Issue 954:                                              Week ending 1 November 2013

MAV to develop Reconciliation Action Plan
State Council outcomes / councillor service awards
Referendum reimbursement
Heavy Vehicle Route Assessment Tool
Financial Management of Emergencies
$20m New Children’s Facilities Capital Grants
Minister advises Round 5 RDAF will not proceed
Want to improve the safety of your local taxi ranks? Funding now available
Award winning councils
The Chief Health Officer’s report released
In social media news...

MAV to develop Reconciliation Action Plan

The MAV will commence development of a Reconciliation Action Plan to enrich our journey of developing stronger connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Better relationships between Aboriginal people and the wider community has shown to be vital to achieving reconciliation, and reducing the gap in social and economic indicators for Indigenous Australians.

Local government in particular is ideally placed to strengthen participation of Aboriginal people in local communities, and we look forward to playing our role in promoting Aboriginal affairs within local government.  Announced at our annual conference last week, participating in this nationally recognised framework will also enable us to join the growing number of organisations seeking to better promote reconciliation in the wider community.

The MAV hopes our Plan will aid local government to become an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  We are looking forward to receiving the advice and guidance of Reconciliation Australia and its Victorian counterpart, Reconciliation Victoria, as we set about this important step.

For further information contact Rosemary Hancock.

State Council outcomes / councillor service awards

It has been a year since council elections and at last week’s MAV annual dinner, our annual Councillor Service Awards recognised 67 councillors for their ongoing service to local communities. Forty-eight councillors received awards for 10 years’ service, seven councillors received the 15 years’ Service Award, three councillors were recognised for 20 years of service and nine mayors received the Mayor Emeritus.

State Council received the MAV annual report and financials, and voted on 53 motions submitted by members. All endorsed motions are now available on our website and the MAV annual report will be mailed to all CEOs and MAV Representatives. It is also available to view online.

Referendum reimbursement

In a speech to the Local Government Association of South Australia conference last week Warren Truss, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development announced that the Australian Government will reimburse local government costs as a result of the referendum for constitutional recognition not proceeding.

This is a pleasing outcome and coincides with the MAV processing the first of a two-part refund for councils that contributed a voluntary levy to the referendum campaign. The initial refund is based on unused funds that have been returned to the MAV by the ALGA. Once the remainder of funds is reimbursed by the federal government, a second payment will see 100 per cent of contributions returned to all councils.

The ALGA has also written to councils with further details.

Heavy Vehicle Route Assessment Tool

The new national heavy vehicle regulations will commence in January 2014, and will see councils assume responsibility for controlling heavy vehicle access onto local roads. All road access applications will go to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) who will refer them to councils for decision as the local road managers.

The MAV Route Assessment Tool (RAT) is being adapted for national use by the NHVR and Victorian councils are now able to start using the RAT to assess heavy vehicle access applications and respond to the Regulator in a consistent and meaningful manner.

For further information contact John Hennessy.

Financial Management of Emergencies

The MAV has developed a Financial Management of Emergencies Guide and will hold a forum to strengthen the ability of Victorian councils to manage their organisation’s financial sustainability during and following an emergency event within their municipality.

The guide includes recommended processes for tracking expenditure, advice on funding arrangements, and recommendations relating to procurement and financial delegations.

The guide will be launched at the forum, which will include briefings by the Department of Treasury and VicRoads on natural disaster funding arrangements, as well as presentations relating to insurance, the direct experience of council officers, and the Crisisworks (MECC Central) incident management software which enables resource tracking.

Council finance staff are encouraged to attend the forum on Thursday 14 November from 9.30am – 1pm at Treasury Theatre in East Melbourne. Bookings can be made online and the cost to attend is $85 (inc GST).

For further information contact Ros Handley.

$20m New Children’s Facilities Capital Grants

The Hon. Wendy Lovell, Minister for Children and Early Childhood has announced a new $20 million children’s facilities capital grants round including: $1.6 million per grant for new integrated children’s centres; up to $650 000 for new early learning facilities; up to $350 000 for early learning upgrades; and up to $10 000 available for minor infrastructure grants.

Priorities for the first three grant categories include increasing capacity to meet local demand for 15 hours kindergarten, location of early years services close to or on school sites, in growth suburbs and to provide services for vulnerable children. Councils will be expected to contribute funds in these categories. Expressions of interest close on 29 November.  Organisations will then be invited in mid-December to submit a detailed application by 21 February with completion of projects required after two years.

