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Connect February 2015

Last updated: 11/04/2016 11:44 PM
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  1. From the Director General
  2. Celebrate International Women’s Day
  3. Building strong councils
  4. CaLD grants open
  5. Remarkable volunteers
  6. Early years e-learning
  7. Inspiring young carers
  8. Agenda sets the scene
  9. Con-tent campers
  10. Festival of youth
  11. Boost for councils
  12. Employers of equality
  13. Harmony Week champions diversity
Volume 02 | February 2015

From the Director General

Jennifer Mathews Welcome to the first issue of connect for 2015.

In 2015, the Department of Local Government and Communities will be working on a range of initiatives to support local governments and communities throughout Western Australia.

DLGC is also proudly supporting International Women’s Day on 8 March and is providing grants to organisations and community groups to celebrate the achievements of women and the progress made towards gender equality.

A week of events throughout Western Australia will kick off with an International Women’s Day launch hosted by Women’s Interests Minister Liza Harvey MLA and presented by DLGC in partnership with the Equal Opportunity Commission and the Public Sector Commission.

In April the spotlight will be on young people when National Youth Week events take place around Australia. From 10 - 19 April, National Youth Week will celebrate the positive contributions of young people to the community. In WA, DLGC is helping more than 80 community organisations host activities during the week through an $88,000 grants program.

The outstanding efforts of carers and volunteers were rewarded recently with 16 life-long volunteers receiving the prestigious 50 Years of Service Badge from Seniors and Volunteering Minister Tony Simpson MLA. Three inspirational young people were also honoured with Young People Who Care Awards. Read more about their personal stories below.

DLGC is furthering its commitment to strengthening parenting and enriching the lives of children and families by funding a free national e-learning course for practitioners working with families with children in the early years, as well as by supporting a series of workshops for education and care service providers focusing on the National Quality Standard.

Our collaborative work with the local government sector is continuing with DLGC providing support for two sector conferences focusing on children and young people and financial matters.

I hope you enjoy this issue of connect and learning more about the projects, partnerships and initiatives that DLGC is undertaking to help make a difference to WA’s local communities.

Jennifer Mathews
Director General
Department of Local Government and Communities

Celebrate International Women’s Day

WA International Women’s Day logo and slogan ‘Standing Together for ChangeCommunity organisations and local governments are encouraged to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) 2015 on 8 March.

IWD is a global annual event which recognises and celebrates the economic, political and social contributions of women and their achievements.

It is also a chance to reflect on the changes that have improved opportunities for women and to look forward to progress yet to come.

WA’s theme in 2015 is ‘Standing Together for Change’. WA events will be listed on the DLGC website, as well as tips on how to host an event.

DLGC drives in a number of initiatives to improve the status of women in WA, including:

  • Being Board Ready Guide for women transitioning into leadership roles
  • funding for Women in Technology WA to support women in industry roles
  • women’s scholarships for mentoring and entrepreneurial development programs
  • networking events and seminars encouraging and enabling women in enterprise, and
  • supporting the Committee for Perth’s Filling the Pool research project on women in leadership.

Grants of up to $5000 are now available to organisations to develop projects that encourage women's economic independence and leadership.

Community organisations and local governments can apply for a grant through the Department of Local Government and Communities’ Grants for Women program open until 12 March. 

Building strong councils

Narrogin Town Hall with a man and a woman in frontCountry local governments are getting involved in a range of capacity building initiatives provided by the Department of Local Government and Communities.

Training for country councillors is underway, with sessions already held in Esperance and Kalgoorlie. Participants expanded their knowledge on councillor roles and responsibilities, meeting procedures and debating, land use planning, strategy and managing risk. Sessions are being planned for Toodyay, Narrogin, Merredin, Katanning, Broome, Boyup Brook and the Peel region.

The $1.52 million training is being delivered by the WA Local Government Association through the Royalties for Regions-funded Country Local Government Fund Capacity Building Program. On completion of the training, elected members may progress to a Diploma of Local Government. Contact WALGA on 9213 2089 for enquiries.

DLGC’s Better Practice Review pilot program, also funded by the Country Local Government Fund, is now underway at the Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup.  As part of the program, the local government’s operations will be evaluated and feedback provided.

A number of local governments have shown interest in taking part in this program, which highlights the sector’s strengths and enables the sharing of best practice. Contact Crystal Bell on 6552 1644 or at for more information.

Another $1.9 million from the Country Local Government Fund has been allocated to support 75 local governments to assess their asset and financial management processes.  

