Australia's National Local Government Newspaper Online
|Editions > 2004 > December||Saturday May 25, 2013 - Melbourne Time: 13:53:07|
Infrastructure spending the
key to regional growth
2004 has certainly been another eventful year for Local Government. In this last edition for the year, we will revisit some of our coverage and editorial comment on key issues in 2004.
In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor John Legoe, President of the Local Government Association of South Australia.
More and more visitors flock to Flinders Ranges
Reconciliation Australia Director, Professor Mick Dodson, has heard plenty of the bad news about Indigenous communities and believes it is time to pay tribute to people who are running strong, effective Indigenous organisations. That’s why Reconciliation Australia, a not for profit organisation, along with sponsors BHP Billiton have developed the Indigenous Governance Award. This ongoing awards scheme is offering $20,000 in prize money for the inaugural winners.
Following comprehensive research conducted by Tourism Alliance Victoria, a peak industry body representing local and regional tourism organisations, 13 councils in Victoria are considered to engage in sustainable tourism management practices.
This is why the three spheres of government must get into forward looking development agendas to facilitate investment in these regions that is both economically sustainable, that is creating long term rather than transient jobs and environmentally sustainable. Quality infrastructure – mobile phone coverage, Internet speed, university campuses, electricity and water supply, health care, good transport links – is the bait.
Greater Shepparton City Council’s Business Centre is launching a Home Based Business Network and is seeking business people who operate from home to be a part of the network.
Recognising local excellence in heart health
A regular feature, this month we have interviewed two Councillors from Western Australia.
Recognising Council high achievers
Some 27 Councils across Australia registered more than 62 gardens in an effort to take out one of the coveted Australian Local Government Flower Awards. Held in November by the Australian Local Government Association and Bedding Plants Australia (BPA), the awards highlight an often neglected part of Local Government work – the humble flower garden.
Former Mayor and current Councillor of Indigo Shire Council, Don Chambers has been appointed chair of Keep Australia Beautiful National Association (KABNA), Australia’s longest serving, community based environmental organisation.
With one of the largest intakes of refugees in Australia, Liverpool City Council has declared itself a Refugee Welcome Zone. Launching the zone at a special Refugee Week celebration in October, Council affirmed its commitment to supporting refugee communities in Liverpool.
For the first time Australia’s peak multicultural body will formally recognise excellence in Local Government planning and delivery of services to people from different cultural backgrounds. The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA), with backing from the Australian Local Government Association, has created the Transformations Awards to recognise the contribution that Local Governments make to Australia’s cultural diversity.
|FEATURE - Business and Greater Efficiency initiatives|
Young blood wise heads
Great Employer – Clever Workforce is an innovative HR strategic framework that has won Brisbane City Council the Australian Human Resources Award in the Public Sector Employer of Choice category at the HR Awards announced in October. The awards recognise excellence across the spectrum of Human Resources, with organisations across Australia competing in 15 categories.
The $2.5 million redevelopment of the Quirindi township is seen as one of the finest recent examples of Local Government economic development. For its efforts, Liverpool Plains Shire Council received a commendation in the Economic Development Category of the 2004 National Awards for Local Government.
Releasing resources to the front line
Sir Peter Gershon’s review of public sector efficiency published earlier this year is now starting to really focus the minds of all public sector managers. Assumptions that 2.5 per cent savings annually for the next three years can be generated through more efficient procurement and streamlined working will test all Councils.
In rural areas it is generally recognised that there are shortages of skilled labour and New South Wales’ Lachlan Shire is no exception. Council has established its Training for the Future Program that provides trainees with full time employment, while assisting them to achieve national competency standards.
Life like scenario tests are a must if Councils want to be properly prepared to deal with emergencies, according to Banyule City Council In Victoria. Business Improvement Manager, Chris Newman, said Banyule is now an acknowledged leader in business continuity planning because it undertook these exercises.
The Tax Office’s Business Portal can help save you time when preparing and lodging activity statements.
Why do market research?
Local Governments have never fully embraced market research as a tool that can reap huge rewards for their communities. Doing research is second nature for State and Federal Governments as they are constantly measuring community attitudes on a range of issues. So why is there such reluctance among Local Governments to embrace market research?
The City of Cockburn in Western Australia is certainly setting the pace in human resources management. The City of Cockburn’s Human Resource Service entered the Best HR Team competition conducted by Human Resources magazine and was eventually short listed as a finalist in that category. This is a nationwide premier award within the Human Resources profession and the awards are not just for Local Government organisations.
