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Municipal Association of Victoria


All your local government news this week

Issue 1079: 2 June 2016
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Strategic priorities
  • Rate capping: The ESC has released its decision on rate cap variations sought by nine municipalities. Five rural shires have been granted full exemptions, one shire received a partial exemption, and three councils had their variation applications rejected. We are disappointed with the ESC’s reasons for rejecting variations sought by Casey, Wyndham and Ballarat. We believe it is a short-sighted approach to address complex and sophisticated issues facing these municipalities. The process for councils seeking a variation was onerous, costly and without clear guidance, and the MAV questions the ESC’s rationale underpinning its decision-making process. Our full response is available online. We will reconvene our Rate Capping Taskforce to review the ESC decisions and inform our next actions.
  • Federal election: Last week we sent councils our federal election kit to assist with advocacy efforts in the lead up to 2 July as part of our federal election campaign. Eight priority commitments are sought from all political parties which include restoring indexation to financial assistance grants, permanent Roads to Recovery funding, and ongoing funding for 15 hours kindergarten universal access. We have also launched a federal election newsletter which you can subscribe to online.
  • Regional public transport plan: The State Government has released a long-term strategy for public transport in regional Victoria. The strategy sets out short, medium and long-term plans for more trains, improved stations, and better bus and coach services. The strategy aims to deliver trains at least every 20 minutes in peak periods and every 40 minutes off-peak to Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Seymour and Traralgon, and increase train services to outer-regional areas.
Following last week’s release of a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) for the proposed Planning and Environment (Fees) Regulations 2016, we have developed a members brief and organised a sector briefing on 6 June to provide an overview of the RIS.

A review of planning fees has long been called for by the MAV and councils. The issue was most recently raised by the sector in the MAV’s strategic planning sessions and at our State Council meeting.

Following the briefing, we will develop a draft submission which will be circulated to councils for feedback. Due to the importance of the review, we strongly encourage councils to attend our briefing and prepare individual submissions to the review. Submissions are due on 24 June.

Our briefing will run from 10am-12.30pm at the MAV office, Level 11, 60 Collins Street. Registrations can be made online. For further information, contact Gareth Hately or call 9667 5596.

Following a high level of interest in the Casserole Club meal-sharing program, we are calling on interested councils to consider joining.

Casserole Club is a community initiative that helps to connect older people with their neighbours through the sharing of food. It was developed by FutureGov and currently operates in partnership with the MAV in Moreland, Boroondara and Macedon Ranges councils. To date over 1000 meal shares have taken place and enduring relationships have been established that continue to flourish.

Casserole Club provides an opportunity to add to the range of council aged care programs and builds on the unique role of councils in developing new and innovative ways to improve community well-being.

For further information, or to join Casserole Club, contact Jonathan Yeates at FutureGov Australia on 0424 528 693 or via email, or contact Jan Bruce from the MAV on 9667 5546.

The MAV has developed a members brief on the Ministerial Advisory Committee’s final report for the independent inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

The Committee’s report includes 48 recommendations aimed at establishing a modernised EPA, with a clear focus on environmental and human health. The government has indicated that it will provide a response to the report later this year.

Our members brief endeavours to highlight key points of interest from the report for councils and the MAV’s preliminary position on some of the recommendations. We anticipate and expect that DELWP will engage with the MAV and councils over the coming months as it develops the government’s response.

For further information, contact Claire Dunn or Michelle Croughan.

Our Candidate Information Sessions have kicked-off with six of 81 sessions held across Victoria so far, and more than 100 people in attendance which is a great start.

Councils are encouraged to use resources from our Stand for Council campaign to promote local sessions. Our campaign advertising began this week across print, online and Facebook to encourage community-minded citizens to seek information about standing for council.

Three things your council can do this week to participate in our campaign and encourage attendance at your information session are:

Stand for Council campaign resources were mailed to all councils and are available on our members-only website.

We are proposing to conduct pilots within select metropolitan local government areas to demonstrate best practice in after-hours goods delivery to retail precincts and activity centres.

Benefits of off-peak deliveries include reduced round trip times, improved local road safety, and improved local air quality. A Victorian Government assessment also found that there was a net benefit of up to $1.96 billion from moving one third of freight deliveries off-peak.

We have been discussing this topic with a working group of councils, the State Government and private sector stakeholders for some time. Metropolitan councils are invited to express their interest in participating in these pilots by 17 June, in conjunction with retailers, logistics suppliers and regulators.

For further information, contact John Hennessy on 9667 5525.


Google Analytics training

Registrations are now open for our Google Analytics workshop on 24 June. It’s a full-day course that takes participants through the reporting capabilities of Google Analytics.

The program has been tailored based on feedback from council online communications officers. You will be provided a walkthrough of the reporting tool using your own council’s Google Analytics account, and develop reports relevant to your council requirements.

The session runs from 9.15am-5pm at the MAV office, Level 11, 60 Collins Street.


MAV Tech Conference

Early bird registrations are available for our MAV Technology National Conference on 10 – 11 August.

The conference will demonstrate how digital transformation can make councils more efficient, accessible and engaged with their communities.

Confirmed speakers include Code for America former director, Catherine Bracy; Service NSW CEO, Rachna Gandhi; and Digital Transformation Office CEO, Paul Shetler. A full program will be released shortly.

The conference is at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins.

  • Victorian councils should receive the final instalment of the 2015-16 Financial Assistance Grants this week, totalling $67.4 million.
  • Entries for the WorkSafe Victoria Awards 2016 are now open. The awards acknowledge and celebrate organisations and individuals that have demonstrated excellence in health and safety. Applications close on 30 June.
  • Applications for the next round of the State Government Sporting Clubs Grants Program will open on 14 June.

Resilient Melbourne Strategy launched

Australia's first Resilience Strategy was launched this week for Greater Melbourne, with a panel of speakers including City of Melbourne councillor, Arron Wood; City of Melbourne Chief Resilience Officer, Toby Kent; and 100 Resilient Cities Vice President, Bryna Lipper.

The strategy sets out a series of distinct, yet connected, actions that will help make Melbourne a viable, sustainable, liveable and prosperous city long into the future.

It was endorsed by the City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne Committee and is the result of the work of more than 1000 individuals from 230 organisations, Melbourne’s 32 local councils, and many Victorian Government departments.

Current MAV campaigns

  • The State Government has released its 2016-17 Fire Services Property Levy rates. The amount collected is budgeted to increase from $662 million to $674 million.
  • With only a few weeks until the federal election, the ALGA’s National General Assembly on 19-22 June is a great opportunity for councils to hear about policies and commitments from each of the parties. The State of the Regions report will also be launched at the Assembly.
  • The Young Farmers Ministerial Advisory Committee is running an online forum to seek feedback from young people to help inform the Minister for Agriculture. The forum is open until 26 June.

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