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.
The IPWEA/RTA Local Government Road Safety Strategy 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.
Carrathool Shire Council and a number of other Councils in the western Riverina of New South Wales are involved with the Cities for Climate Protection program. A pilot theatre project is helping those communities explore climate change issues. Science and theatre are an odd mix, but one that has proved to be an effective and fun way of getting science issues across to young people. Artistic director with Canadian based Evergreen Theatre Society, Tara Ryan, was in the region recently conducting workshops at local schools.
The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) held its 2002 Annual Conference at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne on 31 October and 1 November.More than 200 delegates from all over Victoria attended the Conference. With 23 city and 42 rural and regional Councils represented, this year’s conference focused on the theme, ‘Where to from here?’ for Local Government.
Positive outcomes of ‘Open boundaries – fairer playing fields’ are written all over the faces of these three young women snapped recently at the Launceston Swim Centre. Christine Dudu from the Sudan, and Eyerusalem Akalu from Eritrea, had never had the opportunity to learn to swim. Now not only can they swim, but they have made new friends – such as Kitty Tam from Hong Kong.
Residents of Discovery Coast have lived up to the region’s name and found an innovative way to improve health care in their community. Thanks to the efforts of the Miriam Vale Shire Council in applying to the Commonwealth for funding under its Regional Health Services Program (RHSP), residents now have access to a comprehensive range of health care services. Miriam Vale Shire Council secured nearly $2 million over three years under the program. It is one of nine Local Governments to manage a regional health service, out of the 124 services funded under the program.
A number of delegates attending the 9th National General Assembly of Local Government staged in Alice Springs in early November opted for a novel way to get there. Organised by the Western Australian Local Government Association, and led by immediate past President, Councillor Ian Mickel, they travelled by bus from Kalgoorlie to Alice Springs along the Outback Highway. A number of Councils including Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Laverton, Alice Springs and Longreach in Queensland, together with their respective Local Government Associations, have been lobbying the Federal, relevant States and Territory Governments, to have the Outback Highway sealed. Some 16 Councils were represented in the tour party, including four delegates from Corowa Council in NSW who flew to Perth to take part in this Outback experience.
Once again, 2002 has been an eventful year for Local Government. In this, our last edition for the year, we thought it might be useful to revisit some of our coverage and editorial comments on key issues over the past year.
To be staged on 18 February 2003 at the Launceston Tramsheds, this national conference will explore cooperative and proactive approaches to community safety through a focus on the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).
The Heart Foundation Kellogg Local Government Awards celebrate Councils that work in their communities to promote and improve heart health. Through these Awards the National Heart Foundation and Kellogg Australia recognise that Local Government is in a unique position to impact the health of communities and individuals.
Areyonga Community Inc. in the Northern Territory received funding from the NT Department of Community Development and Cultural Affairs to restore an old run down mission house built in the 1950s. Opened in August, the building provides visitor accommodation.
Kingaroy Shire Council recently took out two prizes in the 2002 Queensland Arbor Day Awards, with wins in the Local Government and Regional categories. Council’s project was deemed the best in southern Queensland, ahead of 13 other entries.
Twelve months ago, I was one of four baby boomers lunching in a Canberra restaurant. The conversation turned to the complex issues facing today’s youth. We agreed that kids now have a harder road than our simple upbringing of footy, cricket and wagging Sunday School in Nagambie, Nunawading, Warragul or Ballarat. About the only anti- social thing we did was nicking fruit from neighbours’ trees. Today is a different matter. One of our lunch group, Melbourne based Phil Anstey, spoke of his positive experience in deploying St Kilda AFL footballers as mentors for youth. He wondered about the prospects of developing an Australia wide program using a spectrum of elite athletes, actors and so forth.
Located in western Victoria, the Northern Grampians Shire covers almost 6,000 square kilometres and services a population of over 13,000 people. More than 630 businesses currently operate throughout the Shire. Prominent industry sectors include tourism, mining, textiles, manufacturing and rural industries.
For some time, it had been recognised by South Australia’s Town of Gawler that it needed to expand the range of services and facilities in its central business area. Competition from its adjoining neighbours Elizabeth, and more recently Munno Para and Barossa Valley, required an action plan.
‘Winning the Game’ was the theme for the 2002 conference of the NSW Division of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA). Staged in Coffs Harbour, the venue was the Pacific Bay Resort, home base for Australia’s rugby team – the Wallabies, hence the appropriateness of the theme. In his address to the conference, IPWEA-NSW President, Steve Carmichael, referred to the Wallabies and their efforts to meet the desires of their fans, by winning the ‘ultimate’ game of rugby.
