CiVic Magazine Issue 5 - December 2013

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m sand/water n still benefit fro ca s er us d , elevated un e bo cubby houses • Chair/fram nels, sand pits, pa ay pl , s. ns itie workstatio fall based activ play and soft play, themed

ps. erred over ram tivities are pref ac l ve le es. nd • Grou ible from all sid ould be access sh t en pm ui • Play eq softfall. dependent on • Accessibility nd space. ross playgrou portunities ac op ay pl ry cking exercise Va • , swinging & ro ng ni in sp e setting. lik tions safe, exciting • Physical ac ion skills in a at in rd -o co d balance an












ts not on environmen sabilities and di t no s ie ilit • Focus on ab ated activities. individuals. access to elev d an s itie tiv ac ound level urage user • Promote gr ould not enco equipment sh ific ec sp lity bi • Disa segregation. ld be used to d textures shou an s le nd cing, and ha grab of travel, surfa • Hand rails, cluding route in y; rtially ilit pa ib t ss sis ce as s assist in ac rasting colour nt co ld Bo s. rm transfer platfo s. impaired user


g n i p o l e v e d Designing & play e v i s u l c n i r fo

ing, tion, role play ng, communica lvi so of m ts le en ob em • Planning, pr ory are key el ess and mem spacial awaren lopment. ese areas. cognitive deve e or more of th ld focus on on ou sh s itie tiv • Ac


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F e a t ures

R e g u l a rs 4

President’s Report


Editor’s Note


Opinion by IBAC Chief Executive Officer Alistair Maclean


Sector Connector by Verne Krastins


In Brief




5 minutes with Bendigo Cr Rod Fyffe

10 12 14 16

Activity Based Working to start with office move Cardinia Shire Council

19 20 23 25 30

Garage Sale Trail success Barwon Regional Waste Management

PVAW focuses on emergency management Mount Alexander Shire Council Improving literacy Central Goldfields Shire Council COVER STORY: Pop-up stores activate vacant shops Darebin City Council

Preserving Port Phillip Bay’s liveability Association of Bayside Municipalities Skilled migrants on work experience Whittlesea City Council Communicating planning in many languages Boroondara City Council Special Report: A New Performance Reporting Framework for Local Government Local Government Expert Advisor Michael Ulbrick

Cover photo: Small arts business owner Jacinta Power in her pop-up store, which is part of Darebin City Council’s Active Spaces project. Photo: Anthony Woodcock. This page: The new Craigieburn Central shopping and retail complex merges outdoor and indoor spaces.

Disclaimer Puffafish (“Publisher”) advises that the contents of this publication are at the sole discretion of the Municipal Association of Victoria and the publication is offered for background information purposes only. The publication has been formulated in good faith and the Publisher believes its contents to be accurate, however, the contents do not amount to a recommendation (either expressly or by implication) and should not be relied upon in lieu of specific professional advice. The Publisher disclaims all responsibility for any loss or damage which may be incurred by any reader relying upon the information contained in the publication whether that loss or damage is caused by any fault or negligence on the part of the Publisher, its directors and employees. Copyright All advertisements appearing in this publication are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced except with the consent of the owner of the copyright. Advertising Advertisements in this magazine are solicited from organisations and businesses on the understanding that no special considerations other than those normally accepted in respect of commercial dealings, will be given to any advertiser.

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Hume played a vital role in delivering a $330 million shopping and entertainment precinct to its community.

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President’s Report

Welcome to the summer edition of CiVic. Bill McArthur MAV President


’d like to start off by thanking all the councils that supported White Ribbon Day on 25 November, to help end violence against women. As an ambassador for White Ribbon, I was extremely proud to participate in the Walk Against Violence and the White Ribbon luncheon at Melbourne Town Hall. The MAV staff also attended a White Ribbon afternoon tea to throw their support behind the cause, and many councils held events for both their staff and local communities. With the year coming to an end, now is the time to reflect on 2013. Despite being disappointed that the referendum on government constitutional recognition didn’t proceed, the MAV had many other achievements to be proud of. Our advocacy secured important

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funding wins. Among them were the retention of recurrent funding for public libraries, country roads, bridges, and other regional infrastructure projects; $10 million in new funding to cover the costs of administering the new property fire services levy; and a further $21 million to help transition kindergartens to provide 15 hours for four-year-olds. We were pleased that members confirmed the MAV as preferred signatory to a revised Victoria State Local Government Agreement (VSLGA). This includes the proposed inclusion of Cabinet impact statements to consider resource impacts, costs and benefits where new or revised roles are intended for councils. We also delivered significant time and cost savings for members through collaborative procurement

including purchasing thousands of energy efficient streetlights on behalf of 45 councils and securing competitive interest rates for 42 councils to borrow a combined $400 million. Innovative projects have delivered efficiency improvements. Streatrader, a new statewide online single registration system for mobile food businesses has reduced red tape; a central IT system change enabled councils to calculate the fire services levy; and the first phase of Patchwork, a new web tool, is improving early years and youth services by connecting agencies working with vulnerable families. The MAV will finalise its election priorities ahead of the 2014 state election, with input from members. Ahead of this we want to see a commitment by the Victorian

Government in its May budget to a further four years’ funding for the Country Road and Bridges Program, the Local Government Infrastructure Program and the Putting Locals First Program. With the launch of a 40-year planning blueprint, Plan Melbourne, the MAV also seeks a coordinated and funded implementation approach to deliver on the vision. The success of Plan Melbourne will hinge on a whole-of-government approach to drive infrastructure, service delivery, investment and job creation. A long-term, funded transport infrastructure plan also remains a top priority. I wish everyone a happy and safe festive season and I look forward to catching up with you in the new year to progress further wins for councils and our communities.

Editor’s Note

One of the things I love most about working on CiVic is that I get to go to parts of Melbourne and Victoria I don’t normally frequent.


his issue, I had a great time wandering the streets of Northcote, in particular the eclectic and enticing High Street, with Darebin City Council (page 16). While my credit card may not agree, it was well worth the trip to witness the variety of crafty, unique and quite festive wares for sale in the independent stores that line the street that is being transformed under council’s fantastic Active Spaces project. A shameless plug, I know, but you really should check out Green Horse, the pop-up store featured in the centre spread. Let’s just say the nursery being prepared for the Christmas

baby was treated to a few new worldly features. So, this is the December issue, which means holidays are fast approaching for many of us and this is the last CiVic for the year. It also means CiVic has been in publication for 12 months! At this point, I would like to thank all of the councils that have supported our magazine, which is essentially your magazine. We have covered some great initiatives, innovative practices and achieved our goal to publish the great work our local government sector does for its communities. It was my goal by issue five to have covered a story from every Victorian council.

Kristi High Editor We fell short by a few but I hope to rectify this in the new year. If I haven’t uncovered a story from your council yet, I welcome any suggestions! We have also been fortunate to have the support of some great advertisers. They are often forgotten but without them, publications, in particular industry magazines, just don’t survive. Many of our advertisers are also MAV preferred suppliers so look out for the logo on the ads! Finally to our team of writers, graphic designers, advertising salespeople and MAV contributors, thank you for the part you play. Wishing everyone a safe and happy journey into 2014.

Proudly published by

Editor Kristi High § 0407 366 466 § Editorial Deadline 14 February 2014 § Advertising Tony Cornish § Design & Layout Jason Jeffery & Kathryn Steel

Contributors: Allison Harding, Verne Krastins, Michael Vibnick, Anthony Woodcock.

Scan this barcode to download the CiVic Magazine iPad App. ci v ic



Working with local government to prevent corruption Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) Chief Executive Officer Alistair Maclean

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) was established in February 2013 as Victoria’s first anti-corruption agency. Its jurisdiction covers around 3,600 Victorian public sector agencies and bodies, which employ about 267,000 public servants, along with 79 councils employing more than 38,000 people.


ocal government provides a wide range of services to the community and maintains considerable public infrastructure. According to the 2013-14 State Budget papers, Victorian local councils’ expenditure is around $7.15 billion per year, which highlights the importance of preventing corruption. For many people, dealing with local government is their most significant contact with the public sector. Councils deliver services that affect the quality of life of every person in Victoria, and are not only a major contributor to the economic and social wellbeing of local communities, but also a significant employer of people across the state. Given the resources and responsibilities entrusted in local government, ensuring community confidence in the integrity and corruption resistance of councils is vital to the people of Victoria. The overwhelming majority of local government staff act responsibly, legally and ethically. However, no civic authority is immune to corruption, and unfortunately some individuals in councils throughout Australia have seriously abused the responsibilities entrusted to them and damaged the reputation of the sector. Last year, the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption

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released its report on systemic corruption involving gifts and false invoices in 14 councils in Sydney and regional NSW. The rorts were estimated to have cost these councils around $1.8 million. Reports like this and others from Victorian integrity agencies indicate there are common themes regarding corruption in local government. Issues around procurement practices, conflict of interest, secondary employment, and managing money and information, are known areas of vulnerability for councils if robust processes and systems are not in place to deter and detect corrupt behaviour. One of IBAC’s key statutory functions is to receive and consider complaints or notifications, investigate allegations and expose instances of serious corruption or police misconduct. We have already received complaints and examined corruption allegations involving councils this year, which I’m not able to detail other than to say they have generally involved matters where poor systems and procedures have left councils exposed. Besides investigating corruption, IBAC has important functions to prevent corruption, with one of our early priorities being to work with the local government sector to build resistance to corruption.

We have recently started a research project with six councils from a mix of metropolitan, regional and rural areas across Victoria to review their integrity frameworks – the policies, procedures and practices in place to help prevent corruption. This project aims to identify corruption risks and prevention strategies, as well as possible gaps to improve IBAC’s understanding of the corruption prevention issues and challenges that are experienced across local government. It’s a collaborative research exercise to identify best practice, as well as areas for improvement, and is work that we hope can be broadly applied across the local government sector. Earlier this year, as part of IBAC’s education role, 83 protected disclosure coordinators from the local government sector attended information sessions provided by IBAC on the Protected Disclosure Act 2012, which provides protections for whistleblowers. Most councils now have information published on their website so these procedures are widely available. This involvement sends a clear message to people that corruption will not be tolerated, nor will actions be taken against people who blow the whistle. IBAC is working to form solid relationships with the Municipal

Association of Victoria and individual councils. We are also working closely with other integrity agencies including the Victorian AuditorGeneral’s Office and the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate. Through these relationships, IBAC is already exchanging information, discussing corruption risks and identifying education and training opportunities. When organisations come together with a common objective, it’s possible to achieve great things. I believe that through our strong relationships and partnerships with local councils and the local government sector, IBAC will have a considerable impact on improving local councils’ corruption resistance efforts and in curbing corruption.

