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President's update

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Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to the September edition of my President’s Update, Our MAV.

I would like to begin by extending a warm welcome to two new councillors – Cr Tony Revell of Surf Coast Shire Council and Cr Bronwyn Simpson of Buloke Shire Council – following a by-election and countback respectively. Another by-election will be held in October for Greater Bendigo City Council.

Thanks to Cr Anita Rank for submitting a Mayoral Blog for our Vic Councils website earlier this month. We always want to hear about the good news stories and innovations at councils to share and publicise, so if your council has something you would like us to promote, please get in touch.

Annual Conference & State Council

There are less than three weeks until our Annual Conference and State Council. The Annual Conference will take place on Thursday 17 October, with the State Council taking place the following day.

The full program for the Annual Conference is available on the registration page. Confirmed speakers include the Hon Michael O’Brien MP, Leader of the Opposition and Samantha Ratnam, Leader of the Victorian Greens. There will also be a talk on climate change through a finance and liability lens, a CEO panel on local government from the outside and a panel discussing future directions of waste and recycling.

I am also looking forward to providing the Councillor Service Awards which recognise the contribution and service of mayors and councillors across the state.

Following positive feedback from the May State Council, the new seating arrangements will remain – shifting away from the auditorium and towards regional groupings. Please ensure you have registered for the State Council before 14 October.

ALGA Board Meeting

MAV President, Coral Ross with MAV Deputy President (Rural) Cr Ruth Gstrein with Federal Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, The Hon Mark Coulton MP in Canberra at the ALGA Board meeting.

Along with the MAV Deputy President (Rural) Cr Ruth Gstrein, I recently visited Canberra for the ALGA Board meeting.

The Federal Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, The Hon Mark Coulton MP spoke to the Board on a range of issues impacting local government.

Mr Coulton discussed the high regard he has of local government, being a former Mayor himself. He intends to visit as many councils and regions as he can.

The ALGA Board also touched on many pressing issues in local government including waste and recycling, Financial Assistance Grants, the National Local Roads and Transport Congress, a review of this year's National General Assembly and plans for the 2020 NGA.

Recycling update

I was delighted the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio, accepted my invitation to meet with the MAV Board earlier this month to discuss the State’s work on the circular economy policy and to share views and ideas. It was a constructive discussion and a valuable opportunity to reiterate the sector’s position regarding the need for a container deposit scheme; market development; materials recovery facilities in regional areas; community education; and advocacy to the Federal Government for action on product stewardship and banning problematic materials.

Earlier this month the MAV held a forum for council officers to learn about glass separation trials in the City of Yarra and Macedon Ranges Shire and to hear the perspectives of two key industry players. The presentations and audio are now available on our Members Only site.

MAV staff and I also attended most of the roundtable meetings the Minister held this month with mayors and CEOs to discuss kerbside recycling collection systems. In response to feedback from members, I have reiterated to the Minister the importance of the State prioritising the important work that needs to be done in relation to market development, infrastructure investment and community education, as well as the urgent need for upstream change to minimise waste and that recycled material sent to landfill due to the collapse of SKM should not be the subject of the State levy.

Rates review

Thank you to everyone who attended our Rating Review Forum earlier this month – either in person or via video-conferencing. Our Rating Review Taskforce has also met on two occasions, facilitated by John Nevins, former CEO of Kingston City Council, as the Project Manager.

The MAV is now finalising a draft submission which will soon be circulated to the sector for feedback, before submitting it to the LGV in November.

MAV membership fees review

The MAV Board has agreed to review the MAV’s fee structure with the goal of ensuring greater fairness and equity for members. The most important thing for the Board is making sure that councils of comparable size and capacity pay similar fees.

It is a long time since the fee structure has been reviewed and fees have increased by CPI without regard to increases or decreases in population or revenue. We are currently engaging member councils through the regional meetings and the CEO Forum.

Vale Pat Toohey

I would like to offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Cr Pat Toohey of Moorabool Shire who passed away earlier this month. Cr Toohey had served twice as Mayor during his 15 years on council, and will be dearly missed by his loved ones and the community he served.

AICD Company Directors Course & Social Media Workshop

There are still a few places left in October's Company Directors Course we run in partnership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors. The week-long program can be paid for using Councillor Credit Points and will run from 21-25 October.

We have also got places available in an upcoming Social Media for Councillors Workshop led by Ross Monaghan who you may remember from our Councillor Development Weekend. Ross will be facilitating a full-day training course on the topic on 31 October and we invite you to join us for extended learning, connection and insight from his expertise.

Finally, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can help in any local government matter.

With kind regards,