Our MAV - President's update

MAV President's Update - 14 November 2023

Dear friends and colleagues,

The Grattan Institute has now released its report on local roads funding, Potholes & Pitfalls: How to fix local roads. You may recall it was foreshadowed at last month's MAV’s Annual Conference when leading transport and cities expert, Marion Terrill, gave an overview of the preliminary findings.

We now welcome the Grattan Institute’s independent analysis confirming there is a significant shortfall in local roads funding and reiterate that urgent action is required by other levels of government to address the deteriorating state of the local roads network.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Demand for local roads and the cost of maintaining them have gone up, but untied grants to councils are not keeping pace with need or costs
  • Spending on transport has decreased proportionally as the role of councils has expanded, and
  • Councils can't raise the required revenue on their own.
  • The report recommends an injection of $1 billion to simply keep the local road network in its current state.

It recommends an annual increase of around $600 million in Federal Assistance Grants and $400 million through Roads to Recovery. The report also recommends establishing a $200 million per year fund to assess and upgrade local roads identified as priority freight routes.

It outlines the problems with tied grants as well as the sector’s asset management challenges.

It is worth noting that the report recommends a review of the Federal Assistance Grants distribution model so that funding is targeted towards less populous areas. It is the MAV’s view that without the required overall increase in annual funding, this redistribution would not address the issues identified in the report.

The MAV was a proud contributor to this report, helping to facilitate the data collection and be a part of the expert review process. I now encourage you to read it and consider how you can use it as part of your local advocacy. We too will explore how we can use the findings to shape our strategic activity for infrastructure policy and asset management.

On a final note, thank you to everybody who attended the recent Metropolitan Forum; we appreciated your input on our discussion paper on Plan Victoria.

There is still time to register for the MAV Rural & Regional Forum that will be held between 10am and 1.30pm on Thursday 16 November at the Quality Hotel Lakeside, 286 Napier Street, Bendigo or via Zoom link. Please register for this event via the link here.

Warm regards,

Cr David Clark
MAV President

In this issue

  • October State Council
  • Council elections - coming soon
  • MAV Annual Conference and Awards Dinner
  • Councillor Service Awards
  • MAV Insurance - Celebrating 30 Years

Planning Awards Recognise Council Achievements

A celebration of planning and the important role of local government in the Victorian planning system was achieved last week when events were held for World Town Planning Day.

The highlight of the week was the Planning Institute of Australia’s Victorian awards, which was co-hosted by the MAV's very own James McLean. Congratulations to all of the award recipients.

Young Planner of the Year:
Winner: Oscar Yenken, Mansfield Shire Council

Climate Change and Resilience:
Commendation: Schools First – a strategic approach to street tree planting by Maroondah City Council
Winner: South Gippsland Coastal Strategy by South Gippsland Shire Council

Strategic Planning Project:
Commendation: City of Whittlesea Green Wedge Management plan 2023 – 2033 by City of Whittlesea
Commendation: Greening the Greyfields: A new model for urban renewal by Maroondah City Council
Winner: Mildura CBD Access and Mobility Strategy by Mildura Rural City Council and the Institute for Sustainable Transport

Technology and Digital Innovation:
Commendation: Smart Cities, Wyndham Tech School by Wyndham City Council Smart Cities Office, Spiire, Wyndham Tech School
Winner: Moving Melton Digital Prospectus by Melton City Council

Improving planning processes:
Commendation: Business Permit Support Service, City of Greater Dandenong

President's Award:
Winner: Susan Ryan, Strategic Planner at Golden Plains Shire Council

Exploring the Mayoral Role and Responsibility

Congratulations to the Mayors and Deputy Mayors elected to lead your community for the year ahead. We look forward to meeting with you at our upcoming MAV Mayoral Welcome & Induction briefing on Thursday 7 December.

As you already know, becoming a councillor has its own rewards and challenges. It’s another matter altogether to agree to the role and responsibility of being a Mayor.

For those of you who are returning mayors and already have a good understanding of the extensiveness of the role, I think we can agree the next term will be one of the toughest. For those who are a new to the Mayoralty, I would encourage you to brace yourself and know that working together will make a positive difference.

This session is a great opportunity, whether you are new to the role or returning, to explore the responsibilities and the qualities that make a strong leader - of a council and community.

As Mayor, you are the face of your council and your community - it is so much more than a figure-head role. In times of joy, sorrow and emergency, people will turn to you for support, advice and leadership.

We’ve had a turbulent few years - from the global pandemic and public health restrictions, major storm events, the 2020 fires and last year, the wide-spread flood emergency.

