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Connect October 2015

Last updated: 11/04/2016 11:49 PM
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From the Director General

Jennifer Mathews Celebrating success is important. We need to acknowledge community achievements and showcase them to others to promote how each of us can make a difference.

Recently we have seen some inspirational people and organisations recognised in the WA Seniors Awards and the Carers Week Awards. Other upcoming events that celebrate West Australians include Seniors Week from 8 to 15 November, the WA Youth Awards on 27 November, Thank a Volunteer Day on 4 December and the WA Volunteer Services Awards on 10 December.

There has been a huge effort to support the community to engage in local democracy through the recent local government elections. I would like to thank all voters, acknowledge all candidates and congratulate all elected members. Such a well-run process could not occur without the professionalism and hard work of local governments, the WA Electoral Commission and staff from the Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC).

We have recently assumed responsibility for financial counselling services in WA, with a new model developed in collaboration with the financial counselling sector. Detailed work has been undertaken to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of financial counselling services and to provide certainty for the sector.

A new grants program is now open to encourage local communities to become more age-friendly. Currently, 57 local governments across WA have undertaken the ‘age friendly communities’ approach to enable older people to age well in communities where they can live full and active lives. Local governments can apply for an Age Friendly Communities Grant by 10 December. More information is available at and the Age Friendly Communities Local Government Grants Program webpage. 

And speaking of online resources, I invite you to visit the new DLGC website. We have designed it to be engaging, informative and more intuitive for users. I encourage you to explore it and find out more about the wide range of programs and services we deliver to the community. 

Jennifer Mathews
Director General
Department of Local Government and Communities

Elections break record

The 2015 local government elections have resulted in a record number of candidates and increased diversity on council.

The elections saw 227 female candidates elected to council compared to 189 in 2013. There was also a significant increase in the number of councillors aged under 30 years elected.

Local government elections were held on 17 October. The Department of Local Government and Communities in partnership with the Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) ran a comprehensive promotional campaign in the lead up to the elections.

Major objectives of the campaign were to increase the representation of women and young people in council candidacy and to increase voter participation.

The WAEC received a record number of 1,021 candidates – an increase of more than 200 candidates on the 2013 ordinary elections. 

The State-wide participation rate for postal elections this year was 27.5 per cent, which compares to 27.8 per cent in 2013.

Voter participation in the country was typically higher than in the metropolitan area. The Shire of Cue had the highest voter participation rate in WA at 66 per cent, while the City of Perth had the highest participation rate of the metropolitan councils with 37 per cent of electors casting a vote. More information is available at the WAEC website

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DLGC at diamond event

The Department of Local Government and Communities is a trade sponsor at a State conference for almost 250 local government managers and senior staff this week.

The Local Government Managers Australia (WA) State Conference Pressure Makes Diamonds is taking place from 28 to 30 October at The Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle.

Attendees have the opportunity to hear from local, national and international guest speakers including Australian corporate culture authority Steve Simpson, UK design curator Gill Hicks and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson.

Session topics include performance measurement, strategically managing culture, community engagement and employment for people with disabilities. Staff at DLGC’s trade booth will be on hand with advice and information.

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Off-road to awareness

Local governments are being encouraged to raise awareness of off-road vehicle licence requirements and safe places to ride.

Under the Control of Vehicles (Off-road Areas) Act 1978 (WA), administered by the Department of Local Government and Communities, an off-road vehicle must be registered to ride in legally permitted areas.

Registering an off-road vehicle will also help to reduce theft, lead to more accurate planning for off-road vehicle use and increase funding available to use for the administration of the legislation. Off-road vehicle registrations are made at the Department of Transport.

There are a number of legally permitted areas for off-road vehicles throughout Western Australia, where owners can safely and legally ride their vehicles.

Local governments are encouraged to raise awareness of the permitted areas within their control in order to reduce anti-social and dangerous riding practices outside of these areas. Riders should contact their local council for more information. 

If local governments determine there is a need for a permitted area for off‑road vehicles or a need to ban vehicles from a particular area, a submission to the Local Government Minister is required. For more information contact Troy Hancock at DLGC.

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Caring about carers

National Carers Week in October has highlighted the important contribution of carers to Western Australian communities.

