MAV President's Update - sent on Friday, 19 March 2021
I am truly humbled to be elected to the role of President of MAV, coming as I do from one of the smallest Councils in Victoria.
In Councils like mine, the issues we share across the entire sector are always sharply in focus as they can often limit Council undertaking both its legislated responsibilities and its service role to its communities.
A key part of my role will be to help Victorians understand the many ways in which they depend on Council services every day.
With just 3% of the nation’s tax base to spend and half the nation’s community assets to care for, local government must continue to be more efficient in what it does as well as maintain its revenues through rating and through partnerships with State and Federal Government, in order to continue delivering for communities.
My focus will be continuing to progress the MAV strategic plan, and ensure the MAV remains a strong, effective and progressive voice for local government and ensure Councils can continue to support and strengthen their communities.
In the wake of the pandemic, there has never been a more important time for leadership by the MAV in advocating for the sector and collaboratively with other levels of government to achieve broad and integrated planning for the future.
As a councillor, I see first-hand the positive impact of Councils in continuing to deliver services to communities, especially for those who are vulnerable or in need. Councils across Victoria showed innovation, resilience and agility in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and as we work towards recovery, we will continue to operate with the same mindset.
Councils, led by their Mayors and Councillors, will continue to play an integral role to investigate and deliver on future community needs and aspirations, including confronting long-term challenges.
One matter that will not go away and does need further consideration by the State Government is the financial sustainability of councils so they can continue to provide much-needed services to their communities.
The next few years are going to be challenging as the impacts of rate waivers and deferrals implemented during the pandemic manifest with councils becoming increasingly constrained in their ability to maintain and renew their significant asset base and at the same time, invest in new infrastructure.
For rural and regional councils experiencing increasing migration from Melbourne, there will be additional pressure on local service and infrastructure delivery over the coming decade on how to fund these works in a rate capped environment.
In my role as President, I am committed to raising issues of importance for Councils and their communities with the State Government and its departments and reinforcing the benefits of local democracy and genuine consultation, especially on matters of the environment, transport and infrastructure planning.
An exciting opportunity for us to come together will be the next MAV State Council Meeting, which is being planned to be held on Friday 21 May at the Melbourne Town Hall. For more information, please click here.
I look forward to seeing you there and working with you, and my fellow Board members, to deliver for our current and future communities.
With warm regards,
Cr David Clark