News and resources

MAV bulletin - Issue 917

Publish date:

MAV elections - Presidential Candidate Forums

Nominations for candidacy for President and regional representatives at the MAV elections closed on 7 February. The candidates for the Presidency are (in ballot paper order):

  • Cr Bill McArthur, Golden Plains Shire Council
  • Cr Stephen Mayne, Melbourne City Council
  • Cr Andrew Munroe, Whitehorse City Council

Three Presidential Candidate Forums will provide MAV representatives with the opportunity to meet candidates and ask questions about their respective election platforms. The dates for the forums are:

  • 18 February, 5 pm at the Stawell Town Hall, 63-65 Main St, Stawell
  • 19 February, 5 pm at the MAV, Level 11, 60 Collins St, Melbourne
  • 20 February, 5 pm at the Benalla Performing Arts Centre, 57 Samaria Rd, Benalla

Register online for all forums, including a webcast of the Melbourne forum.

Of the twelve regional MAV Board positions, elections in the metro south east, metro southern, rural north central, rural south central and rural south west regions were uncontested. Of the remaining regions which are being contested, a total of 17 nominations were received.

More detailed information about candidates and their candidate statements can be found on the VEC website.

State Budget submission

The MAV has completed its submission to the Victorian Government’s 2013-14 Budget. In a time of significant fiscal pressure, the MAV has focused on key financial challenges facing the local government sector, including emergency management funding, youth services, early childhood infrastructure, support for programs that enhance councils’ efficiency, and infrastructure for growth areas.

The submission also calls for successful Victorian Government programs, such as the Country Roads and Bridges program and the Regional Growth Fund to be retained despite the continued financial challenges facing the economy.

For further information contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

Differential rates

The MAV last week appeared before the Differential Rates Ministerial Committee to discuss the draft Ministerial guidelines, currently released for consultation. A key issue raised by the MAV is the actual implication of the guidelines, which appears to be problematic.

The MAV has sought legal advice on the capacity of the guidelines to constrain councils’ discretion to apply differential rates, which indicates that despite the guidelines specifying that councils must define types of land in line with Australian Valuation Property Classification Codes (AVPCC), the language in the Local Government Act implies discretion for councils in applying these sections of the Act. The advice concludes that the guidelines, as drafted, will allow councils’ continued discretion in identifying the types of land to which differential rates apply.

The MAV will now draft a submission to the Committee, which will highlight the limitation of the current guidelines and make recommendations about how they could provide meaningful guidance to councils when developing their rating strategies. Council views on the latter issue would be welcomed and can be provided to Owen Harvey-Beavis.

Constitutional recognition

The MAV, through the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), will be appearing before the Joint Selection Committee on Constitutional Recognition on 20 February, following release of the interim report recommending that a referendum proceeds in 2013. A minority report by the opposition members of the committee has highlighted the potential difficulties in conducting a successful referendum this year. The ALGA and MAV position is that a referendum should only be held on financial recognition of local government in the event that such a referendum has a reasonable chance of success.

Given the increasing likelihood that a referendum will be conducted this year, the MAV will shortly write to councils to provide an update on the campaign, the likely costs of a national ALGA 'yes' campaign, and Victoria’s nominal share of the campaign funding. As previously determined by MAV State Council, in the event that the campaign proceeds, the MAV will request councils make a voluntary contribution to the ALGA campaign.

For further information contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

MAV Rural Land Use Planning Forum

The MAV Rural Land Use Planning Forum on 15 March will provide an overview of tourism trends in rural and regional Victoria and how councils and industry can work together to improve their offering. Mesh Planning and Essential Economics will provide tips on development contributions and retail policies for rural and regional Victoria.

In the afternoon, break out topics will allow councils to share their thoughts and lessons on residential and rural strategies; structure plans; planning scheme reviews; major energy permit applications and Ministerial Direction 15. Councils are encouraged to send a senior planning officer and a councillor. Places are limited. To register and download an agenda, visit the MAV events webpage.

Changes to MAV strategic planning meetings

As announced in the bulletin last week, consultation sessions will be held around the state to inform the MAV’s 2013-14 Strategic Work Plan. Following changes made to some sessions, please see below for updated session details. Councillors, CEOs and relevant senior officers are encouraged to attend any session.

