Issue 938:                                                     Week ending 12 July 2013

Yes campaign
Proposed new outdoor smoking laws
Fire Services Property Levy transition
VicSmart released for consultation
Places of Public Entertainment Permits
Consultation on councillor conduct
Melbourne’s Water Future
LeaderShift workshops with Don Clayton
Interactive map for local flood information
Migrant employment funding round
Supporting health service planning within Victorian communities
Australian Smart Lighting Summit
In social media news...

Yes campaign

While the federal election date and consequences for the referendum remain unclear, the national Yes campaign team has fast-tracked development of our campaign so we are prepared to launch at short notice.

Campaign collateral has been developed and councils can expect the first PR campaign kit to be sent to them this Friday. It will include Q and As, key messages, a story calendar, campaign milestones and a template presentation for councillors that are invited to speak at local community group events.

This week we sent out the third MAV referendum campaign update including action councils should be taking now to identify local ambassadors. These local champions will be users of council facilities that have benefited from direct federal funding. They are Yes case champions, not council spokespeople, and will supplement the activities undertaken by your Mayor and councillors in promoting the need to retain access to a direct federal funding stream.

Councils, with assistance from the MAV and the campaign team will be critical in coordinating volunteers to man polling booths on election day to hand out how-to-vote material. More information will be sent out on this shortly. In the meantime, if you’re eager, passionate and interested in helping out on polling day please email your details to to join our volunteer list and we’ll be in touch. Also send us an email if you are interested in being a scrutineer for the Yes vote on election night.

Proposed new outdoor smoking laws

The MAV has provided a submission to the Department of Health identifying key issues that need to be considered in the development of legislation for outdoor smoking bans in children’s playgrounds, skate parks, public swimming pools and children’s sporting events.

Implementation timetables need to be realistic to allow time for signage to be put up across the state, and a strong education campaign needs to be undertaken to raise community awareness about the bans when they commence. We have suggested that given the complexities of drafting time-based laws for the many different sporting events and locations, reductions in the incidence of smoking at children’s sporting events will be better achieved through non-regulatory measures. These could include the Victorian Government developing innovative signage for sporting fields providing information materials for sporting organisations; and working with local government to develop model local laws that could apply which can be modified to suit local conditions.

Our submission also reiterates smoking bans for alfresco dining areas remains an area of priority for statewide laws.

For further information contact Rosemary Hancock.

Fire Services Property Levy transition

The State Revenue Office (SRO) has set up a new telephone number to further support councils in responding to fire services property levy queries. While councils have completed SRO customer service training and should still deal with assessment specific enquiries relating to billing, valuations, objections and payments, other FSPL-related matters can be referred to either the SRO Customer Contact Centre on 13 21 61 or the FSPL Monitor Customer Contact Centre on 1300 300 635 as appropriate.

Minor amendments to the Fire Services Property Levy Act 2012 recently received Royal Assent. The changes address issues previously advised to councils such as the inclusion of additional exempt Australian Valuation Property Classification Codes; aligning the language of the single farm enterprise exemption with the Local Government Act 1989; exemption of Director of Housing-owned properties that are leased for social housing purposes; 28 day no interest period on refunds from supplementary valuations; and permitting councils and the SRO to provide information to the Fire Services Levy Monitor.

VicSmart released for consultation

The Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy has released the proposed new VicSmart provisions for consultation prior to their finalisation. VicSmart is a new dedicated, streamlined planning permit process for straightforward planning applications that will apply across Victoria. Twelve classes of application are included in the new provisions. Comments are being sought by Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure on the draft provisions and proposed changes to the Planning and Environment Regulations by Friday 30 August. The MAV will be making a submission and we encourage councils to do the same.

Information sessions will be held across Victoria at Loddon Mallee (Bendigo 24 July); Grampians (Ballarat 25 July); Melbourne (29 and 30 July); Barwon South West (Geelong 31 July); and Gippsland (7 August).

The Department will distribute an agenda and further information to councils over the coming weeks.

Places of Public Entertainment Permits

The Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy has announced amendments to the Building Regulation to allow an exemption for certain community events from the need for a Place of Public Entertainment Permit (POPE).

The Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI) notified the MAV that the regulation was passed by the Governor in Council this week.

DTPLI and the Victorian Building Authority have developed an Interim Practice Note on Occupancy Permits for Places of Public Entertainment to provide guidance concerning the POPE requirements and their application to sporting, recreational and other activities and events conducted by community based organisations.

Consultation on councillor conduct

Local Government Victoria is conducting a review of the Councillor Conduct Arrangements and is seeking council feedback. A Conduct and Governance Discussion Paper sets out the background, current framework and key issues.

A template to provide feedback has been sent to councils statewide for councillors, CEOs, Conduct Panel Registrars or governance managers to fill in and return. Feedback is due by 31 July.

