In June, Brisbane City Council hosted a forum to encourage local design and construction businesses to create new ideas for sustainable solutions in their industry. The Innovation in Delivery Forum provided delegates with a chance to take away some insightful information on innovative thinking, innovation building, and the delivery of innovation.
Local Councils around Australia are facing massive increase in customer service levels being required from both internal and external customers. Some of the topics that Councils are dealing with every day include Best Value; best practice; research; customer satisfaction; customer charter; and Vision 2005.
The Local Government Managers Australia – New South Wales Division staged its 2002 conference in Newcastle from 31 July to 3 August. In welcoming delegates, President Gerry Brus said that LGMA was pleased to be meeting in one of Australia’s premier cities.
Over 450 delegates attended the Australian Local Government Association’s (ALGA) third National Local Roads Congress held in Toowoomba on 29 and 30 July. Councillor Mike Montgomery, President of the New South Wales Shires Association, told delegates that, should the remainder of Telstra be sold, it is vital that any proceeds from the sale is invested in national infrastructure, particularly Australia’s local road network.
To celebrate the Year of the Outback, Councils around the nation quickly recognised a great opportunity to work with their communities in showcasing what makes their locality and lifestyle special. Towns and localities have developed a host of ways to both mark the achievements of the past and identify ways to build on their local strengths as they plan for a more prosperous future.Throughout the year, FOCUS has covered various initiatives and celebrations organised by local communities and regions. We also aimed to promote as many rural or remote Councils as possible through our four page supplements during 2002. To date, such Councils include Kalgoorlie, Flinders Island, Carrathool and Alice Springs. We will also be featuring the Shire of Ashburton in Western Australia later in the year.
The City of Mitcham is the first South Australian Council to trial the use of TendersSA for the letting of open and restricted tenders. Each year the City of Mitcham allocates a large amount of funding to advertise many open and restricted tenders. By conducting its tender online Mitcham will reduce advertising costs by between 30 and 50 per cent.
In May this year the City of Wodonga was selected as a finalist at the Australian Business Excellence Awards, in recognition of Council’s focus on delivering maximum value to their customers. Competing against some of Australia’s largest companies, Wodonga was the only Local Government winner. Previous winners include Kodak, BHP, Toyota, Honeywell and Ford.
The Gascoyne Region in Western Australia is holding what is believed to be a world first – ‘The Great Aussie Thong Muster’. As part of celebrations for the Year of the Outback, Gascoyne is requesting that thongs be sent in from Australia wide.
The sale of Telstra is now a priority for the Howard Government. However, if Treasury thinking dominates, the $30 billion proceeds will be used for debt retirement or to fill holes in the health, defence and education budgets. The better option is for funds generated from national asset sales to be directed back to expenditure on other national assets. To achieve this policy outcome will not be easy, and requires a coalition of lobby groups to really force the issue. As discussed in last month’s column, Local Government could engineer a New Deal with the Commonwealth on financial grants – if it gets its act together. Equally it could be a key player in the Telstra sale.
The National Economics State of the Regions Report coined the phrase ‘The Playford Model’ to describe the innovative industrial renewal approaches developed by Playford. The City has set new national and indeed international benchmarks in its approaches to cluster development and industrial renewal. A recent editorial in the Adelaide Advertiser stated, ‘Playford has attracted the approving attention of the OECD, the club of industrialised nations’.
With regional and rural areas undergoing great change, some are coping with it the best way they can, while others are languishing in a mire of appreciation of the halcyon days of the past. One Local Government area in Tasmania has decided to get out of the grandstand and onto the playing field!
This year Bendigo has been chosen to host the Australian Sister Cities (ASCA) Conference from 18 - 22 October. Situated in the very heart of Victoria, Bendigo was literally built on gold and nowadays, with a population of 88,000, continues to be one of Victoria’s most progressive, thriving and beautiful regional cities.
At the 2002 Local Government Managers Australia National Congress in Sydney, FOCUS invited delegates to nominate an individual and team from their Council who are excelling in their field and promoting the organisation’s corporate goals. In this edition we showcase two more of the competition winners.
