May 2003 Edition

  • National Local Government
    Environmental Flows Conference
    The Murray Darling Association is well aware of the Environmental Flows problem and its potential impact on Local Government and their communities in and beyond the Murray-Darling Basin.
  • Improving workplace culture:
    getting results
    The 15th Women, Management and Employment Relations Conference on equal employment and workplace culture will be held in Sydney on 24–25 July 2003. This high profile conference provides an annual audit of the key issues confronting women in the workplace.
  • Adelaide’s planning issues
    go online
    Adelaide City Council is placing all Category Three development applications on its web site at so people can lodge comments and objections via the internet. Category Three applications generally don’t comply with the Adelaide City Development Plan. They include buildings that exceed maximum height or plot ratios, new land uses that are opposed by residents, the demolition of State or local heritage sites, and most developments in the City’s parklands.
  • Northam transforms old
    housing estate
    An old public housing estate will be transformed into a new development called Mitchell on Avon, forming a gateway to the township of Northam in Western Australia. Town of Northam Council’s urban renewal project will see 33 homes in the old Westrail Housing Estate repainted, landscaped and given new driveways, roads, kerbing and street trees.
  • Migration – continuing to assist
    the development of regional Australia
    Australia is a dynamic and diverse society. Almost a quarter of Australia’s 19.7 million people were born overseas. Together, we make up a successful, cohesive multicultural society: a society that has benefited from an active post-war migration program that is designed to meet Australia’s economic, social, environmental and humanitarian interests. The latest research shows that there are many benefits to Australia from its highly skilled and targeted migration program.
  • Wyalkatchem is Australia’s
    Tidiest Town
    Presented in Sydney on 5 April 2003, in addition to taking out Australia’s Tidiest Town Award, Western Australia’s town of Wyalkatchem was presented with the Outdoor Advertising Association of Australia Community Pride Award.  
  • Leading sustainable communities

    IULA–ASPAC inaugural congress in Sydney
    The inaugural International Union of local Authorities Asia Pacific (IULA–ASPAC) Regional Congress was staged in Sydney from 9-11 April. In welcoming some 200 delegates representing 10 nations, Councillor Peter Woods, President IULA-ASPAC, said that in spite of the difficulties with the war in Iraq and medical situation, people from across the region had persevered, demonstrating the substance of IULA–ASPAC.
  • Editorial

    The second Local Government Roundtable was held in Melbourne on 29 April. An initiative of the Federal Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Wilson Tuckey, the roundtable occurs at least once a year. It involves the Minister and representatives from the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), State and Territory LGAs and the ACT Government. At the roundtable, Wilson Tuckey acknowledged ALGA’s Cost Shifting Inquiry recommendations, which call for an Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) to address the problem of cost shifting which is impacting on Local Governments and their communities across Australia.
  • President’s comment

    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Clive Robartson, President of the Western Australian Local Government Association.
  • Record number of women mayors

    Victoria has its highest number of women mayors on record, following the 2003 Mayoral elections. All Victorian Councils elected new mayors after the 54 Local Government elections in March.
  • Tower brings technology
    to Flowerdale
    Flowerdale residents are turning on their mobile phones and televisions for the first time, thanks to a joint effort by Murrindindi Shire Council, Telstra and residents to have a transmission tower installed in the King Parrot Valley. Although Flowerdale is only about 70 kilometres north east of the Melbourne GPO, it is nestled in a valley surrounded by forested hills and does not receive free to air television.
  • New web site on how
    SA Councils work
    The South Australian Government has launched a web site to help communities understand how their Councils work. The site, called ‘How Councils Work: A Guide to the Rules’, encourages informed participation in Local Government by community groups. Topics include the roles and responsibilities of Local Government, accountability, the rating system, and a ‘how to’ guide for questioning Council decisions.
  • Online homework help for
    local students in Fairfield City
    The Whitlam Library in Cabramatta, south western Sydney, has introduced Australia’s first online homework help service. The service, called Live Homework Help, was launched by former Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, and Fairfield City Council in April. It allows students from years 4 to 12 to receive online science and maths tutoring between 4 and 7pm Monday to Thursday.
  • People skills, pizazz and passion

