Breaking News

Delegation from Central Java

Delegation from Central Java (From Left) Mike O'Connor, Governor Pranowo and wife Siti Atiqoh, Cr Cherie Dalley

Logan City Council has welcomed a government delegation from Indonesia by students at Browns Plains State High School and Councillor Cherie Dalley. Read more >

Local infrastructure under threat

Local infrastructure under threat LGAQ President Margaret de Wit

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has warned that local council infrastructure projects may be put in jeopardy. Read more >

Local Governments welcome refugees

Local Governments welcome refugees Refugees awaiting asylum.

Councils across Australia are welcoming new citizens into their community by adopting refugee friendly policies to stop racism. Read more >

Editorial

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.

Have your say... Letters to the editor

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.

Rum Charles
Senior consultant at Indigo Training.

#ItStopsWithMeBendigo

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.”

This month

Local Governments welcome refugees

Councils across Australia are welcoming new citizens into their community by adopting refugee friendly policies to stop racism. Read more >


Editorial

As Australians, we can no longer stand for the lives of asylum seekers being used as a political bargaining chip. Read more >


Have your say... Letters to the editor

This is your chance to speak up about current issues affecting your council. Please forward your letters to editorial@lgfocus.com.au Read more >


#ItStopsWithMeBendigo

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. Read more >


Candidates critical to voter turnout - President’s comment

Almost without exception, following every round of Local Government elections in Western Australia there are media stories criticising voter turnout.
Read more >


Connecting local businesses

An Australasian first that demonstrates the power of councils partnering with other organisations has now won an innovation award. Read more >


Indigenous youth film nominated

Inverell Shire Council’s youth project titled Yillambu-Yilaathu (Gamilaaray Translation: Past - Present) was nominated for the Local Government Arts and Culture Awards and was selected as a finalist in the category of “Community Participation in Arts and Culture, Aboriginal Arts and Culture” Read more >


Council meetings webcast

Mid-Western Regional Council residents now have the opportunity to tune into council meetings, which will now be broadcast live online.
Read more >


Why not a productivity drive on road construction? - The Good Oil by Rod Brown

The major report by the Productivity Commission (PC) on Public Infrastructure was recently released, 900 pages of solid stuff.
Read more >


Councillor profiles - This month from South Australia

Sandra Wauchope, Mayor,
Mount Remarkable District Council, South Australia Read more >


Councillor profiles - This month from South Australia

John Trainer, Mayor,
City of West Torrens, South Australia Read more >


Smart Blocks save power in flats

Adelaide City Council has teamed up with Smart Blocks to encourage apartment owners and building managers in the City to become champions for energy efficiency and save on energy costs in the process. Read more >


Cobb & Co coach service anniversary

Maranoa Regional Council is inviting people to take a journey of a lifetime with the Cobb & Co Commemorative Trail Ride, celebrating the 90th anniversary of the last Cobb & Co Coach Service in Australia. Read more >


The Longreach Story reprinted

Longreach Regional Council recently launched a re-print of the Longreach Story. First published in 1987, the publication by Angela Moffat traces the history of the Longreach district from its prehistory through to 1986. 
Read more >


Recognising Council’s high achievers - This month from Victoria

Martin Fidler, Manager, Community Wellbeing
City of Greater Dandenong, Victoria Read more >


Recognising Council's high achievers - This month from Victoria

Bass Coast's Enviroment Team,
Bass Coast Shire Council, Victoria Read more >


E-Waste recycling success

Baw Baw Shire Council’s E-Waste recycling program has collected over 113 tonnes of E-waste in the past financial year. Read more >


Winter sleep out a success

City of Ryde Mayor Councillor Roy Maggio was joined by a committed number of residents who participated in the Mayor’s Winter Sleepout on Saturday 19 July as part of the Mayor’s fundraising effort for Australia’s homeless.
Read more >


Mural update unveiled

Randwick City Council has unveiled a recently updated mural that honours Australian aviation legend and Kingsford namesake, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith. Read more >


Natural Resources Commission's Draft Report

Gunnedah Shire Council has supported the recommendations of the Natural Resources Commission’s Draft Report into the Active and Adaptive Cypress Management in the Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas following a recent Council meeting. Read more >