Volume 01 | October 2014
From the Director General
This month has marked a milestone for metropolitan local government reform with the State Government releasing the Local Government Advisory Board report. The Premier Colin Barnett and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson met with metropolitan mayors, presidents and chief executive officers on 22 October to deliver the board’s recommendations and the Government’s blueprint for local government in metropolitan Perth. Read more below about this important announcement.
The Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC) is continuing its support for elected members in country local government areas, delivering a four-day program of training. The subsidised training, delivered in partnership with the WA Local Government Association (WALGA), is a great opportunity for councillors to improve their skills and governance.
Families and those working in the early childhood education and care sector will get to have their say in November as part of the 2014 Review of the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care. DLGC invites comments from all stakeholders, with the public consultation period ending in January.
October and November are busy months for DLGC and its community sector partners who are honouring the State’s outstanding children, young people and seniors. The winners of the WA Children’s Week Awards were announced recently and in November the WA Youth Awards and WA Seniors Awards ceremonies will be held. These important events recognise the contribution of children, young people and older people to the community and are run in partnership with Meerilinga, Youth Affairs Council of WA and Council on the Ageing WA respectively.
I hope you enjoy the first issue of DLGC’s e-newsletter and I look forward to keeping you up to date about the department’s work towards making a difference for local communities.
The State Government has released the Local Government Advisory Board report on metropolitan local government reform, foreshadowing a City of Perth Act to recognise the State capital and its intention to cut the number of local governments from 30 to 16.
Premier Colin Barnett and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson briefed metropolitan local governments on 22 October before releasing the full report of the board.
The Government announced nine significant boundary adjustments affecting 15 local governments.
The report recommended six local governments be amalgamated into three: City of South Park, City of Fremantle and City of Jervoise Bay.
The City of Perth and the City of Vincent will come under a proposed City of Perth Act, which will include Kings Park, the University of WA and the QEII medical centre.
Once these boundaries are formalised, the Government will take steps to create a City of Riversea based around the western suburbs councils of Claremont, Nedlands, Cottesloe, Mosman Park and Peppermint Grove.
A follow-up briefing on the changes to Perth’s metropolitan local governments will be held on Wednesday 29 October for metropolitan mayors, presidents and CEOs.
Aboriginal students who make soap and children who grow their own vegetables were among the winners at this year’s WA Children’s Awards held at Joseph Ashton’s Circus on 22 October.
A highlight of WA Children’s Week, the awards program celebrates children’s creativity and identifies groups of children across Western Australia participating in events and initiatives that promote health and wellbeing.
There are four award categories including the Communities Award sponsored by the Department of Local Government and Communities.
The Communities Award recognises one metropolitan and one regional service or project that improves the lives of children and families within the community. The winners were Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service and Paint the Swan REaD, a community based, early intervention and prevention literacy campaign.
DLGC funds Meerilinga Young Children's Foundation to convene Children’s Week and the WA Children’s Week Awards. Children’s Week ran from 18 to 26 October.
Training for country councillors
DLGC and the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) are working in partnership to provide subsidised training for country local government elected members.
WALGA’s Diploma of Local Government (Elected Member) qualification will be used as a framework for the four-day program that aims to build skills and improve governance and decision-making.
Topics will include: councillor roles and responsibilities; meeting procedures and debating; land use planning; and strategy and managing risk.
The accredited training is being made available through the State Government’s Royalties for Regions Country Local Government Fund.
For more information visit the WALGA website.
Five star councils
DLGC will be presenting a session on rates and rating strategies at the Local Government Managers Australia Annual State Conference on Friday 31 October.
The session Achieving a Five Star Rating will explore best practice rating strategies and the policy and process of seeking Ministerial approval. The session will also provide an insight into the challenges faced by DLGC when setting rating strategies and applying rates.
DLGC is a trade exhibition partner of the conference, which will be held at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle from 29 - 31 October. The conference includes presentations from popular speakers such as Matina Jewell and Dr Stefan Hajkowicz.
Speak up about child care
Public consultation will be sought as part of the 2014 Review of the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care from November until January 2015.
The review aims to assess whether the objectives and outcomes of the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care have been achieved.
A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) enables interested people to provide feedback during this period via online comments and submissions, online surveys and face-to-face consultation sessions.
The RIS tests proposed policy and legislative changes to the National Quality Framework with a focus on how they will affect the sector and the community. The findings will be used to inform the outcomes of the 2014 review. For more information visit the National Quality Framework webpage.
Engaging young people
Young people are an integral part of the community and can help shape the future of Western Australia in new and exciting ways.
DLGC’s Youth Participation Kit provides advice on how to maximise young people’s input and contributions to community life. It comprises two sections: one for young people and one for organisations.
The kit contains practical tips for youth on how to get involved in organisations and the community, and it suggests to organisations how they can include young people in consultations and board or committees.
