May 1998 Edition

  • Annual budget reviews lead to improved operations

    An annual review of Council budgets has seen a steady improvement in both standard and presentation. Conducted by the Western Australian Department of Local Government, the 1997/98 review resulted in 52 percent of the 128 Councils assessed as being above the benchmark.
  • Dog registration online

    The City of Charles Sturt in South Australia is piloting a project enabling residents to pay dog registrations via the Internet. A Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA) project and funded by the State Government, this project aims to encourage Councils to use their websites to conduct a range of customer transactions online.
  • Knowledge management through COLD technology

    Computron's COOL solution evolved from COLD (Computer Output to Laser Disk) technology. It replaces costly, inefficient microfiche and paper based storage of reports with rapid archiving and instant retrieval of electronic data. Councils are able to archive information, such as rate notices, payroll reports, immunisation details or parking fine information. They can retrieve this information in seconds using COOL's sophisticated search engine.
  • Improving government service

    The Commonwealth Government is committed to improving the quality of customer service provided by its Departments, agencies and enterprises, while at the same time ensuring public funds are spent in the most efficient way. Two key parts of the strategy to do this are 'The Quality in Customer Service Package' and the Government's decision to introduce Service Charters for government bodies that deal with the public.
  • Managing IT effectively

    At its recent Annual Conference, the Institute of Municipal Management - SA Division used the theme 'Managing IT Effectively'. Part of South Australia's 1998 Local Government Week, the Conference attracted over 80 delegates.
  • Rewarding innovation and excellence

    Local government councils from across Australia, local government associations, groups or regional organisations of councils and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community councils are invited to participate in the 1998 National Awards for Innovation in Local Government. The Awards acknowledge and reward local government for excellence in innovative solutions to issues and problems facing local government and communities.
  • Introduction from the Minister

    It is with great pleasure that I welcome readers to this special issue of A National Perspective. This year marks the 11th anniversary of the National Awards for Innovation in Local Government. These prestigious Awards provide councils from all over Australia with the opportunity to demonstrate innovative and resourceful solutions to the myriad of challenges facing local government.
  • Innovation Awards are on the Web

    General information and guidelines for the 1998 National Awards for Innovation in Local Government are now available online. The 1998 Awards' Web site tells you what categories are available, it outlines some of the many reasons you should enter and it explains the criteria by which your entry will be judged.
  • Building on their achievements - last year's winners

    Over 240 entries were received for the 1997 National Awards for Innovation in Local Government. The entries were of a high standard and the judging panels found that choosing the winners was a difficult task.
  • The Australian Bush Today

    The core objective of Bushcare is to reverse the long-term decline in the quality and extent of Australia's native vegetation through developing partnerships with local government, landholders, communities, industry and state government. Under Bushcare the Federal Government will continue to invest more than $360 million over the next three years in projects which will see extensive revegetation and protection of native bushland.
  • Active Australia

    Under the new participation framework of Active Australia the Australian Sports Commission's Participation Division is developing many new partnerships with sport, education, health and local government bodies to ensure that quality sport and recreation opportunities are provided for all Australians.
  • Barking up the right tree

    An increasing number of complaints about barking dogs has been identified by the Dog Management Team at South Australia's City of Tea Tree Gully as stemming from a rising population coupled with increased housing density. A rise in repeat complaints indicated to the Team that existing management systems were not working. Developed by Council's Inspectorial Team, the new system enables the Dog Management Team to monitor individual cases.
  • Financial services in the bush

    The trend for credit unions to partner with Councils to provide essential financial services in the bush under the CreditCare program has gained momentum with the decision by two Councils to enter into agreements with the Electricity Credit Union.

  • Consultation phase for SA's review of LG Act

    The South Australian Minister for Local Government, Mark Brindal MP, recently launched the Local Government Act Review Consultation Program, 'Consulting Councils and Communities'. He described the Consultation Program as a significant milestone in the development of new Local Government legislation.
  • Councils benefit from employment scheme

    A scheme to provide indigenous Australians with work skills and employment, the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) Scheme, has proved to be a valuable resource for many Councils. Under the Scheme, unemployed, indigenous Australians forego their entitlements to Social Security payments and instead are assisted to develop programs which provide skills for ongoing, unsubsidised employment.
  • Editorial

    Since the Treasurer announced that tax reform was firmly on the agenda, the Australian Local Government Association has been working to ensure Councils and their communities will not be adversely affected by any changes. ALGA has become very concerned by the failure of the Federal Government to rule out a GST on Council rates. During Question Time on 7 April, the Minister for Local Government, Alex Somlyay, stated that the Government, at this stage, will not rule in or out anything that is in the tax reform package.
  • President's comment