The program involves training and it provides a foundation for local governments to manage the sustainability of their extensive assets. Managed by DLGC, this initiative is a component of the Integrated Planning and Reporting framework in line with the nationally consistent measures set out in the National Assessment Framework. For more information contact Allan Veal on 6551 8403 or at

CaLD grants open

A dancing Chinese lion puppet at the Carnavon TropiCool FestivalCommunity sector organisations working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities can now apply for grants of up to $20,000.

Grants of up to $5,000 are available for an event or activity, or up to $20,000 for a small project.

Administered by the Office of Multicultural Interests, the Community Grants Program supports projects and activities that promote WA’s diverse cultures and encourages participation of culturally diverse communities in all aspects of society.

Recipients in 2013 included the Constable Care Child Safety Foundation that was granted $10,000 for its Catch project – a citizenship and child safety program for students aged nine to 13 years. Carnarvon Festival was granted $2,500 for the TropiCOOL Multicultural Community Workshops led by local culturally diverse groups.

Applications close 4pm Friday 6 March for projects and events starting after 1 July 2015. Organisations are encouraged to discuss their application with OMI before submitting it. Workshops on how to write grant applications are also available. For more information contact OMI on 6552 1628 or at

Remarkable volunteers

Archery WA volunteers Keith and Edna Gaisford with their archery equipmentVolunteers whose combined efforts have generated a remarkable 850 years’ of work were honoured at special presentation at Parliament House in December.

Sixteen volunteers were awarded the 50 Years of Service Badge and another five volunteers received the badge in separate presentations by their organisation.

The badge recipients were recognised for their volunteering in areas including sports clubs, scouting groups, community service organisations and agricultural societies.

Keith and Edna Gaisford were awarded the 50 Years of Service Badge for their volunteer work with Archery WA.

Coordinated by the Department of Local Government and Communities, the badge acknowledges long-serving volunteers who have contributed 50 years or more of volunteer service to one organisation.

The badge presentation followed Thank a Volunteer Day, an annual event held in December. Since its introduction in 2011, more than 300 volunteers have received the 50 Years of Service Badge.

Early years e-learning

A boy and his female teacher looking at a laptop in a libraryEarly years practitioners are set to benefit from a national e-learning resource that provides better information about how to support families.

Launched in WA last month, the free e-learning course is based on the resource ‘Practice guide for working with families from pre-birth to eight years’ and provides service providers and educators with strategies to support families to give children the best start in life.

Parents will receive more consistent and clear information about supporting their child’s development.

The course takes about four hours to complete and includes voice over audio, self-reflection questions, short film clips and multiple choice assessments at the end of each section.

The course was initiated due to feedback received from parents and is intended to be used as part of an induction program, team building session or as the basis of a professional development group session.

The e-learning course is a South Australian-led initiative partly funded by the Department of Local Government and Communities.

Inspiring young carers

Emily Hardbottle, Alexander Tanasijevic and Elise Gielens with Young Carer awardsAn 11 year-old boy who provides daily care for his mother was honoured at the 2014 Young People Who Care Awards on 9 December.

Alexander Tanasijevic, of Bellevue, was named Young Carer in the 8 to 13 year-old category for looking after his mother who has multiple sclerosis.

Described as someone who ‘never gives up’, Alexander helps with personal care and medication, housework and laundry, grocery shopping and paying bills. He also assists his mother during the night, helping her in and out of bed.

The 2014 Young People Who Care Awards are hosted by Carers WA in partnership with the State Government. The Department of Local Government and Communities funds Carers WA more than $820,000 a year to support carers with counselling, respite and social activities.

Elise Gielens, of Gwelup, was named Young Carer in the 14 to18 year-old category and Attadale’s Emily Hardbottle received the Caring in the Community Individual Award. 

Elise (18) is primary family carer for her mother and four young siblings, while Emily (15) started a wheelchair basketball program for young people, inspired by her younger sister who has spina bifida.

There are 310,000 carers in WA and about 40,000 of them are younger than 26 years.  

Agenda sets the scene

Red office chairs and a white round table2015’s first Community Development Roundtable meeting has set the scene for collaborative projects and partnerships throughout the year. 

Established early last year, the roundtable is a high level discussion forum comprising the heads of the Department of Local Government and Communities, WA Council of Social Service, WA Local Government Association and Local Government Managers Australia.  

The roundtable aims to strengthen collaboration between local governments and the community sector in order to achieve its vision of ‘ensuring quality and coordination of services to make a difference’, as well as DLGC’s commitment to making a difference for local communities. 

The 16 February meeting identified a number of initiatives, including:

  • showcasing best-practice collaborative projects at the WA Local Government Convention and Trade Exhibition in August
  • supporting the growth and membership of the Age Friendly Communities Network, and
  • the production of resources to support successful cross-sector partnerships.