How do I report corruption? Any person can make a complaint to IBAC about Victorian public sector corruption or police personnel misconduct. Victorian public sector bodies include government departments and statutory authorities (including Victorian Police), councils, councillors, schools and universities, public hospitals, Members of Parliament, judges and magistrates. Visit for more.


Sector Connector

Evidence for the masses Science is a subject close to the heart and a life long interest. Indeed, I graduated in biology.

Verne Ivars Krastins BSc (Hons), Fellow LGPro


ather than a career in science, life took another path. But I’ve always followed developments, especially discoveries that heighten our understanding of human nature or what evolutionary path we seem to be on. I also enjoy reading the more esoteric such as theoretical physics, where much is counterintuitive but plausible, hard to imagine and difficult to pin down. A little like politics.

Systems of belief

What is science? Well, it’s not a thing. Science is a process. By and large, it’s a process of falsification to eventually agree on a most probable truth. If enough attempts to disprove an idea fail, it’s probably right. Tens, hundreds, even thousands of researchers across the world conduct experiments to falsify each other’s theories and experiments. This process happens in every field, from medicine to climatology. So, science is not a system of belief, but one for creating it. This is a powerful path to knowledge, but not a natural one. As humans, we tend to think the other way round – decide on a truth and find evidence to support it.


The biggest difference between science and politics is how rigorous you think proof needs to be. The onus of proof is fundamental to science, in that you’re likely to be ridiculed and professionally ostracised

Illustration by Kathryn Steel.

if pushing unsupportable theories. That hardly matters in politics, and it can work for you if constituents become polarised on an issue, or can be made so. This goes as far as cherry picking science. First, put aside any consensus that weakens the veracity of your belief, then create a body of selective evidence (and opinion), which supports it and/or casts doubt on the alternatives. The basic technique is to say plausibility is sufficient evidence, doubt is disproof enough, and to put the burden of proof always on the other.


With these observations in mind, I find the notion of evidence-based policy making pretty scary. When policy makers seek evidence to support a stance, they may well look for best practice but not necessarily for testable truth. They’ll seek validation for the starting point, not falsification. The risk of ending up with a fallacious policy is pretty high I’d say. Scientists are human and act politically too. What they can’t do though is ignore the evidence, say the earth is flat and keep their jobs. They’d have to become lobbyists. The most influential politicians can and do though.

Debate on the ifs and whats of global warming are an example. Another, the Creationists who deny evolution (especially in the USA), and of course in the mid 20th century, theories of racial supremacy changed everything. Political method, not scientific, is to blame for it all. Improvements in science education might help, so that journalists and Jo Public understand better what is and isn’t good evidence. I’d agree, but that may still not do the trick. Humans want the comfort of certainty even more than righteousness, and science can’t help with that.  ci v ic



Hume’s new

ai gi eb ur n

Craigieburn has a new heart that is set to pump renewed community pride and spirit into the key growth area while providing a significant boost to its local economy.


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raigieburn Central, a $330 million shopping and entertainment precinct, was officially opened in November, creating a new town centre. It has been 20 years since forwardthinking Hume City Councillors first earmarked the precinct for a major retail development in the 1993 Craigieburn Strategy Plan. Now, with the completion of Craigieburn Central, a vibrant and

Top: The new shopping precinct gives locals a place to shop, eat, drink and meet. Above: A new town centre has been created in Hume with the opening of a $330 million shopping and entertainment precinct in Craigieburn. Photo: Anthony Woodcock. 8  ci v ic

active space for future generations has emerged. Spread across 50,000 square metres and located a short distance from the popular Hume Global Learning Centre, it features landscaped public spaces, meeting places and an exciting new entertainment and leisure precinct. Between 1993 and 2008 the vacant site changed hands a number of times but remained undeveloped, and a pipe dream for both council and the community. In 2008, property group Lend Lease purchased the land with a vision to work with council to develop a retail and entertainment precinct, and construction commenced in 2011. “This project is an example of good planning and what a solid relationship with the developer can achieve,” Hume CEO Domenic Isola said. “We wanted to create a new heart for Craigieburn that would require the construction of roads, streetscapes that had appeal, and significant pedestrian works.” While collaborating with the developer, Hume also worked closely with the community. “The development of this land has been high on the community’s agenda,” Mr Isola said. “We had continuing feedback that our residents had nowhere to spend their time, have a meal or go shopping. “It had been difficult for council to keep reiterating the fact that our hands were tied because we didn’t own the land.” While the developer put forward a design that would meet its retail and entertainment precinct agenda,

council focused on the town amenity and appearance. Designs were put out for public consultation via council’s website and at community meetings. “Council made a genuine commitment that this was our top priority, and we would get it done,” Mr Isola said. “What made it a reality was that Lend Lease shared that commitment we had made to our community.” While the developer focused on the design and construction elements of the precinct, council did its job by building the supporting road infrastructure. “Over 18 months, we met weekly with Lend Lease to minimise red tape and work through solutions to any problems that arose,” Mr Isola said. “It was this working partnership that allowed this significant project to be completed inside two years.” After less than two years from signing-off on the final design, Craigieburn Central has proven to be the perfect merge between indoor and outdoor shopping centres. Combining ‘main street’ shopping with fully enclosed malls, it has transformed Craigieburn into a key regional shopping and retail destination with more than 160 new retailers including department stores, restaurants, a fresh food market, cinema complex, and leisure and entertainment facilities.

Around 5,000 people attended council’s Job Fair ahead of the Craigieburn Central opening.

New precinct delivers thousands of jobs Craigieburn’s new town centre is expected to create around 2,000 jobs once all retail tenancies have been filled. Council has been working with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to connect job seekers and employers and fill vacancies with local people where possible.

Prior to Craigieburn Central opening, council coordinated a Jobs Fair to inform locals about employment opportunities at the new precinct. Held at the Global Learning Centre, the Jobs Fair attracted 5,000 people, giving retailers an opportunity to meet the local pool of talent seeking work closer to home. Retailers collected

“This project sets a benchmark for a town centre in a new and developing area that has learning and education, health, recreation, sport and jobs,” Mr Isola said. “For a growing community these things are expected, but for the outer suburbs there is not always the space.

“We are fortunate to have created a space that our community can be proud of. They have fought loudly and continuously over a long period of time so they deserve it.” Hume is now seeking state and federal government funding for stage 2 of the Craigieburn Central project,

2,800 CVs and many conducted on-the-spot interviews, with some lucky candidates securing one of the 880 jobs available on the day. The Job Fair initiative earned Hume City Council’s Economic Development and Learning Community departments an internal council award for best engagement with the local community.

which includes the construction of a sports, recreation and events precinct to the north of the town centre. Planning is underway and it is expected to include an aquatic and fitness centre, regional athletics track, event space and park areas, pathways and play spaces.

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Cardinia’s move to a smarter working way Cardinia Shire Council is preparing to relocate from its 1980s office building into a new, futuristic, purpose-built civic centre designed for Activity Based Working.

Cardinia will move into its new state-of-the-art civic centre mid-2014.


aving outgrown its Pakenham-based offices, built for 55 staff, the new civic centre at Officer will consolidate council’s 280-plus employees in one location. Taking the opportunity of building a new civic centre from the ground up to explore more efficient ways of working, Cardinia’s new Activity Based Working model is expected to deliver greater staff productivity. Originating in the Netherlands, Activity Based Working enables a more flexible and mobile working environment. Staff are not assigned offices or desks, but rather, operate in spaces 1 0  ci v ic

appropriate to the activity they are working on. Cardinia is the first council in Australia to embrace this concept, which is becoming increasingly popular among banks and other corporations both in Australia and overseas. Cardinia Mayor Graeme Moore said Activity Based Working was a smarter way of working. “At the moment we have a traditional office setup which provides for all staff to be seated at the same desk day in, day out,” he said. “An Activity Based Working environment provides freedom of choice for staff to decide where

they want to work and who they need to collaborate with to get their work done. “There will be a choice of diverse work settings within the new building allowing the ability to be more flexible and work in multiple locations.” Research into Activity Based Working shows it strengthens cross collaboration, team interaction and fosters creativity and innovation. “Most importantly, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to rethink the way staff work to provide excellent service to our customers and the community,” Cr Moore said. One of council’s drivers for adopting an Activity Based Working

model was to break down silos and work more collaboratively. This work commenced early in 2013 to prepare staff for the move. Since this time, council has rolled out some of the elements of Activity Based Working, which relies on clever use of technology. In February 2013, light laptops called Ultrabooks were introduced and have been rolled-out across the organisation. Cardinia Activity Based Working Project Director Di Ashton said because staff do not have a desk, the Ultrabook was essential. “Staff take their Ultrabook everywhere,” she said.

Cardinia Shire Council will adopt an Activity Based Working model when it moves offices in 2014, which aims to break down silos and promote collaboration. Image: DesignInc.

“In meetings, minutes become live, providing a quicker and more efficient use of meeting and postmeeting time.” Better use of technology has also resulted in council reducing its paper usage by half, saving around $70,000 in paper and photocopying expenses. Workspaces that replicate some areas being built into the new civic centre design are also being trialed to acclimatise staff to their upcoming work environment. “We are trialing spaces to encourage people to move to different places around the existing civic centre like

informal chat areas and confidential spaces,” Ms Ashton said. “Managers are moving out of their offices to free up space and these offices are being used as meeting places.” Cardinia has spent a lot of time engaging and consulting with staff that are supportive of the move to Activity Based Working. “There is certainly a lot of change management required when considering implementing Activity Based Working,” Ms Ashton said. “Firstly, there is the integration of physical space, the introduction of

The new Cardinia Shire Council Civic Centre is expected to open mid-2014. It will include different collaborative spaces ranging from desks for one or duos to work from a shared screen. There will be spaces that look like halfcircles with collaborative tables and more formal areas that can be booked for a confidential chat or a training session. Some traditional desks will still exist for officers to send emails or write reports. There is a library for reading and teams can meet in the onsite café. Staff are assigned a locker for personal items with nearby hubs to check-in and get organised for the day. new technology, and a move away from paper dependence. “Over almost 12 months, we have held an all-staff briefing from our CEO along with other information sessions about why we are doing this so staff understand. “We are very pleased that there has been no push back and council staff can really see the value in having a workplace that is more productive and where people will be more engaged as we strive for better outcomes both internally and externally.” In staff satisfaction surveys at organisations where an Activity

Based Working model is already in place, 95 per cent say they feel more connected than before and would never want to move back to a traditional environment. “We are hoping that our staff will be happier and more engaged and efficient to deliver better outcomes for the Cardinia community,” Mr Ashton said. Council’s transition to Activity Based Working was recognised at the recent Local Government Information Communication Technology conference where Cardinia received the Innovation Fellowship Award.

