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Connect August 2015

Last updated: 25/02/2016 4:53 PM
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Volume 02 | August 2015

From the Director General

Jennifer Mathews 2015 continues to be a busy and productive year for the Department of Local Government and Communities and for the many local governments and community organisations with which we are working collaboratively.

The WA Local Government Convention and Trade Exhibition held earlier this month provided an opportunity to hear from inspiring leaders, including DLGC-sponsored guest speaker Sir Bob Parker who was mayor of Christchurch during the 2010-2011 earthquakes.

At the convention, I presented on community development and the importance of building the capacity and resilience of communities, while launching two Community Development Roundtable publications - Working Effectively with Local Governments: A Guide for Community Sector Organisations; and Community Development: A Guide for Local Government Elected Members. The convention was also an opportunity to showcase a suite of new ‘At a Glance’ fact sheets that highlight the core areas of work and strategic priorities of DLGC. These and the roundtable publications are available on DLGC’s website.

The local government elections on 17 October are an opportunity to reinvigorate communities through greater public engagement and participation in local decision making. DLGC and the WA Electoral Commission are undertaking a promotional campaign to encourage more people to vote and to stand as candidates for council. We are particularly keen to see higher levels of participation by women, young people, Aboriginal people and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

I extend congratulations to the Shire of Narrogin and Town of Narrogin, whose plans to amalgamate from 1 July 2016 have been endorsed by the Local Government Advisory Board and the Minister for Local Government.

A number of important events are planned for the rest of this year, including the WA Seniors Awards, Thank a Volunteer Day and the WA Youth Awards. More information is in this edition of connect.

I have been impressed with the range and quality of applications for Youth Activity Grants from both local governments and community organisations that encourage innovative engagement with young people.

I look forward to continuing to support these types of partnership across the sectors to deliver important outcomes for WA’s local communities.

Jennifer Mathews
Director General
Department of Local Government and Communities

Let’s vote: Local government elections 2015

Let’s Vote – Local Government  Elections – 17 October 2015 campaign characters. More women and young people are being urged to vote and stand for council in Western Australia’s local government elections in October.

While women comprise 51 per cent of the State’s population and WA has the fastest growing percentage of young people in Australia, both groups are historically under-represented in council elections.

Women and young people, as well as Aboriginal people and those from culturally diverse backgrounds, all have an important voice in the community and are encouraged to get involved in local decision making.

The Department of Local Government and Communities has produced a range of materials to ensure local governments are informed about their legislative requirements and to help councils and community organisations promote the elections.

Local government elections take place on Saturday 17 October. Candidates for council have from 3 to 10 September to lodge a nomination.

Visit the WA Electoral Commission website for more information.

Funding diversity

Funding is available for community groups and organisations to host events and projects promoting multiculturalism.

The Office of Multicultural Interests’ Community Grants Program is an opportunity for culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and organisations that support them, to access up to $50,000 for events, projects and programs that support social cohesion and community development.

Eligible projects should promote a sense of community; encourage intercultural understanding; develop leadership skills; and help address issues facing Western Australia’s multicultural society.

Applications close on 25 September 2015 for grants for activities that begin after January 1, 2016. The grant categories are:

  • Events and activities (up to $5,000)
  • Small projects ($5,000-$20,000)
  • Major community celebrations (up to $20,000)
  • Major programs ($50,000)

Regional child care boost

A happy childcare worker and three happy children with a puzzle. Regional education and care services throughout Western Australia have received a boost of more than $340,000.

The Department of Local Government and Communities has provided almost $200,000 to 17 regional organisations through the Regional Community Child Care Development Fund to help build the sustainability of services and the provision of local child care.

Organisations, including local governments, were invited to apply for grants of up to $15,000 to strengthen the effectiveness of local education and care services.

Funding was available for operational expenses, professional development and training, information technology, capital equipment and governance.

Another $140,000 was shared between three regional education and care services as part of a Regional Child Care Strategic Grants Program.

The funding helped with technological support and resources for vulnerable service providers in the South West, environmental sustainability plans for services in the Mid West and the delivery of asthma emergency management training in the Kimberley region.

Narrogin unites

Narrogin Town Hall with two  people walking by. The Shire of Narrogin and the Town of Narrogin will merge on 1 July 2016 to form one local government authority.

The merger will see the boundary of the Town of Narrogin adjusted to include the existing shire, forming a new and expanded Shire of Narrogin.

On 29 July, Minister for Local Government Tony Simpson accepted a recommendation by the Local Government Advisory Board that the merger takes place.

In the lead up to the proposal, both local governments utilised the Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework developed by the Department of Local Government and Communities to develop a strategic community plan and a corporate business plan.

The long-term benefits of the amalgamation will reduce duplication and create greater efficiencies within the new Shire of Narrogin and enable the shire to better plan for the future by delivering more sustainable services and infrastructure.

The new shire will comprise one rural ward and one urban ward and each ward will have four councillors. An extraordinary election will be held next year to elect the new council.

A map of the proposed expanded Shire of Narrogin is in the LGAB report Assessment of the Proposal to Merge the Town and the Shire of Narrogin.

