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Connect April 2016

Last updated: 31/01/2017 10:31 PM
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From the Director General

Jennifer MathewsDirector General, Jennifer Mathews

An estimated 320,000 people in Western Australia provide unpaid care to another person. WA’s first Carers Strategy was launched on 21 April 2016. This important document outlines strategies for the whole community to focus its efforts towards better recognition of, and support for, carers.

The Community Services Excellence Awards take place every two years, and are a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding work of WA’s community sector.

An exciting new category this year recognises collaboration between community service organisations, local governments and communities to develop and deliver local services.

The category is sponsored by the Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC) and is an initiative of the Community Development Roundtable, comprising DLGC, WA Council of Social Service, WA Local Government Association and Local Government Managers Australia.

Improving transparency and accountability across WA’s 138 local governments continues to be a priority for DLGC.

In March the City of Perth Bill received Royal Assent, becoming the City of Perth Act. The Act confirms Perth’s special status as WA’s capital city.

Additionally, the Act makes changes to the disclosure of gifts and contributions to travel by councillors and senior officers at WA’s local governments.

These must now be declared within ten days of receipt and displayed on the local government’s website. DLGC has been working to ensure local governments are aware of these changes.

Looking forward, DLGC will continue to support local government performance and accountability with the launch of a new website enabling users to compare data across local governments for the first time. 'My Council' is a major initiative for the department and will make it much easier for members of the public to view important information about their council.

As we approach mid-year, we look forward to building further partnerships to deliver positive outcomes for the community in the coming months.

I hope you enjoy this edition of connect.

Jennifer Mathews

Director General
Department of Local Government and Communities

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Carers' insights published

Carers WA image of two menImage supplied by Carers WA

West Australian carers and the organisations that support them have contributed to the State Government's new WA Carers Strategy.

Community Services Minister Tony Simpson officially launched the strategy at the Carers Research Symposium on 21 April.

The symposium was coordinated by the Carers Advisory Council in partnership with the Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC) and featured guest speakers from Curtin University and Southern Cross Care who provided insight on the various issues affecting different carers.

The WA Carers Strategy was developed to recognise the unique role fulfilled by WA's estimated 320,000 carers. It was developed by DLGC, in partnership with the Carers Advisory Council and Carers WA, with input sought from carers and the organisations that support them via an online survey, consultation forums and teleconferences.

The strategy will guide stakeholders and the community towards greater support for and recognition of carers, and ensure the availability of government services is communicated to those who require them.

DLGC works in partnership with the community services sector to provide the best outcomes for carers. The department also funds Carers WA with more than $820,000 each year to support carers with counselling, respite and social activities.

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Achievers in the running

Four people from 12 Buckets Inc. holding buckets in a fieldCSEA finalist 12 Buckets

The finalists in this year's Community Services Excellence Awards have been announced. They include a mobile ear clinic for Aboriginal children, an inclusion program for people at risk of social isolation and an outreach service for young people in Port Hedland. 

The biennial awards are presented by the Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) in partnership with the Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC) and recognise outstanding Western Australian organisations committed to improving the lives of others.   

This year the awards program includes a new category, sponsored by DLGC, recognising successful collaboration between community service organisations, local governments and local communities.

The Local Government and Community Services Collaboration category is an initiative of the Community Development Roundtable, a high level forum comprising DLGC, WACOSS, WA Local Government Association and Local Government Managers Australia. 

The winners of the Community Services Excellence Awards will be announced on 4 May at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Other categories include awards for small, medium and large organisations, a regional organisation award, citizen empowerment award and recognition for outstanding commitment to reconciliation.

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Creating strong councils

Funding spelled out in coloured blocks

Country local governments will benefit from $5.4 million in funding to support innovation and strengthen performance.

The two-year funding through the Royalties for Regions Country Local Government Fund will be invested in a series of initiatives through the Department of Local Government and Communities' (DLGC) capacity building program.

The investment will help councils to improve service delivery and build on community partnerships.

The Country Local Government Fund Youth Development Program is one of the five initiatives that have received funding.

Young people up to the age of 30 who are already employed in regional local governments will be able to participate in the program.

As well as career opportunities, participants will get the chance to put forward ideas for future community development and ways of meeting the needs of the local and wider community.

Other projects set to take place include support for local governments to undertake service delivery reviews and the provision of an online information management tool.

Since 2013, DLGC's capacity building program has provided more than $10 million in support for local councils.

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Rating advice

Surburban housesUpdated rating policies and application forms defining the role of elected members in the rate setting process are now available on the Department of Local Government and Communities' (DLGC) website. 

Among the changes is the requirement for local governments to review their expenditure and consider efficiency measures as part of budget deliberations.

