Issue 981:                                                      Week ending 6 June 2014

MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference: speaker profiles
New child and youth area partnerships launched
MAV Plan Melbourne and Development Contribution Reform Briefing
Victoria in Future
Productivity Commission inquiry
VCOSS-MAV Emergency Management Forum

Councils of the Future
MAV workshop: Demystifying Local Government Finance
VCAT Amendment Act 2014

Councillors' representations on immigration matters
In social media news...

MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference: speaker profiles

It’s only three weeks until the annual MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference, to be held at the Yarra Valley Lodge in Chirnside Park on 26-27 June, and we have some fantastic presenters lined up for the day.

One of the first speakers is Marcus Westbury, CEO of Renew Australia, who will discuss ‘Iterative Cities: Un-Planning the future’.

He will look at communities through the framework of encouraging experimentation, adaptation and iteration. Drawing on the work of Renew projects, he explores strategies and ideas for building dynamic communities that start from the activities and experiments of today and tomorrow.

Dan Kinkead, Director of Projects of Detroit Future City will present on day two of the conference, discussing lessons from the transformation of Detroit after it was hit by high profile closures of industry, job losses and population decline. Dan and his team are leading the revival and repositioning of the city. Dan will share how they are transforming Detroit and the lessons for Victorians.

Registrations close on 23 June.

New child and youth area partnerships launched

The State Government is establishing new high level area partnerships (sub-regional structures) across Victoria to better coordinate social services.

This will bring senior personnel from key government departments together with all councils and key community sector stakeholders.

The area partnerships will initially focus on children and youth to improve outcomes for vulnerable children at the local level. The MAV convened a Directors forum for councils with the DEECD and DHS Secretaries in March to discuss the proposal.

Central Highlands, Mallee, Outer Eastern Melbourne, Southern Melbourne, Inner Gippsland, Ovens-Murray, Loddon and Western Melbourne have been selected as the eight areas that will establish their partnerships which, once tested and refined, will roll-out to partnerships across all 17 areas statewide.

Each launch site will be asked to assist in co-designing the area partnerships model, and the MAV is participating on the central Victorian Children and Youth Implementation Group which oversees the initiative. All councils will have a place at the table and CEOs will shortly receive a letter from DHS outlining the model.

For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.

MAV Plan Melbourne and Development Contribution Reform Briefing

Presentations from last week’s MAV Plan Melbourne and Development Contribution Reform Briefing are now available online.

Speakers included Standard Development Contributions Advisory Committee Chair, Kathy Mitchell, and Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure Deputy Secretary, Christine Wyatt.

Plan Melbourne and regional growth plans will form part of the State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF) and became operational in planning schemes from 30 May.

As Minister Guy advised councils attending our forum, all of the planning tools needed to implement the new strategy have been progressively rolled out ahead of the new plan including residential and other zones reforms, development contributions, and VicSmart.

It remains unclear how the introduction of Plan Melbourne will affect the current SPPF review, which proposes to bring together state and local planning policy under a single framework. We are seeking guidance from the Department about this and other transition arrangements.

Victoria in Future

The State Government has released its Victoria in Future 2014 (VIF2014) population and household projections.

VIF2014 is the official projection of the government and replaces the projections published in 2012.

The publication includes projections for Victoria and Greater Melbourne from 2011-2051, Local Government Areas from 2011 to 2031 and summaries of VIF2014 data for LGAs, including information on population by age and sex, households and dwellings from 2011 to 2031.

Productivity Commission inquiry

The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a public inquiry into the efficacy of current national natural disaster funding arrangements, taking into account the priority of effective natural disaster mitigation, and a reduction in the impact of disasters on communities.

The Productivity Commission released an issues paper on 9 May which covers a range of matters they seek submissions on to inform their draft report due for release in September. The MAV is preparing a submission in consultation with members.

The MAV views the inquiry as an opportunity to investigate some of the issues with the current arrangements, for example, thresholds and eligibility criteria regarding essential public assets, day labour and betterment.

Changes to the funding incentive structure, by increasing thresholds or tightening eligibility criteria at the Commonwealth level, or at the State level through a passing down of responsibilities, would pose significant challenges for councils. The implications for communities if these measures occured are serious and must remain a key consideration for the Productivity Commission in this reform process.

For more information, contact Martijn Gough.

VCOSS-MAV Emergency Management Forum

Registration for the VCOSS-MAV Emergency Management Forum is open and places are still available. The forum features presentations from across the state, including Surf Coast Shire, Manningham City Council, City of Frankston, Northern Grampians Shire, City of Whittlesea and Latrobe City Council. The event agenda is now available.

The presentations will cover the innovative ways in which local councils work with community service organisations in planning and preparedness, resilience building, volunteer management and supporting vulnerable people.

The forum is being held in Seymour on Friday 13 June.

For more information, contact Madelyn Jarvis.

Councils of the Future

The MAV Future of Local Government Program is seeking nominations from councils wishing to participate in the ‘Councils of the Future’ group.

Councils of the Future are defined as councils that choose to collaborate and plan for the new environment, rather than a ‘business as usual’ approach for the future.

Councils of the Future will work with the MAV to plan the most productive cloud environment for the sector, in association with our strategic partner. This platform will be the ‘enabler’ to generate increased collaboration and sharing across the sector for the future.

For further information, contact John Hennessy.

MAV workshop: Demystifying Local Government Finance

Registrations close on 11 June for the MAV’s Demystifying Local Government Finance and the New Reporting Framework workshop on 13 June.

This training aims to demystify the financial environment that local government operates in. The program will focus on:

  • The requirements of the financial planning and accountability framework including recent changes to legislation
  • Key financial terms and definitions
  • Reading and interpreting key financial documents and reports
  • Identifying the key financial indicators and questions to ask of officers.

It will run on 13 June in Geelong, 3 July at the MAV office, and 10 July in Hopetoun. Registrations can be made online.

VCAT Amendment Act 2014

Councils will have greater involvement in the final decision in review cases before VCAT, under new legislation that came into effect on 2 June.

Previously, if VCAT reviewed a decision made by a council, the Member hearing the matter would take over all decision-making power and responsibility.

Under the new VCAT Amendment Act 2014, VCAT may invite a council to reconsider their decision. A council will be able to reaffirm their original decision, vary it, or make a new decision. VCAT will then take that decision (whether it is unchanged, varied or entirely new) as the decision to review at a hearing.

As far as possible, VCAT will ensure that an invitation to reconsider does not delay a matter in being listed for hearing by the Tribunal, unless parties consent.

Councillors' representations on immigration matters

The Victorian Office of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has advised that the best approach for councillors dealing with immigration enquiries from constituents is to refer matters to Federal MPs.

As immigration is a Federal portfolio, there is generally at least one electorate officer in every Federal MPs office who has experience dealing with these matters. These electorate officers also have access to a DIBP contact for more complex enquiries.

DIBP has advised they cannot extend their Parliamentary Liaison Unit service to councillors for reasons including the privacy principles around ‘implied consent’.

In social media news...

Upcoming MAV events...

18 June

Council traffic modelling workshop

19 June

Evaluation & Negotiation in LG

26 - 27 June

MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference 2014


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