, following our advocacy in December seeking confirmation around the transition of home and community care (HACC).
The Minister has reiterated her commitment to working with the State, councils and key providers during the transition period, and to finalising a ‘Trilateral Statement of Intent’ to recognise the significant role of local government in the Victorian system. We have sent this correspondence to all councils.
Two preliminary drafts of the Trilateral Statement have been circulated to all councils, and once the final draft is developed we will call a meeting of councils to discuss and seek advice to determine progress of this document.
For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.
HACC transition update
From now until 1 July, local government HACC agencies will be busy during the transition process to the Commonwealth Home Support Program, and the implementation of My Aged Care.
HACC funding splits: The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) sent letters and worksheets to councils for the calculation of funding allocated to over 65s, under 65s, and under 65s that are eligible for the NDIS in late December. Council feedback has indicated that DHHS predictions on the number of ‘under 65s’ being eligible for transfer to the NDIS has been overestimated. Councils can negotiate with DHHS if there are discrepancies.
Workshop attendance: MAV staff attended a DHHS workshop to discuss quality indicators to meet the My Aged Care policy principle - independence of assessment from service provision - while maintaining the Victorian HACC benefits. The group developed ‘Good Practice Indicators’ for the whole assessment process and service provision including the support plan, monitoring, review and reassessment.
Proposal for Victorian Regional Assessment Services: The State aims to finalise assessment arrangements and a proposal on a model for Victorian Regional Assessment Services (RAS) to the Commonwealth by the end of February. It is proposed that each RAS will follow the boundaries of the Commonwealth health regions in Victoria.
MAV Aged Care Reform Group (ACRG): Two meetings of the ACRG have been held in December and February; both were well attended with representatives from all regions. Participants were asked to ensure that information received at these meetings was passed onto colleagues in their respective regions.
Preventing Violence Against Women update
The MAV has been working with various State departments to secure additional support for councils to progress their initiatives in preventing violence against women and children. We have also been following up the MAV and council recommendations made to the Royal Commission into Family Violence - which is now due to report on 29 March. Councils are playing an important civic leadership role on this issue and this is recognised by the State.
The MAV is hopeful of gaining further State support to strengthen the capacity of councils to progress this work.
National Disability Insurance Scheme rollout
The Commonwealth and Victorian governments have agreed on how the NDIS will be rolled out across Victoria, with statewide operation set for July 2019.
The first rollout will occur in North East Melbourne (Yarra, Darebin, Banyule, Nillumbik and Whittlesea). By January 2017 rollout will occur in Central Highlands (Ararat, Ballarat, Golden Plains, Hepburn, Moorabool, Pyrenees), and by May 2017 in Loddon (Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Mount Alexander, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Greater Bendigo).
People currently accessing disability services will be contacted to discuss the process of entering the NDIS, while others who are not currently receiving disability registered support are encouraged to contact the NDIS on 1800 800 110.
NDIS packages for reasonable and necessary support for eligible participants are in three main categories; core, capability, and capital.
Community forums about the rollout are scheduled for Banyule on 2 March, 6- 9pm and in Dandenong on 16 March, 10am-12pm.
NDIS Taskforce Working Groups
The MAV has been invited by the Department of Premier and Cabinet to participate in two NDIS Implementation Taskforce working groups: Cross Sector Work and Innovation, and Sector Readiness.
It is pleasing to see the State taking an increasing leadership role in the planning of the reforms for Victoria, in conjunction with the NDIA, and involving councils, the community and key stakeholders.
For further information, contact Jan Black.
VicHealth Walk to School Grants opening soon
Applications will be opening in early March for the VicHealth Walk to School Grants.
Grants of up to $10,000 are available for Victorian councils to promote Walk to School, deliver engagement activities with local primary schools, and undertake initiatives in their local community to support ongoing active travel among primary school children and their families.
The Walk to School event encourages primary school students to walk, ride and scoot to and from school as often as possible throughout October. Councils can be part of the action and make a difference to the health and wellbeing of school children and their families. Applications close on 15 April.
Child Safe Standards
The new Criminal Law Reform and Child Safe Standards legislation applies to all councils from 1 January 2016. It effectively states that CEOs must ensure their council meets the requirements of the legislation and is ready for compliance by 1 January 2017.
The MAV has convened a working group that will work closely with DHHS on implementation and compliance requirements. Other resources are also available to councils.
In short, all councils must have a Child Safe Policy or Statement of Commitment to child safety that is council endorsed; and a Code of Conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children.
Victoria’s draft Multicultural Policy Statement
The MAV has made a submission to the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship’s draft Multicultural Policy Statement, following sector feedback. The MAV supports its focus on ‘multicultural as mainstream’, supporting at-risk people, rejecting racism, co-design, tackling disadvantage, taking a strong systematic approach to build the cultural responsiveness of all government services, and intersectionality.
Recommendations included strengthening the statement’s family violence section, placing greater importance on intercultural relations and the value of established Australians welcoming those more recently arrived.
