Following a change in its constitution, the NSW Local Government Association officially welcomed 13 Aboriginal Land Councils as members of the Association during the opening ceremony of this year’s Annual Conference. The Conference was staged in Wollongong from 27 to 31 October. Councillor Ron Towney, President of NSW Land Council, said that the 13 Councils were looking forward to a long and fruitful involvement in the Local Government Association.
By the time this edition of Focus is published, we will either be beginning a third term of the Howard/Costello Government or have a new Federal Government under the leadership of the Beazley/Crean team. With most commentators in the campaign’s final week finding it too close to call, the election campaign was fought in a far different climate than anyone could have imagined even three months ago.
NSW Supply, a business unit of the Department of Public Works and Services, is an experienced and professional procurement organisation with extensive experience in meeting the needs of the public sector. This expertise is readily available to Local Government and allows Councils to better focus on serving their ratepayers and reduces the hassle of administering contracts.
This year’s Category A joint winners of Victoria’s Premier’s Award for Continuous Improvement in Local Government were South Gippsland Shire Council and Wodonga City Council. Victorian Premier, Steve Bracks, presented the award to the joint winners at the Municipal Association of Victoria Annual Conference on 17 October.
The IPWEA/RTA Local Government Road Safety Project works to raise the priority of road safety in Local Government. This is achieved through support for Council road safety strategic planning, the administration of funding for local road safety initiatives, and through the presentation of annual Local Government Excellence in Road Safety Awards to recognise outstanding Council achievements. The IPWEA/RTA Project is one element of the NSW Local Government Road Safety Program conducted as part of Road Safety 2010, a framework for increasing road safety in NSW over the next decade.
After staging its Annual Conference and Field Days at Panthers in Penrith for the past decade, this year the Institute of Public Works Engineering (IPWEA) – NSW Division selected Port Macquarie as the conference venue, which was staged from 28 to 31 October.
The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) wishes to acknowledge the leadership shown by the City of Melbourne and Australian Local Governments in local action on greenhouse gas reduction. Local Councils are demonstrating this by signing the Toronto Declaration, which reaffirms Local Government commitment to greenhouse action.
Local Government conferences with a national reach are fairly rare. Organised by the Centre for Local Government at the University of New England, this conference is unusual. Titled ‘The Cutting-edge of Change – Shaping Local Government for the 21st Century’, the conference is to be held in Armidale, NSW from 14 - 17 February 2002 – and from reviewing the papers submitted it is clear that Local Government is busy shaping itself.
In August New South Wales Minister for Information Technology, Kim Yeadon, officially launched Fairfield City Council’s Industry Website Database. The database includes more than 8,600 local businesses and community groups.
The official opening of Melton Shire’s Visitor Information Centre took place in early October. The Centre provides tourist information for Melton, the Macedon Ranges, Spa Country and surrounding regions.
One of the most significant contributions by the Chinese to Victoria’s goldmining history is now being recognised and celebrated by thousands of visitors to Gum San – a new tourist attraction in Ararat.
The big dollars being set aside for web enabling major Councils like Brisbane City, should not intimidate smaller local authorities into believing that everything with an ‘e’ in front of it is virtually out of reach. Councils of modest size, like Crows Nest in country Queensland, and even very small rural shires like Clifton, about 100 kilometres to the south of Crows Nest, are benefiting in a number of ways from the application of web technology.
Situated in Gymea, in Sydney’s south, and set in 1.4 hectares of landscaped, heritage gardens, is Sutherland Shire Council’s Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre.Hazelhurst comprises a large regional gallery, community gallery, studio workshops, a 70 seat theatre, and a terrace cafe.
The Esplanade project is the result of close and ongoing consultation with the people of Cairns. Council’s aim is to create an open space and recreation area for all ages, while protecting the area’s environmental value.
The past year has been very successful for Cardinia Shire Council. It is the first full year of leadership for the Council elected in March 2000. Council has generally maintained the direction of its predecessor with emphasis on community communication, development management, service delivery through partnerships and infrastructure management.
Cardinia Shire is situated 55 Kilometres south east of Melbourne. To the north are the picturesque Dandenong Ranges, to the south, the prime agricultural lands of the Koo Wee Rup district and Westernport Bay. To the east, the rural towns of Drouin and Warragul and the magnificent Strzelecki Ranges and to the west, the urban areas of Berwick and Cranbourne and the freeway to Melbourne.
