Council will submit three motions to the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) State Council Meeting, to be held on Friday 19 October 2019.
Councillor Mike Symon, Council’s representative on the MAV State Council, said the upcoming meeting provided an opportunity for each member Council in Victoria to submit motions which have significance on a state level for all Victorian municipalities.
“The motions presented are viewed as being of significance across the Local Government Victoria (LGV) sector, including our Maroondah community,” Cr Symon said.
At its meeting on Monday 16 September 2019, Council approved three motions to be submitted to the MAV State Council Meeting for consideration and endorsement.
Cost Recovery for Properties with Hoarding and Squalor
Motion: That the MAV State Council calls upon the State Government to amend section 197(5) of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act to allow councils the option to recover the costs and expenses from regulatory action and orders by issuing a charge to the land or property that is the subject of the order, along with the existing ability to pursue the person on whom the order is made.
This motion seeks to recover expenses incurred when regulatory action is taken by Councils to clean-up properties where hoarding and squalor exists.
“Council recognises that these properties can pose significant risk to the residents, neighbours and emergency services attending the property. However, enforced clean-ups are incredibly distressing to the householder and to staff overseeing the clean-up,” Cr Symon said
“People who suffer from hoarding disorder are often extremely vulnerable and isolated. And in many instances residents with few resources are not able to pay for the clean-up, leaving councils to absorb the costs, which can be anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000.
“We hope that by amending the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, this will allow Councils the option to recover the costs and expenses from regulatory action taken,” he said.
Motion: That the MAV State Council calls upon the State Government to amend the existing building regulations to provide councils the necessary power to require the rectification or ultimately demolition of properties that are in a significant state of neglect and dereliction.
This motion seeks an amendment to existing building regulations that would give Councils the powers necessary to address vacant dwellings that, while structurally adequate, are in a state of neglect. This would give Councils the option, via the Municipal Building Surveyor, to serve a building notice on the owner of the property, requiring them to either repair or demolish the building.
“Vacant dwellings are becoming more prevalent as developers and investors buy properties for future development. Many vacant properties are being left to fall into a state of neglect and dereliction, leaving them exposed to vandalism, tagging, illegal dumping of rubbish and squatting,” Cr Symon said.
“An amendment to the Building Act could help to address these issues by allowing Councils to serve notices where a building is deemed derelict so that owners may be forced to either repair or demolish the property,” he said.
Waste Management in Victoria
Motion: That the MAV State Council calls on the State Government to re-prioritise and re-focus what is critical in the Waste and Resource Recovery space.
- Deeming waste and resource recovery as an essential service.
- Expanding legislative reform on plastic bags to include the phasing out of problematic single-use plastic products, including plastic wrappings on food at supermarkets.
- Establishing a container deposit scheme by legislation in line with other States and Territories.
- Advocating to the Federal Government for effective national product stewardship arrangements, including container deposit framework to drive recycling of drink containers, textiles, polystyrene, paper, cardboard and all electronic goods.
- Giving special consideration for those councils spending a premium to maintain recycling with current contractors, that they are also considered as part of any grant funding.
- Establishing consistent marketing tools and techniques that can be shared with the wider community by all councils – to ensure recycling is not forgotten (other than just consistent bin colours).
- Ensuring that the messaging regarding Food Organics in the Green Bin (FOGO) and Alternative Waste Solutions is clear and well understood – to ensure that these two methods of waste processing are not perceived to be in conflict with one another.
The motion calls for transformational change to the state’s waste and resource recovery system. This includes giving special consideration to those councils spending a premium to maintain recycling with current contractors, and that they be considered as part of any grant funding.
“Councils recognise that they have a critical role to play in strengthening our waste and resource recovery system. This can be further strengthened by working together with State and Federal governments to investigate options to collaboratively procure recycling services that will not only reduce waste but drive industry change,” he said.
Cr Symon said Council, through various forums, consultations and strategies, had engaged the Maroondah community regarding these various issues.
“The MAV State Council Meeting provides an important opportunity for local councils to have an impact on state level decision-making. We trust that the motions submitted will receive the strong level of support as many of our past motions,” he said.