Marking its 50th anniversary as a national organisation, Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) staged its 2003 National Congress and Expo in Adelaide from 25–28 May. As Adelaide was the venue for its inaugural conference in 1953, this was a fitting return to South Australia.
Charles Sturt takes out Management Challenge Annika Sorenstam may have missed the cut at the Colonial but the first all female team to enter the LGMA Management Challenge is the Australasian winner for 2003.
Last year, as Local Governments and community groups were being forced to cancel a variety of events due to escalating insurance premiums, or not being able to gain public liability cover at all, Federal, State and Local Government came together to find solutions. Local Government presented a strong case for urgent action with Councils facing three options – increasing rates, introducing user pays charges or curtailing other activities to afford rising premiums. Similarly, local not for profit community and sporting organisations were also grappling with the problem of increased premiums.
In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Brad Matherson, President of the Municipal Association of Victoria.
‘Skate’ – a great success for rural township Balranald Shire Council recently hosted ‘Skate’, a play presented by the Australian Theatre for Young People through South West Arts.
Tourist map revamp for Geraldton and surrounds The design of Geraldton’s main tourist map has been radically revamped and updated to highlight the area’s best tourist attractions. The new tourist map and visitors’ guide is an initiative of the Geraldton Visitor Centre in association with the City of Geraldton, which contributed $5,000 towards production costs. The project also has the support of the Shire of Greenough.
Canberra at odds with OECD on regional development The Good Oil by Rod Brown * The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the leading think tank on public policy, spends a huge amount of time analysing the economic and social policies of its member governments.
In recent years, the OECD has been highlighting the need for national governments to shift away from ‘top down’ sectoral instruments towards more ‘bottom up’ local development strategies. This is because regions and localities have become the focal point for competitiveness and growth. But the message has not filtered into the Treasury corridors in Canberra. Regions have disappeared off the radar here and the May Budget is proof of that.
Discount passes boost business Residents in Victoria’s City of Wyndham are making the most of a variety of special offers and benefits at a number of tourism hotspots – free of charge! Under the Ambassador Passport program, Wyndham residents over the age of 18 can collect a free passport that entitles the bearer to benefits at a number of Wyndham attractions, such as ‘buy one get one free’ entry to the Werribee Mansion and complimentary wine tasting at the Shadowfax Winery.
IPWEA/RTA Local Government Road Safety Strategy The IPWEA/RTA Local Government Road Safety Strategy works to raise the priority of road safety in Local Government. This is achieved through support for council road safety strategic planning, the administration of funding for local road safety initiatives, and through the presentation of annual Local Government Excellence in Road Safety Awards to recognise outstanding council achievements. The IPWEA/RTA Strategy is one element of the NSW Local Government Road Safety Program conducted as part of Road Safety 2010, a framework for increasing road safety in NSW over the next decade.
A regular feature this month profiling two Councillors from Queensland
Queensland Councils celebrate Local Government Week Queensland Local Government Week was officially launched on 2 June at Kings Beach Park, Caloundra by the Minister for Local Government and Planning, Nita Cunningham. From 2 to 8 June, more than 80 Queensland Councils took the opportunity to demonstrate and display the services and facilities they provide to their local communities in a bid to create a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of Local Government.
Australian Safer Communities Awards 2003 Awards to highlight Local Government efforts in overcoming emergencies Innovative Local Governments across Australia are expected to once again perform strongly in the 2003 Australian Safer Communities Awards. The Awards are organised by Emergency Management Australia in partnership with State and Territory emergency management agencies. They recognise best practice and innovation by organisations and individuals that helps to build safer communities.
Cost effective communication a winner for Kempsey Kempsey Shire Council’s award winning, cost effective ideas on communication were selected to be featured at the national Local Government Public Relations and Communication Conference held in Wollongong in February this year. General Manager, Allan Burgess, said that the response from other Councils to the session had been extremely positive.
Liquor accord targets pub owners in Parramatta Parramatta’s hoteliers and restaurateurs are being asked to help control alcohol related crime. Parramatta City Council has invited licensees to join the Parramatta Liquor Accord, a set of principles governing alcohol use in and around licensed venues.
Awards for business community partnerships Every Local Government ideally wants to represent a strong and vibrant community, where business and community organisations not only thrive but work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. In 1999 the Prime Minister, John Howard, brought together a group of prominent leaders from the business and community sectors to form The Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership. The purpose of this Partnership is to encourage and assist community business collaboration and along with it, corporate social responsibility.