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Stopping violence against women –

a global emergency As if coping with a natural disaster is not enough, many women face violence from their domestic partner in the wake of a fire, flood, cyclone or earthquake.


n the United States, intimate partner violence increased four-fold after Hurricane Katrina (2005), and police reported call-outs to domestic violence incidents doubled over the weekend of Christchurch’s devastating earthquakes in 2010. Closer to home, research showed a similar story after the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009, sparking a need for more awareness raising to prevent violence against women as part of emergency management.

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The Central Victorian Prevention of Violence Against Women (PVAW) Cluster is focusing on gender and emergency management as part of a three-and-a-half year project funded by the Office of Women’s Affairs. The three cluster councils – Mount Alexander, Greater Bendigo and Macedon Ranges – are working together to rollout a range of activities under the Prevention of Violence Against Women in Our Community project.

One of the first actions completed this year was the establishment of the Macedon Ranges Municipal Emergency Management Planning sub-committee to explore emergency management and preventing violence against women and how agencies involved in planning, response and recovery could consider gender in the work they do. Alongside this work, lead cluster council, Mount Alexander, conducted a training workshop to educate about gender equity, and

raise awareness about preventing violence against women in times of natural disasters. Held in Mount Alexander, the workshop attracted 22 staff and volunteers from emergency response and recovery agencies across the three shires. Participants included representatives from Country Fire Authority, Country Women’s Association, Red Cross, Victoria Police and the three cluster councils. Mount Alexander PVAW Project Coordinator Teresa Dowd, who works

Mount Alexander, Greater Bendigo and Macedon Ranges shire councils participated in an advisory group to assist the MAV rollout its Gender and Emergency Management Strategy. As part of this work, a series of fact sheets were developed to provide practical advice to councils about integrating gender issues with emergency management. Local government plays an important role in emergency management, both in partnership with others and through its own legislated emergency management obligations. While not emergency response agencies, councils have an integral role in: §§Developing emergency management plans §§Undertaking mitigation activities §§Communicating with, and providing information to, communities §§Providing support to response agencies §§Coordinating relief and recovery for local communities. Read more about gender and emergency management by downloading the fact sheets from the MAV website,, under Policy and Services/Emergency Management/Gender and Emergency Management.

across the three councils, said the workshop was designed to respond to a recognised need for emergency workers to have a basic understanding of family violence. “There is a body of international evidence showing that in times of natural disasters, family violence increases,” she said. A report by Women‘s Health Goulburn North East titled The way he tells it ... Relationships after Black Saturday (2011), was based on interviews with women who worked in emergency services and others personally affected by the fires. “The report showed that for some women who had previous experience of family violence, its intensity and frequency escalated,” Ms Dowd said. “For others it was new and terrifying, coming in the wake of the trauma caused by fires.” After the training, the majority of participants had a better

understanding of the prevalence, and types, of family violence. “Around 75 per cent of participants reported that they felt better skilled to take some action should they feel someone was experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, family violence, such as making an appropriate approach such as offering referrals,” Ms Dowd said. The rural cluster has developed information sheets with statistics of violence against women during emergency events that are handed out at fire preparedness sessions. Ms Dowd said there were mixed reactions from people when presented with the facts on violence against women. “People tend to be interested, and surprised,” she said. “Most of their questions are around ‘why does this happen’? “If you come from a premise that one of the causes is gender inequality

and having clearly defined gender roles, those notions of masculinity can be undermined in a natural disaster. “For example, if a man’s house has burnt down and he is supposed to be the protector, this may cause increased stress and anxiety. “Similarly, women report that they are left to do things that may not be their gender role like operating the pump or deciding on whether the family should stay-or-go.” Gender and emergency management will be an ongoing focus of the Central Victorian PVAW Cluster, which will continue to provide community information and awareness raising sessions about the increase in violence against women in times of disaster, particularly as the 2013/14 bushfire season approaches.

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Contact: Workplace Emergency Management, Metropolitan Fire Brigade 450 Burnley Street, Richmond VIC 3121 Phone: 1800 668 006 Fax: (03) 9420 3890 Email: Web: ci v ic


Read All About It at Central Goldfields A two-year literacy program led by Central Goldfields Shire Council is raising awareness that communication, listening, reading and writing is a community‑wide responsibility.


he Read All About It program, which falls under the state government funded Go Goldfields project, is nearing the end of its first year. In an effort to improve the literacy levels of children within the shire, which have been low compared to other parts of the state, Go Goldfields has taken the lead through the development and implementation of an integrated children’s literacy approach. Working in partnership with community leaders, groups, childcare services, schools and families, the program is having success in raising awareness about the importance of developing pre-literacy skills for 0-3 year olds through a number of creative hands-on activities. Research shows that from birth to three years is a critical time for a child to develop pre-emergent literacy skills, which form the basis for all future learning. Go Goldfields Children’s Literacy Facilitators Lisa D’Onofrio and Julie Gittus said pre-literacy was a primary focus of the project. “We want to raise awareness about what literacy is and that it is not just reading and writing, it is about communication, listening, speaking, and getting your point of view across,” Ms D’Onofrio said. “A focus of our work is to support families build on their parenting knowledge to ensure optimal literacy outcomes for their children,” Ms Gittus added. Around 250 babies, young children and their parents gathered in the Maryborough Town Hall recently for the first Playgroup Extravaganza. The purpose of the event was to recognise and support the important role playgroups provide families. Playgroups from across the shire attended the event where children and parents experienced over 10 different literacy based activities such as bookmaking, music

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Above: Its Rhyme Time. Bottom left: Reading to young children enhances literacy. Bottom right: Free books are available from book boxes.

therapy, rhyme sessions and drama workshops. Free books are also available from book boxes that have been placed in community venues such as the council office, Centrelink, the Maternal and Child Health service, and a local bakery. The boxes were built by the Men’s Shed and decorated by playgroup families. “Evidence shows that easy physical access to appropriate reading materials has a positive impact on children’s verbal abilities,” Ms D’Onofrio said. “The boxes give a clear message that the shire supports literacy, as well offering a

practical way to encourage children and families to engage with books and reading.” There has also been a focus on developing awareness about the strong link between rhymes and literacy in the shire with council supporting weekly Baby Rhyme Time sessions for 0-2 year olds in the library, and fortnightly at the Maternal and Child Health clinic. “There are dramatic benefits to literacy gained through exposure to rhymes,” Ms Gittus said.

“Rhymes provide an excellent foundation for building preliteracy skills. “Plus babies and young children love being sung to and will soon have a favourite rhyme that will come in very handy when a child needs comforting.” A program with VCAL students at the Maryborough Education Centre has been trialled where students run Baby Rhyme Time sessions at the school for parents and their young children. Dialogic Reading, a concept that encourages children to be active participants at story time, has also been implemented. “Dialogic Reading is a rather clunky name but it refers to the fact that this method of interactive reading involves having a stepped dialogue with the child during the process of reading the book,” Ms D’Onofrio said. “Children are being read ‘with’ rather than ‘to’, and treated as conversationalists. This provides opportunities to improve comprehension, expression and oral language skills.” Training for early years’ professionals has been held in partnership with the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation. This included a five-day course with participants completing 100 practical hours while being mentored by the foundation to gain a Certificate IV in Early Language and Literacy. “The staff who have completed the training relished the opportunity to learn more about literacy and how they can continue to assist in providing a strong foundation in pre-literacy skills,” Ms D’Onofrio said. The Read All About It program will continue to evolve over the coming year. Developed under the OTTAWA Charter principles, for example building healthy policy to create change and not just provide service delivery, council hopes to make a real difference to local children’s literacy outcomes.

Bendigo pioneers environmental pipes


reater Bendigo City Council has become the first organisation in Australia to use a new, environmentally friendly, cement-free concrete pipe for drainage works. The Environmental Concrete Pipe (ECP) is made of recycled materials and was used in a drainage extension project in Strathdale recently. Greater Bendigo Manager of Works Alex Malone said ECP was the first low carbon concrete pipe to be produced in Australia. “The pipes are manufactured by Reinforced Concrete Pipes Australia at a factory in Kilmore,” he said. “This company is a leader in technology and innovation, producing concrete pipes to the highest standard of accuracy and durability.” ECP pipes reduce the carbon footprint by using low carbon waste products such as fly ash and slag combined with a proprietary alkaline activator for the required properties for a binder, which replaces high

Benefits of ECP §§Carbon Dioxide emissions reduced by up to 80 per cent by eliminating Portland cement in the concrete mix

§§Recycled materials are used instead of virgin materials

§§Structural properties are equivalent to that of Portland cement pipes

§§Low shrinkage §§Superior resistance to chemical attack

§§Enhanced fire resistance Reinforced Concrete Pipes Australia supplied the first Environmental Concrete Pipe to Greater Bendigo City Council.

carbon Portland cement. “The pipes are specified in exactly the same way as traditional concrete pipes and meet both Australian and New Zealand standards,” Mr Malone said.

Greater Bendigo looks to source environmentally friendly products where possible. “The ECP pipes are good quality, they join easily and look similar to the traditional concrete

§§Improved durability pipes but environmentally they are a much better alternative,” said Mr Malone. Council plans to use the ECP pipes again for an upcoming project at the Bendigo Airport.

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pops up in vac ant spaces

(L-R) Business owner Jacinta Power with Darebin City Council officers Sarah Poole and Wendy Dinning at Greenhorse, a recently transformed pop-up shop on High Street.


Before: A typical vacant shopfront on High Street in Northcote, covered in bill-posters and graffiti. 1 6  ci v ic


After: Transformed into a pop-up gallery as part of Darebin’s Active Spaces, the revitalised shopfront grabs the attention of passers-by. Artwork by Leib Leventhal.

