Issue 939                                                     Week ending 19 July 2013

Minister Powell direction: Local Government Act 1989 s135
MAV Gender and Emergency Management Advisory Group
Country Roads and Bridges Program campaign
MAV Planning Improvement Conference
Collective Impact workshop
Grants for Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership
ProductivIT conference
Population diversity in Victorian councils
Moving and housing Melbourne: The 20-minute city
Road safety campaign
Re-shaping the local to Re-shape the World competition
In social media news...

Minister Powell direction: Local Government Act 1989 s135

The MAV is aware that Minister Powell has recently written to all councils invoking s135 of the Local Government Act 1989 to direct that councils provide:

  • Any committed or proposed funding or expenditure or in kind contribution or resource provision by Council related to the referendum such as publicity or awareness material for their community or activities; and
  • In relation to the above criteria, the amount spent supporting the ‘yes’ case and the amounts spent supporting the ‘no’ case.

The MAV suggests that councils do not respond to this direction until we can provide you with further advice. To our knowledge it is the first time this section of the Act has been invoked since it was introduced in 2003. Section 135 empowers a Minister in certain circumstances to direct a council to prepare and submit ‘financial statements’ and related information.

We are working with the ALGA and national campaign team to prepare a response in relation to the ‘no’ case concerns raised by the Minister. The MAV is also seeking urgent Senior Counsel advice in relation to the s135 direction and will provide councils with proposed options based on this legal advice.

MAV Gender and Emergency Management Advisory Group

Evidence shows that the incidence of family violence increases post-disaster. Men are more likely to die in floods and bushfires than women, and men strongly influence family decisions to stay and defend homes during bushfires, sometimes with tragic results. To positively change such outcomes, the influence of gender roles and differences must be understood and addressed.

We have developed a gender and emergency management strategy which aims to reduce the negative consequences of gender-blind practices.

To help refine the details of the strategy and implement its actions the MAV has convened a Gender and Emergency Management Advisory Group. The group met for the first time last week and is made up of representatives from local government and specialists from the Australian Emergency Management Institute, Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service, Women’s Health Goulburn North East, Save the Children and Be Ready Warrandyte.

The first meeting provided insightful advicethat will greatly help with further development and implementation of the strategy. The group also discussed its ongoing purpose, the possibility of expanding membership to capture a greater range of stakeholders and the first output of the strategy, which is likely to be a gender and emergency management factsheet. The factsheet, targeted at local government will help introduce the relationship between gender and emergency management and provide practical advice on first steps that can be taken to improve gender outcomes.

For further information contact Martijn Gough or visit our gender equity webpage.

Country Roads and Bridges Program campaign

Councils will soon receive their 2013-14 allocation of funds under the Victorian Country Roads and Bridges Program. The program provides $1 million per year to 40 rural councils to fund country road and bridge maintenance. The funds are used by councils to improve road safety, access, amenity and asset integrity. The current four-year program began in 2011-12 and budgeted funds are due to expire following the 2014-15 financial year.

To ensure an extension of the program beyond June 2015, the MAV and Timber Towns Victoria will shorty write to councils to request their assistance in preparing an advocacy campaign to demonstrate the ongoing importance of the program. In order to support the campaign, councils will be asked to record before and after photos, and highlight the road safety, economic and broader community benefits of the program’s funded works.

For further information contact James Cleaver.

MAV Planning Improvement Conference

Save the date - The MAV Planning Improvement Conference will take place on 19 September at Karstens, 119 Queen Street, Melbourne.

This event provides a chance to reflect on how well we are facing up to the challenges of change and to consider whether we have been doing all we can to be efficient and effective. The conference will tackle the question about who the customer actually is for local government, and once we know, how we best communicate with them. Is it possible to keep planning schemes up to date and contemporary, and are they truly visionary or simply reflective of values of a point in time? This conference will explore some of the work of the MAV STEP planning councils and also include interactive learning sessions on the Stronger Enforcement FrameworkRisk Assessment Tool and Vicsmart.

The conference is particularly relevant to local government planners across Australia, senior decision-makers, CEOs and councillors, and will also be of relevance to those that interact with local government on a regular basis.

It costs $150 (exc. GST) for STEP Planning members; and $175 (exc. GST) for non-members.

For further information contact Kevin Peachey on 03 9667 5529.

Collective Impact workshop

The MAV, in conjunction with Canada’s Tamarack community engagement organisation, is running a workshop on Collective Impact on Thursday 22 August at our offices.

Collective Impact (CI) is a new approach to community change efforts where important issues are addressed by multiple stakeholders working collaboratively to focus on a preferred outcome. The process emphasises creating shared outcomes for community change and pursuing them with a coalition of partners. The CI process works through structural, funding and implementation aspects, and the workshop will demonstrate how CI differs from other forms of working together. The CI process is now spreading across a number of countries and is producing very positive outcomes.

For further information contact John Hennessy.

Grants for Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership

Victorian councils have the chance to share in $4.75 million to manage climate risks in their regions through the Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership (VAS Partnership) Grants 2013 funding round. The Partnership brings local and State government together to work on adaptation and sustainability issues that affect all Victorians.

