July 2002 Edition

  • 2001 Census data now available from ABS

    The 14th national Census of Population and Housing was conducted on 7 August 2001 and received strong support from Local Governments throughout Australia. The information collected has now been processed and validated and the first detailed information is ready for use by government, business and the community.Census data is of great importance to Local Government, not only because it is used to assist in the distribution of federal and state funding but also because it is one of the few ABS collections that provides detailed demographic information at a small area level (Collection Districts). This information provides much needed detail for the planning and administration of Council areas.
  • Linking native title and Council processes
    Launch of new kit for Local Government

    It is 10 years since the High Court’s historic Mabo decision that changed the Australian land law. A kit has recently been launched to assist local Councils with understanding their responsibilities in relation to areas where native title exists or may exist. The kit was developed by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) with assistance from the National Native Title Tribunal, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and the Legal Assistance Branch of the Federal Attorney-General’s Department.
  • $1 million funding boost for safer community program

    The WA Local Government Association has welcomed the $1 million funding allocation to the SAFER WA community security program. Announced recently by the State Minister for Local Government and Regional Development, Tom Stephens, the funds will allow Local Governments to put programs in place to deal with situational crime, and provide a range of positive intervention programs to prevent crime.
  • Editorial

    Australia’s standing on the international stage has largely been held in high regard. But this is now being seriously challenged on two main fronts. The first, and one which is long overdue, is our failure to address the gap between the living standards of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non indigenous Australians, alongside a poor record in reconciliation. The second is the damage being done to our reputation through our treatment of asylum seekers.
  • President’s comment

    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Mayor Lynn Mason, President of the Local Government Association of Tasmania.
  • South Australian Councils launch IT Group

    In 2001 South Australian Local Government IT professionals established the South Australian Local Government Information Technology Group (LGIT). LGIT is a user group which regularly shares a broad range of IT issues facing Local Government. It aims to unite people who have a professional interest in IT matters including computer hardware (server, desktop, mobile, peripheral equipment), computer software, networking, online services and e-Business.
  • Kingborough Ocean Esplanade project is taking shape

    With stage one of the foreshore reconstruction of Ocean Esplanade at Blackmans Bay completed, Tasmania’s Kingborough Council has commenced the design for stages two and three.The aim of the project is to reduce vehicle speeds making the Ocean Esplanade a more pedestrian friendly area and safer for young children. Improving parking capacity and landscape enhancements works will also occur.
  • Unique partnership benefits young people in Bankstown

    Bankstown City Council and the Department of Education and Training have formed a unique partnership to discover and support talented young performers from both private and public schools in the Bankstown school district.
  • Showcasing Charters Towers

    As part of the Queensland Heritage Trails Network (QHTN), Charters Towers has developed a fascinating and exciting project that depicts the region’s past and present life.
  • Tuckey swinging a feather duster? - The Good Oil by Rod Brown *

    The Hon. Wilson Tuckey, Commonwealth Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, was in full flight recently in Boulia (western Queensland) when stirring up interest in the upcoming inquiry into Local Government and Cost Shifting, by the Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration. “We’ve not only got cost shifting at the moment, we’ve also got blame shifting. It’s always somebody else’s fault. Well I want to make it your fault. I want you to have the responsibility and be answerable and not wanting to blame anyone else … if you feel that your political commitment to a particular State Government or the Premiers is such that you’re prepared to let them screw you, well be my guest ... we’ve got to take these issues on. I want to do it, I can assure you that I’m quite happy to use the iron bar on some occasions,” he stormed.Now Wilson is not your standard politician, and he has a reputation of being outcomes focused and ‘straight up’. While this enquiry could be the breakthrough that Local Government has been looking for, it could equally be a disappointment.
  • Navigating a Secure Course
    5th Annual IT Conference in Coffs Harbour

    Coffs Harbour City Council is hosting the 5th Local Government IT Conference and Trade Exhibit on 20 – 22 November 2002 at Novotel Opal Cove Resort.
  • Brighton begins negotiations with TEST Energy

    Brighton Council has commenced contract negotiations with TEST Energy for the disposal of municipal solid waste at the Tasmanian company’s $100 million Brighton Waste to Energy (WTE) facility.
  • Asking first protects indigenous heritage

    A new book developed by the Australian Heritage Commission (AHC) has called for developers to ‘ask first’ when making planning and development decisions.The book, ‘Ask First: A Guide to Respecting Indigenous Heritage Places and Values’, was launched recently.
  • Councillor profiles

    A regular feature, this edition profiling two elected members from New South Wales
  • Recognising Council high achievers

    At the recent Local Government Managers Australia National Congress in Sydney, FOCUS invited delegates to nominate individuals and teams from their Council who are excelling in their field and promoting the organisation’s corporate goals. In this edition we begin to showcase the winners of the competition.
  • Tasmanian printer services clients nationwide