The rise of the once humble pop up store has turned old derelict vacant shops into vibrant new small arts businesses along one of Darebin’s busiest shopping strips.


he reinvigoration of the High Street Northcote retail precinct is part of Darebin City Council’s innovative Active Spaces project, a sophisticated and sustainable program that combines economic development with arts and culture. Following a 12-month trial, Active Spaces is here to stay and the project is providing great benefit to small arts businesses, shop owners, and council. In 2011-12, Darebin started exploring the idea of turning vacant tenancies in Northcote into active retail spaces. It succeeded in turning four long-term empty shops into galleries, displaying art created by local artists and designers. Now, small arts businesses just can’t wait for a new space to become available for their turn at a pop-up store on some of the municipality’s busiest retail strips. Fully funded in council’s 2013-14 budget, Active Spaces is proving to be a sustainable long-term program for council with 15 former vacant shopfronts converted into pop-up shops in Northcote, and there are plans for more in nearby shopping precincts like Fairfield and Preston. Active Spaces is an internal collaboration between Darebin’s Economic Development and Creative Culture teams, which is successfully combining business and arts. Economic Development Coordinator Wendy Dinning manages the program while Sarah Poole from the arts and culture team coordinates on-the-ground requirements like finding vacant

spaces and negotiating with owners and new business hopefuls. “Active Spaces originated from council’s intention to renew High Street,” Ms Dinning said. “In 2011 there were 13 shops on High Street that had been vacant for anywhere between two and 10 years. “They were not officially up for lease and were covered in bill-posters and graffiti, making them unattractive to anyone looking for retail space in the precinct.” Council granted Active Spaces $50,000 from its new initiative fund to reinvigorate High Street based on the Renew Newcastle model. “While we used some of the principles of the widely promoted Renew Newcastle project, we did face a number of unique challenges,” Ms Poole said. “Firstly, the number of individually owned premises that were vacant on High Street meant we spent considerable time and effort tracking down the owners.” Council started by speaking with real estate agents who helped contact the shop owners. “For a long time, council had no relationship with landowners and while we felt it was time to start working together for everyone’s benefit, our intentions were met with some suspicion,” Ms Poole said. “So, we decided we just had to get started. “The project began with one shop in a great spot that for the first few months we just put a poster in the window advertising Active Spaces and what we were doing.

“We displayed some local art pieces. Then, we were off.” In June 2012 the project was launched at the Northcote Business Association’s annual Northern Exposure event, where council had successfully negotiated with one landlord to use two vacant shopfront windows to showcase local artists. Since then, council has received an average of 10 enquiries from small arts businesses eager for their own shopfront each month. The first step is a conversation or a meeting with Ms Poole, who is affectionately known internally as ‘Miss Reality’. “Many of the businesses are creative and they all come with a story, which we like,” Ms Poole said. “However, the economic development side to this project means we need to talk to potential business owners about the practicalities – rent, insurance, planning permits, building permits.” If the business is still keen, Darebin assists by identifying a property, supporting the licensing process, offering initial and ongoing business support, providing education and information, and assisting with a business plan. “This process can be slow, and each small business has a unique profile, but we acknowledge that it is essential to the success of Active Spaces and to the success of each individual small arts business,” Ms Dinning said. Over the Melbourne Cup long weekend, Green Horse popped up on High Street. Described by its owner, Jacinta Power, as ‘lifestyle with a conscience’, the handpicked selection of fair trade clothing and homewares is now on show. After operating as an online business for the past 12 months, Ms Power has signed a six-month

lease on a High Street property she had been coveting for years. “This is a great thrill for me,” she said. “Online is great and it served its purpose but you don’t get to see the joy on your customer’s face, or solve their problems, when they make a purchase online.” A former business fashion student, Ms Power had a well-prepared business plan but acknowledges that starting-up can be tough. “Having council, someone you trust, holding your hand and providing accurate advice on the ins-and-outs of running a business, from insurance to dealing with real estate agents, has been fantastic,” she said. Active Spaces is attracting attention nationally, with council named a finalist at this year’s Economic Development Australia Awards, and feedback from the community, local traders and artists is all positive. “For the small arts businesses, they have an opportunity to trial their idea in a low risk environment,” Ms Dinning said. “The property owner earns a small rent while enjoying the benefits of showcasing a shop that is demonstrating a commercial lease arrangement. “The real estate agent is able to show more interested people through a shop which is activated and is appealing which assists a new tenant to visualise their business within this retail environment.” Even neighbouring traders are pleased with the project, acknowledging that pop-up shops bring new customers and products to the shopping strip while improving the amenity of the area. “The results of this initiative are that the shopping strip is more welcoming, visually appealing, and there is a reduction of posters and graffiti,” Ms Dinning said.

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g e a r h a t g e n i s o a j l e s l t i r c a n i u l o C Garage sales are great for de-cluttering, but, as the Garage Sale Trail proved, they also have enormous environmental benefits, can raise funds for charity, and create many new community connections. At the launch of the Garage Sale Trail (L-R) Borough of Queenscliffe Cr Graham Christie, Greater Geelong Cr Bruce Harwood, Chairperson Barwon Regional Waste Management Andy Richards, Executive Officer Barwon Regional Waste Management Enzo Bruscella, Barwon’s Garage Sale Trail Ambassador Hugo T Armstrong, Mayor Surf Coast Shire Cr Libby Coker and Mayor Colac Otway Shire Cr Lyn Russell.


ince starting in one NSW council area in 2010, the innovative Garage Sale Trail has grown into a national program that successfully diverted one million items from landfill in just two years, raised $3 million for local communities, and helped 800,000 people meet their neighbours. This year, the annual weekend event was held on 26 October, was supported by 110 councils nationwide and four state governments. In Victoria, 25 councils signed-up to be part of the Garage Sale Trail, joining Victorian partners the MAV, Sustainability Victoria and Leader Newspaper Group. Garage Sale Trail aims to promote the re-use of unwanted goods, reduce waste to landfill, unite communities and stimulate local economies. Taking the lead in its area, Barwon Regional Waste Management Group coordinated promotional activities

to attract registrations across its four participating councils – Surf Coast, Greater Geelong, Borough of Queenscliffe and Colac Otway. Appointing local Geelong-based company Pace Advertising, Barwon Regional Waste Management’s coordinated efforts paid off by exceeding expectations in the number of garage sales held across the four municipalities. Targets set by Garage Sale Trail and the state government anticipated between 87 and 139 garage sales would be held across the four Barwon councils. On the day, there was a total of 168 registered garage sales, selling more than 40,000 items. The high number of garage sales in the region, which included Surf Coast doubling its expected 12-19 sales, has been largely attributed to the promotion of Garage Sale Trail. The campaign kicked off with a launch attended by all councils in the garage of Pace Advertising. Decked out

as an authentic garage sale, it attracted media and a list of invited guests. Among the guests was local personality and founder of the popular Blues Train Hugo T Armstrong, who was appointed ambassador of the Garage Sale Trail. A self-confessed garagista, Mr Armstrong used his strong passion for collecting items at garage sales to promote Garage Sale Trail. Mr Armstrong’s passion for bargain hunting and high local profile assisted in widespread media coverage across local newspapers and radio stations, including the ABC and K-Rock. An advertising campaign also ran in local newspapers, and councils promoted the event with mini garage sale displays in the foyer of council offices. Barwon Regional Waste Management Executive Enzo Bruscella said the councils provided leadership through promoting the Garage Sale Trail.

“The councils played a major role in promoting the event and encouraging community organisations and householders to participate,” he said. Barwon’s charitable nature came out during the Garage Sale Trail, with 95 per cent of sellers committing their earnings to a charity or community organisations. In addition, 10,000 new community connections were made with each seller meeting 20 new people and having a conversation with another 13 locals. Barwon Regional Waste Management Chairperson Andy Richards said Garage Sale Trail was about making sustainability fun and social. “Garage Sale Trail provides an opportunity to promote reusing items and reducing waste to landfill. It’s about communities coming together on one day to de-clutter, discover a treasure, make or donate some extra cash and form new neighbourly connections,” he said.  ci v ic


Maintaining Port Phillip’s liveability By Allison Harding

Port Phillip Bay offers so much to so many – stunning views, safe beaches, cycling and walking tracks, diving, snorkeling, boating and fishing, as well as foreshore bushland.


eople will always want to live and play on Victoria’s coastline, and businesses can flourish in such locales. But residents and business operators need to be aware of the potential risks associated with being so close to the open water, especially as climate change throws up challenges. The Association of Bayside Municipalities (ABM) is identifying these risks and investigating ways councils and their communities can be better prepared, more resilient, or look for joint opportunities for action. The association, founded in 1974, represents the 10 councils* that front Port Phillip Bay. While each council has unique issues, the careful management of the bay is the common link. For the past three years, the association and its partners has been investigating if economic cost benefit modelling can help local decision-making in response to future coastal flooding. Coastal communities are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to the potential for inundation associated with increasing sea levels and more intense rainfall. The combined effects of sea level rise and increased rain exacerbates flood risk and growing numbers of people and properties will be exposed to flooding over coming decades. This is expected to cause damage, or loss, to property and natural assets, as well as social and economic disruption. While some of the specific details around when and how significant future climate change

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will affect communities remains to be determined, councils are planning the best they can. An important step has been the Coastal Adaptation Pathways Project, funded by the Australian and Victorian governments. Focusing on five coastal localities around the Port Phillip Bay, the project investigated the best ways to plan for impacts such as increased catchment flooding coinciding with higher sea levels, tidal storm surges and extreme weather. Using data from Melbourne Water and the state government, the project assessed the current and future economic value of the case study area and then looked at the cost of flood damage. A number of adaptation pathways were then costed. The project used the current state government policy of sea levels rising by 0.8 metres by 2100, and that rainfall intensity could increase by 32 per cent by 2100. ABM Executive Officer Bernie Cotter said even under worstcase scenarios, the benefits and advantages were so great that people would always want to buy and live by the coast. “Avoiding or even retreating from the sites were not seen as serious options,” he said. “However, people expect that councils and the state government will have responsible plans for managing these areas for the future while looking for solutions to local problems now.” The project taught the participants a lot about planning for the future, the value of cooperation and collaboration, and determined useful frameworks.

About the ABM and coastal adaptation projects

Above: People will flock to the sea. Left: Coastal communities are vulnerable to climate change because of increasing sea levels and increasing heavy rainfall.

“The Pathways Project was the first step in improving understanding of the likely severity of flooding caused by extreme weather and a changing climate,” Mr Cotter said. “It also gave us a better understanding of the limitations of our initial investigation, the other values we should measure and the need to understand what drives the coastal processes in the bay better.