Having been an elected member for 26 years, including 20 years on the Executive of the New South Wales Local Government Association (LGA), Councillor Peter Woods has started to wind down his involvement with Local Government. He recently stood down as President of the LGA Executive, having held this position since 1990. This is a record term, and twice that of the next longest serving President, who completed a six year term back in 1911!
The New South Wales division of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) Excellence for Engineering Awards 2002 attracted a record number of entries, with projects of an exceptionally high standard. The awards were presented at IPWEA – NSW Division’s Annual Conference staged in Coffs Harbour in November.
The determination of the community of Cummins to turn around its fortunes was acknowledged in early November when it won the national prize of the Can Do Community Awards. Michelle Mahoney and Wendy Holman accepted the Award from Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon John Anderson, on behalf of the project team and volunteers, at the Awards event, which was held at the National General Assembly for Local Government in Alice Springs.
Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) has developed an integrated Risk Management Strategy incorporating email security in an attempt to mitigate or control all aspects of the organisation’s business risk. We often think about risk relating only to civil infrastructure, such as someone tripping on a footpath or being injured in a playground, but how often do we think of our exposure to information risk? Our strategy identifies information risk as a real threat to Council’s business and a potential source of expensive litigation.
At the recent Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) Annual Conference, held on 31 October and 1 November, the opportunity for Local Governments to employ more graduates was presented by four Deakin University students. In a joint project with the MAV, the Deakin University students investigated what students thought of working for Local Government and what Councils thought of recruiting graduates.
Over the past 12 months, staff at Glamorgan Spring Bay Council, located on the east coast of Tasmania, have been developing a customised accounting database especially designed for the needs of Local Government. The GDAP design concept was used to set up a multi- dimensional general ledger within the accounting software package, Microsoft Navision Edition. The GDAP design recently received a commendation at the National Local Government awards.
Adelaide City Council recently won a major LGA Mutual Liability Scheme award for its innovative approach to business planning and its assessment and management of risk. Council was presented with the Scheme’s Risk Management Award 2002 for its Business Plan and Risk Management Database.
The Local Government Association of South Australia Conference in Adelaide on 10 and 11 October 2002 saw the launch of a new service enabling smaller Councils to capitalise on operational and service efficiencies provided by Enterprise View (EView). EView, developed by ESRI Australia, provides Councils with a data integration, analysis and visualisation system that’s easy to use.
Cairns City Council received a commendation at the 2002 National Awards for Local Government for its financial management plan to improve management of outstanding rates and utility charge debtors. The plan aims to improve debt recovery without adversely impacting on the quality of life of ratepayers.
The effluent pump station is 45 kilometres away so you have to make the drive. After all, what other options are there? You could put in a landline for remote control and monitoring but it doesn’t run past the pump station’s door. One new option is to get out your mobile phone and use it to turn on the pump. And what’s more, when the holding tank is full your mobile phone will let you know.
In an Australian first, Blue Mountains City Council will use leading edge technology to recycle its roads, saving ratepayers money and to protecting the environment. Council agreed to the purchase of a German-made asphalt recycling unit which will re-use an estimated 1,000 tonnes of asphalt per year.
Under a joint agreement, Western Australia’s Kellerberrin and Tammin Shires now share the same senior management team. The move to share senior staff was a natural progression as the two Councils were already sharing other specialist Council staff. CEO Stuart Taylor, Deputy CEO Aaron Bowman and Manager of Works Wayne Luxford make up the joint management team. This sharing arrangement has delivered savings and increased productivity.
Australian Vinyls Corporation, along with Peteron Plastics and ACI Plastics, participates in the ‘Vinyl Cycle’ program which involves the kerbside collection of PVC bottles and their recycling into long life products such as stormwater pipe fittings and industrial floor tiles. The program aims to achieve a 25 per cent recovery rate of PVC bottles made in Australia and so help stop around 20 million PVC bottles going unnecessarily to landfill.
Creating well formed and shaped roads in a cost effective and time efficient manner is the main aim of every pavement engineer. With the development of Roadment®, launched in late 1999 by Blue Circle Southern Cement (Victoria), this aim has begun to achieve realisation.
Parramatta City Council is examining ways to reduce water usage as the grip of the 2002 drought tightens. Group Manager City Services, Ken Bone, said that Council is looking at all operational means to reduce its water usage and wastage.
