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Mayoral Column 19 June 2017

Released on 19 June 2017

Local Government National General Assembly

This week, together with my fellow Councillor Cheryl McKinnon and Chief Executive Officer Phil Pinyon, I’m attending the National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra.

As well as an important opportunity to meet and discuss issues affecting councils with Mayors, Councillors and senior officers from across Australia, the assembly provides the chance to meet with political leaders and bring to their attention issues affecting our region.

A number of motions are also put to the National General Assembly and voted on by councils. This year, Loddon Shire Council will be putting forward a motion regarding funding for critical flood mitigation infrastructure for communities. The motion states that this funding should be on a 50 per cent share basis between relevant state governments and the Commonwealth. Currently this cost is shared between Federal, State and Local Governments.

This funding arrangement would be subject to the availability of the Natural Disaster Resilience Grants program funding (and successful business cases for this funding). The motion also states that local councils should be exempt from having to put in funding towards the initial cost of flood mitigation works. This is because once flood infrastructure is constructed; councils are responsible for its ongoing maintenance and renewal.

The issue of flood mitigation infrastructure and funding affects councils throughout Australia. In addition to putting forward this motion, we’re looking forward to discussing this issue in more detail with other councils and our political leaders.

VAGO audit

On the 7 and 8 June Council officers took part in a performance audit by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) regarding Local Government and Economic Development. The audit’s objective is to determine whether Victorian councils’ economic development activities improve the economic viability and sustainability of municipalities and contribute to the broader Victorian economy.

Loddon Shire was one of five councils in Victoria to take part in the audit. Councils were mainly chosen from regional and rural areas, with one metropolitan council also taking part.

The audit involved Council officers from different working areas (including economic development, planning and community development) providing information regarding its economic development activities in the region.  

According to the 2015 Ministerial Statement on Local Government, Victoria’s councils are a significant contributor to the economy. They employ more than 50,000 people; deliver $7 billion in services and more than $2 billion in infrastructure. Additionally, councils manage more than $70 billion in vital public assets.

A report will be prepared after completion of the audits which will help provide further insight into Loddon Shire and how it can further build upon local economic development in our community.

Premier’s Sustainability Awards

Are you part of an organisation that could be considered a leader when it comes to sustainability initiatives? Or have you shown ingenuity, creativity and dedication when it comes to sustainability?

If so, then you still have time to enter the Premier’s Sustainability Awards, which close on Wednesday 21 June at 5pm.

The award categories represent Victoria’s sustainability diversity. They include Built Environment, Community, Education, Environmental Justice, Environmental Protection, Government, Health, Innovative Products or Services, Small and Medium Enterprises and Large Business.

The awards are a great opportunity to share stories and encourage us to think about our own environmental impact, and adopt sustainable practices at home, school, or the workplace.

Entrants also have the opportunity to showcase their sustainability initiatives, be seen as a sustainability leader, enhance their reputation and receive public recognition for their work.

The finalists, who will be announced in late August, will be invited to attend the awards event on Thursday 26 October in Melbourne.

For more information and to enter, go to www.sustainabilityawards.vic.gov.au.

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