By his own admission, AlburyCity General Manager, Mark Henderson, works with a talented and dedicated team of over 400 staff. He has always worked in Local Government, where belief in the power to change things for the better is a key motivator.
A one day tour in any direction of Albury offers the choice of adventure, wilderness, history, gourmet food and wine, music and cultural festivals. But you don’t have to travel outside the City. Albury boasts many worthy and popular attractions including the Botanic Gardens, War Memorial, Albury Regional Art Gallery and Museum and stunning Wonga Wetlands.
Cultural timing: creating a new City Precinct Over 10 years, AlburyCity will invest more than $30 million to realise its dream of a Cultural Precinct, bringing life, colour, movement and energy into the heart of the City. The precinct will comprise visual arts, performing arts, theatres, convention facilities, museum and library facilities, public open space, outdoor entertainment venues and a Conservatorium of Music.
Striking a balance between lifestyle and environment Its been 30 years since Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, alerted the world to the effects of urbanisation of our lands. Today, conservation of land resources is a crucial factor in delivering a balanced lifestyle for communities. Fundamental to the success of local Councils is their role as interface and facilitator of community’s involvement in planning our cities to achieve this balance.
Jenny Hanuska is AlburyCity’s Community Safety Officer. Her role includes liaising with the NSW Police and community to identify and introduce a range of actions around the issue of safety in the community. The Community Safety Project identifies a range of methods to reduce the incidence of crime in the City of Albury.
Building better business connections in Albury AlburyCity has made an innovative decision to place its Economic Development function within its Planning and Approvals Department. What that means for the person who comes to AlburyCity with a business proposal or plan is this. They get to talk to an Economic Development Officer who works through every stage of their plan with them and determines what exactly they require to make their idea a reality.
Two years ago on Christmas morning, Warwick Ashby, the Manager of ABS Australia, an animal breeding company based in Albury answered a knock at his door to find the Vice Mayor and a delegation of five visitors from Nanping, a city situated in the province of Sichuan, Northern China.
Private investment into the Albury region has been recorded at $250 million per annum since 1992. Projections for 2003-2004 estimate investment at a massive $400 million. There has not been an accurate measure of public investment, but the national highway project alone will invest $335 million into the local economy.
Perhaps AlburyCity’s dedication to preserving and enhancing the natural environment is most notably successful in its regard for its water uses, the river and its natural surrounds. Among the key initiatives outlined in AlburyCity’s Lifestyle on the Murray vision document, the Murray Recreation Trail will link to other trails that offer their own unique source of interest and attraction in the wetland environs.
All present for a real learning experience As the adage goes: ‘If you think education is expensive – try ignorance’. Having already reaped significant reward from its educational and consultative outlook, AlburyCity is further developing Wonga Wetlands as a major multi-level educational resource.
If the City of Albury were a person, its heart would be a garden. Albury’s public gardens are not the hip, ‘up and running in a month’ gardens evidenced in BackYard Blitz. The gardens are a cool place to be in warm weather, and year round, they encourage reflection on history, heritage and the reassuring cycle of nature.
Will environmental health get to the ball? The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley * Local Government in England was established after Dr Snow made the connection between the polluted water from the Broad Street Pump in London and ill health. Thus was born the Sanitary Inspector, which evolved into the Public Health Inspector and then into the Environmental Health Officer. Despite its importance to the public’s health and the evolution of the role to embrace many of the aspects of the environment and modern lifestyles, Environmental Health has remained largely a Cinderella profession in England.
South Perth shells out to save turtles The City of South Perth has undertaken a project to create safe nesting sites for Oblong Turtles. Every Spring, female turtles journey out of McDougall Lake in the suburb of Manning and move into surrounding suburbs to find suitable nesting sites. Several busy roads surround the lake and its parkland, so the turtles are in danger of being injured or killed by traffic as the make their journey.
Green light for Councils buying green A resolution passed by delegates at the first National Buying Green 2003 Conference and Expo has set future directions for environmental purchasing in Australia. The conference was hosted by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) on 1 and 2 May at Melbourne Park.
Moree Plains Shire Council – rural responsibility Recognised as the richest agricultural region in Australia and with a population of over 17,800, Moree claims for itself the title of the North West New South Wales regional centre. While it maintains a strong focus on growing its agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors, the Moree Plains Shire Council is equally focused on the environment – with Green Power being high on the agenda.