    What does someone from business or government really need when requiring printing? According to Aden Carter, National Sales Manager for the Harris Print Group, it’s all about solutions.
  • Aramac Shire kicks off the Harry Redford Cattle Drive

    In this the Year of the Outback, what better way to celebrate than to have a historical cattle drive full of fun and adventure! The Harry Redford Cattle Drive left from Aramac Shire in Queensland on Sunday 19 May.
  • A cultural feast for the opening of Burwood’s new centre

    Burwood Council Mayor John Faker was joined by NSW Premier Bob Carr in the opening of the new Burwood Cultural and Community Centre. Over 200 representatives from State and Local Governments, social, cultural, economic and educational groups attended the evening described by Mayor Faker as a ‘celebration of culture’.
  • Protecting heritage streetscapes

    A comprehensive policy on heritage bluestone and brick kerbs, channels and laneways has been developed by Whitehorse City Council to protect one of the many features that make Whitehorse unique. Located in Melbourne’s east, Whitehorse has more than 70 roads with bluestone kerbs and channels. The development of the policy recognises their significance to the history of the City of Whitehorse and their streetscape.
  • Mediation: If conflict is inevitable ... *

    Like any organisation, Councils have plenty of potential for conflict. In fact, the complexity of Local Government operations and decision making arguably ‘builds in’ factors which ramp up this potential.

Feature: Financial Planning & Asset Management

  • Community ownership of public open space

    Council has formed a unique partnership with the residents of Alice Springs in answer to increased community concern being voiced over a perceived lack of amenity as well as ongoing vandalism problems in the towns public open space.
  • Building on the skills of outdoor staff

    Working with Centralian College, Council has developed a training and assessment curriculum based on the new nationally recognised competencies for Local Government operational works. This training program is recognised under the Local Government Training Package.
  • Meeting the needs of Indigenous library users

    Council’s Library is running a pilot program called Indigenous Access. This project aims to meet the specific needs of Indigenous patrons and increase their understanding of the library’s services.
  • Desert rose provides the inspiration for innovative shade shelters

    Plenty of sun and blue skies are the norm in Alice Springs, but the people of this arid zone region, like in any other, need protection from harmful rays of the sun. Council has developed a shade and sun protection policy that has identified protection for playgrounds and leisure areas as a priority.
  • Green waste venture delivers new jobs

    A modern style of recycling has been developed as part of a Memorandum of Understanding entered into last year by Tangentyere Council and Alice Springs Town Council.
  • Youth take the lead

    An innovative partnership between Alice Springs Town Council, the Northern Territory Government and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) has resulted in a new skate park for Alice Springs. Each organisation provided $65,000 for the facility that was officially opened on 1 July.
  • Celebrating the Year of the Outback

    Although Alice Springs maybe your destination for the National General assembly in November, you might consider a visit to Alice in August for the centrepiece event of the Year of the Outback – particularly if you represent a desert region.
  • Council signs deal for commercialisation of financial management software product

    In July, Hurstville City Council signed a contract to commercialise its Certificate of Cash and Investments (CC&I). The contract was signed by Hurstville Mayor, Councillor Vince Badalati and Sirius International Manager, Michael Tunks, to launch the product on the market.
  • Radar system aids pavement assessment

    The Victorian Shire of Campaspe, in conjunction with Australia Road Research Board, has utilised Ground Penetrating Radar to determine the depths of its gravel road pavements.
  • MicrOpay and Coffs Harbour team up to achieve payroll objectives *

    MicrOpay, one of the leading payroll software providers in Australia, believes it has the perfect solution for providing vital information to Local Government to address payroll and job costing needs. MicrOpay has over 15 years experience providing payroll and people management software solutions to Australian organisations. Recently it implemented the fully integrated Ingenuity solution for Coffs Harbour City Council (CHCC) with great success.
  • Mainpac expands to help address new trends in asset management *

    Senior management in Local Government is today under increasing pressure to meet not only functional outcomes but to comply with occupational health and safety, legislative and environmental issues. This must be achieved in a commercially viable manner, with no surprises to executive managers, so as to satisfy all stakeholders – State and Federal Governments and their agencies, as well as ratepayers and customers.
  • WA road management software a winner

    The ROMAN software package was originally developed in a mainframe environment, and was the result of the collaborative efforts of a number of Local Government engineers from eastern Perth metropolitan Councils and the then Main Roads Department (now MRWA). Over time it has evolved from the centralised mainframe to being a localised PC based program, running since 1998 in a Windows operating environment.
  • Building a sound financial future