Melbourne’s Water Future

The Office of Living Victoria (OLV) has released Melbourne’s Water Future, a draft whole-of-water-cycle strategy for Melbourne which includes a greater emphasis on local water supplies such as rainwater, stormwater and wastewater. Implementation of the strategy will affect metropolitan councils’ land use planning, stormwater and flood mapping. Another key outcome of the strategy is that councils, with funding support from OLV, will be asked to develop ‘local water cycle plans’ which will include goals for reduced use of drinking water; reduced wastewater to treatment plants; increased use of alternative local water sources; and reduced peak flows and pollutants in waterways. According to the strategy, OLV will work with five metropolitan councils and the MAV to produce demonstration ‘local water cycle plans’ in the strategy’s first year.

The MAV is continuing to represent councils on the OLV Local Government Taskforce and will write to metropolitan councils in the coming days with further details of the strategy and consultation opportunities.

For further information contact James Cleaver.

LeaderShift workshops with Don Clayton

The MAV has secured leadership author, trainer and corporate psychologist Don Clayton to share his knowledge with us over two days in late August. Don is the author of LeaderShift and has worked with councillors and CEO’s throughout Australia.

The LeaderShift program recognises that most councillors have at least one job on top of their community roles. Don challenges participants over a thought-provoking and engaging workshop to grasp the bigger picture in relation to:

  • what the ‘big ticket’ items you are trying to achieve on council and in the rest of your life
  • what your leadership style says about you and how you can adapt this to be more influential
  • how you can spend your days in office to maximise your effectiveness in relation to the things that count on council, at work and at home
  • how you can optimise your work/life balance
  • how you can sustain yourself better, and
  • what is most important for you to achieve this year.

Don is running two workshops for the MAV, one on Thursday 29 August and the second on Friday 30 August. All participants receive a copy of Don’s book LeaderShift. Numbers are strictly limited so register now.

For further information contact Andrew Rowe on 9667 5549.

Interactive map for local flood information

Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) has launched a new interactive map online and a range of flood intelligence resources, including local flood guides for residents and business owners, as well as emergency plans for municipalities.

The new resources translate flood intelligence into specific, understandable and localised information and the map allows people to find the information that’s most relevant for their community.

Local flood guides are also being created for communities that are at a high risk of flooding, have suffered severe flooding in the past or have specifically requested one. These guides are targeted at the community and include practical tips on what to expect from flooding at a local level and how people can prepare themselves.

Municipal flood emergency plans provide a detailed outline of the potential impact of floods and what processes will be followed to combat and prevent the consequences. They include information on probable flood heights, expected local impacts and steps that can be taken to plan a response. Communities can use these plans to take forecasted rainfalls and river heights to get a good idea of flood effects.

For further information contact Nick Handbury on 9256 9046.

Migrant employment funding round

Councils can apply for the Migrant Communities Employment Fund (MCEF). This $6.6 million federal fund will help tackle higher levels of unemployment amongst immigrant and refugee workers. The MCEF will support the creation of innovative and sustainable employment opportunities for underemployed first and second generation immigrant and refugee job-seekers, and will be available over two years.

Applications for the first MCEF round close on 19 July.  There will be further rounds of funding over 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Supporting health service planning within Victorian communities

A new resource is now available to support Victorian professionals working in health service planning and policy development in relation to female genital mutilation (FGM).

The three part report, called a Tradition in Transition, will be particularly relevant to health and wellbeing planners within local government. It is the result of collaboration between Family Planning Victoria and RMIT University, with funding from the Department of Health.

Part One of the report is a literature review with information about FGM and Part Two gives an overview of local and international prevention programs. Part Three is an online data set with the latest ABS data on communities living in Victoria that have come from practising countries, which can be searched by local government area or country of birth.

For further information contact Family Planning Victoria on 03 9257 0128 or

Australian Smart Lighting Summit

The Australian Smart Lighting Summit will be held on 5 and 6 August at Melbourne Convention Centre.

The Summit provides an opportunity to discuss strategies to improve energy efficiency and learn from the experience of recognised thought-leaders who will communicate the opportunities in smart lighting and present case-studies where new design solutions and lighting technology and have been implemented.

This event will attract senior-level lighting designers, architects, engineers, sustainability experts, planners, developers and relevant council representatives. When registering your interest to attend, make sure you specify your role in council to receive a significantly reduced local government rate.

In social media news...

  • The Public Records Office Victoria has developed a recordkeeping policy for cloud computing. Read more here.
  • A list of the top 10 web apps to manage your social media campaign has been compiled. Find out more here.
  • From the US: Continuing the uptake of social media, the White House has joined Tumblr. Find out more here.
Upcoming MAV events...

26 - 28 July

Councillor development weekend

6 August

VLGMIN forum

14 August

LGICT annual conference


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