This is to be reflected in the council minutes when it adopts its budget strategy and endorses objects and reasons for each differential rating category and each minimum payment.  

Local government rating policies assist local government officers in understanding the legislation in relation to rates and to assist in the rates process.

DLGC can also offer advice on providing supporting information to electors and ratepayers, including public notice deadlines, post-submission requirements and approval guidelines.

The council is responsible for:

  • determining the budget strategy
  • endorsing the objects and reasons and approving the proposed differential rates and minimum payments for advertising
  • considering and responding to submissions
  • resolving to make an application to the Minister (if an approval is needed)
  • adopting the budget.

Notification of the changes was sent to all local governments in Ministerial Circular 02-2016: Updated Rating Policies. For more information, email legislation@dlgc.wa.gov.au.

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River Rangers go north

Halls Creek River Ranger girls outsideHalls Creek River Rangers

The Cadets WA River Rangers program has expanded beyond Perth and into the regions for the first time.

The program has opened in the Kimberley and will operate at Warlawurru Catholic School in Halls Creek and John Pujajangka-Piyirn Catholic School in Mulan.

River Rangers started in 2010 with five primary schools taking part in a pilot program in the Swan-Canning catchment area.

Funded by the Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC) and coordinated by the Department of Parks and Wildlife, it is part of DLGC's Cadets WA program, which receives $3.6 million annual funding. 

Students get up close to the natural environment, taking part in river-based activities including tree planting, litter pick-ups, bird and bat box building, biodiversity surveys and water quality testing.

Warlawurru Catholic School is a primary school on the outskirts of Halls Creek in the East Kimberley. The school services the local Lunja Community and other areas of Halls Creek and has about 50 students.

John Pujajangka-Piyirn Catholic School is in the remote Mulan Aboriginal Community, about 300km south of Halls Creek. 

There are now 15 River Rangers units operating in Western Australian primary schools with more than 700 students taking part.

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CaLD youth get active

Children with swimming gear beside a poolChildren from CaLD communities taking part in the Swim and Survive Access and Equity program at Balga Leisurepark

More culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) children are getting the chance to embrace Western Australia's favourite sports thanks to two programs supported by the Office of Multicultural Interests' (OMI), Community Grants program.

The Royal Life Saving Society's Swim and Survive Access and Equity program is developed specifically for children from CaLD backgrounds, with many children experiencing swimming for the first time. 

The program was initiated following concern over migrants' over-representation in WA's drowning statistics.  About 40 per cent of drowning deaths in the State over the past decade have involved people from CaLD backgrounds.

The Swim and Survive Access and Equity program aims to reach more than 1,000 children at their local aquatic centre.

On the football field, the West Australian Football Commission's Welcome to AFL program is encouraging CaLD kids to pull on a Guernsey.

More than 30 young people have already taken part in the program, which focuses on youth development through teamwork, leadership and mentoring.

The program enables children from different cultures to interact in a team environment, develop intercultural understanding and build on the strengths of WA's diverse community.

It also promotes sporting opportunities like playing, coaching, umpiring and administration. During 2016, the Welcome to AFL program will deliver more than 20 activities and events throughout WA, encouraging cultural diversity on and off the football field.

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Training delivers

Joanne Burges training councillors in a classroomParticipants at a strategy and risk management course in Exmouth. Image courtesy of WALGA.

Country local governments have benefited from a high level training program, which has been delivered directly to the regions since a successful pilot in 2014.

Provided in partnership by the Department of Local Government and Communities and the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), the Training for Country Councillors program reached 308 elected members during 2014-15.

Councillors from various locations have been invited to participate in 2015-16, with sessions still available in the Great Eastern and South West WALGA Zones. There will be additional training in the final phase of the program, during 2016-17.

Using WALGA's Diploma of Local Government (Elected Member) as its framework, the training aims to improve the skills elected members need for good governance and decision-making.

The training is delivered in two blocks. Each block takes two days and covers serving on council, meeting procedures and debating, land use planning and strategy and risk management.

Elected members may progress to a Diploma of Local Government after completing the training. For enquiries contact WALGA.

More than $1.5 million has been provided for the training program through the Royalties for Regions-funded Country Local Government Fund Capacity Building Program. 

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Cadets honoured

Cadets WA children lined up with flagsSome of Western Australia's longest serving Cadets WA instructors have been honoured as the program celebrates its 20th year.

The celebration on 10 March recognised 18 instructors who have collectively served the program for 199 years.

Youth Minister Tony Simpson presented each of the recipients with an award at the anniversary event hosted by John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School in Mirrabooka. The school was one of the original 11 schools involved in the Cadets WA program.