Spotless scrubs up as No. 1 for Bayside Last December, Melbourne’s Bayside Council announced that Spotless Services Australia Limited was the successful tenderer for its Street Cleaning Contract which began on 1 March. Listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, and as one of Australia’s largest service providers employing over 30,000 people, Spotless now looks after Council’s road sweeping, and inspecting and cleaning drainage pits and litter traps.
About two thirds of the Esperance waste stream ( 7000 tonnes a year) will be diverted from landfill to a new recycling plant at Wylie Bay. Recycling began last November and the volume of recycled materials has already exceeded Council’s expectations, with more than 200,000 kg collected in the first six months.
Clarence sets recycling record for Tasmania Residents of the City of Clarence in Tasmania are among the country’s best recyclers. The increased enthusiasm for rubbish is a result of Council’s revised Waste Management Strategy. The strategy, based on a waste management hierarchy of ‘avoidance, re-use, recycle and dispose’ has led to a recycling participation rate of nearly 90 per cent.
Biodiversity Toolbox being road tested By Paul Bateson * A ‘scatter-gun’ approach was the way one Council representative described the approach to biodiversity conservation in his Local Government area. The speaker was one of about 20 participants at the Biodiversity Toolbox Regional Workshop held in the Shoalhaven City Library on 4 June 2003.
New ViroSewageTM technology: saving money and the environment Australians produce around five billion litres of sewage a day. Apart from environmental issues, expenditure for water authorities and Councils operating sewage treatment plants continues to rise. This is particularly the case for chemicals used, as well as for haulage of sludge to offsite sludge management facilities. New Green Technology provides major savings in sludge management.
Salisbury turning stormwater into wetlands In the late sixties, the City of Salisbury decided to use excess stormwater as the basis for a wetlands area. The City is now recognised as a world leader in the field of wetlands technology, with around 36 wetlands covering 250 hectares and costing more than $16 million.
Council helping to save endangered flying foxes Banyule City Council has successfully attracted some of Melbourne’s grey headed flying fox population to a new roost site on the Yarra River. Council and the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Zoos Victoria, Parks Victoria and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne have helped to conserve the nationally threatened species by attracting members of the Botanic Gardens colony to Horseshoe Bend in the leafy inner eastern suburb of Ivanhoe.
River project cleans up at Tassie awards The restoration of a polluted river on Tasmania’s west coast has won three awards at the Tasmanian Awards for Environmental Excellence. The project, a partnership between West Coast Council, the Pasminco Rosebery Mine and the local Rosebery community, won the prestigious Environment Minister’s Award for the most outstanding submission.
Innovative sustainability package now available for Australian Councils Experienced Local Government sustainability adviser, Omega Environmental Pty Limited, has developed an innovative package to help Councils of any size implement a strategic environmental management system (EMS) or sustainability management system (SMS).
Celebrating World Environment Day in Port Hedland On World Environment Day, the Town of Port Hedland joined forces with BHP Billiton and the Water Corporation, to present a number of informative and fun activities to mark the event.
Pollutant trap keeps waterway clean A gross pollutant trap (GPT) installed in a stormwater drain near Mullum Mullum Creek late last year has been doing a great job in removing refuse from the waterway, judging by what was found when it was cleaned out recently.
Rockhampton helps save wombat species from extinction Rockhampton City Council is supporting an assisted breeding program at Rockhampton Zoo to save the Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat from extinction. The research project is a partnership between Rockhampton City Council, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Central Queensland University and Central Queensland Fertility Clinic.
ICLEI can help your Council to become an environmental leader The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is an international democratic association of Local Governments implementing sustainable development. ICLEI’s mission is to build and serve a worldwide movement of Local Governments to achieve tangible improvements in global environmental and sustainable development conditions, through the cumulative impact of local action.
Residents join in greening Brisbane Each year, Brisbane City Council gives away 80,000 free native plants on designated Green Days, held in local parks across the City.Green Days are part of Council’s Greening Brisbane Naturally program, aimed at providing practical help and information to people starting to develop their gardens.
AlburyCity’s Mayor Patricia Gould is delighted that the internationally acclaimed, locally developed Flying Fruit Fly Circus will feature as a headline act as part of the New South Wales Local Government Conference , to be held in Albury in November.