“There are many gaps and, of course, we don’t know when extreme weather conditions will happen, and how severe climate impacts will be – but we can use what we have as a base for further work.” Melbourne’s population is growing at an astonishing rate, which is something all coastal councils and the Victorian Government need to take into account together with the future impact of climate change.

“Municipalities need to think about how they maintain their liveability status as populations increase,” Mr Cotter said. “We need to look at solutions and opportunities that are both innovative and flexible.” The bayside municipalities are now developing a regional coastal adaptation plan, partly funded through the Victorian Government’s Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership program.

*The Association of Bayside Municipalities comprises the City of Bayside, City of Frankston, City of Greater Geelong, City of Hobsons Bay, City of Kingston, City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip, City of Wyndham, the Shire of Mornington Peninsula, and the Borough of Queenscliffe. The Coastal Adaptation Pathways Project used case studies from Kingston, Melbourne, Port Phillip, and Mornington Peninsula. The case study sites were Arden Macaulay, Elwood Canal, Mordialloc Creek, Murray Anderson Catchment, and Southbank. The Pathways Project was developed through a partnership between the ABM, the MAV and Central Coastal Board, with funding support from the Australian and Victorian governments. Learn more about the Pathways project at: adaptationproject/ The new Port Phillip Bay Regional Coastal Adaptation Plan, funded through a recent Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership grant, has already attracted 25 partners and will begin in 2014.

Victorian Local Government Sustainability Website The Victorian Local Government Sustainability Website has been re-launched with new features:

> Tutorial videos > Better navigation > Improved search options > New publication newsletters > Join the conversation on Yammer The official site for all Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership projects - sharing ideas, solutions and information for better environmental outcomes.

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Times have changed. Community expectations of local government have changed. If it ever was, local government is no longer only about roads, rates and rubbish. We’re all aware of that. Elected members and Council officers often talk about competing expectations, needs and resources with local businesses, constituents and community organisations having different ideas about the role of your Council and how resources should be allocated. So, how do you meet the expectations of your Council’s complex and unique environment? Better outcomes can be achieved from the resources you currently have through innovation in your business model and collaboration across organisations – including yours! Since 1990, Enterprising Partnerships has worked with Australian municipalities to identify, select, implement and evaluate local innovative solutions to local issues. “When we began working with local governments in Victoria, life was less complex. At the time, most Councils took it upon themselves to provide more than the proverbial ‘three R’s’

but were not expected to drive local leadership, enterprise and not-for-profit innovation. Councils are now central to the economic and social development of their communities,” said Chief Executive Officer, Lynda Ford. Focusing on innovative processes, leadership development, executive coaching and collaboration skills, Enterprising Partnerships works with local governments to grow smallmedium enterprise within their economies. Focusing on innovative municipal social policy and strategy creation, Enterprising Partnerships recognises the significant resources local governments commit to their not-for-profit sector each year. “Our team works with Councils to assure well governed, well skilled and well resourced community-based organisations which deliver safer, more inclusive, vibrant and intercultural communities.”

Enterprising Innovation and collaboration are the keys. Life for local governments is too complex these days to have only one point of view on an issue. We work closely with Councils to bring together teams from within and external to their organisation so that innovative solutions can be identified from a range of different perspectives,” said Ms Ford.

Lynda Ford

For more information, please go to or contact Lynda on 0414 440 483 or

MAV EVENTS 2014 save the date

MAY 7-8 16 21-22 29

Infrastructure and Asset Management Conference State Council Future of Local Government Conference CEO Forum

JUNE 11-12

Future of Communities: Power to the People

JULY 25-27

Warrnambool City Council, 18 February 12pm - 2pm Council offices, Warrnambool

Councillor Development Weekend

Metro two sessions, 26 February 2pm - 4pm & 6pm - 8pm MAV office, Melbourne

AUGUST 13-14 LGICT Conference SEPTEMBER 11 CEO Forum OCTOBER 23 Annual Conference & Dinner 24 State Council

STRATEGIC PLANNING MEETINGS Wangaratta City Council, 4 February 12pm - 2pm Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre Latrobe City Council, 14 February 2pm - 5pm Location to be confirmed

Yarriambiack Shire Council, 28 February 1pm - 3pm Council offices, Warracknabeal Geelong City Council, 3 March 4pm - 6pm Council offices, Geelong City of Greater Bendigo Council, 12 March 11.45am - 1.45pm Council offices, Bendigo To RSVP please contact Gavin Mahoney via email or phone (03) 9667 5564 or 0419 486 646

Skilled migrants get work ready


unique work experience program is helping adult skilled migrants and refugees overcome employment challenges through placements at Whittlesea City Council. The Work Ready Program started as a pilot in 2010, and since then Whittlesea has placed almost 50 adult migrants and refugees living within its municipality in work experience roles across the organisation. The work experience program was an action in council’s Multicultural Plan 2007-2011, called Many Faces One Community Valuing Diversity, which won a Diversity At Work Award in 2010. Now an ongoing council program, which is a collaboration between the multicultural and human resource units, the Work Ready Program has resulted in eight roles filled within council and at least another eight in other organisations. Among these is an Iranian civil engineer now working for a leading engineering company, and a hospitality professional working at multiple local restaurants. Madeleine Nguidjol, a skilled migrant with a human resource management background, had been in Australia for two years when she was engaged as a volunteer at Whittlesea between October 2009 and April 2010.

Ms Nguidjol’s role was to conduct a research project engaging staff across council departments. “I interviewed managers and directors and marketed the idea of a migrant and refugee work experience program internally,” Ms Nguidjol said. “During the process, I was able to sell the idea by talking about the barriers for migrants and why they would be looking for jobs and the challenges they have because I was living proof of someone with qualifications that could not find employment.” Council endorsed a final report on the Work Ready Program pilot and after a recruitment process Ms Nguidjol was appointed Work Ready Project Officer later in 2010. Around the same time, Work Ready was adopted by the Leading Embracing and Accepting Diversity program, which Whittlesea had just become one of two councils funded through VicHealth. Work Ready is a successful pathway for employment, helping participants overcome employment challenges. Its clear aims are to build participants’ skills, networks and confidence while providing knowledge and experience about working in Australia. Ms Nguidjol said council also benefitted from the program by identifying potential new employees.

(L-R) Work Ready participants now employed at Whittlesea City Council, Civil Environmental Engineer Renton Zhang, Administration Officer Winas Mana and Civil Engineer Waleed Aftab with Work Ready Project Officer Madeleine Nguidjol.

“Migrants and refugees have a lot to offer Australian industry in terms of skills, potential, diversity, adaptability, motivation, international ideas and networks,” Ms Nuigdjol said. “They are often highly motivated to find work on arrival in Australia, but challenges such as English proficiency, cultural barriers, lack of experience and professional networks often excludes them from finding work.” The Work Ready Program is open to candidates all year round by applying on council’s website. Successful participants are asked to commit 12 hours each week for 8-12 weeks. Placements are negotiated with council’s department managers ranging from civic administration to engineering and transportation, infrastructure

to leisure services and planning. Candidates are screened and interviewed before being matched to a department’s needs and when placed they have access to training and job opportunities. Council provides a small reimbursement to cover expenses such as travel costs. Any adult with migrant or refugee status living within Whittlesea’s boundaries can apply for the Work Ready Program as long as they meet the eligibility criteria that includes competency in conversational English. Work experience candidates are sourced from program partner organisations such as Whittlesea Community Connections, Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre and the Overseas Qualifications Unit of NMIT.

Cultural Diversity Week 15 - 23 March 2014 The Victorian Multicultural Commission encourages all local government agencies to help us celebrate our diversity by hosting a Cultural Diversity Week activity. Event registrations will open in January 2014, and you can order free resources to help brand and promote your event.

15–23 March 2014

For more information and to register, visit or email ci v ic


Australian Cricket Captain Michael Clarke has pledged his support to the Racism. It Stops with Me campaign, giving permission for his image to be used on billboards like this one in Geelong.

The MAV has joined a number of Victorian councils in a campaign to stop racism. n initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Racism. It Stop with Me promotes a clear understanding within communities about what racism is, and how it can be prevented and reduced. This three-year campaign forms part of a federal government strategy aimed at addressing racism experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people

from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. It invites all Australians to reflect on what they can do to counter racism. Since its inception in 2011, the campaign has already attracted enormous support from the community with over 70 organisations already signing the Racism.It Stops with Me Campaign pledge. Some of the organisations signing up to this Campaign include: Australian

Multicultural Foundation, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Human Rights Law Centre, the Centre for Multicultural Youth, the Fred Hollows Foundation, Victorian Legal Aid, Ventura Bus Lines, Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian Council of Social Services, and the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia. Among the Victorian councils to pledge their support are Ballarat,

Darebin, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Greater Dandenong, Greater Geelong, Hobsons Bay, Port Phillip, Maribyrnong, Mildura, Moira, Monash, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Shepparton and Strathbogie. A number of high profile Australian celebrities have also signed-up to the campaign including AFL and cricket stars, media personalities and politicians. Sign up at itstopswithme.

Councillor development opportunities 2014 The MAV offers nationally accredited, professional training and development to help elected representatives increase their capacity to deliver for council and the community.

Look what’s on offer in 2014: >> MAV Swinburne University Graduate Diploma of Management >> Diploma of Local Government (Elected Members) Program Module Two Remember, there’s no need to undertake the program in any order. Take the fast-track repeat of Module

One or just jump straight into Module Two.

>> The Company Directors Course >> Knowledge centre programs Meeting conduct, chairing meetings, media skills, public speaking, working with difficult people, leadership, finance and speed-reading.

Opportunities to take up the scholarship for the Cranlana Colloquium and the McArthur Local Government Fellowship also open in early 2014. 2 4  ci v ic

NEED MORE INFO? Follow us on Twitter @Viccouncils Like us on Facebook Subscribe to the MAV Bulletin Download the CiVic app for extra content and a more interactive experience

Planning to speak to everyone Boroondara’s culturally and linguistically diverse residents now have access to information in a range of languages around planning issues like removing trees, erecting a satellite dish and renovating their home with the launch of council’s new multicultural communications material.


oroondara City Council has taken an innovative approach to making complex planning processes easier to understand by producing a range of planning videos in leading community languages including English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Greek, Italian and Vietnamese. The three videos, live on council’s website, provide step-by-step information about how to apply for a planning permit and why the permits are needed. For the over-zealous gardeners, Boroondara’s tree pruning and removal laws are laid out along with enforcement procedures. “By providing translated, detailed information via an easy to access video, council is demystifying planning issues for local residents, including those who speak English as a second language,” Cr Jack Wegman said. “Most importantly, we want all Boroondara community members to properly understand their rights and responsibilities.

