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President's update

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MAV President's Update - sent on Tuesday 26 October 2021

Dear friends and colleagues,

The easing of public health restrictions, together with the arrival of daylight savings and warmer weather, means there is much for Victorians to celebrate this week. Responding to the COVID crisis, along with other emergencies, councils have done an exemplary job of serving their local communities.

The health directions issued by the CHO in regard to the requirement of mandatory vaccinations for the local government sector, make it clear what is required at a council level in terms of policies and practices for councils to operate effectively.

We continue to work closely with councils to navigate the health response across the sector, so please contact the MAV team if required.

Also, behind the scenes, we have been working hard on several policy and advocacy issues. In recent weeks, you would have received members’ brief on a range of topics – from the risks and opportunities of planning reform to an insight new waste Act and waste authority to be established in 2021 and the roads funding position paper.

We have also announced a tender for the MAV’s public liability and professional indemnity insurance scheme, the Liability Mutual Insurance Scheme. We are seeking a service provider/s, to provide the following:

  • Reinsurance broking
  • Claims management
  • Risk management services
  • Underwriting and general administration.

This tender process will allow the MAV to test the market to ensure value for money for members through an open and transparent tender process for its next insurance service provider (or providers).

It also reflects our commitment to operating the scheme with the highest standards of governance and in accordance with its members expectations and is consistent with a Victorian Auditor-General’s performance audit on councils’ insurable risk in 2018.

The procurement process will commence this month and be completed in early 2022 to allow for an orderly transition to a new provider arrangements and for the reinsurance placement process to commence from the first quarter of 2022.

You may have also read the news about a recent decision by the High Court of Australia has potential implications for anyone administrating a Facebook / social media page.

We had several councils contact us with their concerns about the potential liability for administrators if defamatory comments are made on their page.

As a result, the MAV will now host two free members-only webinars for local government communicators/governance officers and councillors.  Each session will be presented by Kate Oliver, Partner, Public Law at Maddocks. Kate will provide legal expertise – rather than social media expertise – on the implications of this ruling.

We’re inviting you to session 2. It has been especially designed for elected representatives – Mayors and Councillors – who may use social media as part of their representation of constituents. It will be held at 2pm on 4 November. Please register here .

Each session will be up to an hour – 30 minute presentation and 30 minutes for questions and discussion – in a virtual format. We would appreciate if you have any specific questions that you forward them to us in advance to allow for Kate’s consideration prior to the event.

We are also undertaking a review of our MAV communications and would appreciate it if you could tell us what you think about external communications such as the MAV Bulletin, website and social media usage.

We’d like to know what is useful, what’s not; what you are interested in and best of all, how we can improve to meet your needs and expectations. In the coming weeks, we’ll follow up with another survey about member communications.

The survey should take about seven minutes, and all responses will remain anonymous. So, if you could grab a cuppa and then let us know what you think, we’d appreciate it. Please click here to participate.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge with sadness the recent passing of Alf Hancock, former MAV President (1989-1990) and Councillor with the City of Ballarat (1976 - 1991), which included a term as Mayor.

He was a passionate advocate for local government and strongly believed in the role councils played in promoting and supporting their communities. He was also especially proud to participate on the MAV Board as a regional city representative.

He is sadly missed by his family and those who knew him from his time in local government.

Warm regards,

Cr David Clark
MAV President