In this issue:                                                                    June, 2013

MAV Aboriginal Employment Project
MAV social policy contacts update
Home and Community Care negotiations
Library review
Child care capital funding grants now open
Child care planning
Workplace diversity: how hard can it be?
Prevention of Violence Against Women
Elder abuse prevention resource kits
Australian Citizenship Day
Community hubs to support migrant families
Asylum seekers living in the community
Health and wellbeing
New grant round for Men’s Sheds
Patchwork
National Local Government Cultural Forum
Events

MAV Aboriginal Employment Project

Lidia Thorpe has joined the MAV as an adviser to help us achieve a higher employment rate of Aboriginal people in local government. A Gunnai and Gunditjmara woman from south east and western districts, Lidia has strong links with Victoria's Aboriginal community, and is looking forward to working with councils. She can be contacted on 0417 428 350 or by email.

MAV social policy contacts update

Below is a current list of MAV contacts within the social policy team.

  • Manager Social Policy: Clare Hargreaves (covering general social policy / human services issues plus libraries, arts and culture)
  • Policy Adviser: Jan Black (covering preventive health, access and inclusion, and youth)
  • Home and Community Care Adviser: Derryn Wilson (covering ageing and disability services) and Darnelle Drummond joining the team part-time in July
  • Positive Ageing Adviser: Jan Bruce
  • Early Years Adviser: Wendy Allan
  • Early Years Consultant: Jan Barrett (focusing on 15 hours universal access)
  • Maternal and Child Health Policy Adviser: Joanne Fittock
  • Multicultural Policy Adviser: Con Pagonis
  • Gender Equity - Preventing Violence Against Women project: Kellie Nagle and Sophie Gale re-joining the team part-time in July
  • Aboriginal issues and Women’s Participation in Local Government: Rosemary Hancock and Lidia Thorpe.

Please direct any queries to Clare Hargreaves on 03 9667 5543 or 0408 106 776.

Home and Community Care negotiations

Last month the MAV advised councils that resulting from the Victorian Government signing up to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Home and Community Care (HACC) program for over sixty-fives will be transferred to the Commonwealth. The MAV has now met with State Health Minister Davis. A concession achieved in the agreement with Victoria was that the wording included “The Commonwealth and Victoria will work together to retain the benefits of Victoria’s current Home and Community Care service system.”

The Minister advised that the State will establish a formal advisory process with the MAV and other key peak bodies to articulate the strengths of the Victorian system and develop the position/options we can put to the Commonwealth to maintain the benefits of our effective and stable service platform. Councils have now received a letter from Minister Davis advising of the Commonwealth/State agreement on the NDIS, and implications for HACC.

All councils will be involved in considering the local government position on HACC and advising the MAV on our political strategy. If we are successful in maintaining some of the strengths of the Victorian system, including an ongoing role for the State, councils will have a greater range of options as to how they proceed. The State has indicated that any transition process will take a number of years to unfold, and it is unknown whether the outcome of the federal election may affect the Commonwealth’s aged care strategy.

A general position developed by councils with the MAV does not commit any particular council to a course of action in relation to HACC services.

We will regularly update all councils with information on the proposed advocacy strategy and lobbying position being considered or developed.

The MAV is also involved in an advisory group convened by the National Aged Care Alliance, to provide advice to Minister Butler on the formation of the Commonwealth Home Support Program by mid-2015. We were invited to join the group by the Department of Health and Ageing, to represent local government in Victoria and nationally. The latest communique outlines the progress of the group’s deliberations, and that of a number of the sub–groups to date.

For further information contact Clare Hargreaves on 9667 5543.

Library review

The MAV’s response letter to Minister Powell regarding the Ministerial Advisory Council (MAC) Review of Public Libraries Stage Two is now available on the Department website. As outlined in the May Human Services Bulletin, the MAV is proposing that a State / MAV- local government governance and decision-making structure needs to be established now to oversight the development of a business case for the statewide proposals on the table.

Child care capital funding grants now open

The Australian Government has announced a $5 million Child Care Accessibility Fund which will provide grants to councils to increase the supply of child care in areas of high demand.

One-off discretionary grants of up to $250 000 can be applied for if councils can successfully demonstrate innovative strategies to address critical child care supply shortages in their communities.

Proposals may be submitted by councils undertaking child care supply initiatives independently, or in partnership with local community organisations or businesses. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis, with proposals assessed against selection criteria. Grants can include projects that:

  • partner with businesses or community organisations to build new child care centres
  • extend or modify new or existing centres, to provide for more child care places
  • remove child care planning and development red tape
  • streamline approval processes
  • extend child care opening hours
  • collaborate with state governments to free up Crown land or better access underutilised capacity at existing sites (e.g. schools).

Child care planning

The Australian Government has engaged Sydney’s University of Technology: Centre for Local Government, to undertake a study into the impact of planning on child care availability and develop Best Practice Guidelines for the planning and development of child care facilities.

This study has come about mainly from pressure in other capital cities where there appears to be high child care demand, with planning restraints in some municipalities impacting on child care facility development.

The MAV is aware that this is not the case in Victoria - in fact the contrary - where councils have actively supported the development of child care facilities where they are needed, and have constructive planning partnerships with private and public sector providers. We have already advised Minister Ellis of this through the ALGA earlier in 2013, and have had an initial meeting with the Centre for Local Government in early June.

The MAV is seeking initial council input to demonstrate best practice planning examples of Victoria's approach. Please contact Jan Barrett if you would like to contribute. We will keep councils informed of the project.

For further information contact Clare Hargreaves.

Workplace diversity: how hard can it be?

