August 2003 Edition

  • IT2003
    – mark your diaries
    2003 sees the 6th Information Technology Conference for Local Government – IT2003, scheduled for 19–21 November in beautiful Coffs Harbour. Hosted by Coffs Harbour City Council, this conference has a well established reputation as the top forum for Local Government IT Managers and support staff to network, learn and exchange ideas.
  • WALGA challenges
    State Government commitment
    President of the WA Local Government Association, Councillor Clive Robartson, has challenged Premier Geoff Gallop to fully embrace the ideals set down in the State/Local Government Partnership Agreement.
  • Building social capital

    Social commentator and former Mayor of St Kilda, the Reverend Tim Costello, was a keynote speaker at the WA Local Government Association’s Annual Conference. Speaking on the topic ‘Social Capital’, he said the greatest issue facing most communities is the problem of commitment.
  • Are national policies impeding
    just and vibrant communities?
    Meeting for the first time outside of a capital city, the 9th National Local Government Community Development Conference was staged in Townsville from 27–30 July. A biennial event, the theme selected for this conference was ‘Just and Vibrant Communities’. In her address, President of the Local Government Community Services Association of Australia (LGCSAA), Jenny Merkus, referred delegates to the 2001 conference theme, ‘Riding the Rapids of Change’. She said that the last two years have certainly been exactly that, with Tampa and, the so called ‘Pacific Solution’, September 11, Bali bombings and war in Iraq.
  • Editorial

    The importance of public confidence in our institutions – public and private – goes without saying. However, with the recent spate of corporate collapses, people have become sceptical of business practices and the credibility of their so called ‘watchdogs’. Similarly, in the public arena, people have every right to be questioning who is actually calling the tune. Did George W Bush and Tony Blair (with John Howard in cohorts) mislead us about Iraq’s nuclear capacity or was it their spin doctors and advisers, misleading them to achieve a desired outcome?
  • President’s comment

    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Phyllis Miller, President of the New South Wales Shires Association.
  • Centenary Medals function
    recognises Local Government
    Victorian Local Government recipients of the Centenary Medal were acknowledged at a special function at Melbourne’s Windsor Hotel on 4 June. Local Government Minister, Candy Broad, congratulated more than 30 medal recipients, including Municipal Association of Victoria President, Brad Matheson, and CEO, Rob Spence.
    - Over half a million page requests per month
    In addition to the 11,800 copies of Local Government Focus distributed every month, each edition is also posted on our web site. With the site launched in May 1996, all subsequent editions have been archived at Earlier this year, the Focus web site passed half a million page requests per month. With over 4,250 articles, our web site is a handy online archive covering key events and best practice examples of Australian Local Government over the past seven years.
  • Redcliffe wins another
    Qld regional Tidy Towns award
    The thriving coastal City of Redcliffe has been named South East Queensland’s Tidiest Town for the second year running. Redcliffe, situated on the shores of Moreton Bay, 35 km from Brisbane, out performed 49 other Councils in the region.
  • Public-private investments,
    wind energy, and wintry Canberra
    The Good Oil by Rod Brown *
    The public sector must continue to explore smarter ways of engaging private sector investment – and this specially applies at the Local Government level where finances are limited. This is the message of a recently released OECD study that also identifies the critical success factors for public-private investments.
  • Connecting and building
    sustainable regions
    An outstanding array of speakers will address the seventh national Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia Conference (SEGRA) being held in Gold Coast City from 15–17 September 2003. ‘Building Resilient Regions: Actions for a Sustainable Future’ is the theme for this year’s Conference.
  • From Chinchilla to Cheetah

    Working with cheetahs in Africa is a far cry from South West Queensland, where Jenny Campbell is the Economic Development Officer for the Town of Dalby and Shire of Chinchilla. She recently returned from Otjiwarongo, in central north Namibia, where she spent two weeks as an Earthwatch volunteer for the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
  • Volvo launches new grader

