Four resolutions focused on issues important to Local Government and Greater Bendigo residents will be considered by Council to be submitted for debate at the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) State Council meeting.
The resolutions are in dot points below:
- That the Victorian Government commit as a matter of urgency to:-
- Extend the funding for the Municipal Emergency Resourcing Program until June 2025,
- End the freeze on annual indexation, and
- Increase the level of funding available to reflect changes in costs since 2016.
Background information – The Municipal Emergency Resourcing Program is administered by Local Government Victoria. Approximately $4.5M is shared between 64 councils each year and boosts the capacity of councils to fulfil their legislative responsibilities for emergency management. Indexation of the program’s funds has been frozen since 2016. The current funding agreement will expire in June 2020 and there is no commitment to extend funding beyond that point.
- That the State Government provide the means for Victoria’s municipalities to retain the millions of dollars it collects annually in EPA landfill levies in order to fund approved programs designed to provide regional solutions to the current waste management crisis.
Background information – Victorian councils pay millions of dollars in landfill levies. Loddon Campaspe municipalities pay approximately $6.4M annually, either directly or indirectly, and Greater Bendigo alone has paid $12.8M in landfill levies in the past five years. However, little of the funds collected are returned to councils to help reduce waste going to landfill.
- That the Victorian Government join other mainland Australian states by introducing a container deposit scheme to help build a sustainable recycling industry and help alleviate the State’s waste recycling crisis.
Background information – Every mainland state and territory except Victoria has or is setting up a container deposit scheme. Some experts argue that a container deposit scheme would help alleviate the problem of contamination of recyclable material.
- That the State Government provide urgent funding to cover the transitional costs being incurred by Victorian municipalities to assume the management of their local pound and animal shelters services, as a result of the RSPCA’s decision to move away from management of these service on behalf of Local Governments.
Background information – Victorian municipalities have a range of responsibilities under the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (the Act), including the provision of pound and animal welfare services. These services can be delivered by councils or contracted out. Historically, the RSPCA has been the only organisation to tender for the contract as there has been no alternative service provider. However, the RSPCA has taken a strategic decision to transition out of the provision of pound and other animal shelter services, impacting a number of councils. In response, Greater Bendigo has decided to provide pound and animal shelter services in-house from the end of June 2019, however the costs are considerable.
Should Council support the resolutions, they will be submitted for consideration at the May 17 State Council meeting. The MAV would then consider the resolutions and decide whether to lobby the Victorian Government on behalf of Council/s.
The MAV is a membership association and the legislated peak body for Local Government in Victoria. In 1907, the Parliament of Victoria passed the Municipal Association Act to officially recognise the MAV as the voice for Local Government in Victoria.