In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Sara Murray, President of the Local Government Association of New South Wales.
Geraldton adds another title to its list Geraldton is known as Sun City, the regional centre for the mid west, and the gateway to the Batavia coast. Now the port city has added another title to its list, being recently named Western Australia’s Tidiest Town with a population greater than 6,500.
Clean Up Australia Day kicks off in Victoria The launch of the Clean Up Australia Day campaign in Victoria was kick started on 30 January at Melbourne’s recently opened Federation Square. Clean Up Australia Day Chairman, Ian Kiernan; one of the Australian music industry’s guru, Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum; and City of Melbourne Lord Mayor, John So, who hitched a ride from Melbourne’s Town Hall to Federation Square in a new look CityWide garbage truck, officially opened the campaign.
Getting to know your neighbours reduces potential disputes A new program developed by Rockhampton City Council in Queensland aims to reduce the chance of neighbourhood disputes occurring. The Rockhampton Neighbourhood Program, due to begin in the next couple of months, has been designed to encourage neighbours to get to know one another, thus decreasing the likelihood of neighbourhood disputes.
The Good Oil by Rod Brown * We live in Kambah, on the south west edge of Canberra, overlooking the Brindabella Ranges. The Murrumbidgee River is three kilometres down the road and the Mount Stromlo Observatory used to be just over the first range. The 18 January bushfire jumped the Murrumbidgee. The locomotive roar was frightening, as were the sparks and burning leaves cascading around us. The fire was within 100 metres of our house as we evacuated with the family photos and the labrador. As we found out later, the green fairways of the adjoining golf course saved our house – but the flames had hurtled onwards to the suburbs of Chapman, Duffy and Holder where there was no buffer.
After four and a half years as Chief Executive Officer, Neil Armstrong will resign at the end of February from Local Government Professionals Inc. Victoria (LGPro). Spanning a period of 25 years, Neil Armstrong has been involved in both the public and private sectors. He has served as both a Councillor and Officer in Local Government.
Community strategy to get people walking Many of the residents of Victoria’s inner urban city of Port Phillip will soon be walking as an alternative mode of transport, once Council’s new walking strategy has been formulated and implemented.
New theatre complex provides a boost to local economy The recently opened $7 million theatre and cultural centre in Narrabri, New South Wales, aims to inject some fuel into the local economy. Narrabri Shire is located in north west New South Wales, and covers an area of 13,000 square kilometres. It comprises three towns and seven villages and has a total population of approximately 14,500 people.
Katherine – Local Government in the Outback The town of Katherine is situated 312 kilometres south of Darwin. It is a regional centre to a population of 9,000 people in the municipality and another 10,000 people in an area of 336,674 square kilometres, approximately the size of Victoria. Katherine is located on the banks of the beautiful Katherine River, which breached its banks on Australia Day, 1998.
IPWEA NSW Division Annual Conference 1-3 June 2003, Novotel Hotel, Homebush Bay running in conjunction with CivEnEx In past decades Local Government was often said to be focused on the ‘Three Rs’ of Roads, Rates and Rubbish. In the early years of the 21st century we see a far more sophisticated and diverse industry, particularly in the provision of public works and services, with our attention now devoted to a new trilogy of Rs.
Australia’s premiere event for the Public Works and Construction Industries returns to Sydney Showground Homebush Bay on 4 and 5 June 2003!
Community input to park upgrade in South Perth Following a review of the proposed upgrade at the December Council Meeting, the City of South Perth resolved to continue implementing its Windsor Park Mends Street Master Plan. Implementation will include ongoing community consultation in relation to the detailed design of the public art, the amphitheatre and the improvements in Mends Street.
Whitehorse shows its commitment to saving water With water restrictions currently in place in Victoria due to the current drought conditions, the installation of a new rainwater tank by Whitehorse Council is helping save water.
Albury’s youth committee receives major award Infusion, the City of Albury’s Youth Action Committee, has received a 2003 Indent Partnership Grant valued at $6,000. This recognises their hard work and assists them in continuing to stage safe, drug and alcohol free youth events in Albury.Five of the Albury Youth Action Committee members were presented with the award for the Indent Committee of the Year in November last year at the Sydney Opera House.