The MAV requested improved consultation with the sector, and clarification in the statement for the State to work with local government specifically, and not just in relation to regional Victoria. The final policy statement is expected by June, and will complement an 18-month ‘program of works’ that will be implemented by State departments, and specify targets and funding.
Libraries: Swift Consortium 10 year anniversary
We are celebrating 10 years since the establishment of the Swift Library Consortium supported by the MAV and facilitated with an initial grant from the State Government. The Consortium currently covers 45 per cent of Victorian public library services representing over 100 libraries in Victoria. In addition six New South Wales public libraries have joined the system and are part of the consortium.
The consortium has followed through on the original bipartisan Ministerial Advisory Council vision of the borderless library, improving access to services and resources by all Victorians. The back of house contract for one Library Management System enables new policy directions to be effectively and efficiently implemented. For example, the Swift One Card System enabling library members to borrow anywhere, return anywhere and pay anywhere, directly from any Swift library in the state was introduced in July 2015.
The MAV, with the Swift consortium, will be going to market to test the system going forward in a competitive process prior to August 2017. This allows the sector to continue to develop the vision, and work with additional councils and library services wishing to join the consortium regarding the future collaborative approach to meet the needs of councils and communities.
For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.
Cultural Diversity Week
This year’s Cultural Diversity Week is from 12-20 March and begins with the Premier’s Gala Dinner.
Many Victorian councils take the opportunity to showcase their multiculturalism and support culturally diverse residents through activities and events for community and staff.
The week of celebrations coincides with the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and includes the Department of Social Service’s Harmony Day, and the Scanlon Foundation’s A Taste of Harmony initiative.
Councils can register events online, to appear on the Victorian Multicultural Commission events calendar.
Victoria opts in: Safe Haven Enterprise Visa program
The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship (OMAC) has advised that Victoria has opted into the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa program, despite being unable to secure additional resources from the Commonwealth for regional areas and the visa holders (which they will continue to pursue).
OMAC has committed to working closely with the MAV to confirm the councils who have selected to opt in, and develop and agree upon an implementation plan for the program in Victoria (together with the Commonwealth).
The program enables SHEV holders to apply for permanent residency if, after the five year visa period, they or a family member have worked or studied in a designated regional area for at least 3.5 years.
For further information, contact Camilla Macdonnell.
Victorian Planning Settlement Outcomes Committee
The MAV is represented on the Victorian Planning Settlement Outcomes Committee, which was established under the National Settlement Framework. It provides a forum through which all three tiers of government, together with relevant non-government stakeholders, can coordinate and strategically support agreed priorities for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
The MAV sits on both the Committee's action groups; settlement coordination and data. The latter is developing a scoping project that aims to understand and improve the data government agencies collect in relation to culturally diverse clients, and the sharing of that data. The project focuses on four key settlement indicators, and together with DHHS, we will be responsible for collecting immunisation, maternal and child health, and home and community care data.
For more information, contact Bianca Nutt.
Strategic framework to strengthen Victoria’s social cohesion
Last year the MAV called for input into our submission to the State Government’s Draft Social Cohesion and Community Resilience Strategy. The final document is now available.
The MAV believes it is an improvement on the draft, particularly the explicit addition of right-wing extremism and Islamophobia as ideas that the State will help communities to challenge.
Funds will be administered by the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Chief Resilience Unit, which sits in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship.
Meeting the needs of LGBTI HACC clients: a year on
An online report is available on the MAV’s October forum: Meeting the needs of LGBTI HACC clients - a year on. Over 60 participants representing 25 councils and 10 other HACC agencies attended.
They heard from DHHS, La Trobe University and three councils demonstrating best practice in inclusive HACC services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) clients.
Rotating table discussions were held on a range of topics including recruitment and contracting practices, partnering with local agencies, consultation, disclosure and LGBTI people with multicultural backgrounds.
News in brief
- DHHS has released an organisational chart showing changes to senior roles to take effect from 1 March. There will be further announcements about four regional health director roles in the first week of March.
- The Australia Council for the Arts has developed data tables on cultural attendance and participation in local regions. This data will be helpful to understand attendance and participation numbers for cultural events and activities.
- Councils are encouraged to advise primary schools about programs and services available from Victoria Walks. For further information, contact Leigh Cawood on 9662 3975.
- The Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria has written and published a policy brief outlining its outcomes of research into why people with multicultural backgrounds find it challanging to gain jobs in local government. In support of the research the MAV held a roundtable with councils to inform the brief, which generated robust and honest discussion that demonstrated councils’ strong willingness to increase the cultural diversity of its workplaces.
- The State Government has called for nominations for leaders from the business and community sectors to become members of Regional Partnerships in nine regions. Each Regional Partnership will be comprised of a number of business and community sector leaders from within the region. The partnerships will provide strategic advice on regional priorities across economic, social and environmental issues to the Victorian Government.