February 2001 Edition

  • National Roads Congress in Mildura very timely.

    Following the successful inaugural National Rural Roads Congress in Moree, last year, the 2001 Congress in Mildura from 26-27 March will highlight and work to address the difficulties Councils face in maintaining their local road networks – the transport and economic life lines of communities across Australia.
  • Editorial

    Addressing the National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra last December, the Prime Minister, John Howard said that his message on behalf of the Federal Government is that ‘there is great respect and support for the key role of Local Government in the governance of Australia’.He continued, providing further music to the ears of those present, stating that, ‘the old idea that Local Government is purely a creature of State Government and dealt only with State Governments is well and truly over’.
  • President’s comment

    Each edition features the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Cr Peter Woods OAM, President, Local Government Association NSW.
  • One stop family and children’s centre for Nguiu

    A Federal Government grant of $660,000 and recurrent funding of $275,000 per annum will see the development of this innovative centre. The centre is expected to be operating by March 2001.
  • Dalby comes up debt free ahead of schedule

    Dalby Town Council achieved debt free status four months ahead of target when, on 31 August 1999, Council paid off its last loan.
  • Cross border float symbolises our Federation

    Floats from many regional areas in Australia were a highlight of the colourful Centenary of Federation parade staged in Sydney on New Years Day.
  • Vic ‘partnership’ teeters on the brink

    Recent actions by the Victorian Government such as proposals for Best Value codes and setting up a Best Value Commission, and its decision to call early elections for Melbourne City Council, has seriously undermined State/Local Government relations.
  • Sharing facilities and expertise at Maroochy

    Maroochy Shire Council’s Information and Records Management service has been offered to external organisations. These include neighbouring Federal, State and Local Government organisations, as well as semi government and private sector organisations.
  • From cellar dwellers to the world’s most successful economy
    - The Good Oil by Rod Brown *
    OECD officials actually used extravagant words like ‘stunning’ and ‘starring’ in its latest Economic Review of Ireland! The OECD report then gives about 19 reasons for its success.
  • Bringing work to the local community

    Many residents of Shellharbour work in the steel and manufacturing industries at Wollongong and Port Kembla. The recent downturn in these sectors has led Shellharbour City Council to look at alternatives for generating employment in the local area.
  • Improved water quality for Streaky Bay

    The District Council of Streaky Bay in South Australia is very concerned about the quality of the water supply to the township. Situated on the Great Australian Bight, Streaky Bay is located between Port Lincoln and Ceduna.
  • Hume takes out gold for community safety

    Hume City Council has won the prestigious Gold Award for Excellence and Innovation at the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Awards staged by Crime Prevention Victoria, Department of Justice. Hume took out the award with its ‘Integrated Health, Safety and Crime Prevention Framework’, a multi agency approach to dealing with issues of public health, safety and crime.
  • Grants to restore Federation heritage buildings

    As part of Manly Council’s Centenary of Federation celebrations, local property owners can apply for a ‘dollar for dollar’ grant to restore Federation era, or Federation style buildings, heritage sites, and heritage items.
  • Waste 2001 Conference

    Approximately 300 delegates will converge on Coffs Harbour on 4-6 April to attend the national waste management conference, Waste 2001. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Towards Resource Management’.
  • SA Partnership Program

    In South Australia, cooperative relations between the State and Local Government are being built.
  • Local Government community employment opportunities *

    The Victorian Government’s Community Jobs Program (cjp), has funded the first of 45 new projects throughout Victoria aimed at supporting community organisations and government to employ local jobseekers on community projects. cjp will help unemployed jobseekers to develop their skills so they can effectively return to the workforce.
  • Pet registration almost doubled

    Latrobe City Council has almost doubled the number of pet registrations in the municipality following a one month amnesty and promotional campaign.
  • Sustainable alternatives to waste water treatment
    by Grace McCaughey *
    We need to have permanent water restrictions to assist the community to move to more ecologically sustainable development. This would lead to increased use of waterless toilets, re use of greywater for gardens and low water use appliances.
  • Local Government biodiversity survey released

    The National Local Government Biodiversity Strategy (NLGBS), a document developed by Mayor Mike Berwick of Douglas Shire Council in Queensland to assist Local Government to become a key partner in biodiversity conservation, was unanimously adopted at the 1998 National General Assembly of Local Government.
  • WA grant to assist local biodiversity plans

    The Western Australian Municipal Association (WAMA), representing the interests of the State’s 144 Councils, will receive $459,100 from the Federal Government’s Natural Heritage Trust 2000-2001.

Feature: Human Resource Management/OH&S

  • Making the right recruitment choices
    by Marion Power *
    Local Government is becoming an increasingly attractive employment option for many Australians. Consequently, the opportunity exists to incorporate appropriate selection components into recruitment decision packages.
  • 2nd national award for Quadrant

    Tasmania’s Quadrant Superannuation, has won a national industry award for its innovative New Member Kit. Submitted to the Australian Superannuation Funds Association (ASFA) Communication Awards, the kit successfully attracted a national Merit Award.
  • Council and community approach to risk management

    The City of Wodonga’s Manager Risk, Dianne Ferguson recently won the ARIMA 2000 Public Sector Risk Manager for the Year award. This award recognises professional excellence in risk management.
  • Making safety a priority

    The Shire of Carnamah has made safety in the workplace a number one priority. It has been so successful that it was one of two Councils in Western Australia awarded the 2000 WorkCare Safety Award for commitment to Occupational Safety and Health. Carnamah has been progressively implementing a safety strategy since the mid 1990s when it was experiencing a high number of long term injuries relative to the size of the Council.
  • Wyndham wins Premier’s award for continuous improvement

