Campaign for renewing Roads to Recovery up and running 4th National Local Roads Congress in Kalgoorlie Speaking at the opening of the 2003 National Local Roads Congress, President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Councillor Mike Montgomery, said that, in the lead up to the next Federal Election, it was vital to secure a commitment from major political parties to renew the $1.2 billion Roads to Recovery Program beyond its current expiry date on June 2005. During the two day Congress, some 420 Councillors, Local Government officers and roads experts had the opportunity to hear from a range of speakers, and discuss and debate key issues impacting on Councils as they carry out the task of maintaining 680,000 kilometres or 85 per cent of our national road network.
In fielding questions from delegates at the recent National Local Roads Congress, Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson, said that, in managing our extensive roads network it is vital to get things right in regard to asset management. He said this will generate savings because if further investment in our roads is delayed too long, then ultimately, the taxpayer will face an even larger bill. Asset management and lifecycle costs are not a new concept to Australian Local Government engineers. They are fully aware that short term bandaid approaches may help to balance the current or next year’s budget, or perhaps enable a new facility to be built. However, delaying necessary maintenance or an upgrade of existing infrastructure has the potential to deliver a much more expensive outcome, possibly the early, full replacement of a particular asset.
In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Lynn Mason, President of the Local Government Association of Tasmania.
Pittwater and Tenterfield win major LG awards Pittwater and Tenterfield Councils are the winners of New South Wales’ most prestigious Council honour, the AR Bluett Memorial Award. Their award plaques will be presented at Blacktown on 28 July as part of Local Government Week 2003 celebrations. The AR Bluett Award has been in continuous operation since 1945 and each year recognises two Councils that have achieved the greatest relative progress in the State. One award is made available for members of the Local Government Association of NSW (LGA) and the other for members of the Shires Association of NSW.
Benalla Art Gallery unveils bushfire commission painting Recently, the Victorian Arts Minister, Mary Delahunty, unveiled Benalla Art Gallery’s latest acquisition. Titled ‘The Arc – aftermath of bushfires, north east of Victoria’ by artist Rick Amor, the painting was commissioned by the Gallery with funding from the LH Ledger trust and the Friends of the Benalla Art Gallery Inc.
Darling Downs Councils to celebrate historic explorer Five Councils in Queensland’s Western Downs region are organising a Ludwig Leichhardt Expedition to mark the 160th anniversary of the explorer’s historic Queensland trek. The Ludwig Leichhardt Expedition Exposition will be hosted by Dalby Town and Wambo, Chinchilla, Murilla and Taroom Shire Councils from 21 to 26 September 2004.
The Good Oil by Rod Brown * I knew zilch about Montana, so I asked some guys at my local golf club – but all this ageing pool of knowledge could offer was grizzly bears, the Rockies and the Horse Whisperer movie. A week later I was in Billings, the State’s biggest city (population 120,000), addressing the Montana Economic Development Summit about the issues facing regional Australia and the cluster agendas taking shape here through Clusters Asia Pacific (CAP). This suited me fine because of CAP’s interest in linking clusters between Australia and the US, Canada, Europe or wherever.
The coastline near Owen Anchorage, only 4.5 kilometres south of Fremantle, is the site of the proposed Port Coogee development. The 115 hectare site includes 58 hectares of disused industrial land and 15 hectares of shallow coastal waters. Port Coogee is proposed to be developed as a joint venture between the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) and private construction company Port Catherine Developments.
Break O’Day wins major Tas award Break O’Day Council’s marine waste pump out facility in Georges Bay has taken out the Gold Award at Tasmania’s Local Government Awards for Excellence. With winners announced on 5 June at Tasmania’s Local Government Annual Conference, Break O’Day’s entry also won the Environmental Innovation category. It was a timely announcement as this was also World Environment Day.
Tasmanian Local Government has its sights set on 2020 With its conference titled ‘Future Shock – Tasmania Towards 2020’, keynote speaker at Tasmania’s 91st Local Government Annual Conference, Dr Natalie Jackson, left delegates in no doubt that all regions need to be planning and preparing themselves for the shock waves of a ‘demographic roller coaster’. A lecturer in Social Demography at the University of Tasmania, she said to some extent the future has already happened, the ageing of our population began many years ago.
At the 2003 Local Government Managers Australia National Congress in Adelaide, FOCUS invited delegates to nominate an individual and team from their Council who are excelling in their field and promoting the organisation’s corporate goals. In this edition we showcase the first two of our competition winners.
