Background

The Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils (PUGRC) was established in 2007 in response to concerns at the lack of a comprehensive vision for the peri urban region of Melbourne and Geelong. The PUGRC meets bi-monthly to discuss shared challenges, opportunities and initiatives.

The peri urban councils share common characteristics and impediments to managing population growth. These councils border the growth zones of both Melbourne, Geelong and the regional cites of Ballarat and Bendigo and are highly desirable for residential growth over the coming decades. However, this growth is tempered by managing much of Victoria’s productive agricultural and environmental lands and accordingly, these Councils play a significant role in ensuring the ongoing health of this State and should be recognised as such.

Existing policy positions currently do not adequately recognise the regional commonalities nor the importance of this group of Councils to Victoria. New, more directed policy responses are required to support the sustainable populations and economic growth of this region.

Purpose

The Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils – Mayors and CEOs forum (PUGRC Forum) is to strengthen the region through four key areas:

 1. SUPPORT:

  • Working in close partnership with the Victorian Government to ensure that the unique landscapes or the peri urban region are recognised and protected through holistic and integrated planning, the provision of high quality infrastructure and the creation of local employment opportunities.
  • Funding for appropriate growth and basic infrastructure for our communities.
  • To develop government policies and initiatives to support and strengthen the peri urban region.
  • Through engagement with all levels of Government and stakeholders.

2. PROTECTION

  • Of our local and regional character.
  • Of our productive agricultural lands.
  • of our State significant tourism and environmental assets.

3. RECOGNITION

  • That the Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils is a collaborative forum for Government and industry.
  • Of the important role the peri urban region plays in the health and wellbeing of Victoria through recreation and tourism assets, food production, water supply, environmental areas and as a base for significant commuter population.
  • OUr region is the playground for Victoria and visitors.
  • Our region’s population is changing rapidly and we must be supported to manage the growth and challenges of population change.

4. ENHANCEMENT

  • Of our communities through appropriate infrastructure, services, economic development and planning.
  • Of our agricultural and business sectors though appropriate support and policy settings.
  • Of our tourism and environmental assets.
  • Of our Municipal operations through regional partnerships and collaborative projects.

Aim

The Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils (PUGRC) is the leader in advocating for Victorian peri urban support and solutions at the local, state and national level.

Membership

Financial Members of the PUGRC Group of Rural Councils:

  • Bass Coast Shire Council
  • Baw Baw Shire Council
  • Golden Plains Shire Council
  • Moorabool Shire Council
  • Murrindindi Shire Council
  • Surf Coast Shire Council

Membership is open to other Councils who are part of Melbourne and Geelong peri urban and contribute financially to the group.

Each Council will be represented by the Mayor or a Councillor, the CEO, the Director of Planning (or equivalent function), the Director of Economic Development (or equivalent function) or a nominated representative with expertise on the policy area being discussed.

A member (or their proxy) must attend a minimum of 75 per cent of meetings over the calendar year.

All members must be available and willing to actively participate and provide comment and review on issues between meetings.

Quorum for meetings of the PUGRC Forum will require representation by four member Councils.

In the absence of the Chair, the Deputy Chair/s will be asked to chair the meeting.

Decision-making will be made by consensus wherever possible. Where consensus cannot be achieved, simple majority will resolve the issue with each Council having one vote.

A record of meeting proceedings will be kept. Circulation of such records will be restricted to members.

Partners

Representatives from relevant organisations such as the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA), Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) and Regional Development Victoria (RDV) will be invited to attend relevant meetings.

Their role is to:

  • Provide information and updates on current work and initiatives.
  • Participate in discussions on issues and opportunities facing the peri urban region.
  • Assist the PUGRC to navigate government and provide introductions to relevant contacts as necessary.
  • Respect the confidentiality of information shared.

PUGRC role when working with our partners is to:

  • Advocate on behalf of peri urban region.
  • To work cooperatively with Partner organisations.
  • Respect the confidentiality of information shared.

