- NSW councils have 30 days to submit plans to voluntarily merge with neighbouring councils or risk losing control over the merger process and be forcibly merged by the government. This follows the release of a report last week where 87 councils failed to file for the 'Fit for the Future' test.
- Last week the State Government released the Plan Melbourne refresh discussion paper outlining a range of new ideas that the government is considering to manage Melbourne’s future growth. We are holding a briefing on 9 November for council CEOs and mayors with Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, to provide an overview of the discussion paper. Following this we will develop a draft submission that will be sent to member councils for feedback before our response is submitted to the government.
Local Government (Improved Governance) Bill
The Local Government (Improved Governance) Bill passed through parliament last week and received assent on 27 October. The Minister has advised that the provisions of the Act will be progressively proclaimed over the next few months.
Changes to the Local Government Act will include:
- Swearing in of councillors requiring a declaration that they will abide by the Councillor Code of Conduct
- A prohibition on ward funding
- Penalties for councillors improperly directing or influencing council staff
- Establishment of a position of Principal Councillor Conduct Registrar to receive and deal with applications for a Councillor Conduct Panel (CCP), with the MAV ceasing to be involved in this process
- Changes to CCP arrangements in relation to hearings and appeals.
Further advice regarding implementation of the new provisions will be provided to the sector by the MAV in due course.
State Council resolutions
Last Friday we held our second State Council for 2015, and the annual meeting where we presented a financial report to members.
Fifty motions were adopted by MAV Representatives and a report will be presented to our December Board meeting to determine the best course of action for each resolution.
Our next State Council is scheduled for May 2016.
Councillor Service Awards
Fifty-one councillors received awards recognising their long service to local government at the MAV Dinner last week.
Councillor Service Awards were presented to Victorian councillors for 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service. The Mayor Emeritus was awarded to 15 councillors who have served three or more full terms as mayor.
The MAV would like to congratulate all of the award recipients. A full list of winners is available on our website. Photos of awards recipients are also available on the MAV extranet. You will need to sign up to access this members-only area of our website if you don’t already have a user name and password.
MAV President, Cr Bill McArthur presenting Greater Dandenong City councillor Roz Blades with a 25-year service award.
Heart Foundation LG Awards
The MAV would like to congratulate the following winners of the Heart Foundation Local Government Awards 2015, which were presented at our annual conference dinner on 22 October:
- Ararat Rural City Council and Swan Hill Rural City Council: Joint winners for populations between 5,000-25,000 and National Highly Commended
- City of Whittlesea: State winner for populations over 25,000 and National Highly Commended
- Hume City Council: State Highly Commended
For more information on the awards, or if you would like to submit an entry in 2016, please contact Jenni Lanfear, or visit the Heart Foundation website.
Local Government Shade forum
The MAV, along with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Cancer Council Victoria are holding a Local Government Shade forum on 8 December.
This event will feature:
- International and local presenters highlighting new directions in planning for and designing shade
- Discussions on how to put shade and UV protection on the council agenda and ensure it is embedded in policies across the built environment, health and social planning, and municipal public health plans.
The forum will highlight the elements of good quality and innovative shade (both natural and built) for parks, childcare centres, sports grounds, pools and public spaces - and how it is best achieved.
It will be held at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, College of Surgeons' Gardens, 250-290 Spring Street, East Melbourne. Registrations can be made online.
MAV Regional Forums: 16 - 24 November
The MAV is running regional forums on ‘Better Practice in a Financially Constrained Environment’, with the initial focus on service planning and community engagement.
The forums will be held in Warragul, Ararat, Bendigo, Benalla and Melbourne, and will include the following topics:
- A road map for service planning
- Organisational commitment
- Service Plans: what should be included?
- Prioritising services
- Preparing for the Essential Services Commission Annual Reporting and Rate Cap Variation requirements.
For further information, contact John Hennessy.
Victorian water plan
The Victorian Government is developing a new Victorian water plan, which will set the strategic direction for water policy in Victoria, so that Victorian can continue to share the benefits that water provides.
The plan is being developed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's (DELWP) Water and Catchments Group, with input from key stakeholders through a number of forums. The MAV is a member of the stakeholder group supporting development of the plan and recently attended a strategic directions workshop to provide input.
The project team is keen to understand local issues and will be holding a series of regional forums with key agency and industry representatives. An invite to regional forums will be sent to councils shortly; below are the proposed key dates and locations for these forums:
- 30 October, 10am-1pm, 250-290 Spring Street, Melbourne
- 4 November, 10am-1pm, 1 McCoy Street, Wodonga
- 5 November, 10am-1pm, 210-212 Manifold Street, Camperdown
- 6 November, 10am-1pm, address TBC
- 16 November, 1-4pm, 22 Ferguson Street, Tatura
- 18 November, 10am-1pm, address TBC
The details for a forum in Mildura are yet to be determined. Registrations for the forums can be made via email.
Transport for Victorians with limited mobility
The Multi Purpose Taxi Program assists with the travel needs of Victorians with limited mobility by offering subsidised taxi fares. The Victorian Government is reviewing the program and considering how to improve transport for Victorians with limited mobility.
Councils are invited to have their say about the Multi Purpose Taxi Program, especially local government employees who work with people with disabilities and local transport, as well as community members with an interest in the program.
Workshops will be held across Victoria throughout November to help people have their say.
To promote this consultation to local residents please send an email to the Department, or call 1800 064 887.
News in brief
- The latest Essential Report on trust in institutions shows little change from when the question was last asked in June. Respondents have the most trust in State and Federal Police, while trust in local government remains higher than for Federal or State Parliaments and the Commonwealth public service
- Mobile Muster has published a report following 10 years of mobile phone recycling in Australia and outlining areas for improvement
- Assistance is available for Victorian farmers in drought areas
- The State Government announced the appointment of six new Commissioners to the Victorian Multicultural Commission.
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