March 2003 Edition

  • LGPro Awards
    for Excellence
    The LGPro Awards for Excellence were presented at a gala dinner at Melbourne Park Function Centre on 20 February. The winners are listed below.
  • State and Local
    Governments must work together
    State and Local Governments must work together to make local communities more resilient, confident and engaged, Victorian Local Government Minister, Candy Broad, says. Speaking at the LGPro Conference, Minister Broad said the Bracks Government would deliver better services and help build stronger communities during its second term in office, with new administrative arrangements being introduced to strengthen the partnership between State and Local Governments.
  • Cost shifting
    – where it is hurting the most
    Located 360 kilometres north west of Kalgoorlie, the Shire of Laverton, population 2,000, spends one fifth of its total rate revenue on incentive payments to keep a doctor in the town and enough nursing staff for its hospital to maintain its current accreditation status. Council also provides a house and four wheel drive vehicle for the doctor. The City of Newcastle has also told the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration, currently inquiring into Local Government and Cost Shifting, that it is spending $2 million per annum on some 19 new responsibilities.
  • Local Government’s inaugural
    Buying Green Conference
    Green purchasing is an issue of growing concern for Local Government. It is important that Councils wanting to meet this new challenge are provided with resources, information and tools to assist them in developing green purchasing programs. The Buying Green 2003 Conference and Expo – Purchasing for a Sustainable Future is the first national event that seeks to promote the purchase of recycled and environmentally friendly products.
  • Editorial

    At a time when global issues and insecurities are casting a long shadow of uncertainty, the need for communities around the world to be networking, exchanging ideas and supporting each other is absolutely paramount. More than ever, the rapidly growing division between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ is driving deep wedges both between nations and within nations. This is providing the ingredients necessary for splinter groups and extremists to gain the support and resources they need to carry out terrorist acts. These actions are wreaking havoc on countless innocent people and leaving few communities untouched by the shadow of fear. To build a better, fairer, more sustainable future, drawing together key stakeholders across communities, nations, within regions and globally is vital. The important role that Local Government can play in this process has never been more evident.
  • President’s comment

    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Max Amber, President of the Local Government Association of South Australia.

    Collaboration by SA Councils has reached new levels, with the joint tendering of about $15 million worth of electricity requirements in a bulk process. Substantial savings have justified the work involved and while the Association has played a key role, I must acknowledge the support of the SA Government. The decision will ensure that increases in electricity prices in SA do not bite ratepayers twice – once through their own bill and again through their rates.
  • Direct funding
    – implications and pitfalls
    Proposals for extending direct funding to Local Governments from the Commonwealth Government, thereby bypassing State Governments, have been floated recently from Commonwealth quarters. Such funding could lead to future cost shifting and could worsen the current vertical fiscal imbalance in Australia.
  • Hastings harvest calendar
    pick of the crop
    Hastings believes it is the first Council in Australia to release a Harvest Calendar, which establishes a direct link between fruit and vegetable retailers, shoppers and farmers. The calendar identifies the extensive range of fruit, vegetables and other produce grown in the region surrounding Port Macquarie on the mid north coast of New South Wales.
  • The ‘Can’t Miss’
    A more interactive format, three two hour workshops on major issues and a program developed out of sector input, will make the 2003 LGMA National Congress its best event so far. LGMA takes seriously the important role that its annual congress plays in the Local Government sector. More than 30 sessions conducted over three days ensure that there is plenty of take home value for Local Government officers and elected representatives.
  • Hawkesbury’s historic
    hospital restored
    The former Hawkesbury Hospital building in Windsor will be the central feature of a major redevelopment, which will include a Home and Community Care Services Centre, private offices and a purpose built library and art gallery.
  • Losing your marbles?

