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Connect June 2016

Last updated: 31/08/2016 1:40 AM
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From the Director General

Jennifer MathewsDirector General, Jennifer Mathews

Volunteering is valued at an enormous $39 billion to Western Australia, economically, culturally and socially. Earlier this month I was pleased to attend the WA Volunteer Service Awards, which celebrate WA's longest serving volunteers.  Recipients included John Wilson, whose work has enabled many people with disability to be actively involved in waterskiing.

The Department of Local Government and Communities' (DLGC's) capacity building work with WA's local government sector continues. The Shire of Broome is the latest local government to benefit from a collaborative approach to improving best practice, by taking part in a Better Practice Review.

The Shire and Town of Narrogin will usher in a new era when they merge on 1 July, forming the new Shire of Narrogin. The Shire and Town have shown a strong commitment to the reform process, which will enable the new Shire to plan ahead for a sustainable future on behalf of their community. On the same day, the new boundaries of the City of Perth will come into effect, under the City of Perth Act. The City's boundaries will be enlarged to include The University of Western Australia, Kings Park, Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre and the new Perth Children's Hospital. 

The end of the financial year is always a busy time for local governments. An important date to note is the adoption of local governments' annual budget between 1 June and 31 August.

This edition of connect also includes an update on the MyCouncil website, launched last month. The website has been an outstanding success, receiving in excess of 75,000 unique page views.

The Community Development Roundtable comprising DLGC, WA Council of Social Service, WA Local Government Association and Local Government Managers Australia (WA) met on 9 June. Priority work areas include procurement planning, supporting young people in local government and building capacity in community development.

DLGC continues to support an impressive selection of programs and events inspiring leadership across government and community sectors. Last week an ideas-sharing luncheon for established female entrepreneurs took place in Perth. Coming up, there will also be a forum and a free workshop for women who want to take their business ideas to the next level. 

The Office of Multicultural Interests' Multicultural Partnership Program will provide funding to support an increase in the number of migrant leaders. DLGC was also a major sponsor at the Local Government Managers Association's annual Mentors & Aspiring Leaders Conference in May.

Due to decisions arising from the 2016-17 State Budget, DLGC will shift its focus in the parenting sector from direct service delivery to a strategic coordination and facilitation role. This means DLGC will no longer offer the Parenting WA service from 31 December this year.  A new Centre for Parenting Excellence will be launched later this year, with the first meeting of the Steering Committee in July.   

I hope you find this edition of connect informative. I look forward to introducing the next edition in August.

Jennifer Mathews
Director General
Department of Local Government and Communities

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Volunteers honoured

WA Volunteer Service Award 2016 recipient John Wilson

Volunteers contributing 25 or more years' continuous service to one organisation were honoured at the Department of Local Government and Communities' Volunteer Service Awards on 22 June.

Thirty-eight people, who have volunteered for a combined total of 1,092 years, were presented with commemorative badges by Seniors and Volunteering Minister Tony Simpson. 

Among them was John Wilson, who has volunteered for the Western Australian Water Ski Association for more than a quarter of a century.

John, 81, from Dianella, has developed equipment and teaching techniques to enable people with disabilities to water ski, and continues to be actively involved in the sport.

Other volunteers honoured included Denise Mousley, who has served Perth Training and Obedience Dog Club, started by her parents in the early 1970s, for 30 years. Currently head trainer, Denise has been helping the club since she was a child.

The WA Volunteer Service Awards program recognises WA volunteers who have provided 25-49 years and 50 years or more of service to one organisation continuously. Nominees receive a badge and certificate recognising their outstanding contribution to the WA community.

An additional ceremony will be held to acknowledge volunteers that have dedicated 50 years or more of service on Thank a Volunteer Day, 5 December. 

Nominations for the award badge are ongoing and can be submitted at any time.

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Entrepreneurs inspire

 Inspiring Entrepreneurship luncheon speakers: Vanya Cullen, Sharon Grosser  and Louise Daw.Inspiring Entrepreneurship luncheon speakers: Vanya Cullen, Sharon Grosser and Louise Daw

WA's female entrepreneurs are in the spotlight this month, as women share their stories about running a successful business.

A celebration of the successes of West Australian businesswomen, the Inspiring Entrepreneurship luncheon took place on 24 June in Perth. 

Now in its fifth year, the event is delivered by the Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC) in partnership with the Small Business Development Corporation and the Department of State Development

Guest speakers were Vanya Cullen, Managing Director of Margaret River's Cullen Wines; Sharon Grosser, co-founder of education software company SEQTA; and Louise Daw, co-founder of MiPlan, a provider of business improvement solutions to the mining industry.

Women who have an established business idea have the opportunity to attend the Aspiring Entrepreneurship Forum and Workshop on 29 June.

This forum and workshop will provide attendees with the opportunity to hear from three successful businesswomen and learn the basics of business financials to ensure their fledgling projects are on the right track.  The event is delivered by DLGC with support from the Small Business Development Corporation.

