The recent election of Xanana Gusmaou as its first President and the Declaration of Independence on 20 May are major steps along the path to democratic government for East Timor, the world’s newest nation. With the devastation and turmoil in the lead up to the vote for independence in 1999, many Local Governments in Australia have been assisting East Timor’s recovery.
Thirteen months ago, Premiers Carr and Bracks made the announcement that the Cities of Albury and Wodonga would be merged into the one City. Coinciding with celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the separation of Victoria from New South Wales, some saw this move as long overdue. Strategically located midway between Sydney and Melbourne, Albury Wodonga is undoubtedly one of Australia’s more prosperous regional centres and has the potential to build on this as the one Local Government body. Possibly relying on recent history, where the Kennett Government’s forced amalgamations have to date resulted in only one concerted effort to undo a merger (Delatite – Benalla and Mansfield), the Premiers made their announcement without consulting either Council or their local communities.
With a colourful range of buildings and similarly colourful lifestyle, these very aspects of Manly life are being explored in an exhibition at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum, titled Condemned and Preserved. Condemned and Conserved explores the lost and preserved built heritage of Manly. Once the famous Sydney ferries made Manly accessible, mansions, hotels, guest houses, holiday homes and flats proliferated.
Tracklaying work on the northern leg of the Adelaide to Darwin rail line officially began on 8 April 2002 in the Northern Territory town of Katherine. Construction of the 1,420 kilometre long railway line commenced in April 2001 and is set to be completed by early 2004.
Adelaide City Council has developed a free online business portal to businesses within the Adelaide and North Adelaide areas.Adelaidebiz.com.au is a new initiative by Council to encourage business and the community to make greater use of the Internet.
Clustering concepts are gradually becoming appreciated in Australia. It’s sometimes misinterpreted as trying to recreate Silicon Valley – but it’s essentially a powerful engagement process that draws on the collaborative instincts of people. The focal point is usually a development agenda that builds on the competitive advantages held by a locality and/or industry.
Imagine a day and place without negativity, self depreciation, or undermining anyone’s self esteem. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? Well the City of Geraldton in Western Australia, became exactly that place, when it declared itself a ‘No put down’ zone on 15 February 2002.
Rockhampton, the service and beef capital of Central Queensland, has another feather to add to its cap. The City is believed to be home to two of the oldest operational reservoirs of their kind in Queensland.
With community consultation and a planning team comprising telecommunications companies, an independent town planning consultant, as well as various design, technical and health advisers, the City of Melville has developed a Telecommunications Network Strategy.
In excess of 15,000 people attended the free MildurAIR’02 airshow on Saturday, 27 April 2002. This was Mildura Rural City Council’s third airshow. Mildura’s unique tri state location drew crowds from south western New South Wales such as Broken Hill, the Riverland and towns throughout Victoria’s north west.
To find out the needs and wants of its youth and the best ways to meet them, Queensland’s Emerald Shire Council has assembled two youth Councils for 2002. The Emerald Youth Councils comprise a Junior Youth Council and a Senior Youth Council. There are around 13 members in each, representing different schools and a variety of social groups throughout the area. Their ages range from 11 to 25 years old.
In June 1992 George Brown was elected Lord Mayor of the City of Darwin. Using the slogan – ‘Go Green with Brown’ – later he admitted that he had harboured the desire to be Lord Mayor for 15 years, and that ambition had become stronger in the last decade. So started one of the most colourful political careers in Territory political history.
Councils across Queensland are preparing to join in the celebrations of Local Government Week 2002 to be held from 13 to 19 May. Coordinated by the Local Government Association of Queensland, the Week has proved its worth in helping Councils raise awareness of their role in the community.
The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) has made a submission supporting the call for increased public investment in community infrastructure.This submission was in response to an invitation to comment on a discussion paper prepared by the Institution of Engineers Australia (IEAust) titled ‘Public Investment in Infrastructure: Justified and Effective’.
The Federal Government has taken a leading role in the issue of rising cost of public liability insurance even though many of the forms of relief being publicly canvassed, such as the capping of claims, fall within the jurisdiction of the States and Territories.The Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer, Senator the Hon Helen Coonan, hosted a meeting of State and Territory Ministers and the Australian Local Government Association on 27 March this year.
All levels of government have a role to play in preserving our environment. Local Government is showing a strong commitment to working with the Commonwealth to contribute to the national effort to protect Australia’s precious natural resources. Commonwealth programmes encourage Local Government to work in partnerships with communities to undertake environmental projects. An update on a range of these environmental initiatives involving Local Government follows.
Bill Boehm is last year’s recipient of the Department of Transport and Regional Services Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) scholarship. Bill is the Administrator of the Roxby Downs Council and writes of his experiences of the course.
Pine Rivers Shire Council’s 2000-2001 annual report has been judged the best in the Queensland Public Sector for the second year in succession. The back to back win was announced recently by the Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Terry Mackenroth.
By using existing software and the knowledge and expertise of dedicated staff, Wollondilly Shire Council has developed an innovative solution to electronic document management that complies with the new Records Act.
At a recent municipal conference in Geraldton, the Western Australian Minister for Local Government and Regional Development, Tom Stephens, urged Councils to improve their complaint handling processes. The Minister’s call follows a statement by the State Ombudsman of the need for a lift in performance by Councils when dealing with the sensitive and sometimes difficult complaint handling process.