    The Good Oil by Rod Brown *
    In 1989, the City of Littleton, Colorado USA (population 45,000) pioneered an entrepreneurial alternative to attracting industries. Called the New Economy Program, it is implemented by Littleton Business Development Group, under the wing of the local Council, and has some absolutely fascinating dimensions. The story is as follows.
  • Library customer service
    scores perfect score
    Geraldton Regional Library scored a perfect 100 per cent last week when a ‘mystery shopper’ called to make enquiries to test the level of customer service given by Council departments. The visit was part of Customer Service Week celebrations, an initiative of the Business Enterprise Centre aimed at improving the way in which businesses serve shoppers throughout the City.
  • Envir-O-Agg™
    makes the grade
    Blue Circle Ash has renamed its graded ash products. Now known as Envir-O-Agg™, these product are available in four product families, Envir-O-Agg™ Select, Envir-O-Agg™ Blend, Envir-O-Agg™ Sands and Envir-O-Agg™ All Purpose. Envir-O-Agg™ is the coarse by-product of coal fired furnaces. Blue Circle Ash collects and classifies Envir-O-Agg™ products from a number of power stations in NSW, but primarily from Eraring and Vales Point Power Stations.
  • Shifting sands
    in Alice Springs
    Alice Springs Town Council will shift more than 20,000 cubic metres of sand and couch grass in a $400,000 project to rechannel the Todd River. Mayor Fran Kilgariff said the dry river bed would be moved between Walker Street and Heavitree Gap – one of the river’s most problematic areas.
  • Councillor profile

    A regular feature this month profiling two Councillors from Tasmania
  • Tumut Shire
    – a country growth centre
    Tumut Shire is a region where business and work opportunities are set amid a picturesque, pristine rural backdrop of mountains and highlands. A short drive off the Hume Highway, Tumut is well located as a regional service centre and as the gateway to both the Riverina and the Snowy Mountains.
  • Lead on:
    fly high and proud
    Victoria’s Local Government Professionals Inc. staged its annual conference in Melbourne on 20 and 21 February. Former SOCOG Chief Executive Officer, Sandy Hollway, delivered the keynote address on the conference theme, ‘Leadership Through Innovation’.

Feature: Information Technology and Telecommunications

  • Melbourne 2010

    How will it look?
    As a capital city council, the City of Melbourne has a wide and varied agenda to ensure Melbourne upholds its status as one of the world’s most liveable cities. In its visionary strategic document, City Plan 2010, Council outlines the path it will follow to make Melbourne a thriving and sustainable city. The City of Melbourne’s vision is for a vibrant and thriving city – one that is internationally recognised for its economic prosperity, social equity and environmental quality.
  • Eyes on the triple
    bottom line
    The City of Melbourne has adopted triple bottom line reporting to guide all its decision making and ensure Melbourne is a thriving and sustainable city. Triple bottom line accountability means Council not only takes into account the economic factors of its endeavours but takes responsibility for social and environmental improvements.
  • AAA financial performance

    The City of Melbourne has maintained its debt free status for the fifth year and again achieved a AAA credit rating. International rating agency Standard and Poor’s has reaffirmed Council’s AAA long term currency rating, its AA+ long term foreign currency rating and its A-1+ local and foreign currency short term ratings, which are all underpinned by Council’s strong balance sheet.
  • An innovative and vital
    business city
    Melbourne’s success as a global city rests on its reputation for innovation – being smart, creative and progressive. From promoting Melbourne as a gateway to biotechnology in Australia and the Asia Pacific to supporting innovative small business ventures, Council has attracted and facilitated business growth to ensure the city is vibrant and prosperous.
  • A connected and
    accessible city
    Melbourne – the world city – is spreading its reach far and wide, creating not only local, regional and national ties but global networks to achieve its vision of being a connected and accessible city.
  • That’s me
    , That’s Me!bourne
    In May 2002, the City of Melbourne launched a new branding strategy centred on a dynamic and contemporary word logo designed to lift the city’s profile locally, nationally and globally. The Me!bourne brand (‘that’s me, that’s Me!bourne) aims to create a consistent signature for Melbourne and promote the city as a destination locally, nationally and internationally.
  • A city that’s
    inclusive and engaging
    In just five years, the City of Melbourne’s population has grown from less than 40,000 to more than 52,000. In the year to 30 June 2001, the city’s population grew by 10 per cent, the fastest growth of any Local Government area in Australia. Visitors are increasingly praising the city’s ambience and atmosphere, surveys show.
  • A Frontyard
    for our youth
    The City of Melbourne is committed to creating a city community where young people participate, contribute and enjoy life in a safe and welcoming environment. Its Frontyard service is a key component of Council’s efforts to look after its young people. A one stop shop for youth, Frontyard offers a range of support services for young people who live in and around the city, and have been identified as homeless or experiencing a range of social, physical and emotional problems.
  • Global rating
    as a safe city
    In 2000, Melbourne was the first capital city in Australia and only the third worldwide to be recognised by the World Health Organisation as a Safe Community. Council works with all community groups and has established strong partnerships with a number of key organisations including Victoria Police, the Victorian Government, Ministerial Crime Prevention Council, residents’ groups and business interests to develop a wide range of initiatives that continue to promote the safety of our city.
  • Green for our future

