MAV Social Policy contacts: update
Social Policy Manager: Clare Hargreaves (covering general social policy / human services issues, plus libraries, arts and culture)
Policy Adviser: Jan Black (covering preventive health, community safety, disability and youth)
Ageing and disability services
The Bilateral Agreement
- Positive Ageing Adviser and Casserole Project: Jan Bruce
- Early Years Adviser: Wendy Allan
- Early Years Consultant: Jan Barrett (focusing on universal access / special projects)
- Maternal and Child Health Policy Adviser and Patchwork administration: Joanne Fittock
- Social Policy Consultant (vulnerable families): Joanna Bock
Diversity, gender equity, Indigenous issues
Response to Education State Early Childhood Paper & Roadmap
The State Government recently released its third consultation paper – focusing on Early Childhood - in their Education State consultation series. In addition, they sought input on a Roadmap for Reform project to set directions and develop practical steps to improve Victoria’s child and family service system, including early intervention for vulnerable families and child protection.
In preparing a combined submission to both consultations, the MAV drew on previous submissions on early childhood. We also received input from our Human Services Committee and the Early Years Strategy Group, and gathered key points for inclusion from member councils.
The MAV will discuss proposals contained in our submission with Minister Mikakos as they represent a starting point for reform and further development with local government, as considered appropriate.
For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.
Patchwork promotion by DHHS: Connected Care
Patchwork is a simple tool that connects professionals working with children and vulnerable adults. Further to receiving Department of Education and Training authorisation for Patchwork in September, the Department of Health and Human Services has sent a newsletter to their staff and agencies with further information.
As the MAV holds the statewide license for Patchwork, councils and agencies are now able to join Patchwork via email.
HACC transition process updates
Statement of Intent - Now that the Bilateral Agreement has been signed, the next step is to finalise the Statement of Intent. This is a trilateral agreement between the Commonwealth, State and local government (represented by the MAV), to recognise the role of local government in Victoria as a planner, developer, funder and deliverer of services for older people, and to retain the benefits of the current Victorian HACC system. This is due for sign-off in November.
MAV HACC communiques - The MAV will send out regular communiques to both human services directors and aged & disability managers to keep the sector informed of the transition process. The transition table that was in the first communique will be updated accordingly and sent as part of each communique.
HACC Transition Forums 17 November – 1 December
There will be a range of forums held between 17 November and 1 December for HACC service providers and HACC assessment services to attend.
The forums will provide an overview of the Bilateral Agreement between the Commonwealth and State in relation to assessment, what it means for implementation - tasks and timeframes - including a discussion on the way forward for the establishment of the proposed Victorian Regional Assessment Services. The sessions will also include an overview and discussion on the findings, challenges and opportunities of the My Aged Care Early Implementation project.
It is imperative that all aged and disability managers attend these sessions, in particular the sessions concerning assessment. If the manager is unable to attend, please nominate another person from your organisation to attend.
All councils should have received invitations from DHHS regarding these forums. If your council has not received an invitation, please contact your regional DHHS office.
We are happy to meet with attendees informally at these sessions – either Jocelyn Fuller or Jeanette Draper will be attending each session.
Alliance for Gambling Reform launched
The MAV is a founding supporter of the Alliance for Gambling Reform which launched nationally last week. The Alliance focuses on the harms caused by poker machines, and follows on from the MAV and councils’ joint Enough Pokies state election campaign.
The goal of the Alliance is to secure a $1 maximum bet on poker machines, together with a suite of complementary harm reduction measures, and increased local government and community say over the planning and licensing approval of poker machine gambling.
To date the MAV and 17 councils have formally joined with 22 other organisations as founding supporters of the Alliance. Other councils are encouraged to join this initiative so together we can help reduce the harm caused by poker machines.
Syrian and Iraqi refugee intake
The MAV recently attended a senior level Victorian Government meeting regarding the intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. The State Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship (OMAC) is negotiating with the Federal Government about where and how many refugees will be settled, and what support they will provide. It is likely that Victoria will take 4,000 people, with a government aim to process 500 people a week, and 200 identified for urgent resettlement.
Prioritisation is being given to children, women and families. We anticipate the arrival of many female-headed households, children aged 0-4 years and unaccompanied minors. These refugees will have experienced very recent trauma, grief and loss; many will have professional skills, qualifications and English language proficiency. It is likely that adolescents will face additional challenges and will be a target group for support.
The MAV is focusing on the capacity of councils and service providers to support refugees, in particular the delivery of early childhood services, and have asked that formal funding arrangements be agreed to for extra places required in kindergartens, and Maternal and Child Health to support families.