Following the successes of its predecessor, the Victorian Local Sustainability Accord, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change refocused the new VAS Partnership towards supporting climate change adaptation. The MAV was pleased that its work with the former Department of Sustainability and Environment, Supporting Victorian Local Government Manage Climate Risks and Adapt to Change, helped to inform this decision. Cr Angela Altair represents the MAV on the VAS Partnership Ministerial Advisory Committee. Cr Altair is a MAV Board member, Chair of the MAV Environment Committee and Mayor of Hobsons Bay City Council.

The focus of the 2013 funding round is supporting local government in undertaking practical efforts that help Victorian communities respond to the risk of a changing climate. In particular, to support projects that embed climate risk management into local and regional decision-making, and to assist councils putting existing climate adaptation plans into action.

Funding is available in two categories:

  • a competitive category for grants of up to $200 000 open to partnerships of Victorian councils, and
  • a non-competitive category for grants of up to $40 000 per council open to partnerships of resource-constrained rural and regional councils.

Applications are open until 6 September.

The MAV has also created a VAS Partnership group on its MAV Environmental Sustainability Yammer network to help councils connect and develop regional projects. Contact Ben Morris to sign up to it.

ProductivIT conference

Chaired by the former Premier of Tasmania David Bartlett, this year’s LGICT Annual Conference is about practical approaches to improving council business operations.

The opening keynote is Alan Noble, Engineering Director for Google Australia and NZ, who will deliver an ‘outside perspective’ on how open data, collaboration and better engagement with citizens can change local government for the better. Alan will take questions about how Google and local government can work together to connect with communities.

Other speakers include federal, state and local government authorities on the NBN roll out, geospatial information systems, apps for local government, risk minimisation, cloud collaboration opportunities and productivity improvement. The keynote for day two is James O’Loghlin (The New Inventors – ABC TV).

The conference, to be held at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins on 14 and 15 August, features an extensive trade exhibition, where delegates can see demonstrations and speak with a broad range of consultants, service providers and product providers.

A two-for-one price is available for Victorian rural and regional councils and free registration is available for Victorian council CEOs. Register now.

Population diversity in Victorian councils

A new publication, Population diversity in local councils in Victoria provides key census data on the cultural and language diversity indicators for Victoria’s population, including country of birth, language spoken at home and religion by local government areas.

It includes four and two-page profiles for each council and is an invaluable guide for local government planners, community organisations, researchers, and those in the broader community concerned with policy planning and the design of culturally appropriate services.

For further information contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship on 9651 1101.

Moving and housing Melbourne: The 20-minute city

The Victorian Government will soon release its final draft Metropolitan Planning Strategy (MPS), outlining the vision and goals for future development of Melbourne. Moving and Housing Melbourne: The 20-Minute City is an event designed to inform, inspire and involve built environment professionals from Victoria’s planning, development, infrastructure and service industries, as well as government partners, through a broad-ranging program that examines Melbourne’s key housing and transport challenges in the context of the ‘20-minute Melbourne’, a key tenet of the MPS Discussion Paper.

Attendees will have the opportunity to be well-briefed and contribute to an agenda-shaping broad industry discussion, ahead of the imminent MPS release in early August. Opportunities to network with presenters, facilitators and fellow guests form part of the day.

This event, held by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) will take place from 1 – 6 pm on Friday 26 July at the Telstra Conference Centre. For further information contact PIA on

Road safety campaign

Councils are encouraged to join a unique road safety campaign ‘Elmo Stays Safe’ in a few minutes just by linking to the central hub of information at

From the website, all parents with toddlers, day care centres, pre-schools and local schools can download safety materials such as posters, activity cards and a storybook, plus watch the community service announcement to spread the safety message. Councils are especially encouraged to promote their involvement to families through customer service centres and other council facilities.

Pedestrian and driveway incidents will be targeted in the Kidsafe road safety campaign as part of the UN’s Decade of Action for Road Safety. In the three-year period from 2006-2008, there were six deaths and 430 seriously injured pedestrians aged 0-14 years in Victoria. A further 14 children under six years of age were killed and 73 were seriously injured as a result of a driveway run over between January 2000 and September 2012.

Re-shaping the local to Re-shape the World competition

Councils are encouraged to promote the Re-shaping the local to Re-shape the World competition to their community. The competition is looking for applications from individuals or groups that are taking action to improve sustainability in the community. Winners will get the opportunity to share their ideas at an event at the Melbourne Convention Centre in October.

Submissions will be judged by:

  • how transferable the change is to other locations
  • how the shaping has changed the practice, efforts, actions of others
  • how the shaping addresses environmental or ecological issues, and
  • how the shaping addresses social issues.

Applications are due by 5 August.

In social media news...

  • Hootsuite has developed a 2013 Australian Election Tracker to monitor social media data about the election. Find out more here.
  • The Transport Connect phone app has been launched in Mildura, providing regional transport users with live, up-to-the-minute information about timetabling and routes. Read more here.
  • Facebook now has #hashtags. Find out more here.
Upcoming MAV events...

24 July

Australian Packaging Covenant local government workshop

26 - 28 July

Councillor development weekend

14 August

LGICT annual conference


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