New approach for youth services With the amalgamation of three Councils in 1997, the new City of Onkaparinga decided to define its role in relation to youth issues and to provide a guide for Council’s work in the area of youth development. The research culminated in the establishment of the Onkaparinga Youth Development Model in 1999.
New mobile skate ramp for Corangamite Victoria’s Corangamite Shire’s new mobile skate ramp has arrived and will be in use at its first location in Lismore. After six weeks it will be moved to another Corangamite Shire town to enable another group of young people to enjoy the facility.
Feature: Human Resource Management/OH&S
Local Government responds to AusLink Local Governments across Australia have stressed the need to improve the national transport network in their responses to the Federal Government’s AusLink discussion paper The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, released the discussion paper in November last year. It proposes major changes to the planning and funding of Australia’s land transport system.
Investment and trade in regions: seminar series A new seminar series will assist businesses to become investment ready and identify and access investment opportunities. Investment experts will work with local finance professionals and businesses to increase their understanding of how to put together an investment proposal and help them to match up with potential investors.
GWSspatial Innovative use of spatial information for better planning and policy development A key aim of the recently completed Greater Western Sydney Spatial Project (GWSspatial) was to develop seamless technical and management protocols between key Councils, state agencies and statutory authorities to enable regional planning cooperation and development. The GWSspatial project was undertaken by the Hawkesbury City Council and the University of Western Sydney, with funding of $100,000 from the Commonwealth Government’s Local Government Incentive Programme (LGIP).
Regional aviation a Commonwealth priority The Australian regional aviation sector has been adjusting to difficult market conditions for a long time and right now is facing new and complex challenges as a result of security concerns and rapidly changing market conditions.
New Regional Women’s Advisory Council Healthy and safe communities; economic growth and life education and training in regional Australia are key focuses for the two-year term of the new Regional Women’s Advisory Council. The council provides advice on issues affecting regional Australia to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson.
Ongoing help for victims of the Bali bombings Last year’s bomb attack in Bali took a terrible toll on all Australians.The victims of those attacks—their families, friends, colleagues and team mates—came from many different Local Government areas around the country. As a central point for all communities, local councils can help people affected by the Bali disaster by providing them with up-to-date information on what assistance is available.
Commonwealth financial assistance for families You may find that families ask you or your staff about financial assistance for families from time to time. The Commonwealth Government offers a range of financial assistance to families, including the Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Maternity Allowance and Maternity Immunisation Allowance. These payments are administered through the Family Assistance Office.
New agreements ease funding access New Standardised Funding Agreements being introduced by a number of Commonwealth Government departments are aimed at streamlining access and management of funding grants to communities.
Training the key ingredient for capacity building The success of every organisation relies on its people, organisational culture, skills and knowledge, and technology. Training is an essential ingredient in ensuring this is achieved, and minimises the risk associated with organisational operations.iNFRATRAIN delivers nationally accredited qualifications and fee for service courses to Local Government and private enterprise.
The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley * The recruitment of staff has become a major issue in the English public sector. Central Government is investing record amounts of money in the National Health Service, in education, in the police and in Local Government. This investment, however, is being inhibited by the inability of public sector organisations to recruit suitably qualified and experienced staff in some areas of the country.
Graduate employment program in NSW A pilot group of Sydney Councils has partnered with national consultancy, Chandler Macleod, to create the Local Government Graduate Development Program (LGGDP).
Community participation made easy in Mackay Developed as an organisational tool for Queensland’s Mackay City Council, the Community Participation Resource Kit is assisting Council staff to simplify the process of community participation. The Kit contains a Code of Ethics, theoretical information on community consultation along with practical examples of various participation plans, information on how to plan public meetings, and an evaluation process.
Customer service charters bring positive results By providing high quality customer service yields, the Shire of Busselton is experiencing positive results for both Council and the community. The Shire of Busselton in Western Australia has a population of about 20,500, and is believed to be the fastest growing municipality in the State. Council’s management of customer service needed to accommodate its growing population.
Streamlining Occupational Health and Safety management Using Council’s Local Area Network (LAN) and email system, staff at the City of Norwood Payneham and St Peters in South Australia have developed a system that is facilitating occupational health and safety management. After finding Council’s former Hazard Reporting System to be inefficient in regards to dealing with the volume of data being produced, Council embarked on a change, utilising the existing LAN and email system to produce a system.
