Meeting in Brisbane earlier this month, Local Government elected members and Local Government ministers from Africa, Asia, Canada, the Caribbean, the Pacific and UK called on the Commonwealth to set up a fund to safeguard, promote and support democracy and good governance.
Federal Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Senator Ian Macdonald announced at the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) that the Australian Government, through its aid program AusAID, will provide $800,000 for projects modelled on the CLGF Good Practice Scheme.
Much has already been said about the catastrophic events of 11 September and how they have changed the course of history. There is no doubt that the aftershocks, not the least being the economic ramifications, will continue to reverberate around the world leaving few economies untouched. The actions, alleged to have been carried out by less than 20 people armed with stanley knives, rudely jolted us from our complacency on a number of counts. The aftermath has not only highlighted major security and defence issues for all nations, but illustrated just how fragile even the best performing economy can easily become.
In the last edition, we covered an item on Councillor Peter Black from Dalrymple Shire in North Queensland who was recently recognised for 40 years continuous service to Local Government. It has been drawn to our attention that at least two other current serving Councillors have also passed this milestone.
Following major restoration and refurbishments, Bundoora Homestead officially opened its doors to the public in August of this year. The Homestead is a joint initiative of the Darebin City Council and La Trobe University, in Victoria.
It is now less than four weeks before IT2001 - Information Technology Conference and Trade Exhibit for Local Government. This conference will take place at Novotel Opal Cove Resort in beautiful Coffs Harbour on the 14 to 16 November 2001 and is the highlight of the Local Government IT events calendar.
The $3.5 billion Local Government Superannuation Scheme (LGSS) has purchased the Sturt Mall subregional shopping complex for a purchase price of $36.25 million.
Winning outcomes with Canberra - The Good Oil by Rod Brown * When I go to the regions, which is frequently, I bite my tongue when I see people placing way too much faith in the ability of the Commonwealth Government to address their problem. The reason is because the Commonwealth has little spatial feel, and it has to be selective as to which issues it embraces at a local level. Another reason is the so called ‘vertical fiscal imbalance’ – Canberra has major taxing power and the revenues to match, but its program funding is mostly too blunt and cumbersome to assist at the local level.
Speaking at the 105th Annual Conference of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), Federal Minister, Senator Ian Macdonald called for a redefinition of the role of Local Government. He added, given social and economic developments, a reassessment of the structure of governance in Australia, particularly the future of State Governments, demands long term debate – a debate Local Government should be leading.
Toowoomba will soon boast a brand new multipurpose Youth Cultural and Educational Facility next to Chalk Drive Skate Park. This facility will include the Toowoomba Flexi School, Behaviour Management Programs, Counselling and Information Services, Internet studio, 2Swamps Youth Art Group and Art space, Multipurpose and Project Space and Youth Cafe.
Brisbane City Council is set to stage the first ever Australian conference to examine the role of Local Government in responding to the impacts of drug use on local communities. The conference on 4 and 5 December is hosted by the Council of Capital Cities Lord Mayors (CCCLM) and Brisbane City Council.
Due to its outstanding biodiversity conservation leadership, Crows Nest Shire Council has been chosen as host for the 2001 Southern Queensland Biodiversity Recovery Conference.Organised by the Southern Queensland Biodiversity Network, the conference will be held at the Lake Perserverance Recreation Centre north of Toowoomba from 29 October to 2 November 2001.
In the current financial year, Tennant Creek Town Council has introduced an instalment payment system for rates. This replaces the previous method of giving residents an eight percent discount for paying in full within 120 days of the notices being issued.
The Tennant Creek Biodiversity Conservation Project is a two year project funded by the Natural Heritage Trust. It is a joint project between the Tennant Creek Town Council and Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation.
A mineral collection opening, an art award, a formal ball (that had just as much red dirt inside as outside the building), a tree planting, saveloys at the pub, then throw in a big band, performers and historical footage and you have the Tennant Creek Saveloy Festival. Spanning five days, it incorporated a range of events to create a festive weekend. These celebrations were organised by a committee comprising representatives from the Town Council and community.
As part of the 2001/2002 Budget preparation, a community consultation workshop was held to ascertain residents’ expectations of Council. From this feedback, Council prepared a new Corporate Plan based on Key Result Areas (KRAs) that reflected these expectations. A specific Key Result Area is ‘to improve service delivery and capability’.However, the poor condition of Council’s mechanical sweeper was making it difficult to sweep the high levels of silt that are deposited on Council’s roads. This was adversely affecting Council’s service delivery performance objective.
As Victoria’s fastest growing municipality, the City of Casey is proving that forming strategic alliances and carving successful partnerships with all stakeholders is the best way to deliver community facilities at the best price, in the quickest time and to the highest quality.
The City of Salisbury has sought innovative ways to strengthen relationships with developers and to ensure best practice in development assessment procedures.Council’s Development Services Team adopted a stronger customer service focus and explored how the sharing of ideas between Council and stakeholders would result in better understanding of the development process ‘on both sides of the fence’.
A joint project between the City of Booroondara and Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs will contribute to advanced management of infrastructure assets, including buildings, parks, machinery, roads and drains.
For the second year in a row, the City of Whittlesea has won the information technology category of the National Awards for Innovation in Local Government with a project that saves tens of thousands of dollars a year. The award winning video property inspection system, uses a camera fitted to a street sweeper truck, to replace visits and inspections by the City’s valuers.
In an increasing litigious society, managing the many risks to which Councils are exposed is becoming an ever demanding task. The provision of community infrastructure is one of the main functions of Local Government, yet if this infrastructure is not properly maintained, Authorities are exposed to significant public liability.Conquest Solutions has developed Conquest II to assist Councils to manage the risks associated with managing infrastructure assets.