    Volvo Construction Equipment has set new standards in motor grader design, engineering and performance capabilities with the introduction of its new B-series graders, a comprehensive line of seven production class models. The new grader line comprises five new tandem drive models ranging in operating weight from 14,099 kg to 19,783 kg and in engine output from 105 kW to 181 kW, and two all wheel drive models with operating weights ranging from 16,046 kg to 16,639 kg and from 148 kW to 181 kW.
  • Councillor profile

    A regular feature this month profiling two Councillors from Western Australia
  • Geelong adopts new safety
    standards for garbos
    New guidelines to reduce workplace injuries in Victoria’s waste collection industry have been launched in Geelong. The City of Greater Geelong is one of the first Victorian Councils to implement the guidelines, which put an end to the manual handling of rubbish and recyclable materials. WorkSafe Executive Director, John Merritt, said the guidelines were the result of two years of talks between the industry, Local Government and the Municipal Association of Victoria.
  • Esperance moves to
    commercial recycling
    Commercial recycling has started in Esperance Shire, south of Perth, following the enormous success of its residential recycling program. Since it started recycling 19 months ago, Council has collected 849 tonnes of material from residents. More than 30 schools, businesses and other organisations are now participating in the program, with 18 more getting involved in August.
  • Recognising Council high achievers

    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 two more of our competition winners.
  • IPWEAQ Conference 2003
    to be staged in Mackay
    The IPWEAQ’s 2003 State Conference will be staged in Mackay from Sunday 5 to Wednesday 8 October, with the Works Supervisors Sessions on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 October. ‘Working Together – Regions, Partnership, Communities, Alliances’ is the theme for this year’s Conference.
  • Working towards consistency
    in asset management practices in Qld
    After much time and effort, the Roads Alliance Road and Bridge Asset Management Kit has been distributed to all Local Governments in Queensland.
  • Backyard burning ban
    for Glenorchy
    Following the successful banning of incinerators in other states, Tasmania’s Glenorchy City Council is banning backyard burning in Hobart’s western suburbs. Council has introduced a by-law in response to increasing environmental awareness and complaints about pollution and health problems caused by incinerators.

Feature: Community Services & Leisure

  • Australia’s colour city

    It’s not difficult to see why Orange is called Australia’s Colour City, as a walk or drive around the city or surrounds at any time of the year reveals a kaleidoscope of colours. Nestled in the foothills of Mt Canobolas, a mountain approximately 1,400 metres above sea level, Orange and its district blend the modern features of city living with the rural qualities of tranquillity, fresh air, and wholesome country living.
  • Orange hosts the 2003 Australian
    Sister Cities Association National Conference
    On 8-12 November 2003 Orange will be hosting national and international delegates to the ASCA National Conference. The opportunity to host the 2003 Australian Sister Cities Association National Conference is a great honour for Orange. Orange has demonstrated excellence in hosting conferences and has the facilities and people to ensure the success of the 2003 Australian Sister Cities Association National Conference.
  • They who know everything at your
    service at Orange Visitor Information Centre
    Orange Visitor Information Centre is a fully integrated information and resource centre for locals and visitors.The Centre provides maps, accommodation options, restaurant guides and suggestions for local attractions and day trips.
  • Food and wine

    The menus of many Orange restaurants are made up of fresh local produce. Local food and wine make for a fine dining experience and will leave a lasting impression on your palate.
  • Visitor numbers continue
    to grow
    Visitor numbers to Orange for holiday, family or business purposes have increased steadily in the past three years. Orange City Council has been working closely with Explorer Country Tourism, the regional tourism organisation, and Tourism NSW to ensure that Orange and other areas in the Central West are developing the appropriate tourism product to meet the demands of visitors.
  • Conference welcome to Orange

    Delegates to the ASCA Conference in November are in for a rare treat. Along with an exciting and educational conference program the social program and study tours will not only entertain delegates but provide valuable opportunities to network with international and local guests.
  • Exciting youth program