“Council hopes the videos will make the planning process smoother and faster for residents and result in fewer fines and expensive alterations.” Boroondara has also launched an easy to use, free telephone interpreting service as well as a suite of translated information in print and online. “We hope the new service will improve awareness of the range of council services available to these communities and ensure people have every opportunity to get involved in our vibrant community life,” Cr Wegman said. “Boroondara is the City of Harmony and council is committed to the inclusion of all community members in community life. “With more than one in four Boroondara residents born overseas and close to one in five coming from non-English speaking countries, it is vital that council takes a proactive and innovative approach to engaging with these community members.” The new telephone interpreter service allows users to be

The Charter and local government How do YOU stack up against your human rights obligations?

Boroondara’s planning material is now available in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Greek, Italian and Vietnamese.

immediately transferred to an interpreter or listen to pre-recorded messages on key council topics in leading community languages. “The pre-recorded telephone service provides answers to commonly asked questions and at any point, callers can speak with a council staff member with the assistance of a free interpreter,” Cr Wegman said. Regularly updated on-hold messages about upcoming events are another feature of the service. “The messages aim to encourage more Boroondara residents of culturally diverse heritage to participate in our vibrant community life,” Cr Wegman said.

Information kits were provided in traditional Chinese last year and were warmly received by Boroondara’s Chinese community. “Following the success of the Chinese residents’ kit, council has produced residents’ kits in Boroondara’s other leading community languages – Greek, Italian and Vietnamese,” he said. Fact sheet kits have been tailored to suit each language group. While all the fact sheets about the city’s libraries include the same information on contacting the library, the Italian fact sheet outlines which libraries have an Italian collection and the Greek fact sheet details which libraries have a Greek collection.

Are you aware that Victoria has a Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities?


And do you know that local councils have legal obligations under the Charter? Each year, we ask all local councils to report on how they incorporate human rights into their policies and actions. This year’s report on the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and local government is now available and has some great case studies on how councils are putting human rights first.


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In Brief

Walkers’ wonderland

Black Caviar has been immortalised by a bronze statue in her hometown of Nagambie.

Strathbogie honours its most famous horse Honouring the unbeaten achievements of Strathbogie shire’s most celebrated four-legged champion, a life sized bronze statue of Black Caviar with jockey Luke Nolen has been unveiled in Nagambie. Strathbogie Shire Mayor Deb Swan said the local community was extremely excited about the launch of the statue at Nagambie park attraction, Jacobson’s Outlook. “Not only will we mark the birthplace of a true racing legend, we will cement the influence that the Strathbogie shire has had on the racing industry,” Cr Swan said. The equine industry is reported to be the second largest spectator sport in Australia and the third largest employer. Strathbogie has about 85 per cent of Victoria’s top stallions with massive investment in infrastructure from breeders, vets and ancillary industries, providing local employment and contributing significantly to the shire’s economy. “The industry sets Strathbogie apart from other regions and gives it its reputation as the Horse Capital of Victoria,” Cr Swan said. At the launch of the statue in September, Strathbogie Chief Executive Steve Crawcour thanked the efforts of council staff in preparing the site. “Rain, hail or shine, the teams have been working extremely hard to ensure the Black Caviar Statue will have a home to be proud of,” Mr Crawcour said. “This project is fantastic example of a positive partnership between the equine industry, council and government to work towards improving tourism and economic growth for Nagambie post-bypass.”

Food for Fines Hobsons Bay libraries are helping local charities this festive season with its Food for Fines program. The libraries are taking nonperishable foods instead of cash as payment for overdue charges. This year’s aim is to reach 2013 items. Library members with overdue materials can donate food such as 2 6  ci v ic

tinned meat, sealed fruit or vegetables or specialty items like puddings, mince pies or shortbread to pay up to $10 in overdue charges. Once the campaign ends in mid-December, coordinators from emergency food relief agencies will collect the food, package it into hampers and deliver them to local families in need. Over the past four years, Food for Fines has collected around 7,000 food items, contributing around 350 hampers.

L-R: Parks Victoria Kevin Cosgriff, Tourism Development Officer Alpine Shire Council Kate Houlgate, Dinner Plain Landcare Malcolm Macpherson and Mt Hotham RMB Walking Track Manager & Cultural Heritage Officer Andrew Swift.

A haven for cross-country skiers in winter, Dinner Plain in the Alpine shire region now offers a new way for walkers to enjoy the fresh air during the warmer months. A pack of nine comprehensive new track notes are now available for the 2013/14 bushwalking season, offering visitors practical advice and background information about the flora and fauna, history, geology and other points of interest walkers can discover along the trails of the area. Alpine Shire Mayor Peter Roper said the project was a welcome addition to Dinner Plain’s existing tourism experiences. “The village offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the wonders of the High Country literally just outside the door,” Cr Roper said. “It’s a great way to soak up the magic of this special part of the world.” The track notes project has been a collaborative effort between Alpine Shire Council, Dinner Plain Landcare, Parks Victoria, Mt Hotham Resort Management Board, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and community members. It is one of a number of locallydriven projects including new wayfinding and interpretive signage, development of boardwalks and extensive track upgrades aimed at offering first class walking trails to visitors.

Remember to butt out Bayside City Council is reminding beachgoers that smoking is banned at all patrolled beaches in Victoria during the summer period. Smoking is banned between red and yellow flags and within a 50-metre radius of these flags erected by a Life Saving Club. The ban, introduced on 1 December 2012, applies during the summer season when lifesaving flags and patrols are in place, to protect beach users from secondhand smoke while reducing young people’s exposure to smoking. Since the introduction of these regulations last summer, the state government and Bayside City Council have taken an educational approach to the initiative, encouraging people to self regulate their smoking on patrolled beaches. No smoking signs have been installed at patrolled beaches and non-compliance could result in an infringement up to $140.

Mornington’s stand on cyber bullies Mornington Peninsula Shire Library Service has signed an agreement with eSmart Libraries, a cyber safety initiative established to promote positive use of technology. “The eSmart Libraries initiative will enable the libraries on the Mornington Peninsula to evaluate our current cyber safety status, rollout proven cyber safety programs, and provide team members with the training and knowledge to support the library community,” Manager Libraries Arts and Culture Geoff Carson said. “It will also keep the libraries updated on the latest cyber trends and tools to protect those who use technology in our libraries,” he said. Research indicates 27 per cent of young people are bullied around every two weeks, with cyber bullying affecting about 1 in 10 young Australians every few weeks or more.



January Herring Island Summer Arts Festival Date: 11 January – 21 April 2014 Venue: Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park, 151 Alexandra Ave, South Yarra Description: Take a punt on a great day out, by boarding the punt from Como landing across to the tiny Herring Island in the middle of the Yarra River, for its Summer Arts Festival. The festival is a delightful collaboration between the exhibiting artists, Parks Victoria and the Friends of Herring Island and acknowledges the Wurrunjeri people as the original custodians of the island. Need more?

Riverboats Music Festival

Santa’s Magical Kingdom Date: 15 November – 23 December 2013 Venue: Burnley Oval, Madden Grove, Richmond East Description:Experience the magic of Christmas at this enchanting family favourite event. Play in the snow at Snowland, marvel at the spectacular Christmas Circus or have fun decorating gingerbread, among many more Christmas activities. Don’t forget to drop off your list for Santa and say hello to Mrs Claus. Need more?

Whitehorse Carols Date: 15 December 2013 Venue: Whitehorse Civic Centre precinct, 379-397 Whitehorse Rd, Nunawading Description: Add your voices to the beautiful singing at Whitehorse’s carols night this festive season. Bring a picnic to this much loved community event or sample the gourmet foods on offer and enjoy the free pre-concert entertainment and kids’ rides before settling back for a night of carols and Christmas cheer. Need more?

Description: Pako Festa, now in its 32nd year; this much loved, award-winning, free annual community cultural festival incorporates an extravagant street parade featuring around 90 floats and hundreds of performers representing 45 affiliated ethnic communities and around 60 other community groups and organisations. Need more?

BONJOUR BRIGHT Date: 24 – 26 January 2014 Venue: Howitt Park, Howitt Lane, Bright Description: Enjoy the French influenced festival in Howitt Park, Bright, with open air films, live music, food and wine as an accompaniment to the Audax Alpine Classic. There is plenty of kids’ entertainment on offer throughout the weekend and a range of artists and musicians. Admission is free. Need more?

February Pako Festa A Celebration Of Cultural Diversity Date: 22 February 2014 Venue: Pakington Street, 153 Pakington Street, Geelong West

Date: 14 February – 16 February 2014 Venue: Aquatic Reserve, Heygarth Street, Echuca Description: What could be better than sitting back under the towering river red gums and soaking up the atmosphere of the Murray River’s premiere contemporary music event? With plenty of room for dancing, world-class artists and delicious regional food and wine, this laid-back, family friendly festival showcases the Murray at its best. Need more?

Superbike World Championship Date: 21 February – 23 February 2014 Venue: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Back Beach Road, Cowes Description: Witness the spills and thrills at the season opener to the Superbike World Championship on Phillip Island. Be one of the first in the world to see the riders, new bikes and teams for the 2014 series and of course, watch worldclass motorcycle racing on one of the finest race tracks in the world. Need more? ci v ic


Recycling is everyone’s responsibility Southern Cross Recycling works with councils to deliver waste recovery solutions that meet their needs, and the needs of their communities. Programs like clothing collection bins, Second Hand Saturday events and the popular Renew program have been operating in partnership between Southern Cross Recycling and Victorian councils since the early 2000s. By implementing best practice standards, Southern Cross Recycling has successfully overcome problems associated with illegal dumping in many municipalities. It provides a 24/7 call out service and the removal of any illegally dumped material within 24 hours. Not only is Southern Cross Recycling’s management of clothing bins unsurpassed, it also provides employment for people with a disability, has a 95 per cent diversion from waste to landfill rate, sponsors environmental programs, and supports numerous charities. Through partnering with local Australian Disability Enterprises, Southern Cross Recycling provides local and sustainable employment for people with a disability. Southern Cross Recycling has operated

clothing collection bins on both council and private sites for more than a decade. Many of the clothing bins were acquired from major charity organisations such as the Brotherhood of St Laurence, the Australian Red Cross and the Smith Family. These charity organisations asked Southern Cross Recycling to take over their clothing bins, as they were unable to manage or maintain them. It is understood charities can use less than 10 per cent of goods from collection bins due to their low-grade quality. Southern Cross Recycling makes available goods collected from its bins to charity organisations for sale in op shops. This has assisted charities earn more than $10 million over the past 12 years. Southern Cross Recycling has also developed a Sustainability Calculator that clearly shows the environmental and economic benefits that clothing bins and other resource recovery programs can have, or do have, in your municipality. This includes capturing water and energy savings from recycling clothing. A report is provided quarterly to all councils that participate in Southern Cross Recycling’s resource recovery programs.