National recognition for the City of Perth at the 2003 Business Excellence Awards In 2003, Business Excellence Australia added a new range of awards at the category level. In April, the City of Perth was announced as the inaugural winner of the Category Level Award – Knowledge and Information. To achieve this, the City of Perth received the highest evaluation score for that category in Australia covering both private and public sector organisations.
A regular feature this month profiling two Councillors fromthe Northern territory
Feature: Financial Planning & Asset Management
Standards based GIS helps Councils manage spatial data Councils and Water Authorities in NSW and Victoria are turning to Open Spatial for standards based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to better manage their spatial data. Open Spatial provides spatial solutions based on Oracle, Autodesk, MapInfo and other OpenGIS compliant technologies with emphasis on intranet and Internet delivery.
Mosman’s environmental contract – Council and community join forces The Community Environmental Contract, or CEC as it’s better known in Mosman, is an extensive works program to regenerate bushland, improve stormwater quality, rehabilitate creeks and restore historic seawalls. Funded by a special ratepayer levy of five percent over 12 years, the contract is Council’s guarantee to the community that all money raised will be spent on specific, budgeted projects. In the three years since its inception, the CEC has proven to be an outstanding success.
The CEC is funded from a rate levy of five per cent over 12 years. Council’s success in gaining grant funding has ensured that the CEC now represents excellent value for ratepayers. Highlights include the following.
Bushland management a priority in Mosman The Mosman peninsula contains some 143 hectares of bushland. Mosman Council controls about 39 hectares, Sydney Harbour National Park covers around 88 hectares and the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust controls another 20 hectares. While small compared to the bushland in other jurisdictions, the bushland reserves controlled by Mosman Council are important habitat areas. They are an important part of the fabric of bushland, both in Mosman and the overall Sydney Metropolitan Region.
Being a bush friendly neighbour is easy Mosman residents fully understand how lucky they are to share the shores of Sydney Harbour and precious areas of urban bushland. These are valuable natural assets, but they need help if they are to thrive, and continue to provide places of peace, quiet and enjoyment, as well as habitat for native plants and animals. To help preserve its bushland areas, Mosman Council is asking residents to be ‘Be a Bush Friendly Neighbour’ – and help create the right environment for bushland, native plants and animals.
Learning about Lawry Plunkett Education has been an essential component of the Lawry Plunkett Reserve Project. Education is a vital part of any long term integrated project because it is the people who use the catchment who will value and care for places like Lawry Plunkett Reserve. However, the users of the catchment may also be inadvertently contributing to its degradation. The area around Lawry Plunkett Reserve is largely residential, but other important users of the catchment include business owners, visitors and tourists and commercial and residential gardeners.
Introducing Lawry Plunkett to his neighbours Lawry Plunkett is attractive, a great asset to his community, and right beside Sydney’s most popular harbourside beach. But strangely, very few people know he’s even there. Lawry Plunkett is actually a four hectare reserve tucked away in a small gully, largely forgotten but less than 100 metres from the busy promenade and bustling cafes of Balmoral Beach.
SQIDs doing an excellent job Mosman has 14 Stormwater Quality Improvement Devices (SQIDs) operating in five different catchments removing pollutants from stormwater before it reaches the waters of Sydney Harbour. Stormwater from over 60 per cent of Mosman’s catchments is now treated by these SQIDs. Under the CEC schedule of works, SQIDs will be installed in the majority of untreated catchments by 2005. They are currently installed in the Balmoral Beach, Sirius Cove, Quakers Hat Bay, Avenue Road and Mosman Bay catchments.
Little Sirius Cove gets a clean bill of health Located on the southern side of Mosman in Port Jackson, Little Sirius Cove was named after the ‘Sirius’, a First Fleet supply ship, which was careened in nearby Mosman Bay after circumnavigating the world in 1789. Like most other areas in Mosman, the Little Sirius Cove catchment is primarily residential. Pollutants in stormwater flowing from the catchment, including litter, organic matter, sediments, nutrients and chemicals, have affected water quality in the Cove.
Mosman is one of the most computer literate areas in Sydney, so Council has been providing more and more information on the local environmental over the net. Mosman Council’s website has an entire section devoted to environment, and a mini CEC website available at www.mosman.nsw.gov.au/environment/cec.html
Seawall reconstruction a haven for habitat Mosman is surrounded by water. Over 90 per cent of its boundary, or just over 18 kilometres, is formed by the shores of Sydney Harbour. Of this, three kilometres of sea walls provide protection and definition to many foreshore areas. At the commencement of the CEC, many of these walls were up to a century old and in a poor condition after years of exposure to salt water and wave action. While it could have been argued that maintenance and repair of seawalls is a State Government responsibility, Mosman Council chose to take the initiative.