Minor infrastructure grants will support small indoor/outdoor upgrades that enhance the quality of kindergarten programs. Applications close on 19 November.

The MAV has been working with DEECD to simplify and streamline the application process, ensure more flexible grants can be offered, and that there can now be exemptions from the previous requirement for childcare if over supply can be demonstrated locally.

Minister advises Round 5 RDAF will not proceed

At a recent meeting with the ALGA, and again in a speech last week, Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Warren Truss has advised that Round 5 of the federal Regional Development Growth Fund (RDAF) will not proceed.

In his speech to the South Australian local government conference, Mr Truss reiterated that the Government would not be tied to Labor RDAF promises, which were to be funded by the mining tax that the Coalition is committed to abolishing. The projects are therefore unfunded.

RDAF will be replaced by a new Stronger Regions Program, which will offer $200 million per year from 2015 with a 50 per cent matched contribution  required from the proponent, or state or local government.

Mr Truss said almost 100 projects worth $300 million that were announced by the Coalition during the election campaign will be delivered in the interim. He also advised the ALGA that in a very small number of cases, urgent projects from earlier RDAF rounds which were advanced but not formally contracted may be considered for funding in the short-term.

The MAV encourages councils with community projects that have been approved for RDAF funding but not signed to write to Minister Truss outlining your case.

Want to improve the safety of your local taxi ranks? Funding now available

Applications are now open for the 2013-2014 round of funding for the Taxi Rank Safety Program, a grant-based funding initiative of the Victorian Government for councils to improve the safety, quality and amenity of taxi ranks.

Infrastructure to be funded as part of the program includes, but is not limited to, closed circuit television, improved lighting, pedestrian barriers, weather shelters, signage, seats and road treatments.

Councils must demonstrate that the proposed project will improve the safety and facilities for taxi passengers and drivers at a taxi rank, has the support of the local community, businesses and taxi companies, and represents value for money.

Applications must be submitted to the Taxi Services Commission by 5pm, Friday 29 November. For further information email or call 1800 638 802.

Award winning councils

Congratulations to all councils recentlyrecognised in state and national awards for their outstanding contributions to delivering better services for their communities.

Moonee Valley City Council was awarded the Premier’s top sustainability award with the Wingate Avenue Community Centre for their contribution to making recycling facilities available to public housing residents.

Hepburn Shire won Victorian Project of the Year in the IAP2 Australasian Core Values Awards for their OurSay partnership ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ to engage greater community input into their 2013-17 Council Plan.

Councils were also recognised in two Early Years Awards categories, as well as the Minister’s commendation for achievements in early childhood services:

  • Frankston City Council won the Better Access to Child and Family Support, Health Services, Schools and Early Education and Care Services Award for their Mahogany Rise Child and Family Centre – A journey to access and inclusion program.
  • The Cities of Ballarat, Brimbank, Maribyrnong, Melton, and Wyndham won the Communities that are More Family and Child Friendly Award for their Engaging Children in Decision Making a guide for consulting children program.
  • Casey, Greater Dandenong and Cardinia councils won the Minister’s Award for their Maternal and Child Health and South East Family Services Alliance program.

Hume City Council was awarded the Heart Foundation’s state Healthy Communities Award for populations over 15 000, and was a joint national winner for driving positive health and wellbeing outcomes for their community through engaging all areas of council business.

Northern Grampians Shire won the Healthy Communities Award for populations under 15 000 for providing accessible, user-friendly and sustainable parks and open spaces for recreation. A booklet detailing all winners and highly commended projects is available on the Heart Foundation website.

The Chief Health Officer’s report released

Your health: The Chief Health Officer’s report 2012 has recently been released and is the fourth publication in a series of biennial reports that provide a comprehensive picture of the health and wellbeing of Victorians.

The report meets requirements of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and offers a single access point for information that is otherwise included in a large number of publications. As in previous editions, this report has been structured using the National health performance framework 2009 and provides an overview of the health of Victorians, in particular their health status and the factors that determine health.

In social media news...

  • Boston Mayor’s Hotline – a case study in civic engagement.
  • Are Klout and Kred scores critical or meaningless? Find out more here.
  • The UK LGA's one-day tweetathon #OurDay to celebrate the good work of councils.
Upcoming MAV events...

8 November

MAV Rural Land Use Planning Forum

8 November

Presentation Skills Workshop

15 November

Coastal Adaptation Forum: local and State government working together


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