John Campbell, President of the Australian Local Government Assocation believes that as the economy globalises, people want an anchor and are looking more and more to their local community. As nations become more like a 'federation of neighbourhoods', Local Government has much more relevance to people's lives than the other spheres of government.
It is timely to consider the importance of local democracy and the need to protect it at all costs. Given the push for Constitutional Recognition for Local Government, in States where voting is still not compulsory for Council elections, State Associations on behalf of their members should work to rectify this, sending a clear message to constituents that local democracy depends on and demands their involvement. Our right to vote is not only a privilege, unfortunately still denied many in our gobal village, but more importantly a responsibility that cannot be shirked.
A National Benchmarking Project is being facilitated by Pine Rivers Shire Council in Queensland. Known as Spaceprobe of Select Performance and Council Enterprise through Project Benchmarking, partner Councils with Pine Rivers including Caboolture, Redland, Liverpool, Wyong, Blue Mountains, Yarra Ranges, Casey, Whittlesea and Noarlunga.
According to a recent National Heart Foundation Study, Councils can play a major role in encouraging people to exercise more regularly. With previous programs focusing on motivating people to exercise, the Heart Foundation is now urging planners and decision makers to consider ways of reducing environmental barriers to physical activity
A new service which provides business people with fast, easy access to all the business licence information is now available from a handy one-stop-shop - their local Council. Developed and trialed by five Tasmanian Councils, the service was launched in Launceston last December.
Over the last 15 months Manningham has developed an integrated Customer Feedback System designed to track customer requests, suggestions and complaints, ensuring these are dealt with effectively and as quickly as possible.
Determined to ensure that all work is carried out as agreed in tender specifications, Council has set up a comprehensive Customer Satisfaction Survey Program. Part of Council's Quality Assurance system, the surveys are designed to obtain information and feedback on all the work done by Council.
According to Chief Executive, Bob Seiffert, recent Local Government reforms, and particularly Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT), have improved the way services are delivered by Council resulting in many benefits for Manningham residents and staff.
The benefits of the global explosion in information technology is now available 24 hours a day to residents in Manningham. A new information system makes contact between residents and Government agencies easier, quicker and readily available.
A one off $36 million capital works shot in the arm, a month long phone in hot line to report problems and a consultative approach for designing major road works have all provide to be very successful innovations.
Buoyed by their success in achieving international quality accreditation across the organisation, Manningham is currently working to achieve the same level of accreditation for its Environmental Management System (EMS).
In response to Local Agenda 21, developed at the Rio Earth Summit, Council has introduced a Greenhouse Officer Program. Adam Briscombe is the only 'Greenhouse Officer' in Local Government in Australia.