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Municipal Association of Victoria


All your local government news this week

Issue 1074: 28 April 2016
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Strategic priorities
  • State budget: This week’s State budget contained big spending on public transport and schools, and $572 million for the prevention of family violence. There were some wins for local government and also some disappointments. More information on how the budget impacts local government is detailed below. Despite the government enforcing a 2.5 per cent rate cap on council budgets, the State budget included an increase in State land tax of 14.7 per cent. Taxation revenue is also estimated to increase by $2.5 billion (13.5 per cent) over the next financial year, and employment expenses are forecast to rise by seven per cent. The Property Council of Victoria has called for a cap on state property taxes.
  • Federal election: The Australian Local Government Association has released its Federal election plan outlining a number of proposals which, if implemented, could add an estimated $7.46 billion to national GDP and create an estimated 19,300 local jobs over three years. It contains six key priorities including the restoration of indexation to Financial Assistance Grants; permanent doubling of Roads to Recovery funding; and $300 million per annum for Community Infrastructure funding. The MAV will work with the ALGA to help advocate these priorities on behalf of our members, and will circulate some Federal election resources to councils next month.
Following the release of the State budget this week the MAV has sent a detailed brief to our members outlining the wins and losses. We also distributed a media release.

The MAV is particularly pleased to have successfully negotiated a 15.8 per cent increase in local government funding for the delivery of Maternal and Child Health services. This follows extensive work undertaken by our team to analyse costs data and negotiate a new output price with the Minister and Department of Education and Training. $133 million for MCH in the budget includes an increase in the output price from $95.25 per hour to $110 per hour from 1 July. We have also received confirmation that annual indexation of 2.5 per cent will occur going forward, which is another positive outcome from our advocacy.

However there were no efforts made in the budget to create fairer funding agreements between the State and councils to deliver services including public libraries and school crossings, therefore cost shifting onto communities is still a massive issue for councils, especially in the context of rate capping. We will continue seeking formal agreements with the State for each community service that is delivered in partnership with councils.

Other positives in the State budget include $4.2 million in planning support for councils, $4 million for councils to manage roadside weeds and pests, plus $8.2 million for the operation of rural kinders and occasional care, $22.4 million in capital funding for libraries, and $50 million for growth areas infrastructure.

The MAV will continue advocating to the government for fairer funding deals for councils, along with the reinstatement of the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program.

Infrastructure Victoria has released We Hear You, a consultation report that summarises and responds to feedback received on their Laying the Foundations discussion paper, and finalises the framework for the 30-year infrastructure strategy which will be released in November.

The MAV’s submission to the discussion paper highlighted potential improvements to Infrastructure Victoria’s draft framework, and improvements to the way the organisation consults with local government. It is positive to see that many of these concerns have been recognised in this consultation report including:

  • Addition of a new principle on integrated land-use and infrastructure planning
  • A new emphasis on the importance of local government’s role in planning, funding and delivering infrastructure
  • Formation of a local government reference group to advise Infrastructure Victoria during the formation of the 30-year infrastructure plan.

Infrastructure Victoria CEO, Michel Masson will speak at our upcoming MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference on 23-24 June.

The MAV has prepared a submission to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Fees) Regulation Review Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS).

The RIS highlights a further increase in enforcement matters that have gone from $47 in 2013 to $1112.20, plus a daily hearing fee of $458.10. We emphasised that the pursuit of enforcement orders by councils is an essential statutory responsibility to ensure integrity of the planning system and schemes.

Communities also expect that councils will properly enforce the planning scheme and permits issued under it. We also put forward an argument to amend section 115C of the Act to enable councils to have fees reimbursed as part of an enforcement order proceeding. A copy of our submission will be available on our website shortly.

For further information, contact Gareth Hately.

The MAV’s submission to the Regulatory Impact Statement for the proposed Infringement Regulations was lodged with the Department of Justice by the 18 April deadline.

Proposals to reduce the penalty reminder fees while increasing lodgement and warrant fees have not been supported by the MAV. The proposed changes will reduce council infringement revenue, together with an increase up to $6.7 million in enforcement costs for councils to recover unpaid fines.

We have recommended that penalty reminder and lodgement fees are maintained in fee unit terms until the next iteration of the regulations are developed.

For further information, contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.


Procurement: Contract Management Essentials workshop

Our procurement course on 12 May provides essential information on the contract management lifecycle, including foundation insights to procurement principles.

It is designed for professionals who manage supplier agreements – pre or post contract award – and provides valuable tools and tips for effectively managing outcomes and performance.

It will be held at the MAV, Level 12, 60 Collins Street, Melbourne. Registrations can be made online.


Regional and Rural Planning Conference: program released

The program for our Rural and Regional Planning Conference on 23-24 June in Bendigo has been released and we have a diverse range of speakers locked in.

Program highlights include Planning Panels Victoria, Chief Panels Member, Kathy Mitchell; and Place Focus, Expert on Place Making, Andrew Hammonds.

Registrations can be made online.

  • NAPCAN’s Play Your Part Awards for Inspiring Prevention Initiatives are now open for nominations. The awards recognise individuals and/or organisations who are taking action to increase the likelihood of children growing up safe and well. Nominations close 23 May.
  • Submissions for the 2016 Heart Foundation Local Government Awards are open until 20 May. The awards recognise and showcase councils that are working to improve heart health through building a sense of community, encouraging people to be physically active, smoke-free and make healthy food choices. Award winners will be announced at the MAV’s annual conference dinner on 8 September.

The Neighbourhood Project

The Neighbourhood Project is a practical program to make community-led place making easier. Councils are invited to apply for a year-long program of mentoring, training and funding to help empower their communities and support them to create great places.

The project has been developed by CoDesign Studio with support from the MAV, Myer Foundation, Resilient Melbourne and city2050.

Applications can be made online.

Vic Emergency Animal Welfare Committee

The Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare (VEAW) Plan has recently been reviewed and updated with the aim of providing a framework for responding to animal welfare emergency needs in Victoria.

The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources is seeking six local government officers to join the VEAW Committee. A draft terms of reference and further committee details, including meeting dates, has been sent to all councils.

Expressions of interest can be registered with Kevin Peachey by 3 May. For more information, contact VEAW Committee chairperson Rob Walker on 9854 2676.

  • To get perspective on the way a city responds to emergencies and long-term disruptive events, the City of Melbourne is participating in the IBM Smarter Cites Challenge along with 17 cities, in a Resilient Melbourne-aligned local action.

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