News and resources

Issue 55 July 2016

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

Issue 55, July 2016

Upcoming MAV events

Next month we have our Metro Forum and our Rural-Regional Forum for MAV Representatives, Mayors and CEOs. Invitations have been emailed and we'll circulate agendas shortly.

The MAV annual conference and dinner is also being held earlier this year, on 8th September. The conference theme is business transformation and leadership – how councils can innovatively move forward, addressing the demands of constricting budgets and the digital age while maintaining quality of services. The annual dinner will celebrate the end of councillors' four-year term, and our Councillor Service Awards will be presented to thank and acknowledge long-serving elected representatives. The full conference program will be circulated to all councils shortly, together with invitations to our dinner.

A notice has also been sent to members about MAV State Council on 9th September. Motions for State Council need to be submitted by Friday 12th August using the template that has been provided. Please mark all these dates in your calendars.

Member Engagement Survey

This month we've asked members to share your views with us through a member engagement survey. Your responses will build a picture of members' priority needs and the MAV's performance in providing a range of services and activities; as well as identify any gaps in our performance.

The survey is just one part of our more comprehensive response to the 2015 Victorian Auditor General's report into the Effectiveness of Support for Local Government. Moving forward, we will be conducted member engagement surveys more regularly.

All CEOs, councillors and directors from member councils have been invited to complete the confidential survey, which is being conducted by an independent research agency. If you haven't yet responded, I encourage you to complete the survey by this Wednesday, 27 July. All responses are anonymous, and your opinions will provide valuable insights to enable us to better meet members' needs into the future.

MAV Taskforce update

This month we held the first meetings of our Local Government Act Review Taskforce and the Municipal Association Act and Rules Review Taskforce.

Following a presentation from Local Government Victoria on the State's directions paper, LG Act Review Taskforce members identified principles relevant to the relationship between State and local government that needs to inform the new Local Government Act. Key concerns were discussed regarding proposed changes to the franchise; minimum two-year mayoral terms and increased mayoral powers; the proposed integrated planning system; and the prospect of a slender Act with prescription contained in regulations that are not subject to the level of scrutiny applicable to legislation.

The Taskforce will meet again in August, and the MAV will then circulate a draft submission for member feedback ahead of the 16 September deadline for responses to the Government's direction's paper.

Our MA Act and Rules Review Taskforce considered the structure of the MAV and the impacts of the structure on the objectives of the MAV and the services it provides to members, particularly insurance services. It also considered the current MAV Rules, past governance structures and the roles and composition of State Council and the Board.

If there are any matters you wish to bring to the attention of either MAV Taskforce, please do so via Alison Lyon.

Nominations open for 2016 Councillor Service Awards

The MAV's annual Councillor Service Awards recognise and celebrate the work of elected representatives by acknowledging their contribution to the community.

This year we will again be handing out awards in recognition of councillors who have served in their role for 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years. The Mayor Emeritus Award will also recognise councillors who have served three or more full terms as mayor.

Applications are now open and need to be received by Friday 19 August, with awards to be presented at the MAV Conference Dinner on 8 September.

MAV achievements in 2015-16

Late last month we circulated an eight page report on the MAV's 2015-16 achievements with our subscription renewal information. I've received positive feedback about this report from members.

To supplement the detailed report, we've also prepared a two-page summary of our achievements which is available on our website.

Our 2015-16 achievement highlights include:

  • Restoring a 50:50 State-local government funding partnership for maternal and child health services, with a 15.8 per cent increase in government funding in the 2016 State Budget. This welcome outcome is the result of extensive costing analysis and advocacy work by the MAV.
  • Securing a long-awaited review of planning fees, and working with the Department and 19 member councils on detailed costs to inform the Regulatory Impact Statement. If our preferred option is adopted, councils could receive an additional $40 million in planning fees each year.
  • Three-quarters of Victorian councils attained core competency status in their asset management through participation in the MAV's STEP program
  • MAV Procurement conducted 13 tenders and renewed eight tender contracts, which 78 member councils participated in 384 times to achieve both cost and efficiency savings
  • We conducted more than 150 tailored training and events for councillors and council staff, attended by more than 8,000 people
  • The MAV Local Government Funding Vehicle secured $100 million in borrowings with a 3.97 per cent 10-year fixed rate interest-only loan on behalf of 16 councils
  • We submitted our application to the Victorian Workcover Authority to establish MAV WorkCare self-insurance scheme on behalf of 31 members, to improve workplace health and safety outcomes and achieve financial savings.

National LG Twitter Day

Councils with Twitter accounts are encouraged to participate in national local government Twitter Day, which will take place on Wednesday 3 August.

Coordinated by the MAV, ALGA and our interstate Association colleagues, the aim of the day is to increase awareness of the diverse range of services and activities that councils provide for communities from the first early morning tasks like garbage collection, to the last tasks of the day.

The first national LG Twitter Day in 2014 recorded about 2,100 tweets using the common hashtag, with more than 500 separate council twitter accounts participating nationwide.  This week the MAV will email a resource guide to all members with information about how you can participate. Getting involved makes no additional resource demands on councils, but rather encourages you to add a common hashtag to your tweets on the day.

Rate capping – Inquiry and resources

The Victorian Parliament's Environment and Planning Committee is seeking submissions to inform the third stage of its inquiry into the Victorian Government's rate capping policy.

The MAV is preparing a submission, and we also encourage councils to share specific examples of impacts on your budget and community with the Committee. Submissions are due at the end of this week (29 July), and the Committee's third report is due to be released before the end of the year.

It's been pleasing to receive such positive feedback from members about the MAV's rate capping information sheet and infographic resources we released to councils last month. We are close to finalising an animated video on rate capping that complements the resources already provided to members. Our video will explain how rate capping works, what's included and excluded from the cap, and how property valuations impact the amount that each property owner will contribute.

We believe this will be a more useful alternative to the recent rate cap video released by the Victorian Government. We'll be publishing the video on our Vimeo channel shortly, and will circulate the link via email to members. Councils and media are welcome to embed the video on your websites, and share links to it on social media.

Best wishes
BILL