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Municipal Association of Victoria

BULLETIN

All your local government news this week

Issue 1068: 18 March 2016
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Strategic priorities
  • Port sale: The MAV has welcomed $700 million for transport infrastructure projects in regional Victoria from the Port of Melbourne sale. While it's not clear how or where the money will be spent, we are advocating for money to be allocated directly to councils to upgrade and maintain chronically under-funded rural and regional roads.
  • Just announced: The State has released two new plans to help shape the way Victoria manages its native plants and animals. Both are open for public comment.
    • Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2036 aims to encourage more Victorians to value and protect our natural environment and to stop the decline of our biodiversity. Feedback can be provided until 18 May by making a submission online or attending a community forum.
    • To coincide with the release of the biodiversity plan, a consultation paper has been released for a review of Victoria's Native Vegetation Clearing Regulations. Feedback on the consultation paper will help to inform the revised regulations, which are due for release later this year. Submissions can be made online until 29 April.
    The MAV will be responding on behalf of our members to both the biodiversity and native vegetation consultations.

Last week we held our final strategic planning session for 2016. Our eight sessions were well attended by more than 130 councillors, CEOs and council officers from around the state.

Common themes raised by members included Commonwealth Financial Assistance Grants, cost-shifting and unfunded service expectations facing councils, and the need for sector reform.

We will now use the feedback from the sessions to help develop our draft 2016-17 Strategic Work Plan. This year our plan will have a sharper focus and will be distributed for member council feedback in early April.

Once feedback has been collated and revisions made, it will be sent out with the business papers for our 13 May State Council meeting.

There’s just one week left to complete our survey to help us understand the councillor attraction challenge. It only takes five minutes and your anonymous responses will help to inform our 2016 Stand for Council campaign development. Your feedback will provide valuable insight into some of the key issues and challenges in becoming a councillor. The survey closes on 24 March.

Members have responded positively to our offer to host community and candidate information sessions between May and August in preparation for council elections this year. To date, 55 sessions have been booked by 46 councils as part of our Stand for Council campaign.

The sessions are aimed at giving community members and prospective candidates information about the role and purpose of being a councillor. We have sent members further information about how to get involved, and councils can complete the online form to book a session.

For further information, contact Andrew Rowe via email or call 9667 5549.

This week Victoria’s Draft Water Plan 'Water for Victoria' has been released for consultation. The government is inviting feedback to ensure Victoria has the best possible plan to prepare for critical challenges such as climate change, population growth, an increased demand for water and water security.

The MAV has been a member of the Water for Victoria stakeholder group and has provided input into the discussion paper. We encourage all councils to consider the discussion paper and provide feedback. The MAV will also be providing a submission on behalf of members and will be seeking councils’ views to inform our response.

Water for Victoria outlines the need to balance agricultural, industrial, recreational and environmental needs, to get the most out of our water resources. The plan also recognises that the sector needs to work more closely with local communities when making critical decisions about their water supplies.

To have your say or join a community session, visit the website.

The Federal Government has advised that vaccination providers have until 30 April to update immunisation records in the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) before eligibility for child care payments is ceased. 

While payments will continue to 30 April, those parents who have not taken action to immunise their children by the 18 March grace period may incur a debt which they will have to repay to Centrelink. 

The MAV has raised concerns around the impact for councils in implementing this initiative, as councils were given very little notice and are now experiencing higher enquiry rates from people seeking vaccines and vaccination histories. We have also raised the issue with the Australian Local Government Association representative on the National Immunisation Committee. 

For information about MAV's advocacy, please contact Rosemary Hancock. There is also more information available on the Federal Department of Human Services website.

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The 2016 MAV Insurance and Risk Victorian Conference is being held at the Sheraton in Melbourne on 28-29 April. The program will explore topical issues and risks for local government, with the aim of discussing best practice risk management through the sharing of knowledge and experiences. Check our website for program and registration details.

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Our national Future of Local Government Summit will be held in Melbourne on 17-18 May. The summit features Australian and international speakers providing thoughtful leadership for those who want to design a better future for local government. Presenters will explore possible solutions for future innovation and collaboration to overcome the current funding cuts and expectations that councils deliver more with less. Register online.