The national awareness-raising week, from 11 to 17 October, aims to raise awareness of carers, carer services and support. The week of events and activities included morning teas, launches, exhibitions, family events and seminars.

The Department of Local Government and Communities was a gold partner in the National Carers Week feature event, the Carers Gala Ball, held on 10 October.

DLGC provides $1.77 million in annual funding towards services that support people in a carer’s role, including grandcarers. The funding is aimed at helping carers manage the challenges of caring by building their knowledge, skills and confidence and linking them to social support networks and relevant community resources.

The major funded organisation, Carers WA, works in partnership with carers, people with care and support needs, health professionals, service providers, government and the wider community to achieve an improved quality of life for carers.

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Celebration of children

A community service organisation running holiday camps for autistic children has won a Children’s Week Award.

Camp Autism was among the winners at this year’s Children’s Week Awards held at Perth Zoo this week.

The awards are a major event of Children’s Week WA, which celebrates children's creativity and recognises adults, services or projects that have made an outstanding contribution to the community.

There are four award categories including the Communities Award, sponsored by the Department of Local Government and Communities. This award recognises one metropolitan and one regional service or project that improves the lives of children and families.

The Communities Award for Metropolitan Services was presented to Camp Autism, which provides support to families with children with autism.

Winner of the Regional Services category was Boddington Early Years Network, a collaboration of stakeholders that works to improve opportunities for young children. 

Meerilinga convenes Children’s Week WA, which runs from 24 October - 1 November 2015, and the Children’s Week Awards.

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Good yarns at SNAICC

The Department of Local Government and Communities has supported a conference to strengthen Aboriginal early childhood and family service delivery. 

DLGC sponsored the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) National Conference hosted in Perth for the first time in September.  

The biennial conference attracted almost 1,000 people and aimed to share and celebrate stories of successful and culturally strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service delivery models in early childhood and family welfare sectors.

DLGC’s conference booth highlighted the parent support component of the supported play and learn Best Start program.

On display at the booth were The Yarns of the Heart Noongar handmade dolls from Narrogin in the southern wheatbelt and Healing Books made by DLGC’s Ngaangk Moort Women’s group, which reflected personal stories of Aboriginal families participating in the Best Start program.

The dolls, healing books and Aboriginal parenting publications on display provided information and inspiration to Aboriginal service providers and foster parents.

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Financial counselling

The Department of Local Government and Communities has taken on responsibility for funding of the State’s financial counselling services.

Financial counselling funding has been previously managed by the Department for Child Protection and Family Support (DCPFS).The change has been made to provide a more efficient face-to-face financial counselling service in the metropolitan area. It also allowed DCPFS to focus on services that promote the safety and wellbeing of at-risk children and their families.

The State Government has allocated $2 million per year for contracted financial counselling services in the metropolitan area through to 30 June 2018. The funding will continue to provide a mix of face-to-face services and telephone support for vulnerable people experiencing financial hardship and requiring assistance to manage their situation.

DLGC's responsibilities will include both metropolitan and country services, as well as the service provided by the Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA.

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Seniors Week and all that jive

Hundreds of events throughout the State will be staged for West Australian seniors next month.

WA Seniors Week, which runs from 8 to 15 November, promises to be an electrifying experience in 2015, courtesy of the Roots of Rock 'n' Roll Show presented by the Department of Local Government and Communities.

The free performance at Northbridge Piazza features veteran Perth rockers Way Back When and jive dancers reviving the hits of the '50s and '60s. The one-hour performance will be held on Thursday 12 November at 12pm.

Almost 80 events will be held across the State during Seniors Week, with DLGC and Lotterywest contributing more than $80,000 for grants to community organisations and local governments to host activities.

On Wednesday 11 November, the annual Have a Go Day festival presented by the Seniors Recreation Council of WA will be held at Burswood Park, with up to 15,000 visitors expected to attend the popular all-day event. The WA Seniors Card Centre will be there with information and advice for seniors and visitors.

DLGC is also supporting the Housing by Design event hosted by the Independent Living Centre WA on Saturday 14 November. Promoting the benefits of age-friendly housing design, including liveable homes, home modifications and age-friendly neighbourhoods, Housing by Design will take place at the Independent Living Centre WA in Nedlands, from 9.30am to 3.30pm, and includes the option of a bus tour to a display home. To register for the event visit or phone Council on the Ageing WA on 9472 0104.