  • 5 March, 1 - 3 pm 
    The Gateway Beet, 75 Lascelles St, Hopetoun
  • 7 March, 12 - 2 pm 
    Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre, cnr Ford and Ovens Sts, Wangaratta
  • 12 March, 12 - 2 pm 
    LaTrobe Conference Centre, 5601 Princes Hwy, Traralgon
  • 14 March, 12 - 2 pm
    Reception Room, Bendigo Town Hall, Lyttleton Tce, Bendigo
  • 19 March, 12 - 2 pm 
    Warrnambool City Council, 21 Liebig St, Warrnambool
  • 20 March, 4 - 6 pm 
    Four Points Sheraton, 10-14 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong
  • 4 April, 2 - 4 pm and 6 - 8pm 
    Municipal Association of Victoria, Level 12, 60 Collins St, Melbourne

RSVP to Gavin Mahoney on 03 9667 5564 or 0419 486 646./

New statewide outdoor smoking bans

The Victorian Government has announced it will be amending the Victorian Tobacco Act to introduce statewide smoking bans at children’s playgrounds, public swimming pools and sea baths, children’s sporting grounds and other recreational areas such as skate parks. A technical issues paper on the implementation of these reforms will be distributed at the end of February inviting responses from local government, sporting groups and organisations involved in children’s sport, for comment over a six week period.

These bans follow on from the smoking bans between the flags on patrolled beaches which were introduced this summer. The MAV welcomes the announcement which is in line with recommendations we made to the Minister for Health in 2011 following an extensive consultation process with councils. In relation to these specific proposals, we will review the details of the technical paper once it’s available, and gain council feedback about transition and implementation issues. We have also recommended that a widespread information campaign be undertaken to build community understanding and awareness of the proposed new bans.

/

Victoria’s new Auditor-General 

The Victorian Government has announced the appointment of the new Auditor-General, John Doyle. Mr Doyle has been the Auditor-General of British Columbia in Canada since 2007 and has also been the Deputy Auditor-General for Western Australia in a career that includes extensive public service and university experience.

Councils are reminded of current and future planned audits of relevance to local government, including the impending release of the audit into council rating and the organisational sustainability of small councils, due to be completed this financial year.

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office also plan to undertake audits over the next four years including: council outsourcing; rate revenue; credit card security; asset revaluation reserves; the management of creditors; the management of employee leave; budget management; risk management; audit committees; asset management and maintenance; shared services; long-term financial planning; emergency management functions; and managing sea level rises.

/

Swinburne / MAV Graduate Diploma of Management

The MAV and Swinburne University of Technology are offering the opportunity for council officers and councillors to complete a Graduate Diploma in Management through the University. The Graduate Diploma in Management is a 2.5 year part-time program conducted at the MAV, commencing on 10 May. This program is separate to the MAV Diploma of Local Government (elected members).

The Graduate Diploma of Management is a customised executive education program, with subjects chosen that take advantage of real life sectoral experiences to inform the practical and assignment requirements of the program.

It is a unique opportunity to develop management skills and leadership capabilities, and become better equipped to engage and deal with opportunities and challenges in your council, community and beyond.

To assist interested officers and councillors, we will run four information sessions:

  • Friday 1 March 10.30 – 11.30 am
    MAV offices, Level 12, 60 Collins Street, Melbourne
  • Friday 1 March 3 – 4 pm
    MAV offices, Level 12, 60 Collins Street, Melbourne
  • Monday 4 March 10.30 – 11.30 am
    Greater Bendigo Council offices, Reception Room, Lyttleton Tce, Bendigo
  • Tuesday 5 March 10.30 – 11.30 am
    Benalla Performing Arts Centre, 57 Samaria Rd, Benalla

Please RSVP to attend an information session to Andrew Rowe on 9667 5549./

Enterprise bargaining in local government

This year sees 50 councils with enterprise agreements either having already expired or reaching their nominal expiry date. This means that over 60 per cent of councils will face negotiations in 2013 for new agreements in the face of demands from unions for better pay and conditions. These negotiations will take place in an environment of the significant financial impact that councils are already confronting in relation to reduced grant funding; the call on councils for additional contributions for the defined benefit superannuation fund; and other substantial demands from the community for improved services, at a lower cost.

Late last year the Superannuation Taskforce examined in detail the impacts of wages growth on the define benefit shortfall and developed recommendations that councils are encouraged to review. It is recommended that councils consider the cumulative financial impacts when developing their forthcoming strategy for enterprise bargaining negotiations.

/

Local Government Forest and Timber Industry Conference

The National Timber Councils Association is proudly presenting the Local Government Forest and Timber Industry Conference on 18 and 19 April. With a focus on socio-economic issues and the relationship between local government and the timber industry, this unique program is the first time these issues have been brought together for a conference.

The conference will be of interest to local government councillors, infrastructure managers, planners, as well as environmental professionals, timber industry representatives, associated government officials and private sector representatives from across the country. A dinner will also take place at the conclusion of the first day. The event will be held at Bayview Eden Melbourne, and costs $399 including GST for NTCA members; $449 including GST for non-NTCA members; and $135 for dinner.

For further information contact MAV Events.

/

In social media news...

  • Adelaide has developed a digital strategy that looks at free wifi in the city centre. Read more here.
  • Critical tweets have been cited in an unfair dismissal claim. Find out more here.
  • The ABS has released a statistics mobile app. Download it here.
  • Infographic: the top government twitter accounts in Australia. View it here.