Issue 984:                                                      Week ending 27 June 2014

Final call for MAV rates survey
Williams High Court case

VicSmart information sessions
McArthur Local Government Fellowship 2014 winner

MAV Technology at GovHack Melbourne
Principal Pedestrian Network Demonstration Project Forum
Funding for Children’s Facilities Capital Program
Celebrate NAIDOC Week 6-13 July
MAV Productivity Commission inquiry submission

Aquatics & Recreation Victoria Industry Conference
In social media news...

MAV rates survey

The MAV has requested that all rates surveys, emailed to councils in May, be completed and returned to the MAV by Friday 27 June.

The purpose of this survey is to present rates data in a consistent format across all councils, and to ensure rates-related media stories are positioned within the context of the financial challenges facing the sector.

All data sought should be based on draft budget information, not final adopted budgets where possible.

This survey is a critical component of the MAV’s work to ensure that the media places councils’ rate increases in context, and any comparisons that are made around changes in rates are comparable across municipalities.

For further information, contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

Williams High Court case

The judgement of the second Williams High Court case has been released, with Ron Williams successful in his argument that funding made for school chaplains is unconstitutional. The case concerned the question of whether the legislation that supported the chaplain funding was properly made and consistent with the powers of the Commonwealth in the Constitution.

The Court found that the legislation was not properly made as it relates to chaplain programs, since it found there was no head of power in the Constitution that allows the Commonwealth to legislate in this area.

The implication of this decision for local government is potentially significant. There have been significant questions raised in the past about whether several funding programs for direct Commonwealth funding of local government, such as Roads to Recovery, were constitutional. This suggests that there are significant doubts about whether this funding is lawful, and we await urgent advice from the Australian Local Government Association about the legal implications of this decision.

The Commonwealth has stated it is committed to the funding of chaplains and will be looking to ensure the program continues. The MAV will be closely monitoring this situation and will assess the potential ongoing implications for councils and the direct Commonwealth funding of councils.

VicSmart information sessions

The MAV has been working with DTPLI on a series of joint information sessions across Victoria during July and August.

This week the Department released the final process and provisions for VicSmart, as well as a supporting information kit.

Last week the Minister for Planning announced that VicSmart would start in September.

The main change of note is the introduction of a further five-day information period. The Planning and Environment Regulations will be amended to achieve this. A number of the categories have also been tightened in response to submissions.

We strongly encourage councils attend both information sessions and bring along senior administrative staff and customer service staff who play critical roles in business processes.

Please register your attendance via email.

McArthur Local Government Fellowship 2014 winner

The McArthur Local Government Fellowship for 2014 has been won by councillor Lenka Thompson from Moreland City Council to research ‘Real Affordable Housing’.

Cr Thompson will use the $12,000 fellowship to travel to the UK to look at options for council involvement in housing programs.

Cr Thompson said councils recognise many residents are increasingly experiencing homelessness, housing stress, and housing affordability issues. She said the research project aimed to identify opportunities for local government to implement a Land Trust model to help alleviate housing stress.

The McArthur Local Government Fellowship is sponsored by McArthur Management Services and is awarded to a Victorian councillor to undertake an overseas study tour on a matter of relevance to local government. This year the judging panel considered eight applications from councillors.

For further information, contact Andrew Rowe on 9667 5549. 

MAV Technology at GovHack Melbourne

At next month’s GovHack Melbourne event on 13 July, MAV Technology is providing a prize for the ‘Best use of data to improve local government community services’.

GovHack is a non-profit event run by volunteers that encourages open government and open data. It draws together people from government, industry, academia, and the general public to mashup, reuse, and remix government data and (hopefully) create new data visualisations and apps.

Outcomes from the event will be presented at the second day of the MAV Technology Annual Conference on 14 August.

For further information, contact Lisa Bennetto.

Principal Pedestrian Network Demonstration Project Forum

The Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure are hosting an event to celebrate the completion of the Principal Pedestrian Network Demonstration Project, and to provide information about developing a Principal Pedestrian Network for councils.

The forum will include presentations from the City of Boroondara, Frankston City Council, Yarra Ranges Council and City of Greater Geelong.

It will be held on 15 July, 2pm-4pm, at Level 5 Theatrette, 121 Exhibition Street.

Please register your attendance, or enquiry, by emailing Kristie Howes.

Funding for Children’s Facilities Capital Program

A new capital grants round is now open with calls for expressions of interest.

There are three major grants including: Integrated Children’s Centre grants, New Early Learning Facility grants, and Early Learning Facilities Upgrade grants. There is also a minor Infrastructure Grant and an Information Technology Grant.

In each of these grant categories priority will be given to applications that:

  • increase the capacity to meet local demand for kindergarten programs in the year before school
  • provide quality early childhood infrastructure to meet the needs of local communities
  • support services that are accessible for all in the local community, and engage and support vulnerable families
  • involve the location of early years services on government school sites.

The main grants close on 11 July and minor and IT grants close on 25 July.

Celebrate NAIDOC Week 6-13 July

The Victorian theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations is ‘We Have Survived - Let's Honor Our True History’.

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s, which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.

Now is the time to start planning how your council might acknowledge and celebrate your local Aboriginal community. Victorian councils are encouraged to attend the official Victorian NAIDOC Flag Raising to mark the beginning of the week’s activities across Victoria.

The flag raising will be held at Federation Square on Monday 7 July from 9.30am.

MAV Productivity Commission inquiry submission

The MAV, in consultation with our members, provided a submission to the Productivity Commission regarding their inquiry into natural disaster funding arrangements.

Our submission highlights the importance of current Federal natural disaster funding to local government and raises long-standing issues with the current arrangements such as the eligibility criteria for essential public assets, day labour and betterment. It also includes a set of principles the MAV believes should apply to any reforms or future funding program.

The MAV submission will be online shortly.

The draft report is due for release in September. This will be followed by public hearings between October and November. The Commission is expected to hand the final report to government in December.

For further information about the MAV submission, contact Martijn Gough.

Aquatics & Recreation Victoria Industry Conference

The annual ARV Industry Conference is scheduled for 28-29 August at Melbourne and Olympic Park, and will focus on both strategic and operational topics around the theme of ‘Doing it Better’.

The conference will also feature an extensive space for exhibitors that will complement the conference theme.

In addition, ARV will host ‘The Melbourne Tour’ of selected community aquatic and recreation facilities that will showcase the range of centres that have been recently constructed in and around Melbourne on 27 August.

The program is now available online.

Registrations are now open.

In social media news...

Upcoming MAV events...

10 July

Demystifying local government finance and the new reporting framework

15 July

Cultural planning in local government in Victoria

25 - 27 July

MAV Councillor Development Weekend 2014


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