Con-tent campers

Two tents camped in a fieldChanges to the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Regulations 1997 will make clearer what to expect from nature-based parks. 

Nature-based parks are small-scale tourist accommodation in a natural landscape away from urban areas. They offer visitors the chance to experience nature in a setting free from noise and artificial light and in which there is minimal or no impact on the environment.

The amended regulations came into effect on 1 January 2015, providing greater consistency in regard to parks and their facilities. Nature-based parks will now meet the same standards wherever they are in WA. 

A reduction in the length of stay in nature-based parks, from three months to 28 days, means that more camping spots will be readily available for holiday makers.

Operators wishing to establish a nature-based park must now submit a plan detailing how the park will be designed and managed, and the facilities available. 

The changes to the Regulations were the result of a three month consultation by the Department for Local Government and Communities with stakeholders and local governments. New licensing guidelines are available online.

Western Australia has more caravan, camper-trailer and campervan registrations than any other State, with 30 for every 1,000 people.

Festival of youth

KickstART festival 2015 logo for National Youth WeekYoung people throughout the State are gearing up for Australia’s largest annual celebration of youth.

From 10 - 19 April, National Youth Week 2015 will celebrate and recognise the positive contributions of young people to the community.

This year the national theme is “It starts with us”. Activities and events held during the week will be developed and managed by young people through the National Planning Group. West Australians Trent Caldwell and Steph Jackson are members of the National Planning Group this year.

The first event to be held in WA will be the popular KickstART festival in the Perth CBD with entertainment, displays, resource materials and market stalls showcasing the skills and talents of young people.

More than 80 events funded by the Department of Local Government and Communities’ $80,000 National Youth Week grants program will be taking place throughout the State.

Other activities will include creative workshops, forums and music events that will provide opportunities for young people to express their ideas, be heard and have fun.

National Youth Week merchandise is available on request. Please email the details of your event and expected numbers of young people to by 16 March.

If you would like to add your event to DLGC’s National Youth Week calendar of events please email a short description of your event, the event venue, address, date and time to by 4 March.

WA’s National Youth Week is presented by Propel Youth Arts in partnership with DLGC. For more information, visit the National Youth Week website or email

Boost for councils

Young businessman speaking at a conference podiumThe Department of Local Government and Communities is boosting its support for the local government sector in March by partnering in a major sector event.

DLGC is a trade sponsor at this year’s LGMA 2015 Local Government Finance Professionals Conference on 5 - 6 March at Joondalup Resort. The annual event hosted by Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) will provide topical sessions and opportunities to network.

DLGC will also participate in an auditors’ panel discussion which will explore topics such as experiences from the 2013-14 financial year audit; regulations; and new ways to provide financial statements that communities can understand.

The conference program and more information are available at LGMA website.

Employers of equality

A young woman uses a saw in a workshopThe Department of Local Government and Communities is supporting a national program that recognises best practice in workplace gender equality strategies.

It is an official supporter of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s (WGEA) pay equity campaign, which encourages business leaders to address gender pay gaps within their organisations and to develop pay equity strategies and action plans.

Four West Australian businesses – Alcoa, Bankwest, ConocoPhillips and Curtin University – recently received an inaugural citation from WGEA for developing industry leading strategies and initiatives to address gender equality in their workplace.

The citation acknowledges that gender equality is a feature of well-managed and leading organisations. It is recognition that an organisation is committed to removing barriers and ensuring that everyone can participate fully in the workplace.

The Equal Opportunity Commission of WA delivers training and workshops to improve understanding of the principles of equal opportunity, as well as to increase recognition of the provisions contained in the Equal Opportunity Act 1984. For more information visit the EOC website.

Harmony Week champions diversity

A boy having his face painted by a woman at Harmony WeekWestern Australia will be celebrating its cultural diversity in March during Harmony Week.

Harmony Week will be celebrated from 15 to 21 March with events and activities recognising the State’s cultural, religious, linguistic and ethnic diversity.

Schools and universities, businesses, government agencies and communities are encouraged to run their own event or take part in celebrations during the week of festivities.

An events calendar and information about how to organise an event are available on the Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) website. A number of activities have been funded by OMI through its Community Grants Program.

On the eve of Harmony Week, OMI will launch the Discover Multicultural Perth map with walking trails to important multicultural sites in the centre of Perth. The map will be available at the OMI website from Monday 16 March.

WA is one of the most culturally diverse jurisdictions in Australia, with more than 30 per cent of the population born overseas. It is home to people from more than 200 countries who speak 270 languages and dialects, including about 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.