    A range of initiatives and activities has been developed for the YASCA members at the 2003 conference. These include the development of an interactive reporting program, leadership skills and aspects that explore issues specific to youth relationships.
  • Walk to Lake Canobolas

    During 2002 Orange City Council completed the construction of an exciting new shared 12 kilometre walking and cycling trail from the city to Lake Canobolas. This trail was achieved with the assistance of the Australian Department of Defence – 1/19th Royal New South Wales Regiment.
  • Security in the community

    Operation Never Again
    Everyone fears it and unfortunately for some people it is all too real; that sickening bewildered feeling you have when you walk into your home and discover that things are not how you left them and some familiar objects such as the TV, stereo and DVD are missing.
  • Council embraces green learning

    Council’s latest innovative project is an Environmental Learning Facility (ELF) which is being constructed at the Orange Showground in three stages. The first stage is expected to be completed by December 2003. The ELF will be a multi functional centre for learning and is designed to provide a working demonstration of the technologies available for developing more ecologically sustainable lifestyles.
  • Launceston wins two
    State awards
    The City of Launceston in northern Tasmania recently won two Local Government Association of Tasmania Excellence Awards for excellence and innovation.
  • Geraldton library
    to publish rare photos
    Geraldton Regional Library will publish a book of historical photographs to complement an earlier volume called Geraldton: 150 Years 150 Lives, which was produced to celebrate the city’s 150th birthday.The first book documented the lives of people who contributed to the West Australian coastal city, while the new publication will feature places, streetscapes and buildings of interest.
  • First meals on wheels
    service turns 50
    Australia’s first meals on wheels service celebrated its 50th birthday on 24 June at the South Melbourne Senior Citizens’ Centre. The first meals were delivered to older citizens in the former South Melbourne Council on a tricycle painted in the South Melbourne Council colours of red and white.
  • Sustainable communities

    Central Government has developed a Sustainable Communities strategy to raise the quality of life in communities. An investment program has been developed which marks a step change in policy and investment for delivering sustainable communities. Its main elements include the following.
  • Staff formula creates
    equity and harmony
    Banyule City Council has developed a mathematical formula to ensure Maternal and Child Health nurses have realistic workloads and families have equitable access to services. The Advanced Banyule Formula is the brainchild of Council’s Maternal and Child Health Coordinator, Marita van Gemert.
  • Ghosts of gold
    walk again in Charters Towers
    The historic Queensland Outback gold town, Charters Towers, recently launched its new tourism experience, Charters Towers: Ghosts of Gold. More than 130 years after the State’s momentous gold rush, Charters Towers has revived its golden mining era creating a ‘whole of town’ tourism experience for modern day visitors.
  • Local Government:
    Australia’s citizens
    Each year Local Governments make a tremendous contribution to their communities by conducting citizenship ceremonies. Since the first ceremony in 1949, Councils and Shires throughout Australia have hosted tens of thousands of these events. A citizenship ceremony is an important milestone in the life of new citizens. Local Councils have welcomed the opportunity to play a significant role in introducing new citizens into their local communities.
  • Palmerston Futures