Mawson Lakes, South Australia in the southern sector of the City of Salisbury emulates the sophistication and the forward thinking of locations such as Silicon Valley, California and the university city of Montpelier, France. However, Mawson Lakes has taken the planning and objectives of these towns a step further.
New South Wales’ Narrabri Shire Council has recently developed a beneficial effluent reuse facility, in the form of an irrigated cotton farm named Federation Farm. The Federation Farm is yet another innovative example of Local Government tackling an environmental management issue and turning it into a positive outcome. The benefits of this project include community building and significant commercial returns.
Cities have been the source of prosperity and economic wealth for centuries with their diversity of skills and culture. Yet today, the economic progress of urban areas is being choked by congestion and traffic problems. To address these issues, the Commonwealth Government has commenced a multi million dollar Travel Demand Management Program designed to improve mobility in our cities.
Australians are renowned for their capacity to ‘have a go’ and pull together to get things done. The Can Do Community Awards, an initiative under the Commonwealth Government’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, will recognise communities that have demonstrated the Australian ‘can do’ spirit and come up with creative ways to solve their local problems.
The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) recently launched 1800 Reverse Street Active, a new and exciting initiative focusing on the booming street sports scene. The rise in popularity of street sports among children and teenagers has seen sports like skateboarding, inline skating and freestyle BMX require increased support and access to facilities from Local Government.
Local Government today is faced with many challenges. Similarly, there are many important economic, social and ethical issues facing sport as a result of a changing national and world environment. The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) supports the national sports system and its stakeholders, including Local Government organisations, in meeting challenges and maximising opportunities in the 21st century.
Local Councils around Australia have started planning their involvement in another successful and fun community event for Active Australia Day 2002. This year the Day will be held on Sunday, 27 October. Local Governments have held hundreds of events over the past four years by linking facilities and clubs and encouraging people to become more engaged in a sporting, active lifestyle.
South Gippsland Shire Council, Shire of York, Narromine Shire Council and Maribyrnong City Council have more in common than being part of the Local Government network. All registered during 2001-02 with the Australian Sports Foundation Ltd (ASF), a company of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) that recently moved back to its original home in Canberra from Sydney.
Our Sporting Future will be under discussion from 12 to 15 March 2003 as part of a forum on issues confronting the sports system. Hosted by the Australian Sports Commission, this crucial forum will explore the challenges of building a robust and sustainable sporting system, as well as recruiting, retaining, and developing the expertise and capabilities of the people, including coaches, officials and administrators within it.
Having a go at officials is second nature to many Australians, but increasingly this practise is becoming more abusive and violent. Verbal and physical abuse of volunteer officials occurs every weekend from junior to senior levels at ovals, courts and other Local Government sporting facilities across the country. The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) is hosting a national series of innovative high profile forums to tackle the issue of abuse of officials in Australian sport.
What happens when a person with a disability approaches your organisation and makes an enquiry about sport? Are they made to feel welcome? Are they treated with respect? Does someone give them information that has clearly been adapted to suit their needs? Does your Council have trained personnel to assist you with integrating any special needs if necessary?
Have you ever witnessed a display of verbal or physical abuse at sporting clubs in your local area, either on or off the field? Displays of poor sportsmanship have a negative impact and affect everyone involved in junior sport including young players, parents, coaches, officials and spectators. Young people are often influenced the most by these negative experiences, and this can greatly affect their future attitude towards sport. The Australian Sports Commission (ASC), through the Junior Sport Unit, has recognised this growing problem of bad sportsmanship as a significant threat to the safe, supportive environment of junior sport.
Local Governments across the country are getting behind two very practical programs designed to help local clubs and associations run more effectively. The Volunteer Management Program (VMP) and Club/Association Management Program (CAMP) have been designed by experts in the club development field at the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) in conjunction with industry. They are both presented in a module style format that is easy for presenters to deliver and for clubs and associations to understand and apply.
Is pregnancy in sport an issue in your Local Government area? If you have ever received inquiries related to participation in sport by women who are or might be pregnant or from local clubs and associations, a new ASC resource may be able to give you some guidance.
Darwin City Council has provided a means for its youth to be heard through a youth newspaper called GRIND. The success of GRIND can be largely attributed to its focus on youth issues, and that it is written by and for youth.
