New smoking ban proposals for more outdoor areas
The MAV welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Health that the Victorian Government will seek to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas. This reform is long overdue, with Victoria being one of the last states to introduce it. Given that there are a number of models in operation in other states, we are pleased that a consultation process will be undertaken with industry stakeholders before legislation is developed.
We also welcome the Minister’s announcement that new smoking laws will restrict smoking around entrances to childcare centres, schools, preschools, indoor play areas, public hospitals, registered community health centres and some government buildings.
Legislation for these bans is proposed to be introduced into parliament shortly. We will be seeking to work with the Department of Health on the details of implementing these bans, to ensure coordination between agencies, and to clarify expectations for enforcement and responding to complaints.
Currently almost 4,000 lives a year are adversely affected by smoking in Victoria, with $2.4 billion in direct healthcare costs and lost productivity. The partnership between the MAV, councils and the Department of Health has been an important mechanism for delivering a statewide approach to implementing tobacco control laws, and providing assistance to councils for their role in reducing smoking in the community. We look forward to these arrangements being utilised again for this latest round of smoking bans.
Power to the People Conference
The MAV and Bank of IDEAS are again collaborating to present the Power to the People Conference on 15-16 October, at the Rydges Hotel, Melbourne.
This celebrated event, Australia’s only national community engagement conference, features innovative ways to create vibrant communities led by active, caring and engaged citizens.
The event will discuss communities transitioning ‘beyond engagement, beyond dependency’ towards community empowerment, with a new emphasis on localism.
There are eight great learning workshops to choose from to explore these dimensions. Registrations are now open.
A research pilot to engage young voters via social media will be trialed at this year’s State election.
The VEC has appointed OurSay, an online engagement company to provide a positive experience for members of the public to use social media to ask questions of their State election candidates.
To initiate the engagement program, the MAV is working with OurSay to identify and invite young leaders to play an active role in the project. We are looking to meet with community leaders aged between 17 and 29 to meet the project team and learn more about how they can get involved.
OurSay leverages popular social media networks to drive active engagement on issues relevant to young people. Online forums will be created for each of the 88 electoral districts. The forums will enable first time voters to share and prioritise questions in their electorates using social media.
If you would like to have your council involved, please contact Matthew Gordon.
Multicultural Planning Conference
Registrations are now open for the MAV’s inaugural biennial multicultural policy development conference on Friday 12 September.
This free event is for Victorian council managers and officers. It will be hosted by Wyndham City Council at their Werribee Civic Centre.
Our keynote speaker is Fatima Shama, the former Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (via Skype).
The key theme is ‘opportunities for partnerships’, both intergovernmental and with the NGO and community sectors. There will be three breakout sessions similarly themed around partnerships in local migrant and refugee settlement planning, municipal social cohesion, and strategies to achieve better access and equity outcomes for CALD residents and communities.
Community Fire Refuges Pilot – Evaluation Report
The Emergency Management Commissioner has publicly released its Community Fire Refuges Pilot Program Evaluation Report.
Community Fire Refuges (refuges) were piloted at two school sites in the Yarra Ranges Shire and a co-located CFA fire station and refuge at Blackwood in Moorabool Shire.
The MAV advocated for councils to be relieved of their legislative responsibility to designate and therefore be liable for refuges in their municipality. We also stressed that councils should not be required to fund the building and on-going maintenance of refuges.
The MAV also asserted that the scope of the pilot did not allow for a review of the suitability of refuges within broader bushfire safety policy which includes evacuation, warnings, community education and resilience. This position is further outlined in MAV’s submission to the Fire Services Commissioner Bushfire Shelter Options Discussion Paper.
The Pilot Program Evaluation Report supports these positions outlining that the State Government should accept legal liability; designation should be by the State Government, not the council (legislation has recently been amended to reflect this recommendation); and funding and overall governance should be State-managed.
For further information, contact Martijn Gough.
Community Safety Month 2014
Community Safety Month is a public campaign held each October. It is run by the Victorian Safe Communities Network and calls communities to action to improve safety.
Any organisation or community group involved in community safety can arrange an event. Share your work and create partnerships by listing your event on the Community Safety Month calendar.
Councils can download and use the Community Safety Month logos, posters and brochures to help with their events.
The Victorian Safe Communities Network will hold a special event called 'Mapping our Practice' on 8 October for inspiration, enrichment and strengthening of community safety networks.
Live music action agenda
The State Government has announced it will deliver the 'agent of change' principle to provide increased protection to live music venues, as part of a package of reforms designed to support the Victorian live music industry.
The Live Music Action Agenda includes:
- Licensing – new laws and streamlined licensing controls
- Planning – updated Practice Note and new Particular Provision
- Building – reducing the regulatory burden for smaller venues
- Assistance Package – $500,000 Live Music Noise Attenuation Assistance Scheme
- Environment and Noise – review of noise regulations
Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy stated that new residential developments built near existing live music venues will be responsible for noise mitigation features as part of the planning process.
This will allow live music venues not to be forced to close due to noise complaints from those in new apartment buildings or new houses next door.
Older and wiser campaign – August 2014
Older Victorians are often seen as easy targets for scams committed by criminals trying to steal their money and identity.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has just launched its ‘Older and wiser’ campaign, which aims to arm seniors with the information they need to protect themselves and loved ones against scammers.
The initiative will run throughout August and will also include information about their consumer rights and what they need to know if looking to live in a retirement village.
Councils are encouraged to support this campaign and its messages by promoting it to local communities. Consumer Affairs Victoria has developed an electronic toolkit of resources, which the MAV has circulated to all councils.
International WaterCentre scholarships
IWC is currently offering a range of scholarships for professionals interested in joining either the Water Leadership Program or Master of Integrated Water Management next year.
IWC programs are industry-relevant and designed to increase the skills profile of today's practitioners and future water leaders.
The Master of Integrated Water Management Scholarships closes on 1 October. Full-tuition scholarships ($49,920) for full-time or part-time/distance study will commence at The University of Queensland in Semester 1, 2015. The degree is co-badged and co-delivered by four leading Australian universities.
The Water Leadership Program Scholarships, closes on 15 September. Several full ($10,000) and half ($5,000) scholarships for emerging leaders at the project to middle management level to participate in this nine-month professional development program will start in December.
For further information, contact the International WaterCentre.
Nominations for the Brenda Gabe Award 2014: now open
Do you know a woman with a disability or a group of women with disabilities who have inspired you, or provided and enhanced opportunities for women with disabilities to participate in a safer and more inclusive community in some way?
Women with Disabilities Victoria is proud to offer the Brenda Gabe Leadership Award again this year. The award recognises and celebrates the contribution that women with disabilities make to improve the status of women with disabilities.
A secondary focus is their contribution to their local and/or wider community. The winner of the award receives $2000 toward a capacity building project or professional development.
Nomination forms and guidelines are now available. Nominations close on 1 September. For further details, contact Jane Oldfield on 9286 7807.
In social media news...