Councillors and executive managers at Hurstville City Council are now able to identify quickly the organisation’s success in meeting its corporate objectives across a range of activities. This has been facilitated by the provision of regular and timely graphical indicators. These provide up to date information within two working days of the end of the calendar month and are simultaneously placed on the Council’s web site.
A system developed by the Building, Electrical and Plumbing Control (BEPCON) section of the Australian Capital Territory Government, has developed an online service for both internal and external customers. The system is part of the ACT Government’s plans to move both internal and external communications to electronic form.
Maroochy Shire Council has launched its first reports focusing on Triple Bottom Line reporting to measure Council’s contribution to future sustainability. Report cards on social and environmental aspects of Council’s business will now accompany the current financial report cards, producing SEE (Social, Environmental and Economic) reports to Council.
A group of New South Wales Councils is moving to secure the long term future of Local Government by pushing ahead with plans to establish a specialised Local Government Graduate Recruitment and Development Program. The program, which was launched in March 2002, aims to get university graduates, and other graduates with up to five years experience, interested in the diverse careers available in Local Government.
Overseas, and now in Australia, security of confidential data is being legislated as a legal responsibility of all organisations including Local Governments and soon may become a personal liability of officers and directors.
Compliance programs are becoming increasingly important in Australia. They can ensure that management and staff are aware of the organisation’s obligations under legislation towards clients and other organisations.
In November last year, the Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) South Australia Division presented the Graeme Dimond Memorial Award to Burnside Library Manager, Margaret Moxon. The award includes a $2,500 scholarship for professional development.
New Career Connections (NCC), www.careerconnections.com.au, a not for profit New Apprenticeships recruitment website spearheaded by RMIT University and Australian Local Government Training (ALGT), is set to change the way job vacancies are advertised in the Local Government sector, and potentially other sectors nationwide.
The Tasmanian Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) conducted two workshops on 24 and 26 April 2002, to assist elected members in handling conflict. The workshop covered a variety of conflict handling issues, including conflict perception; emotion and conflict; negotiation as a conflict resolution strategy; styles of conflict; managing conflict within the Council; and assertiveness strategies.
Senior management in Local Government today must come to grips with a new regime of performance scrutiny. Logan City Council in Queensland has responded to this by developing, inhouse, an Executive Performance Management Scheme (EPMS). The basis of the EPMS is performance competency, and applies to the chief executive officer, directors and all managers at Council.
As expectations on Local Governments increase, management of the risks involved in providing public services becomes a major priority. In its drive to provide better and safer service to the community, the City of Salisbury has developed a risk management model that is applicable across the many diverse functions of the organisation.
LexisNexis Butterworths, in conjunction with Sydney firm Gadens Accounting, are releasing a new online manual specifically dealing with GST for Local Government. This will be the first comprehensive work of this kind for Local Governments.
Welcome to this edition of the National Perspective. I took much pleasure in launching the 2002 National Awards for Local Government at the Local Government Managers National Congress and Expo in Sydney on 13 May 2002. This year’s projects promise to showcase the creativity, resourcefulness and leadership exhibited across Local Government today. I encourage all Councils to share their experiences by entering the Awards.
Since 1986 the Federal Government, through the National Office of Local Government has been recognising, rewarding and promoting the innovative and leading practices of Local Government. The National Awards for Local Government have highlighted the excellent work being done by Local Government in communities around Australia to improve business practice and service delivery in their communities.
Tackling the fuel price differential between city and country has become an important priority for Federal Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Wilson Tuckey. Minister Tuckey is promoting measures to achieve greater transparency in petrol pricing.
The Minister, Mr Tuckey, tabled in Federal Parliament in March the 2000-01 report on the operation of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995. Transparency, accountability and equity are key principles underpinning the distribution of the more than $1.3 billion in untied grants under the Act to Councils around Australia.
The Commonwealth Regional Information Service (CRIS) is the central contact point in the Commonwealth Government for people living in non-metropolitan Australia. The aim of the freecall phone service is to provide a free and easy way in which to determine who is the right contact in the Commonwealth Government for you and to assist in discovering programmes and services that may be available.
Roads, Council activities, telecommunications, business, the arts and the environment, the Federal Government provides support to these aspects of community life and a range of others.The latest edition of Commonwealth Assistance for Local Projects, printed earlier this year, is now available to those wanting programme information at hand while they are helping to maintain and improve their communities.
It is well recognised that Local Government is a large industry that requires a wide range of skills from its many employees. This requirement for skills is constantly expanding as Councils undertake a greater range of activities and face increasing pressure to meet community expectations in the delivery of services. From the employee perspective, it is important that acquired skills and qualifications be formally recognised and that they be transportable within and beyond the Local Government sector.
The Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS) is a major sponsor of the ABC Heywire award scheme for regional and rural young people. Heywire is an ABC initiative which invites regional and rural youth (16-22 years) to submit a three-minute radio story about their experiences in, and views on, regional Australia.
In its aim to provide high quality childcare, Fairfield City Council in Sydney, recently commenced an accreditation process for its Family Day Care Scheme. Launched by Fairfield Mayor, Councillor Anwar Khoshaba, and the Member for Prospect, Janice Crosio, the accreditation will ensure children receive high quality care that promotes learning and development, as well as a structure for defining quality childcare practices and standards in day care settings.