Tamworth City Council has, after a full EOI/Tender process, selected Open Spatial Technologies to supply and implement a full ‘database driven’ GIS. This replaces its existing Genamap GIS software. Tamworth, with a population of 36,000, is a major regional centre in New South Wales.
The 9th National General Assembly of Local Government was staged in Alice Springs from 3-6 November. This was the first time the Assembly has not been staged in Canberra. A record 860 delegates, together with various Members of Parliament and other expert presenters, acknowledged that this move of venue was a fitting contribution to the Year of the Outback celebrations.
In welcoming delegates to the 9th National General Assembly, then President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Councillor John Ross, said that it was very fitting to have both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition at the Assembly.
There is more to be given by businesses within our communities than just fulfilling the needs of its shareholders or owners. Those were the sentiments of Neville Roach, Chairman of Fujitsu Australia and former Chairman of the Council for Multicultural Australia. He provided an inspirational business and personal perspective on the Assembly theme, ‘Civil Society – The Challenge of Leadership’.
Australia’s Chief of Defence Forces, General Peter Cosgrove, provided delegates with an insight into his experiences with Australia’s many and varied leaders. Having been in the Australian military for 38 years, General Cosgrove is no stranger to leadership. Among his many career achievements, he served as Commander of the International Forces in East Timor (INTERFET) in 1999, for which is he was awarded the Companion of the Military Division of the Order of Australia.
In a workshop held in conjunction with the National General Assembly , delegates heard how 35 Councils across Australia are taking part in a Friendship program to assist the people of East Timor rebuild their shattered country after their struggle for independence. Workshop Convenor, Councillor Rae Perry, from Darebin City Council in Victoria, said that Councils were assisting the people of East Timor in many different ways.
A motion moved by Manly Council for container deposit legislation (CDL) and extended producer responsibility in all States and Territories was supported overwhelmingly by delegates. Local Government leaders from across Australia supported the South Australian lead and agreed to seek a commitment to CDL from the Commonwealth and other State Governments. CDL has operated successfully in South Australia for 25 years.
The first socially responsible investment fund developed exclusively for Councils in Australia was launched in October. The Local Government Ethical Fund was introduced by Local Government Financial Services (LGFS) and is supported by Lgov NSW, representing the Local Government Association of NSW and the Shires Association of NSW.
South Australia’s City of Onkaparinga took out the Financial Management category in the 2002 National Awards for Local Government. This award recognises and acknowledges the delivery of a high standard of financial management and accountability, with an emphasis on continuity and improvement.
The Tax Essentials For Local Government (TELG) product is designed to provide all staff in Local Government with the tools they need to understand GST and how it applies to all transactions that Councils encounter. Unlike any other GST service the TELG focuses on industry specific issues.
The Local Government Association of Queensland and a CPA who managed the corporatisation of Wide Bay Water, an arm of Hervey Bay City Council, were both recently recognised for excellence in financial management by the nation’s largest accounting body. CPA Australia celebrated the achievements of public sector CPAs and organisations at the Queensland Public Sector Awards 2002 held in Brisbane on 27 November.
Bass Coast Shire Council has received the 2002 Liability Risk Management Excellence Award, sponsored by Civic Mutual Plus (CMP). CMP insures 77 of the 78 Victorian Councils for liability. The award was presented in October at the Municipal Association of Victoria’s (MAV) Annual Conference in Melbourne.
The City of Fremantle has received the Western Australian Local Government Association’s highest honour, the Alcoa Leadership Award. This award recognises true leadership, extensive community consultation, excellent organisational management and documented benchmarking.
NSW Supply develops and administers period contracts, also known as ‘standing offers’, on behalf of the State Contracts Control Board (SCCB). NSW Supply period contracts are arranged for the supply of products and services for a specified period and cover items in categories including IT and communications, motor vehicles and transport, energy, food and hospitality, cleaning and building products and services, hardware and electrical, office products and equipment and temporary staff.
Queensland’s Logan City Council has created a credit card reconciliation system to improve its accounting and recording process for credit card purchases. The Quickrec system was developed using the ‘user friendly’ MS Access application. This provides easy maintenance and will allow for further development in the future.
This is the fifth year that Coffs Harbour City Council has staged this major IT event on the Local Government calendar. Running from 20 to 22 November, delegates came from all States and Territories plus New Zealand and Vanuatu.
Depot workers at the City of Whittlesea, in Melbourne’s north, have just clocked up more than 500 days of work without a lost time injury. The City of Whittlesea’s Director Engineering Services, Richard Young, says the safety record is partly about systems and partly about people.