News and resources

MAV bulletin - Issue 915

Publish date:

MAV President and Board elections

Nominations for the MAV elections of President and regional board representatives close at 4 pm on 7 February. All MAV representatives proposing to nominate for the 1 March elections should do so by submitting the Schedule 4 – Nomination Form to the Returning Officer.

Preliminary report recommends 2013 referendum for Constitutional recognition

The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government released its preliminary report recommending that a financial recognition referendum be held at the same time as the 2013 federal election, which has since been announced for 14 September.

The report supports the MAV and ALGA proposal for Constitutional change to provide for financial recognition of local government. The report also recognises that recent cases in the High Court have created uncertainty about the Commonwealth's power to provide funding directly to local government, including programs such as Roads to Recovery.

The Federal Minister for Local Government, the Hon Simon Crean briefly responded to the preliminary report, but indicated that the Government will await the Committee’s final report before formally responding.

The MAV is continuing to work with the ALGA and other state associations to advocate for a referendum on Constitutional recognition in 2013, notwithstanding concerns about the time available to complete the steps identified in the Expert Panel report to ensure the best chances of a winnable referendum.

For further information contact James Cleaver.

Fire services levy funding

The Victorian Government has announced the provision of $53 million – including $20 million this financial year – towards the transition to the new fire services property levy.

The funding is expected to cover all transition costs, including the office of the fire services levy monitor, additional valuations being undertaken by the Valuer-General and councils, State Revenue Office costs, and support for councils to implement, administer and collect the new property-based levy, which will come into effect on 1 July.

The MAV has been working with the Government on the implementation of the new levy, and work has started on a centrally-managed IT project. The proportion of funding going to local government is still unclear and we’re seeking further information from the Treasurer’s office to clarify this matter. Our costs analysis work with the sector is ongoing to inform these discussions.

Professor Allan Fels has commenced his role as the Fire Services Levy Monitor, and a new website provides further information on the Monitor’s complaint and review process.

For further information contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

Differential rates consultation dates announced

A series of public consultation forums in February have been scheduled following the Victorian Government's release of a discussion paper and draft Ministerial Guidelines on differential rates.

Councils are strongly encouraged to attend a forum to provide feedback.

Hamilton Monday 11 February 10 am - 12 pm
Ballarat Monday 11 February 3.30 pm - 5.30 pm
Kerang Wednesday 13 February 10 am - 12 pm
Echuca Wednesday 13 February 3 pm - 5 pm
Benalla Thursday 14 February 10 am - 12 pm
Broadford Thursday 14 February 2 pm - 4 pm
Pakenham Friday 15 February 10 am - 12 pm
Traralgon Friday 15 February 2 pm - 4 pm
Geelong Tuesday 26 February 10 am - 12 pm
Sunshine Tuesday 26 February 2 pm - 4 pm
Melbourne Wednesday 27 February 10 am - 12 pm

The consultation is being led by the Differential Rates Ministerial Committee (David Morris, MP and David O'Brien, MLC), which is also able to meet with councils privately either immediately before or after each forum. Councils wishing to register their attendance at a forum, or schedule a private meeting should contact Anne Donovan.

The MAV is meeting separately with the Ministerial Committee in early February and will prepare a submission on behalf of councils. The MAV strongly recommends that councils make their own submissions, in addition to providing any comments about the draft guidelines to Owen Harvey-Beavis.

Please also note that the deadline for council submissions to the Ministerial Committee has been extended to 14 March.

STEP Planning

The MAV STEP planning process improvement program is commencing two separate streams early in 2013. The first is the planning permit stream, where significant success has already been demonstrated by participating councils. The second stream is a planning scheme amendment stream following considerable interest from councils seeking to address the new scheme timeframes. If you are interested in participating in either of these streams please contact Michelle Croughan.

Save the date for the Planning Improvement Forum which will be held on Thursday 4 June. The theme of the event is ‘What do the customers really want?’. The event will be opened up nationally. If councils have done any work in this area or are interested in hosting the event please contact Michelle Croughan.

