Issue 980:                                                      Week ending 30 May 2014

Further impacts from the Federal Budget
Changes to bushfire planning and building regulations
Walk to School grants for councils
Maternal and Child Health funding
Refugee Week
Green Star – Communities training workshop
MAV meeting procedures workshop
Public speaking program
Nominations for Victorian Senior of the Year Awards 2014: now open
Future of Local Government outcomes

In social media news...

Further impacts from the Federal Budget

From 1 July 2015 the Department of Education will cease all contracts under the Community Support Programme with approved family day care services. Operators will need to reapply for Federal funding, and will be assessed under a new, tightened eligibility criteria. All approved services will also have their Operational Support Funding capped at $250,000 a year.

Other changes stemming from the Federal Budget include the ceasing of funds for the Commonwealth/State partnership agreement on preventative health, despite being signed to continue until 2018.

Funding will stop in June this year for the Healthy Children and Workers, and Healthy Communities components of this national partnership. This will impact on local government and on their partner agencies, particularly community health.

The loss of preventative health investment accounts for a $57.7 million shortfall in funding in Victoria, including about $12 million to the 14 councils in the healthy together communities’ locations annually. Approximately 100 staff are affected across the state.

For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.

Changes to bushfire planning and building regulations

Minister Guy has announced a suite of reforms aimed at helping landowners find alternative safety measures to build on properties with a higher Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating.

Although the detail of the changes have not been released, it will include allowing the use of a private bushfire bunker as an alternative safety measure, vegetation clearance within a title boundary to provide defendable space, and allowing homes to be built in infill lots surrounded by other dwellings. We are seeking further information on how these reforms will be achieved.

We welcome the commitment of a $700,000 Bushfire Planning Assistance Fund to help councils and landowners. This will support councils to deal with the backlog of permit applications in rural and regional areas, help landowners wishing to submit a planning permit application, and assist councils to develop localised schedules to the Bushfire Management Overlay.

For further information, contact Gareth Hately.

Walk to School grants for councils

VicHealth invites councils to apply for grants of up to $10,000 to coordinate Walk to School 2014 and deliver local initiatives to support ongoing active travel by primary school-aged children.

Walk to School is a popular annual event which raises awareness of the physical, environmental and social benefits of active transport, and encourages school children to walk to and from school more often.

This year Walk to School will take place from 6-31 October.

By encouraging children and families to walk to school, councils can promote health and wellbeing, sustainability and healthy local environments, and connect with local schools. VicHealth has a range of tools and resources available to help councils coordinate Walk to School in their area, and promote active transport in their communities.

Grant applications close at 5pm on Friday 6 June.

Maternal and Child Health funding

A new data management system for Maternal and Child Health (MCH) will transform the way information about Victorian children will be handled, improving services and providing better outcomes for mothers and babies.

We have welcomed a $2 million funding boost from the State Government for the MAV Maternal and Child Health Service Information Technology Project to assist with the procurement of a new MCH data management system that will offer a standardised approach across Victoria.

The project will decrease the loss of family data, will provide a holistic picture of the needs of a child and its family, and will give more reliable and consistent information in support of policy development and the targeting of programs.

The project was developed following an Auditor General report in 2013 that found a system-wide process for managing reliable and accurate MCH data was needed. So far 65 councils have formally agreed to participate in the EOI process. This is a great result in such a short period of time.

For further information, contact Joanne Fittock.

Refugee Week

Refugee Week is coordinated by the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) and will be held from 15-21 June.
It is Australia's peak annual activity to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.

Refugee Week includes World Refugee Day on 20 June. Local councils are encouraged to participate.

Green Star – Communities training workshop

Following release of the Green Star – Communities Guide for Local Government, the Green Building Council Australia (GBCA), in partnership with AECOM, are delivering a training course focused on Green Star – Communities and how it fits in with local government policies and priorities.

This course is tailored for council staff and will benefit anyone involved in areas including development projects, strategic planning and sustainability.

The day will be led by AECOM Associate Director, Roger Swinbourne, and will involve an introduction and practical applications to the Green Star – Communities rating tool and national framework.

The workshop is on 25 June at 80 Collins Street, registrations are now open.

MAV meeting procedures workshop

The MAV’s meeting procedures workshop will assist councillors in getting the best out of council and other meetings.

It will cover the relevant sections of the Local Government Act 1989 and local laws.

It will be facilitated by Cheryl Bromfield who has a training and development background, and experience as a former councillor for the Ballarat City Council.

The program will include role-plays to increase confidence in moving, seconding, debating or amending motions.

The sessions will run in Hamilton on 5 June, the MAV office on 13 June and in Wangaratta on 19 June. Registrations are now open.

For further information, contact Andrew Rowe.

Public speaking program

This program, facilitated by David Thomas and Marianne Van Dorslar from Spruikit Australia, assists councillors in being more accomplished and more confident public speakers.

Councillors will learn how to prepare a presentation, how to deal with nerves, how to look and how one sounds. The session covers practical presentation skills, tips and techniques, and allows for practice and review.

This is a must attend session for councillors thrust into the role of public speaker who wish to improve their skills and confidence.

It will run in Bendigo on 12 June, Ballarat on 20 June and at the MAV office on 27 June. Registrations are now open.

For further information, contact Andrew Rowe.

Nominations for Victorian Senior of the Year Awards 2014: now open

Nomination forms have been sent to councils for the 2014 Victorian Senior of the Year Awards.

The awards provide an ideal opportunity to recognise and celebrate the real contribution of people aged 60 years and over to their local community and to Victoria.

The awards cover five categories including the healthy and active living award and the veteran community award.

Additional copies of the nomination form are available from Seniors Online. Nominations will close on 11 July.

For further information, contact Helen Martin.

Future of Local Government outcomes

The 10th Future of Local Government National Summit was hosted by the MAV last week with a range of outcomes developed.

There were many propositions from a mock Commission of Inquiry into rewiring public services to improve community outcomes which include:

  • Local government will take control of its own destiny
  • Local government will play a leadership role in identifying new business models to transform the delivery of public services in a way that uses far less resources
  • In future, budgets (negotiable elements) should be set by using crowd- sourcing methodology to determine priorities and services for the year
  • In future councils will exercise leadership with other tiers of government in a whole system approach
  • The sector makes a commitment that every council in Victoria will be financially successful within four years and will make a collective commitment to achieve this

All councils will be asked to discuss these matters at their council meetings and report on their position.

The next steps will include the establishment of a Strategic Planning Group to identify preferred strategic collaborative directions and the establishment of a Councils of the Future Program.

For further information, contact John Hennessy.

In social media news...

Upcoming MAV events...

13 June

Demystifying local government finance and the new reporting framework

19 June

Evaluation & Negotiation in LG

19 June

Local government identifying family violence


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