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Connect June 2015

Last updated: 11/04/2016 10:50 PM
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  1. From the Director General
  2. Perth gets in on the Act
  3. Landmark gender study
  4. Awards celebrate kids
  5. Councillors switch on
  6. Wealthy and wise
  7. Civics and citizenship
  8. Seniors set to shine
  9. Grants connect youth
  10. Language of learning
  11. Value of volunteering
  12. FAGs 2015-16
  13. Early years vision
  14. Child care boost
  15. Caring for your future
  16. Working women
  17. Chips for dogs
Volume 02 | June 2015

From the Director General

Jennifer Mathews Supporting innovation and best practice among Western Australian local governments is a continuing focus of the Department of Local Government and Communities.

The upcoming WA Local Government Convention, sponsored by DLGC, will also support this aim by inspiring new ways of thinking, innovative ways of working and assisting the local government sector in shaping its own future. Hosted by WALGA, the conference will be held from 5 - 7 August in Perth.

A highlight of the event will be a DLGC-sponsored presentation by former Christchurch mayor Sir Bob Parker, who helped steer the New Zealand city through the aftermath of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. DLGC is a major exhibitor at the convention and delegates are encouraged to visit our stand for information and advice.  

Sir Bob Parker’s attendance at the WALGA convention is one of the key initiatives flowing out of the Community Development Roundtable, which brings together key government, local government and community sector leaders to discuss ways to improve service delivery for WA’s communities. Other initiatives that have been progressed by the roundtable recently include the development of resources to support cross-sector partnerships.

The City of Perth Act was introduced into Parliament in April, a result of DLGC’s collaboration with the City of Perth. The Act acknowledges Perth’s position as WA’s capital city and its central role in tourism and economic development.

In the coming months, DLGC will continue to work towards a robust local government sector by supporting training for country elected members and sharing best practice through the Better Practice Review program. The 2014-15 program of training for country councillors is now complete, with sessions held in nine regional locations. The program will continue to be rolled out in 2015-16.

DLGC’s involvement in the community services sector has been busy this month, with the launch of two major awards programs supported by the department and the announcement of a funding boost for an important helpline to combat elder abuse.

The WA Seniors Awards, a partnership between DLGC and COTA WA, were launched by Seniors and Volunteering Minister Tony Simpson on 16 June. Nominations are now open for the awards, which celebrate the positive contributions of older West Australians.

The WA Children’s Week Awards, launched in May, are presented by Meerlinga and sponsored by DLGC. The awards celebrate the creativity and successes of WA’s children and those who work with them. I encourage individuals and organisations to nominate for both awards programs.

The important issue of elder abuse was highlighted at an event in Perth on 15 June hosted by the Older People’s Rights Service. Minister Simpson attended the event, held on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and announced a further $100,000 funding for Advocare’s elder abuse helpline: 1300 724 679. DLGC is a member of the multi-agency Alliance for Prevention of Elder Abuse, which coordinates policies aimed at prevention.

The first half of 2015 has been a busy and productive one for DLGC, as well as the many community organisations and local governments with whom we work collaboratively. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership across these sectors to deliver important outcomes for WA’s local communities.

Jennifer Mathews
Director General
Department of Local Government and Communities

Perth gets in on the Act

Premier Colin Barnett announces the City of Perth Act at Council House.

The City of Perth Act recognises Perth’s unique status as the capital city of Western Australia with several iconic landmarks, including Kings Park, included within the city’s new boundaries.

The new Act was introduced into State Parliament in May.

The University of Western Australia, the new Perth Children’s Hospital and Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre will also be brought into the one local government district, creating a world-class medical and academic precinct.

The Act was prepared in consultation with the City of Perth. Key business, tourism and ratepayer associations were also invited to present their vision for the City of Perth.

The boundary changes are set to take effect from 1 July 2016. The new Act will operate in conjunction with the Local Government Act 1995.

More information is available at DLGC.

Landmark gender study

A woman’s finger points at a central graphic representing a woman with other graphics representing men and women around her.Ground-breaking research on gender equality in Perth’s business community was released in June.

The research, commissioned by the Committee for Perth, showcases a two-year examination of gender inequality, one of the most significant economic and social issues of the 21st century.