  • Councils can now apply for funding of up to $25,000 for graffiti prevention projects, in the latest round of State Government Graffiti Prevention Grants. Applications close on 29 April.
  • Applications are open until 20 April for community groups and environment organisations to access grants under the State’s Threatened Species Protection Initiative. A separate $168,000 is available to community groups for crowd funding initiatives to help protect threatened species. Expressions of interest to participate in the crowd funding pilot close on 13 April.
  • This week the Victorian Government announced new LGBTI multicultural grants to help unite and educate communities, and reduce discrimination. Grants will be managed through the Community Harmony Grant program and Capacity Building and Participation program administered by the Victorian Multicultural Commission. These programs offer small, medium and large grants, as well as strategic partnership opportunities. Applications are currently open, with various closing dates between 17 – 24 April.
  • The Australian Organ and Tissue Authority invite applications from community groups for grants to conduct community awareness and education activities to promote organ and tissue donation. The Community Awareness Grant application guidelines and forms are available online and the deadline is 5pm on 6 April.

Welcoming Cities

Welcoming Cities, a new national initiative by the Scanlon Foundation and Welcome to Australia aims to assist local government, business and individuals to work together to create more inclusive communities. It seeks to bridge a gap between council frameworks or policies that build social cohesion, and on-the-ground activities.

Initially a three year project, Welcoming Cities will involve national standards and international accreditation that will complement existing projects, such as Refugee Welcome Zones. Read more on the newly-launched Welcoming Cities website, and register your council's interest in becoming part of this global welcoming movement.

Community welcoming person of different ethnicity

Stormwater pollution

Councils are encouraged to use resources including videos, posters and brochures as part of a new Stormwater Pollution Educational Awareness Campaign to help educate communities about the stormwater system and how everyday activities can cause pollution of local waterways and sea shores.

Simple animated videos help to demonstrate how easily pollution can happen as most people are unaware that the stormwater system is completely separate from the sewer system and there is no filtering or treatment of whatever flows through these pipes. 

This campaign has been initiated and developed by the Australian Car Wash Association with support from DELWP, the EPA, the Stormwater Association and the RACV.

Person washing car with dirty water entering stormwater drain

  • The State Government has launched a second round of scholarships to help local government staff to prepare for the impact of climate change on council services. Thirty-two scholarships will cover up to 55 per cent of the cost of the university accredited course to be delivered by the Centre of Local Government, University of Technology Sydney (CLG:UTS) in Melbourne on 3-5 May and Wangaratta on 17-19 May. Scholarships are open to council staff in executive and senior management positions. Applications close on 7 April.
  • Monash University’s Disaster Resilience Initiative is hosting a Disaster Resilience Forum on 14 April from 9am - 5pm to explore the latest thinking and action in disaster resilience with insights from local, state, national and international levels. Speakers include Mark Crosweller, Director General of Emergency Management Australia; Dr John Bates, Director of the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience; and Andrew Coghlan, who will provide insights on the latest disaster resilience initiatives.
  • A draft stakeholder engagement strategy has been released by Victoria’s Earth Resources Regulation for public comment. Its focus is on rebuilding community and industry confidence and trust in the state’s mining regulator. All Victorians – community, industry, land and tenement holders – are considered stakeholders and invited to provide feedback by 18 May.
  • A SBS interactive tool, developed in collaboration with Small Multiples, allows people to explore the diversity of Australian suburbs via ancestry, age, food, religion and birthplace data. Find out how your suburb ranks against more than 8,500 other Australian suburbs, and which suburbs are the most diverse.
  • Communities are invited to share their ideas for Future Melbourne 2026, a long-term strategic plan being developed by the City of Melbourne to guide city development and activity for the next decade. Ideas can be posted online or you can attend a face-to-face session to get involved.

In social media news...

In social media
  • Alzheimer's Australia has developed a new app to help families and carer's design a more dementia-friendly home
  • Instagram has announced plans to reorganise feeds using algorithms to highlight 'moments you care about' instead of chronological posts
  • Registrations are now open for LGPro's social media conference: What's next? Beyond the cutting edge on 20 April in Melbourne.

Book now

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