Southern Cross Recycling R E S O U R C E



@SCR Group

1300 687 261

326 Settlement Road, Thomastown, 3074

Bells Reach


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Bells Reach is a custom−designed playground that sets a new benchmark in adventure play. Located in one of Stockland’s residential developments on the Sunshine Cost, Bells Reach Adventure Park provides exciting activities for all ages, with age specific play areas and equipment custom designed to create maximum play value for families and the community. The playground, which opened on mid, 2013, is set amongst the green spaces of the environmentally conscious development. Bells Reach features fluid, open spaces and multi−level play integrated with a custom−built landform. The park has a blue theme centred around the landform which offers three− dimensional, 360 degree play. The summit can be reached in numerous ways − via the one−of−a−kind layered climbing net and crow’s nest, or hand and foot climbing cleats, or rubber domes and mountaineering rope, or indented steps, or even a ramp, making it accessible for all ages. Retreat comes via stainless steel multi−slide or enclosed tunnel slide, and a giant tunnel runs through the landform, creating a passive play space and improved access to all areas of the playground. The design and construction of Bells Reach Adventure Park was a joint venture for Stockland Agents Agentsfor forVictoria Victoria Developments between AECOM and Eureka Ikonic Playgrounds Pty Ltd Ikonic Playgrounds Pty Ltd Landscapes, with all play equipment designed Phone: (03)9783 9783 3263 Phone: (03) 3263 and supplied by Kompan.

Making Drainage Transparent Front-line technicians now have even greater diagnostic power when confronted with damaged, clogged or slow moving drainage assets. Citywide’s drainage asset management service improves

Council’s long-term strategic capabilities managing drainage assets by utilising detailed mapping services and reports. Citywide is able to readily assess the condition of storm water pipes through the easy

identification of breaks and/ or blockages. What once was a laborious and time consuming task can now be performed in a variety of weather conditions, in a few minutes. This cost effective solution is a welcome relief to those wishing to quickly gauge the condition of their pipeline infrastructure and build a sustainable strategy for the maintenance of all drainage assets. Citywide’s Warren Bates is overseeing the deployment of this new service. “Clearly, this is the perfect tool for our field staff involved with maintenance contracts. Information is easy to collect and easily distributed. Collected via various methods including video is unequivocal. If drains are blocked, they will appear blocked. If damaged, we will see the damage.” “The information collected allows us to assess the actions

required, and propose workable and well budgeted responses. Essentially, this takes the guess work out of the entire storm water pipeline maintenance contracts,” said Warren.

The Benefits •

Lifecycle cost savings – allowing proactive maintenance works to occur i.e. investing in the places that need it most.

More for less –Comprehensive reporting that provides recommendations on future capital works spending.

Efficient management of assets – An asset inspection regime provides information to understand and identify problem hotspots.

Car Crash Can’t Crash Colac Otway Shire Council’s ShoreTel System Colac Otway Shire Council (the ‘Council’) is the local government authority responsible for a region two hours west of Melbourne in the Australian state of Victoria. The Colac Otway Shire is one of the most picturesque municipalities in Victoria, covering a diverse area from volcanic lakes, craters and plains in the north, through the hinterland forests of the Otway Ranges to the Great Ocean Road coastline. The Council is committed to being open and responsive to community needs; to being an effective Council; and to strive to make the Shire an inclusive, safe and desirable place to live. With 15 offices spread geographically across the region, the Council’s Information Services division was operating an ageing, disparate network of small PABXs, plus a main Siemens PABX at head office that was almost 15 years old. The Council had lost confidence in the stability and functionality of its telephony environment, and its communications infrastructure was struggling to keep pace with the rate of change in terms of the ICT services delivered to the Council. As a consequence, the legacy telephony environment was negatively impacting on the Council’s commitment to be responsive to community needs. Rather than simply replace its ageing telephony infrastructure with new products, the Council went to tender for a unified communications solution that would make the Council more effective, more efficient and able to provide the services delivered to the community in a more cost-effective manner.

Choosing the ShoreTel Solution The Council received a range of submissions to its tender, and selected ShoreTel as the ideal technical solution. “The ShoreTel system provided all the communications capabilities we needed – the user features and usability, enterprise contact center and the ability to record calls,” said Rick Morrow, Manager, Information Systems, Colac Otway Shire Council. “ShoreTel gave us voicemail, which we’d never had

before, and the ability to manage the system centrally, at the user level. It ticked all the boxes for us.” An added benefit of the new system has been cost savings. The Council’s fixed service cost has been reduced, saving the Council an estimated $20,000 per annum; annual line rental costs have been slashed with 40 ISDN and PSTN lines decommissioned; and no more STD calls between remote offices – all calls are now internal.

“Ute Smashes through Office Wall”

While the Council hadn’t intended for its new unified communications solution to provide business continuity capability, a car accident brought ShoreTel to the fore. At the Council’s main office in Colac at about 4pm on Wednesday 27 February, a Ute (‘pickup’) lost control and crashed into the building. “Ute smashes through office wall” was the local paper’s headline the following day. That wall was actually Morrow’s office: “That was my office and I was sitting at my desk. I am now providing an IT drive through service!” As a result of the accident, the office was evacuated immediately, and no staff were allowed back in until a full engineering inspection was completed, to ensure there was no major structural damage and it was safe to return. The evacuation required the relocation of 60-70 staff for the following two days, including the Council’s contact center.

“By 8:30am when the office opened, we were able to have our contact center relocated to another building. Our agents were operational with all the same services they would have used normally, and using the full suite of contact center capabilities. We wouldn’t have been able to do it with the old system in a pink fit,” said Morrow. Morrow’s Information Services team ensured it was able to relocate other key council staff to other offices, and others to work from home. Effectively, with users able to take their extensions with them and ‘hot desk’ from other locations, there was minimal impact on operations and the Council was able to use the car accident as a live test of its business continuity arrangements.

A More Flexible Contact Centre In fact, the car accident’s exposure of ShoreTel’s flexibility has had longer term consequences for the Council’s contact center operations. It wasn’t something the Council had assessed as a main factor in choosing a solution, but it has definitely been an added benefit. “We discovered the flexibility in ShoreTel to have our contact center agents wherever we want to have them – they don’t have to be where they normally are; they can be at home if they want,” said Morrow. While the majority of the Council’s contact center agents are in the main center of Colac, one of its agents is now located in the Council’s office on the

coast at Apollo Bay. Out of peak season, when the permanent population is only 1000, on some days the customer service staff member in the office in Apollo Bay might only receive one or two visitors. “When we put in the ShoreTel system we actually assigned that staff member as an agent for the contact center. So, when there are no enquiries at the office, that staff member can become an agent working for Apollo Bay, taking calls. Then, if somebody approaches to the counter, it is easy to switch into release mode to service that customer, then switch back into the contact center afterwards,” said Morrow. The Council is not only creating efficiencies by fully utilising its contact center staff by including the Apollo Bay staff member as part of the Colacbased contact center team, but also ensuring the Apollo Bay agent keeps their skills and knowledge up-to-date, and feels part of the team, rather than “a distant relative”, explained Morrow.

Mobility in the Future The Council has plans ‘on the radar’ to deploy ShoreTel’s Mobility solution, enabling its staff the capability to extend the functionality of enterprise unified communications to smart phones and tablets. “We recognise the benefits and the potential opportunities that Mobility will bring. However, before we can implement, we need to build a more robust WiFi service first,” concluded Morrow.

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A New Performance Reporting Framework for Local Government Michael Ulbrick


n 2012 the then Acting Director of Local Government, Kendrea Pope, approached me about the prospect of undertaking a piece of work to develop a system of performance reporting for the local government sector that would be mandated for all councils. I was somewhat hesitant. Not because I was against the concept. Rather, I was all for it. But I knew it was a roll-on from the recommendations of yet another adverse performance audit report from the Auditor General, which again had been critical of local government’s lack of transparency in the area of measuring and reporting upon its performance in service delivery. I knew that the argument to introduce a consistent set of performance measures had been thereabouts for more than a decade, probably almost two decades. The arguments for and against had waxed and waned over that time with the old chestnut of ‘league tables’ being formed and misused in reporting as the principal argument against the introduction of a measurement system. I knew that more recently the Essential Services Commission had undertaken a big and considered piece of work in this area that generated a lot of ‘buy-in’ from senior local government officers, but that this work as well had come to an abrupt halt. It seemed like I was being offered a bit of a poisoned chalice. However, the opportunity to participate in a reform that I truly believed in was too good to refuse. So, after some

discussion I teamed up with another former local government CEO and expert in financial management, Mark Davies, and an extremely capable and energetic senior manager within Local Government Victoria (LGV), Amelia Chapman, and under the leadership of LGV Acting Director Sector Development Mark Grant, we formed a project team. We believed the state government was right in accepting the recommendations of the Auditor General and that the Minister for Local Government was correct in foreshadowing the likely mandating of such a reform. It was time to move on this initiative. We established a primary objective and a project plan, which built upon five core stages of project delivery over a period of just over two years. The primary objective was determined to be the provision of comprehensive performance information that would meet the requirements of a number of audiences. This was an ambitious objective that sought to balance the needs and expectations of a multitude of stakeholders. In meeting this objective we believed that: §§councils should have information to support strategic decision making and continuous improvement §§communities should have information about council performance and productivity §§regulators should have information to monitor compliance with relevant reporting requirements §§state and federal governments should be better informed when

Former CEO Darebin City Council and local government expert Michael Ulbrick is now working as an adviser to the state government.

making decisions that impact upon our system of local government. The project was designed to allow the concurrent delivery of several of its stages (see diagram 1 – A five‑stage process). In reforms such as this I believe we all need each other. Yes, we all need each other! Councillors and officers, local, state and federal bureaucrats, MPs, all working cohesively together. How about that? The relationships are complex as you’d expect and often difficult to maintain. But. Reforms, especially large ones, can’t happen in the absence of some level of co-operation – unless the big stick is wielded.