Focused on Western Australia, the research finds complex business, personal and cultural factors are exacerbating the largest gender pay gap in the country and the least number of women in executive and board roles.

Its findings are informed by interviews with 173 local chairs, board members, CEOs, female executives and managers, executive recruiters and HR personnel, recent female graduates and women who have opted out of the workforce.

The report makes 31 recommendations: four for government, 18 for organisations and their leaders and nine for women.

The Filling the Pool research was supported by major funding partner Shell and supporting partners the Department of Local Government and Communities, EY, Westpac, WorleyParsons, CEDA and AICD.

Awards celebrate kids

WA Children’s Week Awards – Celebrating Children promotion with the smiling faces of eight boys and girls from many cultural backgroundsNominations are open for the WA Children’s Week Awards, which celebrate Western Australia’s creative and outstanding kids.

Presented by Meerilinga, the awards celebrate children and also recognise adults, services and projects that make an outstanding contribution to the lives of young people.

The categories are: Communities Award, Health and Wellbeing Award, Volunteering Award and the WA Children’s Week Art Awards.

The Communities Award, sponsored by the Department of Local Government and Communities, recognises an outstanding children’s service or project committed to improving opportunities for children aged three to 12 and their families.

Nominations are open until 7 August. Visit the Nominate for an Award page to register online. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 28 October, UNICEF International Children's Day. 2015 Children’s Week runs from 24 October to 1 November.

Councillors switch on

Sir Bob Parker standing on top of New Zealand snowy mountains.Sir Bob Parker.

The Department of Local Government and Communities is sponsoring former City of Christchurch mayor Sir Bob Parker to present at the 2015 WA Local Government Convention in August.

Hundreds of local government delegates will descend on Perth from 5 - 7 August for the annual convention and trade exhibition.

Hosted by the WA Local Government Association, the event is a forum for local government professionals and elected members to share ideas, attend speaker sessions and meet with businesses and public sector organisations.

Guest speaker Sir Bob Parker, mayor during the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, will talk about ‘Leadership in Community Development’, and the process which local governments use to assist with community engagement and decision making. He will also share the community development approach which helped to rebuild the city.

The theme of the convention this year is ‘Local Government. Switched On’. DLGC is a long-standing supporter of and trade exhibitor at the WA Local Government Convention.

Wealthy and wise

A mother works from a laptop at the kitchen table while her two children draw.Community groups from Esperance to the Kimberley have received grants to promote women’s interests.

The Department of Local Government and Communities’ Grants for Women program has awarded $83,000 to 20 community groups and local governments to identify and address the unique issues faced by women.

The grants, of up to $5,000 each, target metropolitan and regional organisations, ensuring women throughout the State have access to services and programs that strengthen their financial and general wellbeing.

Among the projects are those that help women to start a business, re-enter the workforce, understand and utilise computers and mobile technology, and develop leadership skills.

Civics and citizenship

A man’s hand with a wrist watch posts a ballot in a box outside.Increasing civic participation among multicultural groups is a focus of a new series of workshops hosted by the Office of Multicultural Interests.

The workshops will raise awareness among culturally and linguistically diverse groups about Australia’s political system, citizens’ rights and how to be involved in all levels of the decision-making process.

At the inaugural workshop representatives from CaLD groups and local governments discussed the importance of cultural diversity in civic participation. Improving participation in government elections was highlighted and participants took part in a mock election ballot.

The workshops are part of the Civics and Citizenship project – a partnership between OMI, the Constitutional Centre of Western Australia, Australia Day Council of Western Australia and the Electoral Education Centre.

For more information about the work OMI does with communities visit OMI’s What we do page online.

Seniors set to shine

Maureen Angus, Juniper 2014 WA Seniors Champion, in a park holding her trophy

DLGC is encouraging nominations to honour WA’s remarkable seniors at the 2015 WA Seniors Awards.

A partnership between COTA WA and the Department of Local Government and Communities, the awards acknowledge the important contribution of seniors to the community, as well as those who work to improve the lives of older West Australians.

The awards program is celebrating 30 years in 2015 with the theme ‘Love Later Life’.

