This year will undoubtedly be vital for Local Government across Australia. Not only is it the final countdown to 1 January 2000, with Councils and their communities working to minimise any adverse impact from the so called 'millennium bug', it will also be the year that makes or breaks the Howard Government's proposed tax reforms.
Every two years the world community of Local Government has an opportunity to meet and assess development of local democracy. This year, discussions will centre around Local Government uniting in a global mission of democratisation, decentralisation and cooperation. More than 1,000 delegates from around the world will attend the Congress, to be staged in Barcelona between 21 and 24 March 1999.
Despite some discussion concerning when the next millennium actually commences, people everywhere are gearing up to celebrate a new century and millennium in just over 11 months time. Milestones such as this encourage people to have a greater propensity to embrace change.
Hundreds of Australian communities are preparing to celebrate the journey of the Olympic Torch as it is relayed across the country to Sydney for the opening of the 26th Olympiad. The Torch Relay will commence in the heart of Australia at Alice Springs on 8 June 2000. It will then travel 26,000 kilometres, borne by 10,000 runners, on its way to its destination. Local Government will play a central role in the torch procession which gives all Australians a chance to participate in this milestone national event.
One of Australia's largest international sporting events for 1998, the President's Cup, saw hundreds of buses and thousands of cars ferry daily up to 22,000 people to the event. Held in December at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club the tournament presented Council with massive traffic and parking management issues.
Reporting to the ALGA National Assembly last November on the outcomes of the Local Constitutional Convention (LCC) program, Professor Saunders believes the local conventions were an excellent illustration of the strengthening of local democracy, with outcomes of the program giving a very clear indication of what grassroots Australians think about key aspects of their Constitution and system of government.
Suburbs in Stonnington are well established and, while they have undergone some changes, retain their sense of history with many period buildings gracing the City. Unsympathetic development, much of which occurred in the 1960s and 1970s but still continues today, has created a wariness of development that does not respect the character of existing streetscapes.
The City of Stonnington was created in 1994. The new City stretches from inner urban Prahran just a short distance from Melbourne's CBD, along the south eastern corridor to the leafy suburbs of Malvern. Within its boundaries residents, workers and visitors find the opportunity to pursue diverse lifestyles.
When Stonnington's first Council was elected in 1996, it had an operating deficit of $3.5 million. Originally aiming to reduce this to $1.2 million, Council has in fact now turned this deficit into a surplus.
Busy Chapel Street is famous well beyond Stonnington as a mecca of designer fashion, cutting edge music, night life, and cafe society. While this activity contributes to the area's attraction, it creates difficulties in reconciling 20th century traffic with 19th century street design.
Shortly after coming to office, Stonnington City Council recognised that the diverse nature of the new City made it virtually impossible to apply the same planning and service provision principles to the whole Municipality. In the high density inner urban area, residents require services based around less conventional hours and lifestyles, while those in the suburban areas need services which support families and their needs. The solution was to recognise and embrace a variety of unique 'villages'. This formed the basis of Council's City Plan 1998 - 2001 as presented on this page. In this way, Council can provide services that reflect the wishes of residents to preserve the particular character and culture of their area.