Building communities

Community Development Roundtable  guides for elected members and community sector organisations. Guidelines on community development have been released by the Community Development Roundtable to help local governments and community organisations build robust communities.

Working Effectively with Local Governments: A Guide for Community Sector Organisations and Community Development: A Guide for Local Government Elected Members support community development by providing practical information for councils and the community services sector.

The guides explain the benefits of establishing and maintaining community development as core business and include examples of collaborative partnerships that are delivering real benefits to communities in Western Australia.

The Community Development Roundtable comprises the Western Australian Council of Social Service, Western Australian Local Government Association, Local Government Managers Australia (WA) and the Department of Local Government and Communities.

The roundtable meets quarterly and works to facilitate stronger partnerships between State and local government and the community sector in WA.

Long serving volunteers

WA Volunteer Service Awards for 25 years and 50 years.

West Australians who have been volunteering for 25 years and more can now be nominated for a new prestigious award.

Nominations are open for the WA Volunteer Service Awards, which recognise people who have been working unpaid for one organisation for 25 years and 50 years.

Official presentations by the Minister of Seniors and Volunteering are held every year in December to coincide with Thank a Volunteer Day. Alternatively, arrangements can be made to have an award presented to volunteers at another time by the nominating organisation.

To be eligible for the official presentation of awards, nominations must be submitted to the Department of Local Government and Communities by 12pm on Thursday 1 October.

The significant value of volunteering was highlighted recently in The Economic, Social and Cultural Value of Volunteering to Western Australia report commissioned by Volunteering WA and supported by DLGC.

In 2014, volunteering had an estimated worth of $39 billion to WA, and for every dollar invested $4.50 in benefits was returned to the community. About 80 per cent of West Australian adults volunteer every year across 5,000 organisations.

Top youth to shine

WA Youth Awards 2014 category winner Golda Signal

The WA Youth Awards recognise and celebrate young people who are making an extraordinary contribution to the community.

The annual awards program is Western Australia’s opportunity to acknowledge those young people who are achieving great things and making a real difference early in their lives.

Nominations are now open for outstanding young people, as well as individuals and organisations that are working with and for young people. The categories are:

  • Minister for Youth’s Outstanding Youth Worker Award
  • Commissioner for Children and Young People Participate Award
  • Edith Cowan University Community Leadership Award
  • Organisational Achievement Award
  • Cultural Endeavours Award
  • Active Participation Award

One individual category winner will be chosen as the WA Young Person of the Year and will have the opportunity to travel throughout the State to participate in youth-related events and activities as WA’s representative for young people.

2014 WA Young Person of the Year, Estelle Clarke, overcame multiple challenges to speak out at a national level against prejudice. An Aboriginal young person and Lockridge Senior High School student, Estelle was awarded for her dedication to speaking out against prejudice to create a stronger, more informed society.

Nominations are open until Friday 2 October. Winners will be announced at the WA Youth Awards ceremony at Crown Perth on 27 November.

The WA Youth Awards are presented by the Youth Affairs Council of WA in partnership with the Department of Local Government and Communities and supported by Lotterywest.

Stage set for seniors

A group of opera singers perform in Central Park.

Western Australia is gearing up for Seniors Week 2015, with events and activities set to take place throughout the State in November.

Grants of up to $3,000 have been made available to help organisations celebrate older West Australians and their contribution to WA.

The grants program, administered by the Council on the Ageing WA, is funded by the Department of Local Government and Communities and supported by Lotterywest.

Seniors Week grants are made available to organisations hosting events that:

  • recognise and thank seniors for their contribution to the community
  • promote intergenerational activities linking seniors to the community
  • facilitate artistic, cultural and celebratory expression within the community
  • engage seniors in a variety of activities and initiatives that encourage active ageing.

Applications for the grants have now closed and are being assessed. Successful organisations will be notified by COTA WA.

Seniors Week, to be held from 8 to 15 November, will be preceded on 1 October by the WA Seniors Awards which acknowledge remarkable seniors and those who work to improve the lives of older West Australians.

Happy campers

A happy young man and woman look out of a tent in the outdoors.

The Department of Local Government and Communities is now seeking feedback from holiday makers and operators on Western Australia’s caravan and camping laws.

A consultation paper inviting caravan users, campers, long-stay tenants and operators to comment on proposed changes to the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Act 1995 has been released.

Following analysis of the feedback received from a first round of consultation in May 2014, the second paper presents recommendations for development of the new legislation.

The proposed changes to the legislation include:

  • giving park operators longer licences, lower compliance costs and greater flexibility to meet consumer demands
  • giving users a greater choice and more affordable holiday options
  • providing simpler and flexible laws to meet the needs of the locality and to allow tourism to evolve and flourish.

The consultation paper is an initiative of the WA Caravan and Camping Action Plan, which is supported by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program to improve caravan and camping experiences in WA.

The consultation paper and feedback form are available on the DLGC Website. Comments are welcome on all or part of the consultation paper. The consultation is open until 30 November 2015.

