In this issue:                                                                     July, 2013

HACC transition update
Asylum seekers living in the community
Councils encouraged to participate in anti-racism campaign
Workplace diversity
Migrant Communities Employment Fund
Safer design training: Shepparton
Preventing violence against women
Population diversity in Victorian councils
Walk to School grants for councils
VicHealth seminar on children’s independent mobility
ALGA President to speak at FECCA conference
Municipal health and wellbeing planning
Spatial data services
Events

HACC transition update

Jane Herington from the Department of Health presented to this month’s MAV HACC Forum on developing a Victorian negotiating position on HACC to put to the Commonwealth. This presentation has now been circulated to all councils. The forum was well attended by 80 representatives, covering the majority of councils.

As outlined by MAV CEO Rob Spence, the MAV last week took part in the Department of Health HACC Transition Stakeholder Group and met with Senator Fierrevanti-Wells, Opposition Shadow Minister for Ageing and Mental Health. We will also prepare a “call to parties” statement before the federal election, which will be circulated to council CEOs for input prior to finalisation.

Asylum seekers living in the community

The MAV is mindful of affected councils’ concerns around issues arising from increasing numbers of asylum seekers living in the community on Bridging Visas.

The Australian Government provides a number of services for asylum seekers. These include financial assistance to eligible protection visa applicants who are unable to meet their basic needs for food, accommodation and health care while their application is being processed.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has developed a fact sheet on assistance for asylum seekers in Australia. DIAC’s Victorian office recently advised the MAV that councils can also refer their inquiries to IMA.BVE.Reporting@immi.gov.au

Councils encouraged to participate in anti-racism campaign

Councils have an important role to play in creating respectful and inclusive local communities which are free from racism. One way councils can take a stand against racism is to sign up as supporters of the national Racism. It Stops with Me campaign. The campaign aims to ensure that more Australians recognise that racism is unacceptable and gives people the tools and resources to take practical action against it.

So far, around 150 organisations have signed up to support the campaign, including 11 councils. Supporters agree to promote the campaign through their networks, and undertake activities to prevent and respond to racism. Victorian councils that have signed up include the cities of Greater Dandenong, Darebin, Monash, Port Phillip, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Moreland and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.

Signing on to support the campaign sends a powerful message that racism will not be tolerated in your community. For further information about what your council can do, email the campaign secretariat. You can also follow the campaign on twitter.

Workplace diversity

This year’s VLGMIN Forum will be held in Dandenong at The Drum Theatre on Tuesday 6 August. It will focus on issues arising from research findings that show that people from migrant and refugee backgrounds are under-represented in the local government workforce. The forum will increase the knowledge and skills of local government around our workforce profile and planning; the benefits of a culturally diverse workforce; equal opportunity employment and human rights perspectives; and current good practice. Registrations close shortly – don’t miss out, register here.

Migrant Communities Employment Fund

The Australian Government recently announced a $6.6 million Migrant Communities Employment Fund (MCEF) to help tackle higher levels of unemployment amongst immigrant and refugee workers in Australia. Councils are encouraged to apply for funding to support the creation of innovative and sustainable employment opportunities for underemployed first and second generation immigrant and refugee job-seekers. Applications for the first round close at 5 pm on Friday 9 August. Look out for further rounds of funding over 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Safer design training: Shepparton

Crime and the fear of crime in public places are real issues for communities. Well designed and managed public places have a significant role in promoting community safety and attractive urban environments.

Training is available in Shepparton on 29 August to assist local government officers and other professionals to understand and apply safer design principles in their work.

Understanding principles of safer design is relevant to all officers responsible for the planning, design, management or use of public places. The case studies at this session will be particularly tailored to those working in regional, interface and rural locations.

Presenters will include senior urban designers from the Department of Planning, Transport and Local Infrastructure, representatives from local government, Victoria Police and the Community Crime Prevention Unit in the Department of Justice.

It is designed to support safe, accessible and liveable places that encourage community participation and minimise the opportunity for crime.