The MAV is partnering with the Victorian Local Government Multicultural Issues Network (VLGMIN) to deliver the annual VLGMIN Forum. This year it will target local government workforce, staff development planners and recruitment decision-makers. Registration will also be open to other local government stakeholders such as Victorian and Australian Government departments, and community sector organisations.

The forum will address issues arising from recent academic research findings that people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds are under-represented in the local government workforce. The forum will increase the knowledge and skills of local government around our workforce profile and planning; the benefits of a culturally diverse workforce; equal opportunity employment and human rights perspectives; and current good practice.

Prevention of Violence Against Women

The MAV publication, ‘Prevention of Violence Against women: Leading change in the Victorian local government sector’, launched by the MAV President last month has now been distributed to all 557 Mayors across Australia. There has been significant interest in the publication and positive feedback from both Victorian and interstate councils. If you would like further copies please contact Kellie Nagle or download a pdf version from our website. We hope to produce a second edition later in the year where we can showcase the efforts of other councils in the prevention of violence against women. If you are interested in the work of your council being considered for inclusion in any future edition, please let us know.

If you would like to sign up for the fortnightly preventing violence against women email update, or require more information about the preventing violence against women program contact Kellie Nagle.

Elder abuse prevention resource kits

Two community education resource kits on elder abuse prevention have been produced by Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV) in partnership with Seniors Rights Victoria for the Greek and Chinese speaking communities. These kits are designed to support bilingual professionals working with seniors from these communities and to raise awareness.

The kits include lists of relevant services for people experiencing abuse. They also include case scenarios and translations in Chinese and Greek that cover some of the key issues around elder abuse for those audiences. Six ethnic communities will have elder abuse prevention resources developed over the length of the three-year project.

Australian Citizenship Day

Councils are encouraged to plan ahead to celebrate Australian Citizenship Day each year on or around 17 September. Managed by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), Australian Citizenship Day is an opportunity for all Australian citizens, whether by birth or by choice, to reflect on the meaning and importance of their citizenship. The day is used as an opportunity to think about what unites all Australians, to take pride in Australia’s democratic values and to celebrate the role citizens play in shaping the nation.

Since 2001, DIAC has promoted Australian Citizenship Day by holding special citizenship ceremonies, affirmation ceremonies and other events around the country. Councils are encouraged to hold special citizenship ceremonies and affirmation ceremonies on or around this day. Across Australia, thousands of people become Australian citizens each year at special Australian Citizenship Day ceremonies.

Community hubs to support migrant families

The Scanlon Foundation, the Migration Council Australia (MCA), and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, in partnership with the Australian Government will establish a network of 100 community hubs to support migrant families.

The initiative builds on a trial of nine hubs in the City of Hume that were jointly funded by the Scanlon Foundation and the Government. These programs prepare new migrants for school, and help families to build a life in Australia by utilising tools and activities to empower parents; help them gain confidence; and encourage their participation in the community.

The hubs aim to see the engagement of local coordinators to assist migrant parents gain literacy skills and access community services. This will develop parents’ capacity to support their children in the transition to school via the co-location and integration of services. As part of the initiative hub coordinators will work with government to tailor services for parents and the needs of the community.

For further information contact the MCA on 02 6162 0361 or email info@migrationcouncil.org.au

Asylum seekers living in the community

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O'Connor announced last month that bridging visas may apply to families who arrive by boat and seek asylum if they are found to be refugees. People released into the community on bridging visas will receive adequate support, but it will not be so generous that it encourages people to come to Australia by boat. The MAV understands they may have access to a living allowance equivalent to 89 per cent of the Centrelink special benefits payment.

The MAV has been engaged in discussions with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and with the Victorian Government’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship on issues arising for local government.

For further information contact Con Pagonis.

Health and wellbeing

The Healthy Together Victoria - Action plan for oral health promotion - 2013-2017 was launched last month and includes an action to support councils to include oral health promotion in Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plans.

As outlined in the Improving oral health - Local government action guide, Dental Health Services Victoria will be distributing oral health profiles to each local government area by the end of July.

For further information visit the Department of Health website.

New grant round for Men’s Sheds

The Department of Human Services has advised a new grants round for the Strengthening Men's Sheds Program. Communities across Victoria can now apply for funding of up to $60 000 to build new Men's Sheds. Up to $1.5 million in funding is available across the state for local communities to build new sheds.

Patchwork

The MAV Patchwork pilot project aiming to build better links between agencies working with vulnerable families and young people will go live at the start of July with five councils: Yarra, Melbourne, Brimbank, Wyndham and Kingston. Subject to the success of the pilot, the MAV is maintaining a register of those councils who have expressed interest in joining the second stage of the project later in the year.

National Local Government Cultural Forum

The first meeting of the National Local Government Cultural Forum took place on the 19 June in Canberra to coincide with the Australian Local Government Association’s (ALGA) General Assembly. It was chaired by the Hon. Fred Chaney AO and attended by representatives from the seven state and territory local government associations and the eight Australian capital cities, plus the ALGA, the Australia Council for the Arts - Community Partnerships, the Office for the Arts, Global Cities Research Institute (RMIT University) and the Cultural Development Network (CDN).

The aim of the first meeting was to explore the national role of local government in arts and culture and to reach consensus on the medium to long-term objectives for the Cultural Forum.

Objectives addressed in the next meeting’s agenda will include: The National Arts and Culture Accord; the extent of current local government cultural data and indicators; infrastructure development and ‘spaces’ local government and national peak arts organisations; and collecting and utilising case-studies.

The next meeting of the Cultural Forum is scheduled for 15 October in Perth. Further information will be posted on the CDN website and through the state-based local government associations and capital cities.

Upcoming MAV events...

26 - 28 July

Councillor development weekend

6 August

VLGMIN forum

6 September - 4 October

Company directors' course

 

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