Several councils have approached the MAV expressing interest in assisting these refugees. Planning discussions have included the need to harness the goodwill being expressed by councils, and the MAV will provide further information as it becomes available.
For further information, please contact Clare Hargreaves.
Councils lead the way in early years innovation
Victorian councils had a high profile in all five categories of The Early Years Awards 2015 which were presented by Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, at the National Gallery of Victoria on 28 October.
We would like to congratulate Hume City Council, Corangamite Shire Council, City of Greater Dandenong, and Banyule City Counci for winning in their categories which recognise outstanding achievements by those in the early childhood sector.
A full list of winners and finalists are available online.
Safe Haven Enterprise Visa Program update
At the end of August, Minister for Finance and Multicultural Affairs, Robin Scott, advised the MAV that the Victorian Government had given in-principle agreement to the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) program, subject to securing appropriate Commonwealth support for SHEV holders and regional areas. The State Government emphasised that they would require these resourcing issues to be addressed before the program could be implemented in regional Victoria. They have sent the Commonwealth a list of postcodes to potentially participate in the program, including those that councils preferred be opted in on a trial basis.
They have also confidentially shared this list with the Network of Asylum Seeker Agencies Victoria, who were advised that council preferences were made knowing that they could be changed at a later stage, and on the existing limited information and resources.
As well as specified NSW postcodes, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website indicates that the Tasmanian Government has now opted in all of its relevant postcodes. For further information, please contact Bianca Nutt.
Roundtable for CALD communities to promote council as a workplace
The Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV) is inviting local government human resources managers to a closed roundtable on 24 November from 10am-12.30pm. This comes in response to migrant and refugee communities expressing great interest in working for local government, but requiring more information and assistance to overcome some barriers. The ECCV is focusing on this issue, and would like to hear directly from relevant council staff to discuss ideas on how to promote local government as a workplace to Australians with culturally diverse backgrounds.
The roundtable will only be open to council staff (including some who work with multicultural communities) and the MAV, and ECCV representatives. Findings and recommendations will be anonymously presented in a policy brief similar to one on the experiences of Muslim mothers in Melbourne’s south-east.
If you’re interested in participating in this roundtable, promoting your council as a workplace of choice and increasing the cultural diversity of staff, please contact Bianca Nutt. The roundtable will be held at the MAV on 24 November.
Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Information Session
The MAV and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) are holding an information session on 1 December about Australian citizenship ceremonies for mayors, councillors, CEOs and officers responsible for organising ceremonies. These sessions are held every two years, and provide councils with an opportunity to hear directly from DIBP representatives, seek clarification, discuss concerns and receive updates.
This session will include information on the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code (including conferral of citizenship), an update on the proposed Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015, and items raised following consulting council staff and the MAV’s Multicultural Committee in August.
It will run from 9.30am (for 10am start) to 1.30pm, at the MAV office, Level 11, 60 Collins Street, Melbourne.
Registrations can be made online. For further information, contact Bianca Nutt.
Councils recruit and support Indigenous HACC staff
Ballarat, Hume, Moorabool, Warrnambool and Whittlesea councils are receiving grants to support or recruit Indigenous Home and Community Care (HACC) staff.
Across the five councils, the grants will support recruitment of at least six Indigenous trainees, their certificates in Aged Care, Disability and/ or Home and Community Care, council placements, information sessions, a six-week Aged and Disability Services Indigenous Induction Program, qualifications for an Indigenous Access and Support Officer, and other training and mentoring.
These one-off funds are now fully allocated, and were administered by the MAV under the Federal Department of Health and Ageing’s HACC Aboriginal training and professional development project. The MAV is pleased to be supporting these councils and encourages all Victorian councils to endorse our Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Employment Framework. For information on the Framework, please contact Lidia Thorpe.
Central Enrolment Project aims to integrate early childhood system
The State Government’s funding for 48 councils to set up and strengthen central enrolment is well underway, with seven councils setting up new schemes, five councils undertaking collaborative ventures, and 36 strengthening their schemes.
In response to the significant interest from councils to automate, simplify and consolidate their early years enrolment systems, the MAV is undertaking further work to investigate how the new Maternal and Child Health Child Development Information System (CDIS) could potentially interface with councils’ current central enrolment systems – or provide a central enrolment platform in the future. This is also consistent with the MAV’s submission to the Education State as part of our recommendations to have a single funded enrolment system to better support parents and provide more support for vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
The MAV will shortly be surveying all councils to gather more detailed information about the various early childhood systems councils are using, and we encourage all councils to participate in the survey – irrespective of whether they provide central enrolment or not.
For further information, contact Jan Barrett or Wendy Allan.