Developer contributions framework released

The first report by the Standard Development Contributions Ministerial Advisory Committee, Setting the Framework, is now available for review and public comment until 12 March.

This report is an interim report about the thoughts and views of the Committee to date, and contains options for further consideration prior to recommendations being made. The MAV intends to write a submission and will seek council feedback shortly. Keep an eye on your inbox for further details.

For further information contact Gareth Hately.


Alcohol and drug abuse: whole-of-government strategy released

The Victorian Government has launched its whole-of-government strategy to reduce the impact of alcohol and drug abuse in Victoria.

Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria’s plan 2013-2017 sets out how the Government will promote the safe, healthy and responsible use of alcohol; tackle the misuse of pharmaceutical drugs; reduce illegal drug use; and assist the care, treatment and recovery of people with drinking and drug problems. The 15-point plan provides an agenda to improve the way police, courts, schools, hospitals, health and community services, and the broader community work together to bring down the alcohol and drug toll.


Metropolitan Planning Strategy

The Victorian Government’s Metropolitan Planning Strategy will guide future decisions about land use, transport, housing, employment, investment and infrastructure.

The closing date for all submissions responding to the Melbourne, let's talk about the future discussion paper to inform development of the Metropolitan Planning Strategy has been extended to 28 March.

A Conversation Toolkit has also been released to encourage more Victorians to get involved by assisting community members to host their own group discussions. The toolkit contains a 'how to' guide, a workbook for recording the discussion and instructions about how to submit the information collected.

The Government is also planning on hosting a large community event to explore some of the ideas presented in the discussion paper, with representation sought from a cross section of the community, business, industry and planning professionals.


National Aged Care Reform

The Minister for Mental Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler has asked the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) to form and convene a number of advisory groups to advance the Living Longer Living Better aged care reform agenda.

The Home Support Advisory Group was formed in December to advise on the implementation steps to establish the national Home Support program from 2015. This program will combine and re-develop a number of existing programs, including the Commonwealth HACC program in all states other than Victoria and Western Australia.

Although the MAV is not a NACA member, the federal Department of Health and Ageing has asked NACA to include the MAV as a Victorian representative, and also invited the Victorian Department of Health to represent state officials from Victoria and WA. This representation provides an opportunity for Victorian and local government perspectives on community care to be considered in the development of the national program.

For further information contact Clare Hargreaves.


Asset management competency

Fourteen Victorian councils have achieved ‘core’ competency in asset management, as assessed by the Federal Government’s National Asset Management Assessment Framework (NAMAF). The MAV Step Asset Management Program is working with remaining councils to help them achieve core competency in 2013. The Australian Government is now seeking feedback about the performance of all councils across Australia in relation to their NAMAF score on an annual basis.

To date, the following Victorian councils have achieved ‘core’ status:

  • Brimbank City Council
  • Hume City Council
  • Greater Geelong City Council
  • Indigo Shire Council
  • Manningham City Council
  • Maribyrnong City Council
  • Moonee Valley City Council
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
  • Nillumbik Shire Council
  • Pyrenees Shire Council
  • South Gippsland Shire Council
  • Stonnington City Council
  • Strathbogie Shire Council
  • Wyndham City Council

For further information contact John Hennessy./

Australia Day honours

The MAV would like to congratulate the following individuals who were among recipients of Australia Day honours for their work with Victorian local government.

Judy Verlin - Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
Donald Cameron - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Bernard Graham - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
David Graham - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Sigmund Jorgensen - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Helen Paatsch - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Keith Pretty PSM - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Allan Watson - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)

For further information visit the Governor-General's website.


In social media news…

  • A Keep Watch app has been developed by the Royal Life Saving Society so that people can do their own home pool safety check. Find out more here.
  • Android has overtaken Apple in Australia. Read more here.
  • From the US: Amherst, Massachusetts has launched an outdoor municipal wifi network. Find out more here.
  • Social media is facing bans in workplace agreements. Read more here.