The categories are:

  • Juniper 2015 WA Seniors Champion Award
  • Community Senior Volunteering Award
  • Intergenerational Awards
  • Age Friendly Community Award
  • Seniors Advocate Award
  • Deborah Kirwan Media Award

The WA Seniors Awards will be held on 1 October 2015, United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons.

Local governments and community groups also have the opportunity to get involved in Seniors Week (November 8 - 15) by applying for a Seniors Week Community Grant of up to $1,000 or $3,000 for larger events.

Visit COTA WA website for an award nomination kit or grant application form. Entries close 14 August.

Grants connect youth

Four happy teenage girls sitting together.DLGC has funded regional local governments to help get more young people involved in their communities.

The $100,000 Regional Youth Collaborative Grants Program aims to help local governments encourage young people to engage in creative projects and activities.

Grants of $25,000 were awarded to:

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder

The city will facilitate a youth camp which will run activities and workshops to build confidence and motivation and equip applicants with valuable life skills.

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River

The shire will partner with a number of youth service providers and local governments within the South West region to host monthly activities and workshops.

Shires of Dumbleyung, Wagin, West Arthur and Williams

The shires' plan to address common issues identified among 12-25 year olds in their communities including leisure opportunities, local spaces to connect with community and friends and training and employment opportunities.

Shire of Manjimup

The shire’s project will connect young people in Northcliffe, Pemberton, Quinninup and Walpole with experienced artists to help design and create a sculptured outdoor lounge room at the Regional AquaCentre.

The grants program is part of DLGC’s strategic commitment to support collaborations and partnerships in local communities.

Language of learning

Dr Mike Nahan, Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests and Rebecca Ball, Executive Director, OMI with Perth Sinhala School children.

The community language school sector is being boosted with $230,000 of Community Language Program funding going towards achieving best practice in language education.

Teachers and administrators at community language schools providing after school hours lessons will now have access to a professional learning program as part of the revised Community Languages Program.

The professional learning program, developed in consultation with community language sector representatives, will improve the teaching and administration of community language schools and give teachers the confidence, knowledge and skills to deliver exceptional language educational programs to West Australian students.

Community language teachers and administrators, many of whom are volunteers, provide a strong service for their community and are set to benefit from the support.

The program will also include workshops and networking events, seminars to assist parents to raise bilingual children and the development of resources and support for school staff.

The professional development program is available to all teachers of community languages and is a prerequisite for schools funded under the CLP. More information on the CLP is available at the Community Languages Program page.

Value of volunteering

WA value of volunteering logo, two hands holding a heart with the word volunteeringThe enormous value of volunteering in Western Australia was revealed in new research released last month.

‘The Economic, Social and Cultural Value of Volunteering to WA’ report, commissioned by Volunteering WA and supported by the Department of Local Government and Communities, provides a comprehensive picture of the value of volunteering to the State.

The report reveals the value is much higher than previously estimated. 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.

It also provides the State Government with robust evidence to inform strategic objectives, planning, funding and service delivery, in line with Vital Volunteering 2011-2016.

DLGC provided $25,000 to Volunteering WA towards the research and report. The cities of Armadale, Joondalup and Swan, and the Town of Victoria Park also supported the project.

Visit the Volunteering WA website to view the report.

FAGs 2015-16

Wooden toy blocks with letters spell out FundingFinancial Assistance Grants for Western Australian local governments in 2015-16 will soon be determined by the WA Local Government Grants Commission.

Local governments will be advised of their notional allocations in late June or early July and the final grants are expected to be known in late July.

The 2015-16 financial year is the second year of the indexation pause implemented by the Commonwealth for the grant allocations. It is likely that most local governments will receive a grant similar to their 2014-15 allocation.

Based on the most current advice received from the Commonwealth, Western Australia’s share will be about $282 million - comprising $174 million in general purpose grants and $108 million in local road grants. 

The new methodology introduced by the WA Local Government Grants Commission in 2012 continues to be well received by local governments, with the majority expressing a high level of satisfaction with the process.

The commission encourages local governments to seek advice to improve their understanding of the grants methodology and the commission’s statutory role. 

Early years vision

A pre-school aged girl sits at a desk drawing with a crayonThe Department of Local Government and Communities has contributed to new and improved services for young children and families in Derby and Karratha.

