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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.