Logan City Council has welcomed a government delegation from Indonesia by students at Browns Plains State High School and Councillor Cherie Dalley. Read more >
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has warned that local council infrastructure projects may be put in jeopardy. Read more >
Councils across Australia are welcoming new citizens into their community by adopting refugee friendly policies to stop racism. Read more >
As Australians, we can no longer stand for the lives of asylum seekers being used as a political bargaining chip.
The Australian Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs has returned from Christmas Island and described the depressing state that asylum seekers, some of whom are children, are subject to in detention.
It’s apparent that these people cannot and should not continue to live in these conditions.
As Australians, we should no longer stand for an endless rhetoric of ‘Stop the Boats’ that de-humanises the individuals affected.
Church leaders, part of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, have been very critical in the recently released Protecting the Lonely Children report.
Some have gone as far as to label the policies as state sanctioned child abuse.
It lists the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Refugee Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights as all potentially being breached under the current policy.
During the violence that broke out on Manus Island last year, the United Nations also found Australia guilty of almost 150 violations of international law.
Despite these facts the treatment of asylum seekers is often not thought of in human terms.
Instead it is treated as a political statistic; a bullet-point on a poster: ‘Zero boats landing on Australian shores.’
It’s a number that can be waved in public as an example of successful implementation of effective policy.
It doesn’t, however, take into account the lives of those caught in the crossfire.
It’s a very simple answer to complicated questions involving people smugglers and Australia’s international responsibility to the global community.
Despite this, it’s promising to see local governments supporting refugees in their community and providing quality services to those who do settle as new residents on our shores.
Dear LG Focus.
On July 15, 2014, Australia’s largest civil trial settled.
It was in relation to the 2009 bushfires in Victoria (Black Saturday), where 173 people tragically lost their lives.
The parties being sued were SP AusNet, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Country Fire Authority and Victoria Police.
The trial concluded with a $495 million settlement being reached between the parties, subject to court approval.
It is my belief that some Victorian local governments were lucky not to be included in this civil court case.
This started me thinking about the inherit risks that many local governments unwittingly expose themselves to each and every day by their misunderstanding and neglect of the importance of a professional, modern, 21st century customer focus culture within their organisations.
Too long has customer service been seen as ‘the girls on the switchboard’.
Recently I was running a training and strategy session for Alexandrina Council’s Library and Customer Information Services.
The main purpose of the day was to get the team ready for the cultural shift to a true first call resolution environment.
As part of the day we invited the CEO Peter Dinning to attend for an hour to show the team members that they had his full backing and support for this important cultural change.
Peter was only due to stay for an hour but he became so inspired and excited by the session he stayed much longer to everyone’s surprise and delight.
As I was giving my presentation about the reasons we need to make this important change, I came to a point where I talked about the risks of not having an accountable culture.
I gave the example an extreme weather event such as a flood or fire where a group of people ring the council to find a safe place to go, a council staff member answers the phone and gives the correct information, but does not make any note of the call or the information given.
The people misunderstand the information or decide to go to another location and unfortunately some ended up losing their lives, then in the aftermath of the event families sue the council for giving out incorrect information.
It was at this point that I asked the group; “What do you think would happen in this circumstance?”
It was Peter the CEO who spoke, looking directly at us and said with a sober and most serious tone “I would end up in jail serving many years”.
His tone and body language affected everyone in the room; they all suddenly realised that what they did for the organization had serious consequences.
The next time a senior person in your organisation thinks customer service is a low priority as it’s just the ‘girls on the switchboard that transfer calls’, remind them it is much more than that.
Unless the organization gets real and understands the situation it’s possible, even likely someone very senior could end up in jail and or cost the organisation millions of dollars.
Senior consultant at Indigo Training.
The City of Greater Bendigo has pledged to end racism in their community with over 500 residents signing the ‘Racism. It Stops With Me’ pledge.
The public signing was held at Hargreaves Mall and attracted social media attention with the use of the #ItStopsWithMeBendigo hashtag on Twitter.
Mayor Barry Lyons attended the event and thanked signees.
“I am also grateful to the many individuals and businesses who have posted photos on social media throughout the week using the hashtag ItStopsWithMeBendigo.
“As a community we have sent a powerful message that we will not tolerate racism in our city.
“Today was a very proud day and I was thrilled to see so many residents stand united for this important cause.”
AFL Central Victoria has also thrown its support behind the ‘Racism. It stops with me’ campaign and the local #ItStopsWithMeBendigo initiative.
To coincide with the AFL’s Multi-Cultural Round, AFL Central Victoria invited more than 80 local school children from multi-cultural backgrounds to attend a football clinic at North Bendigo recreation reserve.
Former AFL player and multi-cultural ambassador David Roden put the students through their paces.
City of Greater Bendigo CEO Craig Niemann also put his support in for the campaign.
“Sport is a common ground many people can relate to and unite over.
“Your religion or race doesn’t impact on your passion for your favourite sporting team.”