On 29 May the Constitutional Alteration Bill was introduced to Federal Parliament. The Bill was passed in the House of Representatives last week, with 133 votes in favour. This impressive result demonstrates the level of bipartisan support. The Bill will now be debated in the Senate later this month; the last formal step in the path to a referendum.
The ALGA has sought $10 million from local government nationally to help fund the ‘Yes’ campaign and councils and state associations outside Victoria are contributing a combined $7.56 million. Victoria was asked to contribute $2.06 million, which the MAV is raising through a voluntary levy based on population and revenue. To date we have received formal responses from 65 councils. Of those, 48 municipalities (73.8%) have agreed to contribute a combined total of $938 793. Of the 17 councils who have advised that they will not contribute to the campaign, only one council has advised they will not participate in local ‘Yes’ campaign activities.
A further 14 councils are yet to notify the MAV if they will contribute, including seven councils who will make a decision at their June council meeting. There will be no further 'call' on Victorian councils as the ALGA has already been advised that we do not expect to reach our full target allocation.
Last week the MAV launched its regular referendum campaign update for members, advising on the current political situation, support for the referendum, resources for councils and media coverage of interest. To subscribe to the update contact Francesca Bennett.
Meeting with Minister Powell
Last week the MAV met with Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell. Items discussed included the reform program, ‘Securing Victoria’s Economy’; local government costs; councillor conduct issues; and roadside weeds. The MAV will continue to engage with the Minister on matters that impact local government.
Councils are reminded that the MAV is currently collecting draft budget rates data for the 2013-14 year. The rates survey is an important project which allows a single release of rates data publicly and also ensures that local government cost drivers are clearly identified.
Those councils that have not yet provided a response to the survey but have released their draft budget publicly are asked to complete the survey as soon as possible.
For further information or to submit your survey contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.
RCV seeks EOIs for Streetlife application
Rural Councils Victoria is calling for interim expressions of interest from rural councils who wish to participate in a joint application process to receive Streetlife funding of up to $20 000 per council.
The funding would deliver each participating council a tailored consumer and retail trends research paper, as well as workshops for individual councils to develop project plans to help reinvigorate and promote their main streets. Please review the slides for further information about the project.
Expressions of interest should be sent to Nicole Wakelin by Friday 14 June.
Responsibility for public roads
VicRoads has issued a Draft Code of Practice for Operational Responsibility for Public Roads (under the Road Management Act) and feedback is sought from councils by 19 July. To facilitate a common understanding of the Draft Code and to respond to queries, the MAV is convening a meeting of councils on Friday 28 June at the MAV office.
For further information contact John Hennessy.
Melbourne local government briefing on native vegetation permitted clearing regulations
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) will be holding an information session on native vegetation permitted clearing regulations at the MAV on 20 June. This is in addition to the regional local government briefing sessions.
The session will be held from 2 - 4 pm to provide information on the reform package to local government planning and environment staff. Training on the reform package will also be provided for DEPI and local government staff in July and August.
To RSVP for this event or for further information about the Melbourne or regional sessions contact email@example.com.
Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll
Applications for the 2013 Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll are now open. Nominating an Indigenous person to the Roll provides an opportunity for their contribution in areas such as community services, economic, social and community development, education, health, business and the arts to be formally acknowledged and celebrated. Past and present Indigenous Victorians will be considered. The Honour Roll, which was established two years ago, currently recognises 35 exceptional Indigenous Victorians with their life stories presented in the Honour Roll book which is permanently on display in the Victorian Parliament.
Nominations will close at 5 pm on Friday 28 June. For further information contact Anatoly Sawenko at the Office of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria on 9208 3257.
Applications open for digital economy programs
Applications have opened for funding to assist councils and small businesses take advantage of the National Broadband Network. The two streams of interest to councils are the local government program and the digital enterprise program, which councils may promote to their communities.
An expansion of the Digital Local Government program will provide grants of up to $375 000 to around 15 councils to deliver innovative online services to homes and businesses using the NBN. To be considered for this funding, councils are required to submit a business case application by 5 pm on Tuesday 2 July.
The Digital Enterprise - Virtual Advisor program is a new online component of the successful Digital Enterprise program aimed at assisting Indigenous Australians, small to medium Indigenous owned and operated enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations located in regional and remote areas to improve their online business presence. Eligible organisations can apply for up to $400 000 over three years to deliver the program. Applications close at 5 pm on Tuesday 2 July. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 017 984.
Measuring community wellbeing
New research from the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) may assist councils across Australia to take a consistent approach to measuring the wellbeing of their communities. Community Wellbeing Indicators: Measures for Local Government was conducted in partnership with the Local Government Association of Queensland to support a Community Wellbeing Indicators Survey template. This tool can be adapted by councils to measure, analyse and assess the progress of community wellbeing.
National Disability Awards
International Day of People with Disability occurs annually on 3 December. The day celebrates and recognises the achievements, contributions and abilities of people with a disability. It also provides an important opportunity to raise awareness about disability issues more broadly across the community and ultimately, to support the development of an inclusive Australian society.
The National Disability Awards are also held each year as part of the celebrations. The Awards aim to recognise the achievements of individuals, teams and organisations that have improved the lives of people with disability and thereby contributing to increased recognition of equality and human rights for all Australians.
There are nine Award categories and nominations close at 5 pm on Friday 28 June.
2013 Queen's Birthday Honours
The MAV would like to congratulate Victorians who received recognition for their contribution to local government in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Individuals currently involved in local government who were recognised are Councillors Roz Blades (Greater Dandenong) and Catherine Redwood (Hepburn) who both became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM); and Dr Bob Fairclough (Wyndham) and Rod Fyffe (Greater Bendigo) who both received the Order of Australia Medal (OAM).
Past councillors include Patricia Bulluss (AM); Warwick Leeson (OAM); William Collett (OAM); David Jarman (OAM); Leo Johnson (OAM); Ronald Kitchingman (OAM); Bryan Roberts (OAM); Peter Smith (OAM); and William Wilkins (OAM).
In social media news...
A number of SA entries at the recent GovHack event used data on parks, libraries and events from about 64 councils. One example of this is the Social Active entry here.
Australian social media statistics for May have been released. Find out more here.
Australian Government Express Plus apps scooped two Australian Government ICT Awards at the annual CeBit technology conference. Read more here.
From the US: New Yorkers get a mobile app for a new bike share program. Find out more here.