    A change in work culture and the adoption of a more proactive and innovative approach in health and safety led to Wyndham Council being awarded category B of The Premier’s Award for Continuous Improvement.
  • Message from the Minister

    Welcome to the first National Perspective for 2001. This year will provide an opportunity to commemorate the Centenary of Federation and I know many events and projects are already underway around Australia. Councils will again be the focus for many local community celebrations and I wish you well with these and other challenges in the year ahead.
  • Roads to Recovery gears up

    The Federal Government’s $1.2 billion Roads to Recovery Programme, announced in late November, is moving ahead quickly. Councils have received information on the conditions that will apply and their allocations for the life of the Programme. The Commonwealth is now moving to finalise arrangements to enable the first payments to be made.
  • Leading local
    - Free seminars in Leading Practice in Local Government
    Leading Innovative Practice in Local Government is coming to a region near you as part of a series of free seminars designed to provide councils with the opportunity to learn from creative winners of the 2000 National Awards for Innovation in Local Government.
  • Draft FAGs Review released

    The Commonwealth Grants Commission has released its draft report on the review of the operations of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act.
  • A national action plan for salinity and water quality in Australia
    - Local Government opportunity
    At the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in November 2000 the Prime Minister obtained the support of State, Territory and Local Government leaders to the first comprehensive national strategy to address two of the most significant issues confronting Australia’s rural industries, regional communities and our environment - salinity and water quality.
  • Island community swims together

    The Nguiu Council and community on Bathurst Island, 80 km north of Darwin, has demonstrated unique local cooperation in a project designed to considerably enhance the quality of life of the isolated community. Council wanted to construct a swimming pool but recognised the commitment would require considerable financial and moral support. The Nguiu Community Government Council and Community galvanised efforts to undertake the most important facility project ever undertaken.
  • Commonwealth Assistance Guide launched at ALGA

    The Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Senator Ian Macdonald, launched the new edition of Commonwealth Assistance for Local Projects (CALP) at the ALGA General Assembly in Canberra on 5 December.
  • Beacon for local youth unemployment

    The Beacon Foundation is seeking partnerships with Local Government, education and industry to find innovative ways to resolving one of Australia’s priority issues, youth unemployment.
  • Local Government and tourism development

    A national research project to identify the extent of Local Government involvement in tourism development will be conducted throughout rural and remote Australia.
  • $1.6 million helps regional communities
    find local solutions to local challenges
    The local solutions of eight regional communities received backing by the Federal Government’s Regional Solutions Programme on Christmas Day with the announcement of development grants totalling almost $1.6 million.
  • Beyond RTC’s – Field Officer Network

    Smaller communities will be better able to plan, establish and run their Rural Transaction Centres with the recent establishment of a Rural Transaction Centre (RTC) Field Officer Network. The Field officers will provide support and assistance to communities on the ground on an on-going basis.
  • National Development Assessment definitions

    The Development Assessment Forum (DAF) has prepared a discussion paper on nationally consistent development assessment definitions. The paper is open for public comment until 23 March 2001 and recommends 18 operational development assessment definitions to be used in planning schemes at Local, State and Federal level.
  • Regional Development Ministers
    agree on three sphere regional cooperation
    Regional Development Ministers from the Commonwealth, the States and Territories, and a representative of Local Government, met recently and agreed to a clear approach for improving services to people living in regional Australia.
  • Active Local Government

    Winners of the 2000 Active Australia Awards proved that the post Olympic period needn’t signal the end of our enthusiasm to be active at Local Government level. The Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Senator Ian Macdonald, presented Brisbane City Council with the Award in the Local Government category of the national Active Australia Awards at Parliament House, in recognition of its excellent community focussed sport and recreation programmes.
  • Regional Australia on the way

    Prospects are improving for regional Australia, according to the Regional Australia Summit Steering Committee Chair, Professor John Chudleigh. Professor Chudleigh delivered the Committee’s final report to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Development, John Anderson recently, reviewing the Federal Government’s response to the Summit’s 247 recommendations.
  • Benchmarked recruitment testing
    – the way forward for progressive Councils by Steven Dahl *
    Experience – and research – tells us the best performing employees not only have the required training, skills, and attitude for the job, but are also quick thinkers, effective decision makers, capable problem solvers and fast learners. Unfortunately, when looking to hire more ‘star performers’, experience and research also tell us the traditional resume review, interview and reference check are notoriously poor at measuring candidates’ ‘thinking’ or ‘cognitive’ abilities.
  • A Council wide commitment to safety at Armadale

    Together with the Shire of Carnamah, the City of Armadale took out the 2000 WorkCare Safety Award. This is the highest form of recognition for commitment to Occupational Safety and Health given to Councils in Western Australia.
  • Gantry crane takes out OH&S Award

    Bellingen Shire Council’s Engineering and Operations Division has developed a gantry crane to enable convenient placement of prefabricated bridge deck units. This project took out the OHS category at the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia Excellence Awards 2000.
  • New electrical safety laws for NSW *

    Local Governments were previously exempted by WorkCover NSW (Exemption No. 5099) in 1995, subject to certain conditions, from the requirements of Regulation 133A of the Construction Safety Act, 1913 (minimum safe working distances for crane and plant operation from overhead powerlines). To achieve the obligations of the OHS Act 2000, on March 31, 2001 the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001 (Regulation 2001) will become law in NSW replacing all previous 36 OHS Regulations.