For more information email or phone 6551 8700.
Freecall 1800 620 511 for country callers.

Volunteering goes viral

A baby turtle on a beach with a  person in the background.

Two new regional grants are set to reshape volunteering in the Kimberley and attract more volunteers in the Pilbara.

The Department of Local Government and Communities has provided $55,000 to the member councils of the Kimberley Regional Group to consult throughout the region to better understand the needs of volunteers.

The Kimberley Volunteering Strategy will bring together local governments, community organisations, service providers and volunteers to better coordinate volunteering in the region. Consultation will take place with key service agencies and volunteers in Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kununurra and Wyndham.

Formal volunteers in the Kimberley outnumber both the Western Australian and national average and the number of travellers seeking volunteering opportunities during the Kimberley tourist season is increasing each year.

Another $15,000 has been provided to the Pilbara Regional Council to offer access to targeted volunteering opportunities using Wi-Fi enabled rest stops.

Travellers to the Pilbara who access Wi-Fi at the rest stops will be encouraged, via a ‘volunteer now’ icon, to register their interest. Details of each volunteering opportunity will then be sent to the prospective volunteers.

Strong country councils

The Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup’s sign outside the office

The Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup has completed a new program that supports continuous improvements within country local governments.

The Department of Local Government and Communities has been working closely with the shire to review its activities and operations.

The Better Practice Review included the completion of a self-assessment checklist by the shire and an on-site visit by DLGC. A report is then prepared for the shire which identifies its strengths and achievements as well as areas for further development.

The Better Practice Review Program recognises and promotes good practice in Western Australian country local governments, and encourages improvement in the way local governments conduct their activities to build the capacity of the sector.

The program promotes a culture of continuous improvement, as well as good governance and ethical regulation.

The Town of Narrogin, Shire of Irwin and Shire of Toodyay are now participating in the program, which is part of the State Government’s $1.27 million Country Local Government Fund’s Capacity Building Program.

For more information contact 6552 1532.

Call for youth ambassador

Five young people lying on the  lawn with their mouths open as if shouting.

Nominations are open for a creative and motivated young person to be the voice of National Youth Week 2016 in Western Australia.

The Department of Local Government and Communities is inviting nominations from 18 to 25 year olds interested in being WA’s ambassador for the largest celebration of young people on the Australian youth calendar.

This is an exciting opportunity for a young person to demonstrate their leadership skills and to inspire more young people to get involved in National Youth Week, which will be held from 8 to 17 April 2016.

The ambassador is a volunteer role and the successful applicant will work with a National Youth Week planning committee of young people, as well as Propel Youth Arts and DLGC, in the lead-up to and during the week.

The ambassador will be required to attend National Youth Week events where necessary and to help assess National Youth Week grant applications.

To be eligible, candidates must be aged between 18 and 25 years (not 26 before April 17, 2016), accessible by phone and email and available for meetings and media activities relating to National Youth Week 2016.

For more information contact 6552 1555 or email

Women’s business

At the Inspiring Entrepreneurs Luncheon, (L-R): Tracey Horton, DLGC director general Jennifer Mathews, Tenille Bentley, Carmel Leaker of Kailis, DLGC director Susan Gallacher and Julia Clark of Parmelia Hilton Perth.

Two Perth forums have provided women with the tools and inspiration to transform business ideas into successful enterprises.

About 200 women converged on the Parmelia Hilton Hotel on 18 August for the annual Inspiring Entrepreneurship Luncheon, at which businesswomen share their experiences and their road to success.

The keynote speakers were Socialite Media and Global Good Foundation founder Tenille Bentley and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA president Tracy Horton.

A partnership between the Department of Local Government and Communities and the Department of State Development, the annual event is an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to meet with aspiring businesswomen.

An Aspiring Entrepreneurship Forum in June, presented by DLGC and the Small Business Development Corporation, focused on e-commerce, social media and small business and their role in digital commerce.

The forum encouraged the entrepreneurial aspirations of women who had taken time out of the workforce to care for children or who were interested in starting a business that could be operated alongside carer responsibilities.

Multicultural partnerships

CaLD community members at OMI funding information session.

The Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) is seeking submissions to deliver services through the Multicultural Partnership Program.

The partnership program is an $800,000 investment over the next three years in services that address the priority needs of migrant communities.

It forms part of a State Government objective to achieve the full potential of multiculturalism and aims to improve the design, delivery and coordination of multicultural services.

The program has three components:

  • The Shared Future program increases social cohesion by working with young people to provide the knowledge and skills to increase intercultural understanding.
  • The Global Workforce program assists migrants to gain employment and increase workforce participation in their area of training and qualification.
  • The African Leadership Initiative will address the long identified need for a leadership network to support African communities.

The Multicultural Partnership Program drives a vision for a future that is socially cohesive, captures the benefits of a culturally diverse workforce and connects with African communities in the bigger context of Africa as major trading partner of WA.

A Request for Service for organisations interested in providing services as part of the Multicultural Partnership Program 2015-2018 closes on Friday 4 September 2015.

More information is available on the Multicultural Partnerships Page on the OMI Website and Tenders WA website.