This training costs $100. For further information or to register, visit the Urban Design Training webpage or email planet.training@dpcd.vic.gov.au.

Preventing violence against women

A new national organisation, the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children, is being established. The Foundation will be based in Victoria, and have Natasha Stott Despoja as its inaugural Chair. The MAV has been invited to participate in consultation on 8 August, to help inform and influence this national initiative. The Foundation’s new website www.preventviolence.org.au outlines a number of other ways to feed into the consultation via written submissions and a webinar. For more information, please contact Kellie Nagle.

The World Health Organisation launched a report last month highlighting violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’. The report represents the first systematic study of global data on the prevalence of violence against women – both by partners and non-partners.

Thirty-five per cent of all women will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence. The study finds that intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence, affecting 30 per cent of women worldwide. The study highlights the need for all sectors to engage in eliminating tolerance for violence against women and better support women who experience it.

Population diversity in Victorian councils

A new publication, Population diversity in local councils in Victoria provides key census data on the cultural and language diversity indicators for Victoria’s population, including country of birth, language spoken at home and religion by local government areas.

It includes four and two-page profiles for each council and is an invaluable guide for local government planners, community organisations, researchers, and those in the broader community concerned with policy planning and the design of culturally appropriate services.

For further information contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship on 9651 1101.

Walk to School grants for councils

VicHealth are offering councils Walk to School grants of up to $10 000 to promote Walk to School month in 2013. Walk to School is an annual event which has been funded by VicHealth since 2006. The event is designed to raise awareness of the physical, environmental and social benefits of active transport (walking to school), and encourage school children to walk to and from school more often. Last year more than 14 000 students from 151 primary schools in 53 council areas took part in Walk to School. This year Walk to School will take place in November.

By encouraging children and families to walk to school, councils can promote health and wellbeing, sustainability and healthy local environments. VicHealth has a range of tools and resources available to help councils coordinate Walk to School in their area, and promote active transport in their communities. Grant applications close on 13 September.

The MAV is working with VicHealth and the Department of Transport to improve walkability throughout Victoria on the Victorian Pedestrian Advisory Council. For further information contact James Cleaver.

VicHealth seminar on children’s independent mobility

On 14 August VicHealth is hosting a seminar to explore the complex factors influencing child independent mobility. Recent research studies conducted by the University of Melbourne will be discussed, providing insights into the influence of built environments, transport policies, parent decision-making and child negotiations.

Engagement in active and independent mobility is important to child health, wellbeing and development. This event will have particular relevance to local government, urban planners, school staff, researchers and others interested in promoting child active and independent mobility.

The seminar will be held from 1.30 - 3.30 pm at VicHealth, 15–31 Pelham St, Carlton South. This is a free event but RSVP is required. Please notify Alana Pirrone-Savona to register or call 03 8344 9147.

ALGA President to speak at FECCA conference

ALGA President Felicity-ann Lewis will present at this year's Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia (FECCA) conference, to be held from 7-8 November on the Gold Coast.

The biennial conference draws together leading decision-makers, thinkers and practitioners to discuss and debate the key issues that relate to Australia's cultural and linguistic diversity relevant to this year's theme: Breaking down the barriers: A strength-based approach for a just society.

Municipal health and wellbeing planning

A new report on sports injury has been released by the Sports Injury Prevention Taskforce. This will be of particular interest to some rural and regional areas where there is higher than average rate of sports injuries, as well as to all councils wanting to improve participation and mitigate risks. The Taskforce recommends that councils include actions to reduce injury within their municipal health and wellbeing plans.

Spatial data services

The State Government has released high value spatial data on the Victorian Government Data Directory, a website that provides Victorians with centralised and greater access to government data.

Spatial data is information that identifies the geographic location of features and boundaries, and is available in more than 400 data sets including local government, electoral, urban growth and planning scheme boundaries, rail network and relief contour data and parks and conservation areas.

Upcoming MAV events...

6 August

VLGMIN forum

20 August

Volunteer engagement and support workshop

22 August

Solving major community issues via collaboration

 

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