    Each edition we feature the views of a State Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Margaret Vigants- President, Local Government Association of the Northern Territory.
  • Local games win State tourism award

    A decision by Laidley Shire to stage its own 'Laidley Games' has proved a winner for the rural community, bringing visitors, entertainment, new economic opportunities, a higher profile and accolades to the Shire. The event was so well organised it earned Laidley the South East Queensland Regional Tourism Award for 1997.
  • Tourist Centre dedicated to 'our song'

    No other country in the world is more readily identified by a single song than is Australia by Waltzing Matilda. Winton Shire, in outback Queensland, where the song was first penned by 'Banjo' Patterson, has given it and its influence on Australian character, official recognition. The $3.3 million Waltzing Matilda Centre has been built as a permanent 'home' for the song.
  • Sunset concerts unite community

    Adesire to provide cultural activity for its community and to raise the profile of an underutilised community resource prompted the City of Cockburn in Western Australia to stage a series of evening concerts. Featuring local and other performers, the concerts proved popular across all age groups.
  • Humane handling of impounded dogs

    In an effort to ease the trauma of impoundment for both dogs and dog owners, the City of Armadale has built a new pound which it believes represents world best practice.
  • World's cleanest treated water

    A new wastewater treatment plant at Noosa has been cited as a prime example of what can be achieved when Local Government teams up with the private sector. The $52 million Noosa Coastal Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant has been lauded as the most environmentally sensitive wastewater treatment plant in Australia producing some of the world's cleanest treated water.
  • Regional strategies to cut unemployment

    A strategy developed by the Playford, Salisbury and Gawler Councils, under the umbrella of the Northern Adelaide Development Board (NADB), aims to halve unemployment in this region. The Councils believe Government funding should be directed to regional programs which match training programs with employer needs through industry specific training programs.

  • Older citizens getting out and about

    The Maroondah Adult Day Activities and Support Services - Kerrabee Club, caters for about 70 people. It takes groups out on smaller trips on a regular basis, but a highlight of the year for many is the four day holiday to give respite for carers and a holiday to club members.
  • World class venue in Melbourne's East

    Situated in a picturesque bush garden adjacent to the Civic Offices in Ringwood is one of the City's great assets, the Karralyka Centre. Designed by famed architect Harry Seidler, the Centre features a theatre, reception rooms, function rooms and a meeting place.
  • First class leisure service

    Amalgamation in 1994 coupled with the introduction of Compulsory Competitive Tendering gave Maroondah Leisure, the business unit created to manage the City's major recreational facilities, unprecedented opportunities to streamline services and gain from new economies of scale.
  • Reclaiming waterways

    Maroondah has six major waterways and several lakes, all providing aesthetic and recreational amenity. In the past, some have suffered through failure to recognise these values. A study funded by Council is now underway to provide a broad strategy for rehabilitating and enhancing the streams and lakes.
  • Broadcasting local events at Wyreena

    Housed in one of Maroondah's oldest homes is the Wyreena Centre. Here residents can meet and join in an enormous variety of activities ranging from art classes to seminars to community broadcasting.
  • Services Expo brings greater understanding

    A recent Expo staged by the City of Frankston in Victoria has not only served to better inform the public of the range of services and facilities that Council provides, it has also encouraged staff to recognise the value of their achievements.
  • Zapping the millennium bug

    With just over 600 days to go before we reach the Year 2000, organisations everywhere must assess the effect on their operations and systems of the 'millennium bug'. Brisbane City Council is tackling the problem by establishing the Year 2000 Compliance Plan Project.
  • Management system helps in time of uncertainty

    As with Local Government across Australia, Tasmanian Councils are facing changes being brought about by National Competition Policy and the drive for greater efficiency and accountability. The further degree of uncertainty with possible further amalgamations facing Tasmanian Councils does not make it any easier.
  • Operational manual earns quality accreditation

    An operating manual which clearly sets out procedures for existing, new and temporary staff has earned Darebin City Council's Executive Services Department independent Quality Accreditation to Australian and New Zealand standards (AS/NZS ISO 9002:1994).
  • Knowledge management through COLD techology

    Computron's COOL solution evolved from COLD (Computer Output to Laser Disk) technology. It replaces costly, inefficient microfiche and paper based storage of reports with rapid archiving and instant retrieval of electronic data. Councils are able to archive information, such as rate notices, payroll reports, immunisation details or parking fine information. They can retrieve this information in seconds using COOL's sophisticated search engine.
  • Improving government service