Chair

The Chairperson shall be elected by the PUGRC for 12 months. Their responsibilities include:

  • Being the key spokesperson for the PUGRC and advocating to Government and stakeholders on behalf of the PUGRC.
  • Orderly management of the PUGRC meetings and work priorities including:
    • Approving invitations for specialists to attend meetings when required by the Committee.
    • Chairing the meeting according to the agenda and time available.
    • Ensuring all discussion items end with a decision, action or definite outcome.
    • Reviewing and approving the draft agenda and minutes before distribution.
    • Members may propose agenda items for the meetings for the Chair’s consideration. Members are requested to have proposed agenda items to the Chair well in advance of upcoming meetings.

Deputy Chair/s

The Deputy Chairperson shall be elected by the PUGRC for 12 months. Their responsibilities include:

  • Advocating to Government and stakeholders on behalf of the PUGRC and being the spokesperson for the PUGRC as required by the Chair.
  • Chairing the PUGRC meeting when required and as outlined above.
  • Attending meetings with key stakeholders.

Meetings – Mayor and CEOs Forum

  • Meetings are bi-monthly on a Friday from 10am-12pm.
  • An annual schedule of meetings shall be distributed to members at the beginning of the calendar year.
  • The Chair may convene extraordinary meetings where necessary. Where possible members will be notified of the change or extraordinary meeting at least two weeks before these meetings are to be held.
  • PUGRC meetings aim to provide a forum for strategic discussion and consideration of key issues, future direction and solutions.
  • Detailed work and discussion on individual matters or policy responses will be directed towards Technical Working Groups for presentation and endorsement by the PUGRC.

Technical Working Groups

  • Technical working groups will be formed to provide the detailed work for PUGRC policies and positions and to respond to government reports and policies as required.
  • The working groups will be comprised primarily of Council Officers with appropriate expertise in the subject area.
  • Representatives of relevant Partner organisations or key stakeholders may be included as necessary to provide input and to assist to identify solutions and outcomes.
  • The working group will meet outside of the normal PUGRC meeting schedule and may conduct meetings in person or via web or phone hook-up in recognition of the travel times required for meeting in person.
  • The output of the Technical Working Groups will be provided to the full PUGRC meeting for consideration and endorsement prior to any external discussion of the work.

Role and Responsibility of the Technical Working Groups

  • Provide advice on issues and key themes emerging from implementation of Government policy statements.
  • Provide input into PUGRC strategic documents, submissions and research and provide advice on peri urban issues including land use planning, infrastructure planning, growth pressures, community planning and economic development.
  • Seek to resolve complex policy issues and identify appropriate solutions.

Secretariat

  • The Executive Officer will provide secretariat support to the PUGRC.
  • The Secretariat will be responsible for assisting the Chair with meeting arrangements, correspondence, information management and financial issues related to the operations of the PUGRC.
  • The Executive Officer is currently hosted by Moorabool Council. This arrangement can be altered by negotiation between the Executive Officer and the Chair’s host Council.
  • All member councils will be regularly informed of the activities of the Executive Officer.
  • Details regarding the PUGRC’s financial status will be provided by the Executive Officer or a representative of the host Council at every PUGRC meeting.

Communication

  • Communication from the PUGRC will be undertaken through the Chair. The Chair will also be responsible for responding to any correspondence addressed to the PUGRC.
  • Any queries received about the PUGRC should be directed to the Executive Officer.

Conflict of Interest

  • Members are expected to manage any conflicts of interest under the terms of the Local Government Act 1989.

Amendments

  • The terms of reference shall be reviewed bi-annually from the date of approval. They may be altered to meet the current needs of the PUGRC forum.
  • The Terms of Reference will be reviewed again in June 2019.
  • • The above Terms of Reference for the Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils Mayors and CEOs forum have been agreed to by the Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils at their meeting on 9 June 2017.