In the Kimberley, DLGC provided $150,000 to World Vision Australia to establish an Aboriginal early years’ service.

World Vision’s Onyon Playgroup will build on the cultural strengths of Aboriginal families to help them meet the needs of their children aged from pre-birth to five years.

The playgroup is an informal and comfortable meeting space where families and their young children can play and learn together while supported and guided by qualified early years staff.

The service will work with parents to build a positive and caring relationship with their child, better understand their child’s development and support their child’s growth and learning.

DLGC provides almost $1.25 million in funding each year to Aboriginal early years’ services, with eight now operating throughout the State.

In the Pilbara, the Karratha Family Centre opened its new premises adjacent to the Karratha Primary School in May. It features improved facilities, with a strong focus on nature play in the outdoor spaces.

The project was managed by LandCorp on behalf of DLGC, with the assistance of the Pilbara Development Commission. The State Government’s Royalties for Regions program allocated up to $1 million to support the relocation.

Child care boost

Two toddler boys with face paint sit at a table with play doughRegional education and care services in WA have received a funding boost of almost $200,000.

Grants from the Regional Community Child Care Development Fund have been awarded to 17 regional organisations to strengthen the provision of local child care.

The fund, administered by the Department of Local Government and Communities, was established to support community-managed children’s care services in regional areas.

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

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

The State Government’s Royalties for Regions program has provided $9.3 million over four years to support the transformation and longer-term sustainability of regional community-managed education and care services.

Caring for your future

A senior couple standing outside their family home.Carers and seniors can receive advice about wills, guardianship and health directives at a free information session hosted by DLGC.

More than half of all adult Australians do not have a valid will and as Western Australia’s population ages, the number of people losing their capacity to manage their own legal and financial affairs will increase.

The Future Planning Session, hosted by DLGC and supported by the Office of the Public Trustee and Office of the Public Advocate, will explain and discuss enduring powers of attorney and guardianship, advance health directives, preparing wills and the administration of deceased estates.

The session will be held from 9.30am to 12.15pm on Wednesday 22 July at Gordon Stephenson House, 140 William Street, Perth. Book a place online via the Trybooking website by 20 July. For more information phone 6552 1736 or email

Working women

Four smiling business women standing in a row with their arms foldedA high level Women’s Consultative Forum has focused on encouraging women to remain in the workforce and become leaders.

The forum held at Hale House, West Perth, this month brought together business, government and industry leaders who have the ability to influence policy in their organisations and the community.

Facilitated by Department of Local Government and Communities director general Jennifer Mathews and opened by Women’s Interests Minister Liza Harvey, the forum examined ways to improve workplace practices to support and encourage women to remain in the workforce and attain leadership positions.

The first Women’s Consultative Forum, held in March, identified three major strategies to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers and skilled trades to girls and young women.

These strategies included rebranding STEM to encourage increased participation of girls and young women in these subjects; promoting the career benefits of STEM and skilled trades; and equipping schools and teachers to encourage interest in STEM subjects without gender bias.

The third forum, to be held later this year, will look at ways of re-engaging and training women who have been out of the workforce for an extended period.

DLGC is working closely with forum participants to tackle issues that affect women throughout their working life.

Chips for dogs

A dog running in a park with its male owner standing in the backgroundAll domestic dogs in Western Australia must be microchipped from 1 November 2015 as part of changes to the Dog Act 1976.

Amendments to the legislation, made in 2013, require dog owners to ensure that, from November, their dog is microchipped once it has reached three months of age.

Owners will need to show proof that the dog has been microchipped by providing their local government with the microchip number when their pet is registered.

A penalty of $200 may apply if a dog is not microchipped on and after 1 November. However, a dog may be exempt if the owner has a vet’s certificate stating the animal’s health and welfare may be at risk if chip implantation takes place.

Amendments to the Dog Act 1976 include a range of measures to improve community safety and encourage responsible dog ownership, including allowing for nuisance behaviour to be more effectively dealt with and the recognition of assistance dogs.

Local governments are urged to remind dog owners of their microchipping responsibilities in the lead up to the November deadline. More information is available on DLGC’s Dog Act Resources page online.