    The Good Oil by Rod Brown *
    The Kalgoorlie folk have the opportunity to build on their towering economic strength in minerals by the establishment of a Mining Centre of Excellence. It would bring together industry, government agencies, higher education and research bodies, such as the School of Mines and the Centre for the Management of Arid Environments, at Curtin University’s Kalgoorlie Campus. This initiative was brought to my attention by Ray Ciantar, a regional development practitioner living and working in the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
  • Review of Tasmanian
    Local Government Act
    A review of the 1993 Tasmanian Local Government Act is expected to be completed this year. Regional workshops have been held in Launceston, Burnie and Hobart to encourage public discussion of the review. Public submissions on the first phase of the review closed on April 4.
  • NSW Association seeks
    Government talks on amalgamation
    The Local Government Association of NSW has asked Premier Bob Carr and new Local Government Minister, Tony Kelly, to discuss the issue of Council amalgamations.
  • Kalgoorlie-Boulder gearing
    up for 2003 Road Congress
    The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder will be hosting two important road conferences at the end of June this year. It is expecting to attract delegates from throughout Australia to discuss issues relating to road and transport funding, including Auslink and related management practices.
  • Geraldton, Greenough and Aboriginal
    communities a step closer to MoU
    Agreement on the rights and obligations of Indigenous communities and Local Governments in Greenough and Geraldton has taken a leap forward with the release of a draft memorandum of understanding. The document was open for public comment until 6 May.
  • Councillor profile

    A regular feature this month profiling two Councillors from South Australia
  • Mount Magnet – a tourist magnet

    With a rich mining history and rugged natural landscape, Mount Magnet offers visitors an outback experience to remember. Located 500 kms north west of Perth, its unique flora and fauna, semi-arid landscapes, stunning sunsets and sunrises and crystal clear skies perfect for stargazers, all build the appeal of this outback setting.
  • Regional development practitioners
    can deliver
    By Devon Gilmour *

    In response to The Good Oil column by Rod Brown in the March issue of Local Government Focus, there are a few points I wish to make with regard to regional development, in particular his assertion that ‘regional development practitioners cannot fully deliver’. I support education and training for economic development professionals, but the lack of focused training in Australia highlights how new our regional and economic development industry is.
  • Chinchilla Melon Festival

    another great success
    Four tonne of melons and seven days of events are the culmination of a very successful Chinchilla Melon Festival. A biennial event, the Festival is a great economic boon to the small country township of 3,500 in Queensland’s south east corner, an easy three hours north west of Brisbane, along the Warrego Highway, between Dalby and Miles.
  • East Timor President
    welcomes LG support
    The President of East Timor, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, has described the Victorian Local Governance Association’s (VLGA) East Timor Friendship Program as ‘magnificent’. Delivering the keynote address at the Association’s ‘Working Together for East Timor’ Conference and Expo on 5 April, President Gusmão said the program provided a ‘sound and healthy basis’ for the future relationship between East Timor and Australia.

Feature: Administration & Management Systems

  • The Hydrogen economy
    Challenges and strategies for Australia including the tidal energy link

    As part of its $1 million commitment to exploring the long term benefits of hydrogen, the Commonwealth Government will host an international conference on hydrogen later this month. The conference The Hydrogen Economy: Challenges and Strategies for Australia, including the tidal energy link, will be held in Broome, Western Australia, from Sunday 18 to Wednesday 21 May 2003.

