News and resources

Issue 43 July 2015

MAV President's Update - occasional report from Cr Bill McArthur, President of the MAV

Issue 43, July 2015

Climate change discussion with Al Gore

This month the CEO and I were part of a delegation to meet with former Vice President of the United States of America and Chairman of the Climate Reality Project Mr Al Gore.

It was a privilege to be there representing local government across Australia and to be part of what was an inspirational and insightful discussion on climate change. It was particularly interesting to hear how California reformed its economy around this issue. They saw an opportunity not only to help preserve and protect the environment for generations to come but to grow their economy through new jobs and green industries. They emerged a leader in climate change innovation and have one of the strongest economies in the US.

Individually Victorian councils have introduced a number of initiatives and activities to reduce our operational impact on the environment and educate communities about what they can do to help preserve our environment. Together, this is a significant contribution to the State’s efforts to respond to climate change and as a sector we will continue to take our role in helping to protect the environment very seriously.

Councillor Development Weekend

I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of our Councillor Development Weekend. It was great to see a strong cross section of councillors from within the sector clearly engaged in becoming better representatives for their communities. One of the great outcomes of the weekend is always the opportunity for councillors to discuss the challenges and opportunities they, or their councils, are experiencing and to learn from others who have faced similar circumstances.

As always the guest speakers at this event were another highlight. Holly Ransom, a 2013 finalist for the Young Australian of the Year, shared her thoughts on the challenges facing modern leadership while Dr Karl Kruszelnicki spoke about the challenges the future holds for us more generally.

Australian of the Year Rosie Batty spoke openly and honestly about the issue of family violence and what needs to be done to improve the lives of the many women and children across Australia impacted by it. Rosie’s presentation was very well received by all in attendance and the MAV will continue to take a leadership role on this matter and work with council’s to help build their capacity to deal with this issue.

Eastern Victoria MP Daniel Mulino represented the Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins at the event which was also attended by Shadow Minister for Local Government David Davis.

Rates survey and Essential Services Commission draft report

Our annual rates package was released last Friday. All councils participated in the survey this year and the sector recorded its lowest average annual rate rise in 10 years - 3.8 per cent. It was very pleasing to see our messages included in the majority of media reports which have been spread across metro, regional and rural print and online publications, radio news and talk back as well as TV news.

Most reporting has focused on the survey results whether it be from a State-wide perspective or a localised perspective however it also led to discussion around the State Government’s plans to cap rates at inflation.

The ESC released its draft report on the matter this afternoon. The MAV will be reviewing this thoroughly before consulting again with the sector about the proposed reforms and a response to them.

MAV forums

Metropolitan council mayors, CEOs and MAV representatives have been invited to the annual MAV Metropolitan Forum and Dinner on 10 September. If you plan on heading along I encourage you to submit items you might like to see discussed. The event will be held from 3-6pm with dinner to follow. It will be held at the Sofitel Melbourne, 25 Collins Street and an agenda will be circulated closer to the date.

Likewise rural and regional council mayors, CEOs and MAV representatives have been invited to the annual MAV Rural and Regional Forum on Thursday, 13 August 2015. Again I encourage you to submit items you might like to see discussed and an agenda will be circulated closer to the date. The event will be held at the RACV City Club, 501 Bourke Street, from 10.00am – 2.00pm, with lunch at 12.30pm.

ALGWA 2015 Bursary Award

Applications are now open for the ALGWA 2015 Bursary award.

Established in 1989, the study award is to encourage and assist women in local government to further their education.

It is open to permanent members of staff in a Victorian city of shire council.

Applications close Monday 31 August and further information can be found on the ALGWA website.

Implementing the VAGO recommendations

The MAV continues to implement recommendations made in the VAGO report Effectiveness of Support for Local Government. We provided a copy of the Board’s resolution and action plan to the Auditor General who was pleased with our positive response and commitment to implementing the recommendations.

The MAV also met with the Deputy Auditor-General and other relevant VAGO staff this month to discuss progress and seek advice.

We will report our progress in responding to the recommendations to the sector at our October State Council.

Best wishes
Bill