Cadets WA, administered by the Department of Local Government and Communities, gives secondary school-aged students the chance to develop leadership skills by undertaking adventurous training, camping, hiking and sport in a fun environment.

More than 8,000 young people now participate in 200 cadet units throughout WA.

There are nine Cadets WA programs: Emergency Services Cadets, Bush Rangers, Police Rangers, Red Cross Cadets, Surf Life Saving Cadets, Navy Cadets, Army Cadets, Air Force Cadets and River Rangers.

For a full list of award recipients visit the DLGC website.

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A young boy in a vegetable gardenInvesting in communities

A $100,000 Regional Community Child Care Development Fund grant will enable south-west community organisation 'Investing In Our Youth' to help service providers experiencing sustainability issues.

The Shire of Katanning received $14,100 to undertake a feasibility study for a sustainable business model for Katanning Community Child Care Centre and the Shire of Plantagenet received $20,425 to undertake a feasibility study to assess the needs and viability of the current early education and care centre. 

The latest round of funding will also help with the purchasing and improvement of infrastructure, creation of more sustainable gardens and the promotion of workshops and events.

Since its introduction, the program has provided more than $350,000 in grants for 27 community gardens projects throughout WA, with 11 metropolitan and 16 regional projects now under way.

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Engaging with volunteers

National Volunteer Week 2016 promotionNational Volunteer Week 9-15 May: Give Happy, Live Happy

National Volunteer Week is held from 9 -15 May with celebratory events and activities planned across Western Australia.

'Understanding and engaging 21st Century Volunteers and Social Media' is a free community training day taking place on 10 May in Perth.  Coordinated by the Town of Bassendean, City of Melville and the City of Swan, the day will be hosted by the Department of Local Government and Communities.

The event will be facilitated by international guest speaker Rob Jackson, a leading authority on volunteering with a career in the industry spanning 20 years. Spaces are limited so early registration is recommended.

Volunteering WA will be hosting the Volunteer of the Year Awards and gala dinner on 11 May at the Hyatt Regency, Perth. They are also coordinating 'volunteer pop-ups' around the city during lunchtime on 9 May with volunteers giving away red smiles for people to take a selfie and post it on social media under #givehappylivehappy.

To find National Volunteer Week activities, contact your local Volunteer Resource Centre by visiting Volunteering WA.

DLGC recognises those who have volunteered 25 or more years of service to the same organisation through the WA Volunteer Service Awards. Nominations can be submitted at any time and the next ceremony will be in June.

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Ignition fuels women

Ten female 2015 Curtin Ignition Growth recipientsRecipients of the 2015 Ignition scholarships funded by DLGC

The Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC) is once again partnering with the Curtin Centre for Entrepreneurship to fund ten scholarships for women to take part in the annual Curtin Growth Ignition program.

The DLGC funded scholarships support women entrepreneurs who face financial barriers that may restrict their ability to participate in the program. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women, and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, are encouraged to apply.

Growth Ignition is based on the successful Ignite program, delivered by the University of Cambridge Judge Business School in the UK. It is a five and a half day intensive program, preparing participants to take an idea for a new or improved product or service to the business world.

The course runs from 4 - 9 September and comprises a blend of practical teaching sessions, expert clinics, mentor sessions and experienced advice and support from leading entrepreneurs and innovators.

Participants are provided with the tools, contacts and confidence to transform their idea into a successful business.

Applications for Ignition open on 1 June 2016. Scholarship applications close on 29 July and applications for self-funded places close on 12 August. All applications are made through Curtin University.

Interested women are encouraged to attend one of the information sessions hosted by the Curtin Centre for Entrepreneurship in June and July.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are important pathways to women's economic independence, one of the focus areas for DLGC.

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Awards showcase diversity

Minister Nahan with recipients of the WA Multicultural Recognition Awards 2016Minister Nahan with recipients of the WA Multicultural Recognition Awards 2016

Inspirational West Australians have received awards for their contributions to multiculturalism at the WA Multicultural Recognition Awards 2016 held on the eve of Harmony Week.   

Hosted by the Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI), the awards recognise individuals, businesses and community groups for the contributions they have made to social harmony and inclusivity in WA.

Twenty seven awards were presented across eight categories including individual, volunteer, service, community organisation, private sector, marketing, local government, and arts and culture.

Winners received a commemorative medallion or pin by Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Hon Dr Mike Nahan at a ceremony in March.

The awards night also saw the launch of the Voices in Harmony Project, an exciting new initiative for Harmony Week.

Featuring 15 songs available on SoundCloud, the soundtrack goes on a musical journey through WA covering the State's Indigenous heritage before moving to influences from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, South-East Asia, North Asia, South America and the Pacific Islands.

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