The Cardinia community is eagerly awaiting the opening, expected early 2002, of a state of the art cultural facility in Pakenham. The Cardinia Cultural Centre, located in the Delfin ‘Lakeside at Pakenham’ estate on the Princes Highway is a landmark project that will cater for a variety of cultural and artistic needs.
Cardinia Shire is one of Melbourne’s fastest growing municipalities and is located on a growth corridor on the south east urban area. The Shire has over 1000 kilometres of unsealed local roads some of which carry in excess of 500 vehicles per day. Laid end to end you could almost drive from Melbourne to Sydney.
In May this year, Cardinia received a Federal Government grant through the Local Government Incentive Program to undertake a significant study to establish the optimum approach to the recruitment, development and retention of Local Government staff within the Victorian Gippsland region.
The Cardinia Way has been developed as a guide to the culture of Cardinia Shire Council, its values and keys to success. This innovative approach to staff relations underlines the commitments of management to staff, highlights the organisation’s values and underpins the Human Resources Strategy.
Cardinia Shire Council was honoured in 2000 to receive the inaugural Accessible Communities Award for a Rural Community. The Accessible Communities awards are a joint initiative of Arthritis Victoria and the Municipal Association of Victoria.
The Bunyip Landcare Catchment Project (BLCP) ‘Bio-Link’ scheme has recently been chosen as an exemplary model by Environment Australia. Each year Environment Australia chooses several projects to be used by other Landcare Groups as models of excellence in planning, management and implementation.
Albert Einstein once said, ‘We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.’ The new manner of thinking in the 21st century comes in the form of ‘sustainability’ – the key word for people concerned with planning, developing and improving the places in which we live.
In May 2001, Cardinia Shire Council engaged Quantum Management International to survey its staff and assess organisational performance and effectiveness against the Australian Quality Council’s Quality Management Framework.
The Township Committees across Cardinia are a major force in the well being of their communities. Five years ago Cardinia Shire Council started its first Township Committee in Lang Lang, a small rural community 60 kilometres south east of Melbourne. This committee was inspired by the Streetlife Program that was implemented to revitalise the town which was searching for identity and direction on the outskirts of a large growth corridor.
Cardinia Shire Council was one of the first to receive a grant under the Victorian State Governments Living Regions Living Suburbs program. The town centre of Cockatoo, one of the areas most picturesque towns, is to be revitalised through grants totalling over $250,000.
Victorian property developers are being wooed and won over by the opportunities abundant in Cardinia. In August, Council invited several leading developers to a presentation in Melbourne where the benefits the Urban Growth Corridor region between Beaconsfield and Pakenham were expounded.
After negotiations with the State Government and a range of property development firms, Cardinia Shire Council has entered into an agreement to develop 222 hectares of land on the Princes Highway in Pakenham as a residential subdivision. Council’s partner in the development is the Delfin Property Group Ltd.
Cardinia Shire Council is taking an active role in seeking out new markets for the fresh produce grown in the region.
Cambridge – lessons for Australia? - The Good Oil by Rod Brown * Have you noticed that while ‘jobs growth’ always gets parroted at election time, economic development per se never holds centre stage? Sure, in the Federal election build up there were so called job creation projects announced – roads funding, company specific grants, the extension of the first home buyers scheme and so forth. But these hardly add to the nation’s economic capacity nor create sustainable jobs in the tradeable goods and services sector.
Driving regional industry agendas - By Rodin Genoff * Why would Local Government want to drive regional agendas? The short answer is that we cannot afford not to. In a global economy, regions drive local growth and prosperity. And the key to prosperity is value adding – from knowledge inputs to smart packaging.
Taroom Shire contains a number of substantial assets on which to base its increasing tourism activities.The Shire, in Queensland’s Central Highlands, benefits from the sought after history of enigmatic explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, the Leichhardt Highway, spectacular sandstone parks, the life giving Dawson River and successful restoration of one of the first station runs in the area.
In the 2001 National Awards for Innovation in Local Government, Coorong District Council was the rural winner in the Strengthening Rural/Remote Communities category for its Coorong Communication Project.
Representatives from Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory met in Alice Springs in August this year to express their commitment to the enhancement of the Outback Highway to become an all weather road.The Mayors of Alice Springs, Kalgoorlie, Boulia and Winton agreed that the Outback Highway was Australia’s vital third transport artery.
Travel and tourism industries contribute significantly to local economies. Good business practices help such industries guard their reputation. Part of this is creating a strong impression through effective advertising. Councils work closely with their tourist associations and associated industries to attract visitors to their area.