The Youth Participation Kits are being distributed to local governments and are available at the DLGC website or in hard copy by phoning 6551 8700 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Equal pay for women
DLGC is a supporter of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s pay equity campaign, launched on 30 September. The In Your Hands national campaign encourages business leaders to address gender pay gaps within their organisations and to develop pay equity strategies and action plans.
Gender pay gap is the difference between full-time weekly earnings for men and women. DLGC delivers a range of initiatives to improve women’s economic independence and leadership opportunities to help reduce the gender pay gap. Pay equity workshopswill be held in Perth in November.
A grandcarer of five, an inspirational octogenarian rower and an advocate for seniors in a remote Aboriginal community are among the finalists in this year’s WA Seniors Awards.
A partnership between DLGC and the Council on the Ageing WA (COTA WA), the awards recognise seniors, and those who work with and volunteer for seniors, for their outstanding contributions to local communities. Excellence in journalism is also recognised in the Deborah Kirwan Media Awards. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Saturday 8 November, which will mark the start of Seniors Week (9-16 November).
Seniors Week is a State-wide celebration of the value of seniors in our community. More than 80 community organisations have received grants totalling $82,000 to host regional and metropolitan events during the week, including an open air performance by WA Opera in the Perth CBD, a Seniors Week ball in Mandurah and a ‘back to country’ boat trip in the Kimberley.
Age no barrier
An Age-Friendly Communities Forum bringing together State and local government, community organisations, service providers and academics will be held in November.
The forum will promote an age-friendly communities approach to planning and explore how to support older people to participate fully in their community.
Consultation is a key to this international approach, which recognises that older people are best placed to identify what they need to fully engage in their community.
Keynote speakers at the forum include International Federation of Ageing secretary general Jane Barrett, City of Melville community development director Christine Young, Alzheimer’s Australia education and research general manager Jason Burton and Advocare CEO Greg Mahney.
The forum will be held on 20 November and another half-day workshop to discuss the AFC methodology will be held on 21 November. For more information and to register contact the Local Government Managers Association on 9271 1136 or visit the LGMA website.
DLGC has provided a total of $100,000 in Age-Friendly Communities Grants to 27 local governments.
Helpline for elder abuse
Seniors being coerced into giving money to friends or family can now telephone Western Australia’s first dedicated elder abuse helpline on 1300 724 679.
Older people who have few friends, family or contact with the community are most at risk of elder abuse, which may take many forms including financial, emotional, social, physical and sexual abuse, and neglect. Financial abuse is the most common.
About 12,500 seniors in WA may be experiencing abuse.
The helpline, funded by DLGC and the Department of Health and managed by Advocare, is available on weekdays from 8.30am to 4.30pm, offering an ‘impartial ear’ for people to share their situation.
The State Government is working with community stakeholders to help stop elder abuse. Through the Alliance for the Prevention of Elder Abuse WA (APEA), agencies such as DLGC, WA Police and Office of the Public Advocate, and organisations including Advocare and the Older People’s Rights Service, are co-ordinating initiatives to support older people who are experiencing, or at risk of, elder abuse.
DLGC also recently released a new publication called Stay Connected and Be Involved with tips for older people on how to maintain their social connections to prevent abuse.
Honour our volunteers
Thank a Volunteer Day celebrations on 5 December will recognise the generous contribution that Western Australia’s 600,000 volunteers make to the community.
Groups and organisations can access a special Thank a Volunteer certificate signed by Seniors and Volunteering Minister Tony Simpson to acknowledge people who have made an extraordinary contribution.
About 35 per cent of West Australians over the age of 18 volunteer each year and there are about 16,000 volunteer organisations in the State.
DLGC has provided funding of $32,000 in 2014 for a range of community Thank a Volunteer Day events. To request a certificate contact email@example.com
New regulations for parking for people with disabilities will provide greater consistency in parking provisions, such as signage. Penalties for parking in bays reserved for people with a disability have also significantly increased.
The recently gazetted Local Government (Parking for People with Disabilities) Regulations 2014 (Regulations) will replace the Local Government (Parking for Disabled Persons) Regulations 1988. The Regulations will take effect on 1 December 2014. For more information, visit our Frequently Asked Questions.
Recent amendments made to the Dog Act 1976 have expanded the special provisions for guide dogs, resulting in new types of assistance dogs commonly used by people with a disability being formally recognised.
Regulations prescribe that people with assistance dogs trained by authorised organisations are automatically granted public access rights, which include being allowed to travel on public transport. For more information visit our Assistance Dogs webpage.
A Boulder look at multiculturalism
The Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) held community consultations in September with the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder to capture the potential of cultural diversity in the region.
The consultations were held in partnership with the Commonwealth Department of Social Services and involved 13 meetings with community groups and service providers.
The consultation has enabled OMI to identify its role in supporting future initiatives and events in the region. OMI values community engagement in regional Western Australia as an important way to understand the particular needs and issues facing multicultural communities across the State.
OMI’s next regional project is a funding forum in Bunbury, a rapidly growing culturally diverse community.