2015 Ministerial Statement on Local Government includes a 17-point action plan
to reform Victorian local government.
an update on actions 10-17 that provide the platform for local government to
deliver for communities wherever in Victoria they live.
Action 10: Fair Go Rates System
Over the past 15 years the average increase in rates and
charges per assessment across Victorian councils was 6% each year.
This is unsustainable and the government has acted to contain
this, announcing a rates cap of 2.5% for the 2016-17 financial year.
Action 11: Interface Growth Fund
Melbourne's ten interface council areas are facing
unprecedented growth. Together, they will accommodate 46% of the state's
population growth between now and 2031.
The government's Interface Growth Fund commits $50 million in 2015-16 as an initial contribution to begin to close the
infrastructure gap in the fastest-growing councils in Victoria.
It delivers on an election commitment to establish a dedicated fund to help
outer-suburban communities build local infrastructure projects, such as family
and community centres, town centres, parks and reserves, playgrounds and
The fund is a vital element in the government's plan to reduce
cost of living pressures for struggling families while maintaining service
levels and infrastructure investment in areas of high need.
Action 12: A better deal for rural
Rural councils face significant challenges. The greater dependency of rural
councils on Commonwealth and state grants makes them more
vulnerable to shifts in policy at higher levels of government.
The government's Regional Statement is about supporting regional and
rural families and communities. One
example is government working with rural councils through programs such as the
Networked Rural Councils initiative to explore a range of strategies to address
the particular challenges faced by rural councils.
Government will extend funding for Rural Councils Victoria to
innovate and implement sustainable business practices across their members. The government will also advocate for the Commonwealth Government to reinstate
indexation of financial assistance grants and consider options which would
allow for redirection of Victorian Grants Commission funds to the most
vulnerable rural councils.
The government's $500 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure
provides a vital boost to Victoria's rural and regional councils.
Action 13: Improving our libraries
Public libraries are the heart of the community. In this information age they provide a non-judgmental,
safe space to support strong and connected communities.
That is why we are undertaking a critical review to establish
optimum future funding arrangements for Victorian libraries. The review will examine options for shared
service delivery to provide Victorians with accessible, modern libraries that
meet community needs now and into the future.
Action 14: Integrate service planning and
coordinate infrastructure investment programs
Victorian councils invest over $2 billion in infrastructure
annually and articulate their four-year investment strategies through their Strategic
Resource Plans (SRPs).
The government is using the platform provided by SRPs to
better integrate state and local government investments and improve outcomes
for local communities. This is especially critical in growth areas and regional
cities where we can connect new transport to services, co-locate related
services and make assets work to full capacity. Systematically applying this
knowledge to investment decisions will improve outcomes, protect liveability
and stimulate local economies.
Action 15: Support disadvantaged
jobseekers and strengthen social procurement
Victorian councils are the largest employer in many areas of regional
Victoria and employ over 50,000 Victorians across our state. They provide
training and work experience which equips workers with skills to transition
into the wider economy.
Government will establish strategic partnerships with the local
government sector to support key employment objectives. Government employment
programs for young, entry-level jobseekers linked to structured vocational
training and accreditation through Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and Adult,
Community and Further Education (ACFE) providers will be enhanced. The
government will also work with councils to give priority access through
procurement policies to suppliers who provide local jobs. This will support
local economies and boost local employment, particularly in areas of high
Action 16: Implement an Aboriginal Local
Government Action Plan
Local Government Victoria and the Office of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria are
working with the Municipal Association of Victoria, Reconciliation Victoria and
the Victorian Local Governance Association to develop and implement an Aboriginal Local Government Action Plan.
target improvements in Aboriginal employment and help meet the Government's
closing the gap targets. It will be developed and implemented in consultation
with the Aboriginal community applying models which work in councils already
demonstrating best practice in engagement, partnership and employment
opportunities with their Aboriginal communities.
Existing good practice is already being shared via the recently-released
Action 17: Strengthen local support for
As the level of government closest to communities, councils
should reflect the make-up of the communities they serve including women, young
people, people with disabilities and people from culturally and linguistically
Women continue to be under-represented
as councillors. Diversity in local government
ensures a greater mix of insights and experiences shape more relevant policy
and effective programs. The government is backing efforts by peak
organisations to increase the diversity of
candidates standing for the 2016 council elections through promotional and
Councils provide critical
services and exposure to meaningful local democratic expression for young people through funding for
generic youth workers and support for youth councils. Councils often provide
the most immediate and primary experience of being part of a democratic process
and deliver the support services which allow young people opportunities to
participate socially and economically in their communities. This work is vital
for the future health of civil society and will be strongly supported.
Councils make an important contribution
to the inclusion of people with
disabilities in their local communities. As the National Disability
Insurance Scheme is rolled out, harmonising the reforms with programs delivered
by councils, such as home and community care and support for children with
disabilities, is critical. The government will work with councils to improve
the autonomy, independence and social inclusion of Victorians with
Councils play an important role in promoting and
supporting multiculturalism in
Victoria. They have a strong track record in partnering with the Victorian
Government to achieve social inclusion of culturally and linguistically diverse
Victorians. The government will support
council leadership in fostering integration of multi-faith groups, building
community harmony and minimising risks of extremism. Government will strengthen
collaboration through the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship as
part of its wider strategic approach.