Issue 50 February 2016

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

Issue 50, February 2016

Meeting with Minister Hutchins

At our meeting last week with Minister Hutchins I raised the option of formal partnership agreements for delivery of joint State-local government services following my recent statement around cost shifting. The MAV also relayed council concerns around increasing VEC election costs, which will adversely impact on council budgets this year.

We were pleased that the Minister reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the VSLGA, and advised that Local Government Victoria’s new Executive Director, Dr Graeme Emonson will be working closely with the MAV to develop and implement a work plan of ongoing actions to give effect to the Agreement.

The MAV Act review was also discussed at our meeting, with the MAV advising the Minister we will be undertaking extensive member consultation to inform our submission. Our input will clearly articulate common member views on the preferred future structure and roles for the MAV to reinforce our independence, and ensure our priority areas of focus continue to be set by member councils.

Local Government Funding Vehicle – second issuance

Preparation for the second issuance of our Local Government Funding Vehicle (LGFV) has now commenced. Sixteen councils have confirmed their participation, with an aggregated borrowing requirement of $106 million. Of the 16 councils, three are first time participants in the LGFV.

We are targeting this second issuance for the beginning of the second quarter for 2016, subject to market conditions. For any councils seeking further details, please contact Cameron Spence at MAV Procurement.

Stand for Council and our Councillor Survey

Planning is well advanced for our Stand for Council campaign to run in the lead up to the 2016 council elections. We have new branding in place, and the offer was sent to member councils last week to book community and candidate briefing sessions to run between May and August. We’re hoping this year to top the 82 sessions we ran for councils and community organisations in 2012.

To help inform our campaign messaging, last week we also launched a councillor survey to gather your views about your time on council – what motivated you to stand, and the rewards and challenges you encountered along the way. The survey will only take 10 minutes to complete, is open to all councillors and responses are anonymous. I hope you’ll take a few moments to respond.

Strategic Planning

We have now passed the half-way mark in our sessions around the state to seek your input into the development of our 2016/17 strategic work plan. So far, five sessions have been attended by more than 100 councillors, CEOs and staff from member councils across the state providing us with feedback on priority issues facing the sector.

Three more regional sessions are scheduled for March so there’s still time to have your say. We’ll be in Wangaratta on 3 March, Geelong on 10 March and Warrnambool on 11 March. Session information and rsvp details are now available.

The MAV Board also held our strategic planning day earlier this month, to discuss and agree on key objectives for the year ahead. These will be articulated in the draft Strategic Work Plan we circulate to members for your consideration ahead of the May State Council.

Finally, I also attended the ALGA Board’s two-day strategic planning session this month. We mapped out our priorities and action plan for the year ahead, including a united sector strategy for the Federal election. I will keep you posted over the coming months as the election document and advocacy approach is finalised.

MAV WorkCare scheme

Earlier this month we advised members that a sufficient number of councils had opted into our proposed MAV WorkCare Self-Insurance scheme for us to proceed with an application to the Victorian Workcover Authority.

This is extremely pleasing and means we are one step closer to helping councils further improve your workplace health and safety outcomes while also receiving financial savings. Our independent actuarial analysis indicates a self-insurance scheme could significantly reduce premiums, remove cross-subsidies to other industries, and provide continuous improvement through proactive training and education in injury prevention, safety and return to work initiatives.

We are now working towards lodging our application in April and, if approved, we hope to commence the scheme in the coming financial year.

Reinsurance negotiations

Our Insurance team has recently commenced negotiations with the Liability Mutual Insurance (LMI) scheme’s reinsurers. Insurance markets remain soft and combined with an improvement in members’ claims experience, we anticipate that favourable renewal pricing will be achieved, which will provide benefit to our LMI scheme members.

Following recent completion of the limits review - which identified the need for the scheme’s insured limits to be increased - we have commenced the process of purchasing additional coverage to ensure all members are adequately covered in the event of a catastrophic incident such as a bushfire, apartment building fire or a contaminated land incident. This approach will ensure that our members are well covered for any event at an affordable price.

International Women’s Day – 8 March

International Women’s Day (IWD) will again be celebrated on 8 March and the theme for 2016 is Pledge for Parity. All men and women are asked to pledge to take concrete action and collectively help advance gender equality. This can be done via the IWD website, where councils can also publish and promote your own IWD activities.

The Pledge for Parity theme is consistent with a piece of work the MAV is currently undertaking through development of a local government submission to the Victorian Gender Equality Strategy consultation paper. The draft MAV submission has been circulated to Human Services and Human Resource Directors providing an opportunity for input by 14 March so it can be submitted to the Victorian Government by the 18 March deadline.

Please get in touch with me by phone or email if you’d like to discuss matters raised in my update, or any other issues on your radar.

Best wishes
Bill