    The City of Melbourne is committed to being an environmentally responsible city and upholding its position as a leader in sustainability. The primary focus of Council’s environmental planning is its Sustainable Energy and Greenhouse Strategy, which outlines how it will achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets over the next 10 years.
  • The Melbourne Principles

    To reinforce its leadership role in sustainable development and its commitment to the continued development of Melbourne as a sustainable and healthy urban environment, the City of Melbourne has drawn up a set of tenets entitled Melbourne Principles. The principles, a guide to long term thinking on the sustainable development of cities, were tabled at the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in August 2002.
  • Cutting greenhouse gases

    The City of Melbourne has adopted the Zero Net Emissions Strategy, which aims to eradicate net greenhouse gas emissions across the municipality by 2020.By 2010, Council is committed to a 30 per cent reduction in the 1996 levels of greenhouse gases emitted from its operations. By 30 June 2002, Council was on track to achieving a 25 per cent reduction.
  • Logan City Council
    turns to Clearswift to improve productivity of email and internet use
    The growth of the internet in the late 1990s made Logan City Council realise it needed protection against viruses and unsolicited emails entering and circulating around the IT network. In 1997, Council decided to purchase CS MAILsweeper and CS WEBsweeper, part of Clearswift’s MIMEsweeper suite of solutions. According to Michael Fanning, Logan City Council’s Systems Specialist, no other competitive products were considered at the time of purchase, as not many others offered this type of email filtering software.
  • IP telephony
    at Melville
    A series of issues arising simultaneously led to Western Australia’s City of Melville taking the plunge with new technology. This has resulted in new services and cost savings, as well as happy residents and ratepayers. Staff in Library Services were fed up with having to apologise to their customers for poor internet access on the publicly available computers. Melville has five libraries with over 100 public access PCs previously linked by multiple 64k modem ISDN lines to Council’s internet provider.
  • Hurstville to install
    Hurstville City Council is the first Council in a major city to sign a contract to install ‘CivicView’, a wholly Australian product from Pacific Software in Brisbane. CivicView was specifically written for Local Government and uses state of the art integrated database and interface technology to manage the Council’s applications, regulations, assets and finance systems.
  • Working towards a
    national network
    The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), working with State Local Government Associations, is developing a national approach to online service delivery.
  • High tech at Canada Bay’s
    Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway Board
    Chairman of the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway Board, Rusty Priest AM, has acknowledged the support of Canada Bay Council, the NSW Government and a number of RSL sub-branches for sponsoring the installation of a Digital CCTV security system by Chubb Security on the Memorial Walkway. Primarily to protect the commemorative station displays along the walkway from vandals, this system provides a number of additional benefits.
  • Technology to the people