    By Mayor Annette Burke, Palmerston City Council
    Last April, we had a fundraising auction and launch of the Beacon Foundation process in Palmerston, located 20 km south of Darwin. As Mayor, I am very interested in youth issues and with a population of 25,500, of which over 30 per cent are under 15 years, there is a real need to address youth unemployment and training and education issues.
  • More local awards
    for excellent teachers
    Local Councils have been invited to honour excellent teachers from schools in their localities through the ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEiTAs). This year, the NEiTA Foundation has decided to provide an additional 150 Local Merit Awards to teachers recognised for the merit of their teaching.
  • Skate park for
    Christmas Island
    Jim Campbell has probably built one of the world’s most remote skate parks – on Christmas Island, 380 km south of Java and 1,585 km from North West Cape, the nearest point on the Australian mainland. Jim’s company, Skateramps Australia, manufactures the equipment at Hallam in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.
  • ‘On your Bike’
    says Whittlesea
    The City of Whittlesea has issued a cycling challenge to other Melbourne Councils, encouraging them to participate in the 210 km Around the Bay in a Day bike ride on Sunday 19 October. Staff have formed a 12 person cycling team for the Smith Family ride, which benefits the Learning for Life program to help disadvantaged students stay at school.
  • Rockhampton history
    to be preserved in City Plan
    Rockhampton residents will be able to list significant local landmarks on a new register aimed at preserving the City’s rich heritage. Planning and Development Committee Chair, Councillor Vicki Bastin-Byrne, said the Heritage Register would be introduced as part of Council’s draft City Plan in early September.
  • Keith and Betsy
    celebrate 40 years
    The East Gippsland Shire Mobile Library Service – more commonly known as ‘the Bookie’ – recently celebrated 40 years of service. The Bookie has survived floods, bushfires and fierce storms to remain a popular community service. Keith Ridout has been with the mobile library since it began in 1963, becoming one of the most recognisable faces in East Gippsland.
  • Counting down to
    Masters Games
    Western Australia’s City of Geraldton has launched a campaign to mark the official countdown to the Indian Ocean Masters Games.Council will give $50,000 to the Games, which are expected to attract 3,500 visitors to the mid West Australian coastal city from 1–9 May 2004.
  • Safe, reliable, easy
    to use barbecues
    In an era when people are spending less and less time together, what better way to catch up with family and friends than organise a barbecue in the local park or at the beach. Whenever people get together in public open spaces across Australia, activities are very much concentrated around the popular barbecue facilities.
  • Sub-surface watering

    Sub-surface drip irrigation can save around 40 per cent in water consumption when compared with a surface pop-up sprinkler system, and even more when compared with quick coupling valve systems. Unlike surface pop-up sprinkler systems, the drip tube is located at the root zone – in turf approximately 200 mm below the soil surface – so there is no evaporation, run-off or wind-drift.
  • Planting for citizenship

    How would you select a house warming gift for 70,000 to 80,000 people who come from 200 countries and are your new neighbours? That’s the challenge facing Australia’s 692 Local Governments that present small gifts to the 70,000 to 80,000 people who become Australian citizens each year.
  • ASF working with Councils
    and community groups
    A brochure on the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF) and its work supporting the development of sport through sporting and community organisations has been made available to Councils through this edition of Local Government FOCUS. The Australian Sports Foundation Ltd is a company established in 1986 by the Commonwealth Government to ‘support the development of sport in Australia’.
  • Major NAIDOC award
    for Kempsey resident
    Kempsey Shire Council has formally congratulated a local resident who is the 2003 National Aboriginal and Islander Day Organising Committee (NAIDOC) Youth of the Year. Stacey Kelly-Greenup, 18, is also Council’s Young Citizen of the Year for 2003.
  • Research on Local Government
    and young people
    The National Youth Affairs Research Scheme (NYARS) was established in the late 1980s as a cooperative arrangement between the Federal, State and Territory Governments to fund a national research program on issues affecting young people. NYARS research projects are selected by the Ministerial Council on Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). In November 2002, NYARS commissioned Edith Cowan University to undertake a research project on ‘Local Government and Young People’.
  • Land Council and WALGA
    sign historic native title MoU
    In the biggest native title arrangement of its kind in Australia, representatives of 105 Western Australian Local Governments and the State’s largest Indigenous community have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to benefit Perth metropolitan and south west areas.
  • Toowoomba kids surf
    the Spacenet
    Toowoomba City Council believes it has built Queensland’s first Spacenet – a wire mesh climbing jungle that is 5.8 m high and 13 m wide. Parks and Recreation Playground Manager, John Clancy, said the creative play equipment combined traditional playground structures with imaginative, modern design.