The Seniors Week CAT trails are a ticket to fun and adventure across Perth city and Fremantle. Developed especially for Seniors Week, the CAT trails are four free self-guided bus tours based around the Perth and Fremantle Red and Blue CAT bus routes.

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Seniors Card benefits

Local businesses have the opportunity to attract new customers through the WA Seniors Card Program.

The WA Seniors Card Program has more than 375,000 members and a card with high recognition that is greatly valued by seniors.

The Department of Local Government and Communities is seeking new businesses to join the program and attract potentially thousands more customers by offering a discount exclusively to Seniors Card holders.

To be included in the program, businesses need to offer a discount to seniors of 10 per cent or more, or offer savings worth more than $20 in value. Full terms and conditions are in the reasons to advertise brochure.

All businesses signing up to the WA Seniors Card Program are also automatically listed in the online WA Seniors Card Discount Directory.

The WA Seniors Card entitles people 61 years of age and older to a range of State Government concessions and business discounts. To be eligible, seniors must be a permanent resident of Western Australia and not in the full-time workforce.

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Helping STEM take root  

Jennifer MathewsThe Department of Local Government and Communities is supporting a lecture on the importance of careers and training in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

The free Maureen Bickley Memorial Lecture will be presented by Western Australia’s Australian of the Year Professor Lyn Beazley on 11 November at DLGC.

Professor Beazley was Western Australia’s chief scientist from 2006 to 2013, advising the WA Government on science, innovation and technology, as well as acting as an ambassador for science locally, nationally and internationally.

As patron of the Women in Technology WA Techtrails program, sponsored by DLGC, Professor Beazley encourages and inspires secondary students to pursue study and career opportunities in STEM fields.

The Maureen Bickley Memorial Lecture - Women in STEM: The leadership needed to change the current situation - is organised by the Maureen Bickley Centre for Women in Leadership, Curtin Business School.

It celebrates the life of Dr Maureen Bickley and her contribution to equity and women in leadership. Dr Bickley was an associate professor at the Curtin Graduate School of Business.

To register for the lecture, visit the Curtin University website.

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Parenting partnership

Jennifer MathewsA support program to meet the needs of families with young children has been launched at Parenting WA.

The Department of Local Government and Communities has partnered with the Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) in a two-year pilot project to boost early years' networks across the State.

WACOSS received $550,000 from Lotterywest for the Early Years Networks Support Program, which is also supported by Woodside. As part of the partnership, WACOSS staff involved in the program will work from the Parenting WA centre in Mount Lawley. 

The program will provide opportunities for the networks to share resources and develop best practice across a range of activities, as well as promote coordination and collaboration between the 35 Early Years Networks across the State.

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First faith forum

Attendees at the First Faith ForumThe Office of Multicultural Interests’ first Multifaith Forum promoted dialogue, understanding and greater collaboration among faiths.

More than 30 participants, including faith leaders from Baha’i, Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, Orthodox and Sikh groups, attended the forum which discussed common issues and worked on practical, community-based responses.

The forum was an opportunity for faith representatives to meet, listen and learn and build relationships.

The forum highlighted synergies in the objectives and issues faced by different faith groups and provided a platform from which to strive towards building a cohesive society.

The Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) will hold more Multifaith Forums in 2016. For details visit the OMI website or phone 6552 1628.

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Voices in harmony

Cultural groups have the opportunity to feature on a soundtrack being developed for Harmony Week 2016.

The Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) is inviting culturally and linguistically diverse groups and individuals to participate in the inaugural Voices in Harmony project.

Voices in Harmony will showcase singing performances from across Western Australia on Soundcloud - an online audio digital platform. This playlist will become the ‘soundtrack’ to Harmony Week 2016 and will be used throughout the year to highlight WA’s cultural diversity.

To participate on the playlist you can either record a performance of a song from your culture or community, submit a song that you have already recorded, or record a cultural interpretation of a classic Australian song copyright permitting.

For more information contact Kate Rowlands on 08 6552 1767 or 

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