    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley *
    May in England not only heralds the start of better weather and anticipation of the Rugby World Cup, but also voting in Council elections. As with the World Cup, the elections bring their own mix of optimism and apprehension. This year, however, they bring even more. May will see the most extensive test of e-voting yet in England with 18 Councils taking part in electoral pilots.
  • Award for interactive
    emergency plan
    Monash City Council recently won the Australian Safer Community Award – Victorian Local Government category, for its interactive Emergency Management Plan CD. Councils are required by law to distribute emergency management plans to key staff and local agencies. However, these large ring bound documents are often left buried beneath other papers until an emergency actually takes place.
  • New system streamlines
    Council strategic planning
    Specialist Local Government consulting firm, iPlatinum Pty Ltd, has introduced a software solution to streamline and automate strategic planning for Local Government. Known as OutcomeManager, this solution allows the customised development and implementation of plans, projects and programs aligned to strategic organisational goals and operational service level agreements.
  • Camden gains full
    protection after hacker attack
    Camden Council, in south west Sydney, had considered implementing full border protection on its network but felt the danger of attack was such a low risk that other system needs took priority. All that changed when Council fell prey to hacker attack.
  • Council meetings
    live on the web
    Twelve months ago, in an Australian first, the City of Botany Bay began to broadcast Council meetings and committee meetings live on the web via Webcast. Since the City of Botany Bay’s initiative, other Local Governments in Australia have followed suit.
  • Internet mapping service
    wins global award
    Caloundra City Council’s free internet mapping service recently won a Special Achievement in GIS Award at the 22nd International ESRI Annual User Conference in San Diego, USA. The MAPROOM site was chosen from over 100,000 web sites worldwide. Caloundra believes it is the first Council in Australia to offer a free internet mapping service to internal and external clients.
  • ISYS empowers
    information access *
    Finding ways to organise and utilise the copious information that Local Government generates every day is a significant challenge. Odyssey Development, an Australian software company that specialises in knowledge management and information sharing, meets this challenge with the ISYS range of powerful search tools.
  • Dandenong goes online
    with safety information
    Residents of the City of Greater Dandenong in Melbourne’s south east can now access safety information via the Council’s web site.
  • Mornington Penninsula
    makes customer service a key priority
    Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula Shire has made customer service its number one priority by opting to implement an innovative new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. Covering some 720 square kilometres, Mornington Peninsula Shire has a population of more than 120,000 people
  • Web site register
    promotes growth in Launceston
    Launceston City Council has introduced a Development Opportunities Register on its web site to guide the future development of the municipality. The register, launched last year after an 18 month pilot project, is made up of selected commercial sites that have either a strategic location or potential for redevelopment.
  • Councils Online

    Five New South Wales Councils are investing more than $100 million to improve services to ratepayers using leading edge computer technology. The syndicate of five Councils – known as Councils Online – has selected Lake Macquarie City Council as the launch site of the new technology. The new software will replace an ageing system and ensure the Councils keep pace with customer, business, and government technological demands.
  • Strategy creates
    a smart community in Crows Nest
    Technology moves quickly and to make sure residents keep pace, a Smart Community Strategy has been developed by Crows Nest Shire Council, which is 170 kilometres west of Brisbane.
  • New site aids
    communication for key stakeholders in South Sydney *
    As the Commonwealth embraces ‘E-government’ strategies and implementation, understanding the role of digital communications and the integration of new technologies has become a necessity for all Government organisations wanting to improve service delivery and stakeholder communication. One of the major challenges faced by Government is to ensure all internal and external communications are delivered in a timely and synchronised manner and that communication channels are open.
  • Wanneroo and Joondalup
    provide free web sites for community groups
    Community groups in Wanneroo and Joondalup can now have their own free, fully self maintainable web site. The web site offer is part of the 2Cities Internet Gateway project, designed to provide a point of entry to all local businesses, community groups and community services within the Perth based Cities of Wanneroo and Joondalup.
  • Intelligent cities

    The smart future for Councils
    Having taken out the Information Technology category in the National Awards for Local Government for three years in a row, Victoria’s City of Whittlesea won a Special Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 2002 Awards. As a leader in this field, Whittlesea stages its National Technology Innovation Conference each February.
  • Councils extend eCommerce
    capabilities with AXS-One
    A number of local Councils have taken advantage of the latest technology through new functionality within AXS-One’s Enterprise financial solution, extending their existing business and financial applications with collaborative commerce and business performance monitoring. The enhanced AXS-One Enterprise financial applications allow Councils to quickly leverage new technologies, such as web services, XML, and more, to effectively address changing Local Government needs and resident demands.