Beauty Point is a secluded area of Mosman that fronts onto Middle Harbour, and is fringed with a significant length of near natural Sydney Harbour shoreline. This area of Middle Harbour, along with the coastal bushland and walking track provide important areas for recreation, sight seeing and natural habitat The sheltered waters of Pearl Bay are an important marine habitat and provide a nursery ground for many fish species and stingrays. The Bay also supports extensive stands of seagrasses and oysters.
Taylors Bay Stormwater Project Mosman Council and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have recently completed a joint project to improve water quality in one of the most picturesque bays in one of the world’s most famous harbours. Sydney Harbour National Park bushland fringes Taylors Bay, which in turn is directly bounded by residential areas of Mosman. While Taylors Bay is justly known for its harbour scenery and fringing coastal bushland, this section of the National Park has heavy weed infestation.
The intersection of the New England Highway and Cawdor Road is one of the busiest intersections in Queensland’s Crow’s Nest Shire. With approximately 11,000 vehicles per day on the New England Highway and 3,000 vehicles on Cawdor Road, traffic entering the New England Highway often experienced substantial delays, especially at peak times.
Whittlesea one step ahead in managing assets The High Court’s landmark decision on public liability cases – which ruled out ‘highway immunity’ as a legitimate defence – forced Councils to improve their asset management systems. The Court’s principles of discovery and repair of foreseeable risks have placed the onus on Councils to reduce the risk of public liability.
The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley * Today Tesco is a phenomenally successful company. With a turnover in the year to 2003 at £28.6 billion, up 11.5 per cent and profit before tax up 14.7 per cent, it has expanded abroad into the rest of Europe and into Asia. It has diversified from its food retailing core into financial services and even mobile phone services. Its management is one of the most admired in any sector in the United Kingdom.
Clexan-Peak Personnel is an Australian owned Company specialising in the recruitment of temporary, contract and permanent personnel. The principals and consultants have extensive experience in providing and delivering a range of recruitment services. This year Clexan-Peak Personnel celebrates its 10th Birthday. Providing personalised, timely, cost effective and practical recruitment services, it has clearly established its ability to meet the needs of Local Government and Shire clients.
IPWEA National Conference in Hobart from 24-28 August The biennial National Public Works Engineering Conference is the premier event for Local Government engineering in Australia. The conference theme ‘Back to Engineering’ is designed to promote the importance of public works engineering to society throughout history and the latest technological advances that are available to our communities.
AssetMaster aiding risk management * Across Australia Council’s are struggling with the increased risk of litigation associated with the management of infrastructure assets. The latest release of AssetMaster, from asset and spatial management specialist InfoMaster, incorporates a variety of tools to help Councils more effectively manage risk.
Resource allocation well on track in Gosnells A new resource allocation model is helping the City of Gosnells in Western Australia link its annual budget and strategic plan in a way that is equitable and transparent.
Shellharbour gardener wins TAFE award A Shellharbour City Council staffer, who swapped a lifetime as a concreter for a career in horticulture, has taken out a prestigious TAFE award for his newfound profession.In May, Peter Robins won the Illawarra Institute of Technology Award for Academic Achievement for his outstanding efforts studying for Certificate 3 in Horticultural Landscape.
Council improves financial management by learning from its mistakes Staff at Cairns City Council are on a steep learning curve, as Council corrects mistakes made with IT products in the past to build new skills and systems for the future. In June 1999, Council tried to implement a ‘best of breed’ suite of IT products. Despite significant investment in consultants, system performance was dysfunctional and staff acceptance of the new systems was still poor 18 months after implementation.
Victorian Councils save $25 million through an innovative online project The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) recently announced a $25 million cost saving to Victorian Councils as a result of its two year innovative Local Government Online Service (LGOS) delivery project. MAV President, Councillor Brad Matheson, said Stage One of the project had placed Councils across the State at the forefront of simple and efficient online service delivery that meets growing community demand.
Stonnington City Council in inner Melbourne is rating every aspect of its performance with the help of an innovative computer program. Council believes this is the first time the Norton and Kaplin Balanced Scorecard program has been applied to Local Government. The system allows Council to input 400 key performance indicators (KPIs) over 25 service areas and rate them according to priority.