An Insight into quality learning Insight International Consultancy is a leader in the design, development and delivery of learning and training programs.
Blue Mountains staff development leads to productivity improvements Blue Mountains City Council is undertaking a professional development program that is skilling up its employees, and at the same time assisting Council to achieve greater productivity improvements. Twenty three employees from Council’s City Services Group, Civil Operations Branch, were given the opportunity to develop themselves personally and professionally by undertaking a Civil Construction Certificate IV course.
Cutting the cost of injury management for Councils Health Services Australia (HSA) is to launch a new injury management program in 2003, focused on providing a holistic approach to injury management to better meet individual client needs.
Resource sharing leads to award winning EO and Diversity Management Plan Despite the tyranny of distance, Human Resource Managers from four participating Pilbara Councils have come together to develop an effective Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management Plan.
Community Forums a two way learning exercise An innovative way to encourage greater public participation in Council meetings and decision making is delivering a range of benefits for Jerramungup Shire Council. The successful Community Forums are providing a two way information exchange. They have proved to be a good way for the community to get to know Councillors and senior staff, and vice versa; Council personnel are gaining a greater insight into community concerns.
Formula One motor racing is based on teams and shared rewards, where continuous learning and skill development are a team’s greatest assets. These are also some of the principles behind Caboolture Shire Council’s Formula One project. Formula One was introduced by Council in May 1999 to improve the way work is undertaken, help achieve a culture of excellence and ultimately solve problems across the entire organisation.
Fairfield takes on the difficult issues After a self assessment of their organisation, senior management from Fairfield City Council discovered that they wanted to do more than they were already doing. This resulted in a cultural and behavioural change leading to a high performance workplace.
Risk management strategy reaps rewards Wellington Shire Council in Victoria has implemented a strategy that ensures risk management is entrenched in the organisation’s every facet.
Everything you want to know about the workplace from the one place ... Australian WorkPlace The Australian WorkPlace (WorkPlace) web site is an entry point to every aspect of employment information. The site assists all Australians by providing information on careers, training, employment, government assistance, labour markets, working conditions and volunteering. The site is broken down into topics that will take you straight to the information you need.
By Richard Perrin * Local Government organisations are faced with a multitude of pressing community demands. Critical to our endeavours is the ability to identify and retain great people. Sometimes, identifying our best people is difficult, and the process may lack transparency.
Risk minimisation the Cardinia way Cardinia Shire Council, determined to improve its risk management profile, has embarked on a highly successful risk management program.‘The Cardinia Way’, Cardinia Shire Council’s approach to organisational improvement and cultural change underpins the approach to risk management.
Employment program enhances workforce and assists reconciliation The successful development of Victoria’s Latrobe City Council’s Indigenous Employment Program is enhancing and increasing Council’s Indigenous employment. Under the program, Council aims to move to two per cent Indigenous employment of municipal staff over a three year term.
The vision of Workplace 2003 is to facilitate learning, inspiration, and solutions that create a positive and successful work environment. This conference is designed to assist this process and equip delegates with the necessary tools to face ongoing changes in the workplace environment. The Conference will highlight employers’ duty of care to employees, with particular emphasis on employers’ obligations under the recently revised Occupational Health and Safety legislation.
Local Government Training Package Review of Phase 2 commences * Australian Local Government Training (ALGT) has commenced a new and significant project to enhance the Local Government Training Package, geared to delivering improved and nationally recognised training for Councils across Australia.
I am very pleased to be contributing to National Perspective and Local Government Focus again for 2003. With a raft of issues important to Local Government and the communities for which they work on the agenda this year, our work will be cut out for us. From what I have seen of many Councils over the last year — in terms of professionalism, improved business management, and innovation and resourcefulness — I am confident much will be achieved at the local level.
Start the year with St John first aid advice It’s a great thing to be able to help someone in need. Accidents can happen at any time and it’s important to know what to do to help save a life. Here is some advice and some procedures for management of bleeding, a common first aid incident, provided by St John – Australia’s leader in first aid.
Integrated Business System working well at Whyalla In November last year, Whyalla Council won the South Australian Local Government Association’s Regional Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Best Practice Award for implementation of their Integrated Business System.