    The Commonwealth Government is committed to improving the quality of customer service provided by its Departments, agencies and enterprises, while at the same time ensuring public funds are spent in the most efficient way. Two key parts of the strategy to do this are 'The Quality in Customer Service Package' and the Government's decision to introduce Service Charters for government bodies that deal with the public.
  • Room to grow in Maroondah

    Formed on 15 December 1994, Maroondah comprises the former Cities of Croydon and Ringwood, as well as Ringwood North (formerly in Doncaster Templestowe) and Kilsyth South (formerly part of the Shire of Lillydale). Situated 25 kilometres from the GPO, Maroondah now forms the eastern boundary of metropolitan Melbourne. Its 61 square kilometres are home to 91,111 people who enjoy an environment dominated by greenery.
  • Technology to increase community ties

    An ambitious program to establish Internet training and wider access for residents is soon to be established in Maroondah. Courtesy of $100,000 funding from the State Government, the City expects to be able to assist a broad range of citizens to gain familiarity with this technology.
  • Leadership course brings community benefits

    For the past four years Council has been actively encouraging initiative and talent in Maroondah through the Leadership Maroondah program. Under the program, Council recruits approximately 15 local people from all walks of life to participate in a training and development program for community and personal benefit.
  • Getting to know the neighbours

    There is no more congenial place to gather a community together than a local neighbourhood park. Over the last two years, Council has organised eight evening gatherings in small parks. Here local residents are invited to come along and enjoy a barbecue and entertainment in the form of clowns, musicians and activities for children.
  • Youthful advice

    A Youth Advisory Group scheme is about to be expanded, offering training and skills development to young people. The aim is for them to gain knowledge which will enable them to give something to the community as well as gain skills and training to help with future career choices.
  • Community survey leaders

    With the introduction of Compulsory Competitive Tendering in Victoria, it is essential for Councils to evaluate the level of service they are offering. Maroondah has taken on this task with determination, undertaking extensive customer satisfaction surveys.

  • Broader focus reaps rewards

    With over 1,000 delegates gathering in Penrith for the 1998 IMEA NSW Division Annual Conference, President Chris Watson and Executive Director Don Sheffield agreed it was an outstanding success. A further 6,000 people attended the two day Field Days, where some 300 exhibitors made the most of the indoor and outdoor facilities.
  • MAV moving forward

    The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) held its annual forum in March to discuss current issues facing member Councils. These reflected the diverse role of Local Government in the modern era, including planning matters, governance issues, and rating for timber plantations and Vicgrains solos.
  • Editorial

    Since the Treasurer announced that tax reform was firmly on the agenda, the Australian Local Government Association has been working to ensure Councils and their communities will not be adversely affected by any changes. ALGA has become very concerned by the failure of the Federal Government to rule out a GST on Council rates. During Question Time on 7 April, the Minister for Local Government, Alex Somlyay, stated that the Government, at this stage, will not rule in or out anything that is in the tax reform package.
  • President's comment

    Each edition we feature the views of a State Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Bill Bott, President NSW Shires Association.
  • Net dining in Canterbury

    While many Councils publish local restaurant guides, Sydney's Canterbury City Council has gone a step further. A restaurant guide included on Council's Internet site has proved a big success.
  • Engineering excellence rewarded

    For the first time Awards for Excellence, announced each year at the Annual Conference of the Institute of Municipal Engineering Australia - NSW Division, have included a category for Environmental Initiatives. This reflects the extent to which Local Government engineers are now being increasingly called on to rectify environmental problems and protect natural resources for future generations.
  • Valuing older people

    As Australia's population ages, planners must increasingly consider the needs of older people. With a rapidly aging population and the largest aged care budget in the Melbourne Eastern Metropolitan Region, the City of Whitehorse is not only looking at improving and expanding existing services but also implementing innovative programs to foster positive attitudes in older people and about older people by the broader community.
  • A stroll through Manly's history

    A walking tour guide published by Manly Council in NSW draws the attention of residents and visitors to the many works of art in the area. Public art works in Manly reflect the social and historical development of the locality and Australian art.
  • IMEA/RTA Local Government Road Safety Project

    Now in its fifth year the IMEA/RTA Local Government Road Safety Project continues to raise the priority of road safety in local government primarily through the development of road safety strategic plans and the incorporation of these plans into council management plans. The Local Government Excellence in Road Safety Awards Scheme was established in late 1995. The Awards, sponsored by the Motor Accidents Authority, publicly recognise the outstanding achievements of councils in the area of behavioural/educative aspects of road safety.