Speakers include Tracey Loubser from Confident Cashflows, Renae Bunster from Bunster's Fresh and Lorraine Hull from Rainey Wood Works.

DLGC partners with women, community groups and other government agencies to promote women's interests and to strengthen the positive profile of women through a range of initiatives every year.

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MyCouncil snapshot

Since launching at the end of April, the Department of Local Government and Communities' (DLGC's) MyCouncil website has been visited more than 14,000 times, with in excess of 75,000 unique page views.

The site has been commended for its simple design and accessible features, making it easy to view, compare and export information about local governments.  For the first time, WA's ratepayers have been able to review financial data from every council in the State, including rates revenue and expenditure by program, to better understand their council's financial health.

Local governments are already benefiting from the website with the opportunity to showcase their performance to the community and identify areas for continuous improvement.

The website, hosted by DLGC, forms part of the State Government's commitment to build the capacity of the local government sector. DLGC will continue to work with local governments to evolve and expand the capabilities of the website.

Other initiatives set to take place as part of DLGC's capacity building program include the provision of an online information management tool.

An information session for local governments will be held in July, showcasing the new online tool which will complement local government integrated planning and reporting and will assist local governments to deliver infrastructure and services to meet growing community demands. The information session will be recorded and made available on the DLGC website.

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Hong Kong exchange

Applications are now open for an exciting Hong Kong  exchange program offering young people in WA an international perspective. Seven 18-24 year olds will be selected to travel to Hong Kong in February 2017 and experience Chinese culture first hand as part of the intiative.

The program, delivered in partnership by the Department of Local Government and Communities and the Youth Affairs Council of WA, supported by the Office of Multicultural Interests, will be awarded to students who can demonstrate they are actively engaged in their communities.

Participants will have the opportunity to develop self-confidence, build international networks and get an understanding of a different culture as well as create a base for future education and career goals.

Regional applicants are encouraged with travel costs subsidised by the Western Australian State Government.

WA delegates will have the opportunity to meet and participate in activities with Hong Kong delegates in Perth in October 2016, and travel to Hong Kong next year.

The program will focus on encouraging the exchange of ideas and experiences on an international level.

The International Youth Exchange Program is an initiative of the Western Australian State Government and the Home Affairs Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to further strengthen relations between China and WA.

To apply, visit the Youth Affairs Council of WA.  Applications close 7 July 2016.

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Empowering migrant communities

Services that support Western Australia's multicultural community to address social cohesion, employment and leadership will receive $800,000 over the next three years.

As part of the State Government's 2015-18 Multicultural Partnership Program (MPP), the funds are being managed by the Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) and will invest in the delivery of three initiatives that develop culturally diverse communities through collaboration, leadership and innovation.

African Leadership Initiative ($70,000 per annum)

This capacity building leadership program is to be delivered by the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre in partnership with the Challenger Institute of Technology.

The program will give participants the skills to collaborate and successfully advocate community needs across communities and in partnership with the State Government, community and private sectors. It also aims to increase the number of male and female migrant leaders.

A Shared Future ($100,000 per annum)

Delivered by Relationships Australia WA, the program is designed to implement strategies to enable young people to participate successfully in the broader community. For example: to increase their awareness of what constitutes antisocial and at-risk behaviours.

A Global Workforce ($100,000 per annum)

A capacity building program delivered by Communicare to help migrants gain employment and improve their training and qualifications by leveraging existing employment services, industry and employer networks.

The initiatives aim to ensure migrants are equipped with skills, knowledge and capacity to face complex issues. For more information visit OMI's Multicultural Partnership Program online or telephone 08 6551 8700.

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BPR value in Broome

Shire of Broome executive staff and BPR team members outside the Shire’s office in BroomeShire of Broome executive staff and BPR team members outside the Shire's office in Broome

The Department of Local Government and Communities' (DLGC's) Better Practice Review (BPR) team recently visited the Shire of Broome, engaging with staff to review the local government's processes and procedures.

The review included governance, future planning, community consultation, assets and finance, workforce planning and the delivery of regulatory advice.

The BPR team provided best practice examples from other country local governments to assist the Shire in future planning.

Shire of Broome chief executive officer Kenn Donohoe said the review was a great opportunity to assess the Shire's operations.

DLGC runs the BPR program to enable country local governments to identify best practice and improve regulatory compliance.

A confidential report will be provided to the Shire of Broome, highlighting successes and areas for continuous improvement.

Eight country local governments have participated in the 2015-16 program, with another four taking part in the coming months.

Funding for the BPR program is provided through the Country Local Government Fund, Royalties for Regions. Local governments interested in the program can contact Andrew Borrett on 6552 1532 or

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Country child care boost

Education and care services in regional Western Australia will share in $216,519 funding from the Department of Local Government and Communities' Regional Community Child Care Development Fund. 

The funding will provide support to 19 community-managed centres in WA, enabling them to host professional development sessions for staff and improve IT systems.

The funding will also enable recipients to support their operational expenses and equipment purchases.