Purchasing decisions for cars, solar panels or computer monitors can have a huge impact on the environment as well as save money. Combined with sensible practices such as placing energy saving settings on staff computers you can make a real impact on the environment.
In November, Redland Shire Council launched an innovative economic development initiative called ecoBiz (developed by the Queensland EPA). Seven local businesses are participating in the project which aims to reduce water and energy consumption, and waste stream production.
Liverpool City Council has led a consortium of councils in developing an innovative web based toolkit set to improve water quality in New South Wales, with funding provided by the State Government’s Stormwater Trust. The toolkit is available on CD Rom and is to be distributed to local councils throughout the State.
Linking occupational health and safety with environmental management is another step towards the goal of a fully integrated management system. Such a step has been taken at Tweed Shire Council with the development of a new operational management system.
With the advent of more stringent water restrictions, Greene Eden Watering Systems has been receiving many inquiries about sub-surface drip irrigation in major turf projects. Potential clients are keen to see serious water savings, when comparing sub-surface with sprinklers, but added advantages are low maintenance costs and zero vandalism.
Faster, cheaper way to maintain road networks
Austroads web site
Austroads has developed a new publications web site with all its publications available for online use. Austroads is the association of Australian and New Zealand road transport and traffic authorities, with Australian Local Government represented by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).
The City of Marion’s Geographic Information System (GIS) Footpath Audit System was designed to identify, classify, repair and record the history of footpath faults. The system took out the Metropolitan Risk Management Award for Sustainable Infrastructure Management organised by the South Australian Local Government Association Mutual Liability Scheme.
Victorian road users have been too casual for too long in their attitude to the safety of road workers and too often, the results have been deadly. To address this problem, a state wide blitz is set to improve the safety of roadside workers and reduce the number of roadside deaths.
An event kit to assist Councils in organising Council activities has won a Risk Management Award for the Town of Gawler. The 2004 Local Government Association of South Australia Workers Compensation Scheme Occupational Health and Safety Awards were announced last October.
Local Governments demonstrating sound financial management practices were recently recognised in the Western Australian Local Government Minister’s Financial Management Awards. Finalists are selected from the budgets submitted annually to the Department of Local Government and Regional Development.
Every 18 months the number of transistors that can be fitted on a microchip doubles, storage capacity is doubling every year and the number of computer users is increasing ten fold every year. These are just some of the trends in Information Technology as devices become faster, smaller and cheaper. Keynote speaker at IT2004, Graeme Philipson, said that with things happening exponentially, people today no longer care that change is so rapid. It is an accepted fact of modern life.
Best practice in the West
|FOCUS PROMOTION - 2004 National General Assembly of Local Government|
Government funding not just flat lining – it’s leaving Local Government behind
The Prime Minister, John Howard, believes that Local Government will have a growing role in the nation’s future. In his address to the Assembly, the Prime Minister said the ‘growing links’ between the Federal and Local Government were important and need to be encouraged, but the limitations on them needed to be recognised.
The following is a summary of some of the main resolutions passed by the Assembly and later endorsed at the AGM. A full list of all Resolutions is available on the ALGA web site at www.alga.asn.au
After 35 years of analysing Australian politics and Local Government, Professor Dean Jaensch makes no secret of the fact that he considers Local Government to have the best potential to become the, if not the only, democratic government in Australia.
Stronger partnerships between the three spheres of government was the theme of the Local Government Minister’s address to the National General Assembly. Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, said the newly elected Government is committed to developing an intergovernmental agreement on funding arrangements in the wake of the Hawker report on cost shifting.
There is a turning of the tide in Australian social affairs, and with it will come an increasing role for Councils, social commentator Dr Hugh Mackay told the General Assembly.
At ALGA’s Annual General Meeting, following the National General Assembly on 10 November, then Darebin City Council Mayor, Rae Perry, was elected President of the Australian Local Government Association. On 26 November, in Victorian Council elections, Rae Perry failed to retain her Ward seat. She faced a field of 13 candidates.
In the session that looked at future directions for Local Government, Dr Rosemary Kiss from the Centre of Public Policy at Melbourne University said that too little time and money is currently being spent on research and development. A former Councillor and member of the Victorian Grants Commission, Dr Kiss said Local Government must have this R & D capacity to articulate a vision and demonstrate why it should be funded directly out of national taxes.
Federal Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Local Government and Territories, Senator Kerry O’Brien, called for a wider discussion on Local Government reform He said one of the features of the post election period has been discussion about reform proposals impacting on Commonwealth/State relations.
© Eryl Morgan Publications Pty Ltd - Last update: Saturday December 06, 2003
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