    -Congress focuses on local roads
    Are you interested in the plans to manage and maintain Australia’s 640,000 km local roads network? The fourth annual National Local Roads Congress hosted by the Australian Local Government Association will be held from 29 June to 1 July 2003, at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

  • Beacon Foundation lights the way for young people

    A highly successful Tasmanian based foundation aimed at creating youth employment has spread to the mainland. The Beacon Foundation was founded in the late 1980s as a charitable trust by concerned people seeking ways to address youth unemployment by working with communities, chiefly through Local Government, educators, employers, young people and parents.
  • Rapid Asset Much more than a web based asset management system

    Melbourne based Rapid Map Global is recognised as a world leader in providing spatial technologies, information and mobile data capture, and management solutions for infrastructure, emergency, environmental and asset management systems.
  • Apprentices learn new skills
    and revive old heritage
    Caboolture Shire Council has developed an apprenticeship training program to give young people trade qualifications that can lead to jobs in the commercial world. Council already had the enviable record of all apprentices from the past 20 years finding permanent employment immediately. The apprenticeship training program was developed to make the Shire’s apprentices more valuable employees to Council and any future employer.
  • Know yourself

    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley *
    Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA), a central government system of evaluating the performance of Councils, has been carried out for all 150 Unitary and County Councils in England. District Councils are just about to commence their CPA.
  • Knox City Council
    creates new culture of respect
    City of Knox employees are creating a culture of trust, respect and honesty in their organisation by demonstrating a set of desired values in their day to day work. The outer Melbourne Council’s ‘Living Our Values and Behaviours’ program is aimed at instilling teamwork, innovation, integrity, an enjoyment of work, and service excellence in all staff.
  • Mornington Peninsula shifts
    its emphasis to sustainability
    Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s Peninsula Way – Sustainable Peninsula project has changed its organisational structure from a top down management system to a networked, sustainability based approach. A new organisational model was developed for the Shire that reflects Council’s move towards sustainability. A cultural shift was needed within the organisation to move from self interest to mutual interest and from conflict to cooperation.
  • IT2003

    Plans are now underway for the sixth Local Government Information Technology Conference – IT 2003. The Conference, which is being organised by Coffs Harbour City Council, will be held from 19–21 November 2003, at Novotel Opal Cove Resort in beautiful Coffs Harbour.
  • LG phone company gives
    back to community
    Community owned Southern Phone Company has pledged to strengthen and support the region by returning profits to the community. Southern Phone is owned by 38 New South Wales Councils and has been funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Networking the Nation Program to lower the cost of telecommunications. Dividends declared by the company are returned to the community through the Council shareholders.
  • Hi-tech mobile service
    for Wollondilly residents
    Wollondilly Shire Council is taking its information services to the community as a means of reducing isolation felt by residents. The Council has equipped a large truck and trailer with state of the art information and communication facilities, replacing the old mobile library service.
  • Council owned company
    makes profit for community
    A private civic maintenance company started three years ago by Bankstown City Council is returning profits to the Bankstown community. A restructure of the western Sydney Council in 2000 created a surplus of labour and equipment in the road construction and maintenance unit of Council’s Civic Services Group. To find productive work for affected staff, Council started a company called Civic Maintenance Contractors (CMC), which has become a unit within the Civic Services Group.
  • Bayswater staff share vision

    Implementing the five corporate values of customer service, safety, money management, organisational wellbeing and continuous improvement has created many positive changes at the City of Bayswater in Western Australia.
  • AXS-One strengthens position
    in Local Government market
    14th Council signs for AXS-One Financial and e-Business Solutions

    The City of Ballarat recently signed an agreement to implement AXS-One’s total financial and e-business system. The solution which replaces their Oracle financials comprises the full AXS-One Financial Suite, AXS-One Enterprise, as well as business process automation solutions in the areas of expense and budget cycle management. e-Business components include procurement, partner and vendor management.
  • Training program keeps Council staff

    Regional employers often face difficulties keeping highly qualified staff, but a new learning partnership between Kempsey Shire Council and the North Coast Institute of TAFE is providing a practical staff incentive. The partnership, believed to be the first of its kind in NSW, reflects Council’s commitment to providing development and training opportunities for its staff.
  • Message from the Minister

    I am pleased to be invited to introduce this edition of the National Perspective and to take the opportunity to share with you the various initiatives undertaken since February.