Youth Services at Melbourne’s Bayside City Council has collaborated with local sport and recreational groups, enabling young Bayside residents to ‘taste test’ activities for free. The project aims to provide opportunities for recreation providers, schools, youth organisations and young people to try out local clubs and sporting groups before making that longer term commitment.
The Kaurna Naming Project undertaken by the City of Adelaide is mapping the history of Kaurna occupation throughout Adelaide’s parklands. The Kaurna Naming Project first commenced in 1997. Council believes that it provides an opportunity to recognise Adelaide’s Kaurna heritage through physical features of the city.
Perth’s Town of Vincent is rewarding the efforts of the community in improving accessibility within the community via the Town of Vincent Improved Access Awards. The awards are presented annually and publicly acknowledge the improvements local businesses, individuals, community groups and organisations have made in the local area.
The City of Greater Dandenong recently launched two websites featuring information about drugs and community safety, local programs and services, and all the latest drug and safety news. Both sites include interactive features such as role plays and the opportunity for users to ask a question or tell their story.
‘PoARTry in Motion’ is giving Rockhampton residents the opportunity to express themselves in a State wide travelling poetry and artwork exhibition. An indigenous theme has been used to explore identity, personal history, the natural landscape and social issues.
The Hawkesbury Social Planning Project was designed to enable community organisations and residents to identify and rank their concerns and then communicate them directly to Council. This feedback informs decision makers about the need for resources and the provision of specific services and facilities.
Operating a range of outside school hours care (OHSC) programs in a community is not unusual. However the four programs operated by Burnie City Council are innovative in that they all operate from school premises in partnership, involving both private and public education.
The City of Kingston is believed to be the only Council to win a Worksafe Victoria Award 2002 which recognise Victorians who have made a significant contribution to improving health and safety in the workplace.The award was won by the carers at Kingston who developed a safety culture of self responsibility that is now evidenced across the Aged and Disability Services Team.
With recent aggregation and consolidation of Local Government, the provision of community services is coming under much greater scrutiny. Not only have Councils had to deal with the complexities of amalgamating people and resources, but State Governments, ratepayers and auditors are demanding much higher levels of accountability. Obviously to achieve these management information requirements Local Government needs an efficient IT infrastructure that covers its entire operations. Xpedite has taken a holistic approach to Local Government Community Services with its City Manager range of software.
In June, 50 Warringah sports stars and top coaches visited Brewarrina to share some of Warringah’s successful sporting tips and strategies in coaching clinics and matches. This event took place as part of their celebration of the Year of the Outback and the two Council’s Sister City Agreement established in June 2000.
In promoting safer transport options in Launceston, Council’s TYCC Taxi Voucher Committee has developed a scheme that encourages people to purchase pre paid taxi vouchers before going out for the evening. The aim of the scheme is to provide people with a safe alternative to walking home late at night.
In May this year, Mosman Municipal Council hosted the International City Managers Association Best Practices Study Tour, on behalf of SHOROC. The request from the ICMA followed on from Mosman’s successful presentation of its strategic management plan, MOSPLAN at the ICMA Best Practices Symposium in Savannah in 2000 (reported in Local Government FOCUS at the time). This year, symposium participants heard about Council’s integration of its Community Environmental Contract (CEC) into MOSPLAN.
Lake Macquarie residents aged 12 to 20 will be able to express their views and decide what happens in their area by joining the Council’s youth e-group. Council is creating a young people’s e-mail group, whose role will be to consult with other youth in Lake Macquarie on issues important to them and communicate the results to Council.
The City of Devonport is located on the Mersey River in the heart of the north west coast of Tasmania. Efforts by Council and the community, have seen the incorporation of lush natural environments into new recreation areas.
The Young Adults Program (YAP), at the Palmerston Public Library is delivering educational and enjoyable activities to motivate children and young adults to not only make more use of the facilities in their local library, but read more books. YAP was first launched in August 2000 with a Teen Week coinciding with the Darwin Fringe Festival.
The Cooloola Shire’s Gympie Library’s Indigenous Resource Unit has developed a project that is providing greater resources for the indigenous community, as well as increasing the general community’s awareness of indigenous issues.