In my experience, people will trust what a local mayor is saying – sometimes, more so than a state or federal Minister. With this in mind, the session also examines the role of a Mayor in an emergency.

This event is for newly elected Mayors and Deputy Mayors only.

Event details:
Date: Thursday, 7 December 2023
Time: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Venue: MAV Office, Level 5, 1 Nicholson Street, East Melbourne

Click here to register

Councils win at Victorian Early Years Awards

Recognising the achievements of our Early childhood centres and professionals were celebrated for the outstanding work they do setting children up for success at school and beyond at the 2023 Victorian Early Years Awards last Thursday.

The awards were presented by the Minister for Children, Lizzie Blandthorn, and hosted by Myf Warhurst.

The MAV's very own Wendy Allan was amongthe judging panel who who nrecognised positive examples of improving the learning, health and wellbeing of young children and their families.

Among the winners of the 2023 Victorian Early Years Awards were:

Category 3: Creating Collaborative Community Partnerships
Darebin Best Start Aboriginal Reference Group, Darebin City Council

Category 5: Continuity of Early Learning
Greater Dandenong Early Learning Alliance, Keysborough Primary School

Well done to Cardinia, Melton, Whittlesea, Kingston, Melbourne, Maribyrnong, Latrobe for their nominations as finalists, either in their own right or as part of a partnership.

Planning reform hits the headlines

It’s been another busy month in the media for the MAV and local government, lead by ongoing coverage of the planning reforms and housing discussion in Victoria.

Our Metro forum was covered in The Age, highlighting our calls to ensure councils are part of the solution. We also contributed to a story about the additional housing required in middle ring suburbs in The Age, on ABC Radio and on Channel 7 News. There has been plenty of focus previously on our highlighting that councils are not the road block to housing supply we’re made out to be and again that was raised in The Age about land banking. Planning and housing has also been covered regionally, with publications like the Mansfield Courier and Latrobe Valley Express picking up MAV commentary.

It has been pleasing to see MAV Councillor Service Awards shine a light on the extraordinary service of our long-time councillors. The awards were covered in LG specific publications like Inside Local Government and LG Focus, while individuals and councils have been celebrated across a number of local titles such as The Wangaratta Chronicle, Cobden Timboon Coast Times , The Maryborough District Advertiser, Inside Local Government here and here, Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay Star Weekly , Brimbank Star Weekly, Midland Express, and even the Neos Kosmos.

Finally, there was one really important story covered in The Age about the need to ensure planning reforms don’t ignore Operation Sandon recommendations.

Free from Violence Local Government Forum

The MAV will proudly host Grace Tame - 2021 Australian of the Year & Advocate for Survivors of Child Sexual Assault – as the keynote speaker for its 2023 Free from Violence Local Government Forum, Celebrating Progress and Empowering Change on 13 December.

The forum will be held to showcase the important role played by local government in Victoria and our partners across the state, in preventing violence against women and progressing gender equality.

Our newly appointed Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Vicki Ward, will open the forum and share the agenda along with:

  • Antoinette Braybrook AM, CEO of Djirra
  • Dr Niki Vincent, Commissioner for Gender Equality in the Public Sector
  • Tania Farha, CEO, Safe and Equal.

Event details:
Date: 13 December 2023
Time: 9am to 4pm
Networking: 4pm - 5pm
Location: Rydges Melbourne
Address: 186 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
Tickets: MAV member council - $55 (incl. gst); non-members - $99 (incl. gst)
Who: Councillors, council executives and officers, and community partners involved in the primary prevention of family violence.

Click here to register

MAV President Cr David Clark explains how the MAV and the MAV Insurance board are exploring the strategic priorities for the year ahead and beyond.

Our Year in Review

The 2022-23 year was packed with challenges and opportunities for the MAV. The MAV Rules were endorsed, we made a move to a new office, said goodbye to CEO Kerry Thompson, and welcomed a brand-new MAV Board.

Our members stayed up-to-date with the latest advocacy issues through briefings we provided and the MAV was proud to have strengthened its relationships with the state and federal governments, taking a partnership-based approach to achieve the best outcomes.

You can read all about it in our recently published MAV Annual Report (PDF).

On behalf of the Board, executive and staff. I would acknowledge the mayors, councillors, CEOs, and council staff for all their support and help in navigating the political landscape and the issues we faced.

Now, it's time to look ahead to the success of the MAV with our freshly appointed CEO, Kelly Grigsby, at the helm.