An intensive research program undertaken by Blacktown City Council at the Westfield Shopping Complex in Mount Druit, has revealed that polluted stormwater is entering the local waterways, and possibly impeding the health of the ecosystem.Water quality and sediment quality monitoring have exposed the prevalence of oils, greases and petrol from unserviced cars, as well as zinc, copper and lead from car tyre wear.
In September, 20 members of Environment Australia’s Canberra based Graduate Program toured the Brighton wastewater treatment plant and local farms, to view the Council’s innovative effluent re-use for irrigation scheme. They were in Tasmania as part of the statewide tour of environmental projects involving Environment Australia and the Federal Department of Environment and Heritage.
The Certificate in Corporate Investigations, conducted by the University of Western Sydney, is specifically designed for people who, as part of their employment, undertake workplace inquiries or investigations. In particular the course is suitable for people who may become involved in disciplinary inquiries, fraud investigations and compliance.
With the rapidly changing global environment and ever increasing pressure to rationalise the activities of government, there has never been a better time to consider postgraduate study in public policy. Deakin University’s Public Policy and Governance program has been specifically designed for those involved in policy making and analysis in the public sector, in policy research, consultancy and advocacy, as well as in the community or third sector.
In 1997, in response to its extraordinary growth, Liverpool City Council developed what is known as an Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP), and is believed to be the first of its kind in NSW. IHAP comprises of four members, specialists in areas of law, urban planning and design, the environment and a community representative. It delivers independent and specialist recommendations to Council on Development Application’s (DA), that are significant and complex or meet with unresolved objections.
In line with the City of Joondalup’s vision as the Online Learning City, Council has introduced a new computer voting system for elected members.Believed to be the first of its kind for a Local Government in Australia, the system enables Councillors to use laptops to view meeting agendas and register votes.
Disaffected residents abusing Council staff on the phone, community meetings deteriorating into polemical contests, officers arguing over policy or staffing issues, tensions between elected officials and executive staff … These are just some of the ways in which conflict may impinge on the daily life of Local Government.
AUS-SPEC, a joint venture between the Institute of Public Works Engineering, Australia and Sinclair Knight Merz Pty Ltd has developed a new maintenance model to assist Councils address the implications of the High Court ruling which effectively abolished non-feasance immunity. Road Authorities including Councils, now owe a duty of care to users of roads and footpaths. The Authority “is obliged to take reasonable steps” to inspect the condition of its assets and know about “latent dangers which might reasonably be suspected to exist”.
With recent changes to non-feasance rules governing Council liability in relation to injuries and incidents in public places, there is more pressure than ever on Local Governments throughout Australia to eliminate potential hazards from their infrastructure.This is particularly true along footpaths and walkways, where subsidence or other physical damage can develop into trip hazards and slip hazards resulting in injury, and potentially costly litigation.
Sydney’s Canterbury City Council won the Norman Lee Memorial Award for Community Partnerships at the recent Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils annual awards presentation, for its design of their innovative bin lids.The design is a series of raised symbols and tactile messages on the lids. They identify garbage, recycling and greenwaste bins. This enables the visually impaired to recognise and identify the bins, without solely relying on the colour coded systems used by a vast majority of other Councils.
After two years of successful operation of its co-composting plant in Port Stephens NSW, EWT Bedminster has signed contracts for even larger plants in Perth with Southern Metropolitan Regional Council and Far North Queensland with Cairns City Council, Douglas and Mareeba Shires.
Desert Harmony Festival is the major cultural event of the year on the Tennant Creek calendar. It provides an opportunity for the local community to participate and experience a wide range of cultural and artistic activities over a week long period.
The Tennant Creek Public Library has had a new addition to its staff, Library Services Coordinator, Katherine Bisset.The library serves a community of around 3,500 people, comprising European and Aboriginal communities, as well as a steady flow of tourists.
Telstra Country WideTM is using satellite technology to bring the information rich world of the Internet to Australia’s vast rural and remote areas. Using Telstra BigPond broadband satellite, Internet users in these areas can now access the Internet at speeds equivalent to metropolitan Australia – and for the price of a local call. It’s easy, quick and affordable.
The City of Melville in Perth launched its new municipal museum, the Melville Discovery Centre in June this year as part of the centenary of the City of Melville. Located in the recently renovated Civic Centre, this innovative museum offers an exciting interactive environment for the public to engage with the City’s unique history.
CityWide Service Solutions Pty Ltd (CityWide) is proud to announce its success in winning what is undoubtedly one of the most significant contracts in Victoria, the delivery of Civil Infrastructure Services for the City of Melbourne. Since its establishment in 1995, CityWide has become one of Victoria’s most innovative and diverse infrastructure, engineering and environmental management and maintenance companies.
Wollongong City Council continues to lead the way in Local Government annual reporting, taking out a second successive Gold Award at the 51st ARA Annual Report Awards in Melbourne. Wollongong was the only local Council among 17 organisations which met the demanding ARA criteria for the Gold Award.
This month all Councils have the opportunity of discovering how your colleagues at Moreland City Council and Moree Shire Council have leveraged the deregulation of the electricity market to save both money and the environment. The Local Government Green Power Purchasing Guide is on offer free of charge from the National Green Power Program to assist Councils in understanding contestability and the opportunities it presents in purchasing clean, green renewable energy.
A new booklet for Local Government about growing trees to reduce greenhouse gases, and a set of field procedures for carbon accounting is now available.The booklet is one of two publications designed to help those involved in growing or investing in trees as carbon sinks.