2016 year in review
2016 has been another great year for the MAV in its role supporting innovative and business-as-usual campaigns, advocacy, training and advice to our members.
We delivered against the key targets from the MAV’s Strategic Plan to help councils meet service delivery targets and for councillors to achieve successful outcomes across the local government sector.
We achieved sector development in the areas of funding wins, efficiencies, policy influence, agreements, reputation and governance, and MAV insurance. Read below for a snapshot of 2016 highlights.
For further details, review our annual report.
Maternal and child health
Secured $133 million in State funding for maternal and child health services, an increase of 15.8 per cent which effectively restores the 50:50 funding partnership.
Secured a long-awaited review of planning fees, which resulted in a fairer system for communities. Under the new model applicant fees will cover an estimated 60-70 per cent of planning costs which could generate $40 million in additional fees collected by councils annually.
MAV advocacy resulted in a VicRoads-led review and a State commitment to restore its 50 per cent contribution for the school crossing supervisors program from 1 July 2017.
Completed the second Local Government Funding Vehicle bond issuance of $100 million into wholesale debt capital markets on behalf of 16 councils. A high level of investor interest helped to achieve a great outcome for participating councils: 3.97 per cent 10-year fixed rate, interest only loans.
Submitted a WorkCare application to the Victorian Workcover Authority following support from councils and independent analysis confirming the self-insurance scheme could significantly reduce participant premiums; remove cross-subsidies to other industries; and improve workplace safety.
Conducted 6 tenders and renewed 6 tender contracts, generating savings for participating member councils. For example, the Recruitment Neutral Vendor Managed Services contract saved 10 councils on average 13.95 per cent of their temporary labour hire spend during 2016 and savings for 2017 are anticipated at $3.4 million.
Formed the multi-stakeholder Local Government Digital Transformation Taskforce, which is a whole-of-government, multi-stakeholder leadership group. The taskforce champions business transformation enabled by digital means to make community interactions with local government simpler, faster, valued and more engaging.
Local Government Act Review
Made a submission to the State Government’s Local Government Act Review Directions Paper, which was informed by our LG Act Review Taskforce and member feedback.
Continued the campaign against rate capping, including making three submissions to Parliamentary inquiries and a submission to the ESC review, which were all informed by the MAV Rate Capping Taskforce.
Puppy farm reforms
Contributed to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Bill 2016 and achieved significant media coverage, resulting in the State Government committing to reassess and amend the legislation.
Victorian Infrastructure strategy
Our submission to Infrastructure Victoria’s 30 Year Strategy achieved a greater focus on local government’s priorities – community facilities development/refurbishment, maintenance of existing infrastructure, and affordable housing.
Early childhood services
Progressed negotiation of a 10-year agreement with the State for early childhood and family services to provide long-term funding and program certainty for local government beyond the political cycle.
Following MAV negotiations, the Federal and State governments signed a HACC Bilateral Agreement. It guarantees funding and no tendering of services until 30 June 2019. We now await sign-off on a trilateral agreement to recognise local government’s role as a planner, developer, funder and service provider for older people, and to retain the benefits of Victoria’s current HACC system.
LG Impact statements
Ongoing advocacy saw the State Government fulfil a commitment to introduce Local Government Impact Statements in all Cabinet submissions, which will take into account the impacts of each submission on councils.
REPUTATION AND GOVERNANCE
Stand for Council
Successfully ran the 2016 Stand for Council campaign which saw 2100 people attend 80 Candidate Information Sessions held by the MAV. A record 2,135 nominations were received in the October election and there was a 14 per cent increase in the number of female councillors elected.
Implemented all recommendations from the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office, including improvements to more than 30 internal governance policies, procedures, frameworks and plans.
Increased insurance limits
Following an independent review of the risks facing councils, MAV Insurance increased insurance limits to $500 million for public liability and professional indemnity, up from $400 million and $300 million respectively, to better protect the sector from potential catastrophic events.
Competitive product and pricing
MAV Insurance successfully retained the business of 14 out of 18 members who went to tender ahead of the 2016/17 year, demonstrating our product and pricing remains competitive even in the softest market in living memory.