    Understanding the longer term implications of a Council’s financial decisions and strategies has always been a complicated matter not easily explained to Councillors and the community. Kentish Council, in Tasmania’s north west, through its Consulting Accountant, John Brown, engaged KPMG (Tasmania) to assist with a review of its existing financial strategies and to develop the case for long term financial sustainability.
  • The protection of significant trees

    To provide greater protection and assist the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters in South Australia with the assessment of the removal and pruning of significant trees, Council has established a Significant Tree Register and Plan Amendment Report.
  • Eliminating manual handling in road maintenance

    An innovative mechanical spreading method for road maintenance and rehabilitation developed by Towong Shire Council in Victoria has eliminated the need for heavy lifting of binder materials. This has created a more cost effective method for carrying out similar small road maintenance.
  • Financial modelling – moving to the next level

    Gold Coast City Council has put in place a new financial modelling system which it believes sets a new standard for Local Government financial management in Australia. The system produces a range of management reports, including a detailed or summary forecast Operating Statement, Appropriation Statement and Balance Sheet, a schedule of projected discretionary funds available for future capital works or other new initiatives, and a register of prioritised capital works and new initiatives.
  • Integrated approach protects heritage assets

    South Australia’s City of Holdfast Bay has taken an integrated approach to establishing a number of strategies designed to assist with the appropriate management and protection of the area’s heritage assets. Its Heritage Initiatives Program has been in operation for approximately four years.
  • Brimbank City Council controls budget cycle

    Brimbank is the fourth fastest growing municipality in metropolitan Melbourne. This growth brings a need to streamline existing business practices and the immediate challenge was to re engineer a manually intensive budgeting process. Brimbank City Council has selected AXS-One’s BCM (Budget Cycle Management) to automate its budgeting process.
  • Granito Tactiles – paving the streets of Australia

    Like any organisation, Councils have plenty of potential for conflict. In fact, the complexity of Local Government operations and decision making arguably ‘builds in’ factors which ramp up this potential.
  • Cost effectiveness in bridge building at Kilkivan

    An upgrade of three timber bridges to a precast concrete modular bridge system has seen Queensland’s Kilkivan Shire Council reap exceptional rewards from its results.
  • Non-feasance: A solution in WA

    A workshop to be held in Western Australia in August 2002 will highlight the AUS-SPEC #4 Road Reserve Maintenance System as a defence to fill the void left by the loss of highway immunity.The system provides the framework for clearly defined quality based intervention levels, area inspections, response times and appropriate recording mechanisms to minimise risks and put an emphasis on proactive maintenance.
  • Staff design overcomes inefficiencies

    With 11 pump stations requiring regular and ongoing maintenance, the Plumbing Unit at George Town Council in Tasmania, developed a trailable pump lift that has overcome problems previously experienced. Council had found that its previous method for maintenance of its 11 pump stations, with each pump weighing 1,200 kilograms, had been inefficient, utilised too much plant and labour, and was potentially unsafe.
  • Managing community facilities and the GST

    The introduction of the GST under the New Tax System led to Gosford City Council and many of its local voluntary organisations to rethink the relationship they had had up until that time.
  • How Blacktown tackled the GST and the GST

    With the introduction of the GST on 1 July 2000, the task faced by Local Councils, like all other Australian businesses, was to put in place systems and procedures that would accommodate the transition to the New Taxation System. Blacktown City Council developed a GST system within its existing financial management information system that features a real time online Business Activity Statement (BAS) containing every detail of their GST transactions.
  • Australia’s Red Centre
    You’ll never never know if you never never go

    Alice Springs with its perfect sunny days and famous blue skies is the ideal base to spend some time when in the Centre. Alice Springs has easy access to a vast, mysterious land that holds a special place in the history and culture of our country. This region holds not only one of the most culturally significant icons of Aboriginal and Australian culture, Uluru (Ayers Rock); it holds onto the true Outback spirit.
  • Alice Springs Town Council welcomes delegates to the 2002 National General Assembly

    As part of the Year of the Outback (YOTO) celebrations, the National General Assembly of Local Government will be staged in Alice Springs from 3 to 6 November.
  • State of the art venue for shaping the future of Local Government

    As part of the celebrations of the Year of the Outback, this year’s National General Assembly of Local Government will take place in Alice Springs. The Assembly venue is the recently completed Alice Springs Convention Centre. Officially opened on 25 May, the Convention Centre creatively combines high technology with innovative architecture.
  • Tourism Futures

    Building on its established position as a tourist mecca, Alice Springs Town Council is working on a joint project with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems and the Northern Territory Tourism Commission. Titled ‘Central Australia Tourism Futures’, the project involves tourist operators and the local community working together to create a vision of how people would like to see regional tourism develop over the next five to ten year period.