Diagram 1: A five-stage process.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Indicator Development

Pilot Program

Enabling Legislation

Data Collection


Oct-Jun 13

Jul-Jun 13

Aug-Apr 14

Jul-Jun 15

Jul-Sep 15

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When I think back to the Kennett years, some 20 years ago, the financial reform program (AAS27) was able to be successfully implemented because of the ‘buy-in’ within and across the sector. It was successful because of the support from ministerial level down. The same need goes for this reform. We do need sector-wide co‑operation and help and, so far, we’ve received it in spades. Why do we need to work together? We need to work together because, while it’s generally easy to sell the concept of improved performance reporting to people in the community, councillors, and especially CEOs who have been truly supportive, it gets more difficult as we go down the chain. Those immersed in the detail raise the ‘you’re comparing apples with oranges’ arguments again and again. You run the risk of stalling the program or having it move tangentially off from its strategic trajectory if we allow ourselves to get bogged down in these arguments. But no big reform occurs without some level of risk taking.

As a result we absolutely need good councillors – strategic thinking ones – and bold officers. We need councillors and officers working together in a trusting relationship. There have been some big issues to knock off. The measurement of the financials side of the framework has been more or less straightforward. It’s more a question of what are the best indicators to use rather than which ones to create. But the services and sustainability components are breaking new ground and as such have required more brainpower. Early on we convened a meeting of experts from across Australia to conference with us on this very issue of sustainability. We were lucky enough to have at the first meeting, the then Secretary of the former Department of Planning and Community Development Andrew Tongue to open proceedings. Mr Tongue provided his thoughts on local government sustainability. Some of the key points he raised included: §§Value had been extracted from the 1994 council amalgamations. §§It is important that the two levels of government partner in sector reform. §§Local government can seize its own future. A number of councils, particularly in growth areas, are undertaking long-term strategic planning and identifying significant community infrastructure needed to meet the future needs of their community. §§Understanding the business of local government is important and measures of quality as well as quantity need to be considered in any performance framework for the sector. §§What local government provides, and how it provides it, is undergoing an evolution due to population growth and changing community needs. It was important that he also recognised the benefit of having a performance reporting framework. It added to the energy and momentum being created. So, where are we up to? We’re now a little over one year into the project. We have been able to develop a first cut of performance indicators developed across three thematic areas: service performance, financial performance and sustainable capacity. Reporting will happen via

Local Government Performance Reporting Framework Indicators Service performance

Reporting Annual report

§ Appropriateness § Quality § Cost § Service outcome

Report of operations

Financial performance

Performance statement

§ Operating position § Liquidity § Obligations § Stability § Efficiency

§ Service performance outcomes § Financial performance § Sustainable capacity

§ Service performance § Governance and management

Sustainability § Financial performance § Sustainable capability § Governance and management

Diagram 2: Local Government Performance Reporting Framework.

the annual reports of councils where each council will be able to tell its municipal story. To get to this point has required a wholehearted and committed effort from many people. Workshops, wide-ranging consultations and briefing sessions have been held all over the state. More than one thousand participants including mayors, councillors, parliamentarians, senior council staff, ratepayers and other interested parties have provided feedback through attending information sessions or providing submissions. So far, 43 councils have actively taken part in the first round of pilot testing the indicators with more councils joining in every week. A second round of testing will happen early in 2014 with finalisation occurring in time for inclusion in council budgets for 2014-15. While the 2013-14 financial year has been identified as a period for trialling the indicators and refinement, the framework

will become mandatory for councils in the 2014-15 planning and reporting cycle. So, from July 2015 onwards, councils will be required to report the indicators in their Annual Reports. Legislation will be made to enable these reforms and the prescribed performance indicators and other associated matters will be documented in a revamped set of Local Government (Finance and Reporting) Regulations. In association with this project, parallel work has been going on seeking to reduce the reporting burden on local governments by removing or reducing many redundant reporting obligations to various government departments and agencies. To date, almost 40 reports have been streamlined and work continues to identify other opportunities. So what are the benefits to local government and the communities we serve with the introduction of mandatory performance reporting?

The Performance Reporting Framework will: §§respond to the recommendations of the Auditor General §§implement a government commitment to improve local government transparency §§strengthen existing local government accountability and performance reporting requirements §§streamline financial reporting in local government by removing duplication and improving consistency across key statutory planning and reporting documents. Additionally, further features of the new system will include the capacity to: §§allow each individual council to include a narrative about its particular characteristics and explain results §§provide a comprehensive picture of performance across the sector §§draw meaningful comparisons, identify trends and benchmarking of services and finances of councils §§allow the Auditor General to issue an audit opinion on councils’ performance statements. All up, this reform should give councils the capacity to demonstrate transparency and accountability for the resources managed on behalf of our communities and services provided to our (often) demanding constituents. This is an opportunity too good to pass up. It will demonstrate we can all work together to make worthwhile change. We must seize it! For more information visit or email

Michael Ulbrick was a CEO in Victorian local government and has 27 years’ experience working in the sector. He now works as a company director and consultant. Apart from working on this project, Michael is an Independent Member on a number of local council Audit Committees, including the MAV’s Audit Committee and is a Commissioner with the Victoria Grants Commission. He is a founding Director of Community Chef, a wholly local governmentowned food manufacturing company serving 20 councils. ci v ic


Have your interests changed over the years, or are you still passionate about the same issues you cared about when you first became a councillor? I am still passionate about the same issues. Parts of the issues have been dealt with but my issues are ongoing.

What makes Greater Bendigo so special to you?


The people and what they have achieved as a community.

minutes with …

Cr Rod Fyffe Greater Bendigo City Council Greater Bendigo City Councillor Rod Fyffe was recently distinguished with a 25 years’ service award from the Municipal Association of Victoria. He adds this recognition to the Mayor Emeritus award presented to him in 2011, honouring his contribution to Greater Bendigo for serving as mayor three times. Having first been elected to council in 1983, Cr Fyffe is a true statesman of local government. He shares with CiVic some of the changes he has seen during his time as a councillor and what keeps him passionate about serving his community. Congratulations on achieving the MAV’s 25 years’ service award. How does that make you feel? I had not realised I had been in local government that long!

You must be doing a lot of things right within local government to have been reelected so many times. What are some of the characteristics of a successful councillor? I think councillors need to keep in touch with their community. You need to be able to listen to the silent majority.

What keeps you going for almost 30 years as a councillor? Helping people reach their full potential and seeing the community progress and thrive. 3 2  ci v ic

You need to be able to listen to the silent majority.

In your experience, what are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the way local government operates and what are some of the challenges facing council today? One of the biggest changes is the number of services local government provides. One big challenge is being able to provide for the increased expectations of the community.

You’ve recently retired as a school teacher, another important community role. In what ways did being a teacher complement or conflict with your role as councillor? Teaching complemented my role as councillor. It was dealing with people and helping them achieve their best.

What further impact have you been able to make within the local government sector in your long standing position on the MAV Board? The Board has a strong strategic role and is for the whole sector. This is an important distinction from being on council.

Having retired from one role, does that mean you have more time to yourself? How do you like to spend your down time? Retiring from teaching has allowed me more time in local government. I can do more work and research on issues now. Down time is spent reading, growing rare and endangered native plants, listening to music (blues) and visiting art galleries. Mayors and councillors were awarded for length of service at the MAV Annual Conference held in October. The Mayor Emeritus Award, for service of at least three terms as mayor, went to nine councillors. A total of 58 councillors were recognised with long service awards for 10, 15 or 20 years’ service. The MAV receives nominations for these by their council ahead of the Annual Conference and Dinner each year. For a full list of 2013 recipients, visit under Events and Training/Victorian Councillor Service Awards.

WHAT’s HOT Educator awarded Baw Baw Shire Council Family Day Care Educator Carolynne McLoughlin has been awarded Victorian Educator of the Year by Family Day Care Australia.

Charity success Greater Dandenong City Council raised more than $18,000 at its recent Mayoral Charity Dinner. Proceeds will go to the Springvale Benevolent Society and the Dandenong and District Benevolent Society.

Win for the west Congratulations to Ballarat City Council , winner of the Economic Development Australia Economic Development Strategic Planning Award for work on its Ballarat West Employment Zone, the biggest investment and commercial development project in the region.

WHAT’s NOT Tall storey has bad ending The Supreme Court dismissed Stonnington City Council’s appeal against VCAT’s decision to approve Lendlease’s application for a 13 storey development on one its main roads, with Cr Matthew Koce calling it a “dark day for democracy”.

Damage control Greater Bendigo City Council is reeling at the cost of a senseless vandalism spree in a local park with around $6,000 damage done to trees, tulip beds and bins.

Ageing problem Melton City Council is extremely disappointed a local nursing home will close in 2014. Council is calling on the state and federal governments to take action and address the shortage of nursing home beds in the western suburbs.

Illustration by Kathryn Steel.

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS A Victorian Government initiative

Help us find Victoria’s next generation of young entrepreneurs As part of its four year Youth Enterprise Strategy, the Victorian Government is supporting a unique youth led enterprise development initiative for young entrepreneurs aged 16 – 25. The Victorian Government will support 160 young people from across Victoria to commercialise their idea or enterprise.

ENTERPRISING YOUNG PEOPLE WILL BE SUPPORTED THROUGH • peer learning roundtables • training sessions including business planning and capital raising • enterprise presentation days with industry and entrepreneurial mentors

TO APPLY FOR GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS, YOU MUST BE: • aged 16 - 25 • live in Victoria • have a business idea or • a start-up or existing enterprise

• personalised training and mentoring plans • • • •

matching to industry mentors business tools and information sharing online and face to face support networking with industry

Getting Down To Business is being delivered by:

Please use your personal and professional networks to promote this once in a lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurial young people to receive no cost professional support.

For more information about the Youth Enterprise Strategy, or to apply for Getting Down To Business, go to

GR Design & Construct are Victoria’s premier manufacturer of standard and customised, engineered structures and buildings. We specialise in outdoor shelters, public restrooms, access structures, pedestrian bridges and commercial furniture. All structures are made to order to meet specific typography and design requirements. Our products are designed to fulfil the needs of councils, the government sector, sporting clubs, schools, commercial developments and the public sector in general.

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OPEN SPACE INFRASTRUCTURE SPECIALISTS 1300 733 492 email your enquiry at

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