Among the recipients is the Gnowangerup Family Support Association, which received $15,000 to build a nature play park, including new learning mediums such as sustainable furniture and multicultural resources. 

The Regional Community Child Care Development Fund provides funding of up to $15,000 in any 12-month period to support the sustainability of child care services in regional WA. 

The aim of the fund is to ensure the provision of quality, inclusive education and care services for children in regional Western Australia consistent with the National Quality Framework on Education and Care.

Funding of $9.3million has been provided by Royalties for Regions, to support the fund.

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Age-friendly initiatives

A number of initiatives have been undertaken recently by the Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC) to support seniors and age-friendly communities.

A workshop for sector representatives to investigate collaborative approaches to supporting an ageing population is being held today (28 June).

The workshop has been developed by the Age-friendly Interagency Group (AFIG) in collaboration with DLGC, and will take place at the Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre, Wembley, with representatives from state and local governments, community services, businesses and the academic sector expected to attend.

The event will be facilitated by Dr Jane Barratt, General Secretary of the International Federation on Ageing and attended by Seniors and Volunteering Minister Tony Simpson.

Participants will hear about recent work in the age-friendly sector. They will also get the chance to identify and share information on key issues affecting WA seniors, and facilitate strategic responses through whole of government approaches, agency initiatives and cross-sector collaboration.

Seniors will also benefit from a $135,000 grant that was recently presented to Advocare to continue the management of the Elder Abuse Helpline for the next 18 months.

The grant was presented by Minister Simpson at an event on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, 15 June.

The Elder Abuse Helpline was established in September 2014 by Advocare and is funded by DLGC to provide support to seniors who have experienced abuse or at risk of abuse from a family member or friend.

An evaluation of the helpline recently undertaken by DLGC shows it has been used frequently since it was established in 2014 with the majority of calls relating to financial and psychological abuse.

For assistance, contact the Elder Abuse Helpline on (08) 9479 7566 and

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Future leaders

DLGC’s Steph Jackson and Kate Waylen at the 2016 Mentors & Aspiring Leaders ConferenceDLGC's Steph Jackson and Kate Waylen at the 2016 Mentors & Aspiring Leaders Conference. Image courtesy of LGMA (WA)

Ninety future decision makers, came together in Busselton last month, as part of the Local Government Managers Association (LGMA) Mentors & Aspiring Leaders Conference.

The Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC) was a major sponsor of the conference, with the theme 'Opportunities ahead, it starts with you'.

One of DLGC's graduate officers spoke about upcoming initiatives for young people currently employed by WA local governments, which will be delivered by the department over the next two years.

The program is funded through Royalties for Regions, and is part of DLGC's capacity building program for country local governments.

The Mentors and Aspiring Leaders Conference, hosted annually by LGMA, encourages delegates to further develop their careers in local government and network with others attending the event. 

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Diversity grants open

Up to $500,000 in funding is available for the Office of Multicultural Interests' (OMI's) 2016 -17 Community Grants Program. Applications open on Monday 4 July.

Aimed at supporting and celebrating Western Australia's cultural diversity, the program provides an opportunity for culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities and the organisations that support them to access funding.

The grants are available for a diverse range of projects, events and initiatives. Part of the criteria is that they support social cohesion and community development.

Projects previously funded through the Community Grants Program include Shout Out run by the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network of WA, In Search of Safety run by the Red Cross and the 2016 Multicultural Eventide on the Facine opening event at the Carnarvon Tropicool Festival.

The Community Grants Program is divided into three categories:

  • Major programs ($50,000)
  • Small projects (5000 to $20,000)
  • Events and activities (up to $5000).

Applications for 2017 Harmony Week events and activities must be submitted in this Community Grants Program round.

This will be the only round for the Community Grants Program in the 2016-17 financial year. Applications close at 4.00pm on Friday 12 August 2016.

Visit OMI's Community Grants Program online or email for more information.

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New leash on life

Dogs' Refuge Home CEO Judy Flanagan with rescue dog 'Bronson'Dogs' Refuge Home CEO Judy Flanagan with rescue dog 'Bronson'

Thousands of unwanted and neglected cats and dogs will have a brighter future thanks to additional investment to support animal rescue groups and shelters.

The Companion Animal Shelters funding program administered by the Department of Local Government and Communities will provide another $800,000 over four years to six shelters across the State.

The shelters provide an important service rescuing unwanted pets and promoting responsible ownership.

Since it began in 2012-13, the funding program has resulted in more than 14,036 domestic pets being rescued, 11,649 domestic pets being rehomed, and 11,669 domestic pets being sterilised.

This supports WA legislation, the Cat Act 2011 and the amended Dog Act 1976, which require pet owners to take responsible care of their animals. Dog microchipping has been compulsory since November 2015.

The six shelters receiving funding are: the Cat Haven, Shenton Park; the Dogs' Refuge Home, Shenton Park; Animal Protection Society, Southern River; Swan Animal Haven, South Guildford; K9 Rescue Group, Nambeelup and SAFE Animal Shelters.  

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