One stop call centre for Campaspe A new call centre will prevent frustrating waits to contact the right department or person at Campaspe Shire. The Customer Contact Centre is just one of a range of initiatives being implemented by this central Victorian Council to improve contact with local residents. The initiative involves a new computer tracking system to improve links between Council officers and departments.
Innovative asset and service delivery benchmarking system released Logometrix is the result of a three year collaborative R & D initiative involving nine leading Victorian Councils. Funded federally in conjunction with the partner Councils, the project was facilitated by Swinburne University in Melbourne. Logometrix complements established fixed asset management systems and has been developed to enable Councils to significantly increase service levels to the community and benchmark facility performance.
Induction CD for new Council staff A CD has been designed for the induction of new Local Government employees in south west Victoria. The CD was launched at the Killara Complex in Camperdown by Victorian Industrial Relations Minister, Rob Hulls, on 23 May.
Software solution provides savings for Kentish A small Tasmanian Shire that successfully adapted a commercial accounting package and integrated it with its property rating system may have the answer to slashing information technology budgets across the board.Kentish Shire Council used Quickbooks Pro V8 to make savings on its annual IT budget. Not only has the innovation cut its annual IT budget by $8,000, it has improved staff productivity and allowed staff to make more detailed reports to Council.
Yarra creates high tech road inspection program Staff who have spent their careers working for Local Government have embraced new technology to create an innovative road and footpath inspection program in Melbourne’s City of Yarra. Yarra Road Services Business Leader, David McKinnon, remembers a time not too long ago when road inspections were an ad hoc, time consuming chore, and records were unreliable. Now he heads up an in house business unit with an annual budget of $2 million, which was created when the former Cities of Fitzroy, Collingwood and Richmond amalgamated to form the City of Yarra in the mid 1990s.
AXS-One strengthens LG solution with payroll application Reseller agreement signed with PayGlobal speeds delivery of complete solution AXS-One, a leading provider of e-business solutions, has announced the addition of payroll to their Enterprise financial solution for Local Government. The payroll system from PayGlobal, a New Zealand based People Management company, will be rebadged as AXS-One Payroll following a recent reseller agreement signed between the two companies.
Boonah upgrades road maintenance Queensland’s Boonah Shire Council has 536 kilometres of dirt roads that are used by school buses, agricultural machinery, cars and trucks. The Shire is hilly, with gradients up to 16.6 per cent and a diverse range of soil and geological formations. These factors have combined to make unsealed road maintenance a significant drain on Council’s Road Infrastructure Budget in the past. But all that has changed since Council applied a new approach to its gravel extraction and non renewable resource crushing methods.
Satellite technology protects natural environment Maroochy Shire is an ecologically rich and rapidly developing part of south east Queensland. To protect this precious environment, Council’s Shire-wide vegetation mapping project has generated important electronic data that is being used in the enforcement of its Vegetation Management Local Law. The outcomes are also supporting State and Federal vegetation protection laws.
The City of Cockburn in Western Australia has won the 2003 Government Technology Productivity Gold Award for its GIS and Web Mapping project. Manager of GIS Services, Gunther Schlomer, accepted the award in March at the 15th National Technology in Government Conference, held at Parliament House in Canberra.
Newcastle Council cleans up famous Nobbys Beach Nobbys Beach – one of the Hunter region’s most highly valued social, heritage, cultural and tourism icons – is also one of only a few Australian sites to trial innovative sandfilter technology in the treatment of stormwater pollution. This technology has been used for some years in the United States with wide success.
New property system part of IS overhaul for Charles Sturt The City of Charles Sturt has recently launched its new land and property information system, Proclaim One, making it the first Council in South Australia to ‘go live’ with the program. Proclaim One is a part of Technology One’s Local Government product suite and sits alongside Finance One and People One, which are both in operation currently at Charles Sturt.
Caboolture tops Qld annual reports Caboolture Shire has received the prestigious honour of publishing the top annual report for Queensland Local Government. The Queensland branch of the Institute of Internal Auditors – Australia has selected Caboolture for the President’s Special Recognition Award for the Queensland Public Sector 22nd Anniversary Annual Report Awards.
AUS-SPEC enters a new era Standards Australia joins the team The move towards uniform national contract specifications takes a gigantic leap forward from 1 July 2003. Standards Australia International (SAI) and the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) have entered into new joint arrangements to develop and deliver the AUS-SPEC range of technical specifications across Australia. These arrangements have the potential to take AUS-SPEC to a new level in the civil construction and public works industry. Standards Australia brings significant resources and expertise in technical publishing and the delivery of products through the use of the latest in technology.