Victorian Councils offer the hand of friendship Darebin City Council first raised the issue of supporting democratic processes in East Timor with the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) four years ago. Victorian Local Governments had not previously been very active in international political matters but the VLGA decided to support the development of democracy, peace, order and good governance in East Timor.
Call for increased collaboration and consistency Using the theme ‘We all have to do it, so let’s work together’, the third National Local Government Online Conference was staged in Melbourne on 11 September. Presenters from Local Government, other spheres of government and the private sector covered various challenges including the need for Councils to work collaboratively in delivering online services.
Just when we thought that the euphoria for British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s New Deal and his huge popularity was all coming unstuck (thanks to the war in Iraq and the rather messy aftermath both within Iraq and in Britain), his speech at the recent Labour Party annual conference forced even the most ardent cynics to reconsider whether he really is ‘losing his way’. So what has the domestic politics of the UK to do with Local Government in Australia? Undoubtedly, the Blair Government’s New Deal, including sweeping public sector reform with its strong emphasis on service delivery, transparency and accountability, has influenced various policies and programs here.
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) believes that its Local Government On-Line project will transform the way many Queensland Councils operate. It will give Councils the opportunity to access extensive information databases and enable them to provide a range of services to their communities via the Internet. The project builds on work carried out over the last 12 months under the Federal Government’s Networking the Nation project.
Youth taking the lead in regional South Australia The District Council of Grant has developed a Statement of Commitment to Young People. This included establishing a committee of young people to act as an advisory body to Council. The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) has been running for over 12 months. It comprises nine young people and meets fortnightly at the Mount Gambier and District Community Centre.
Balranald quilt auction assists charities Two outback friendship quilts were recently auctioned in Balranald Shire to coincide with the stopover of this year’s Australian Safari Car Rally. The proceeds of the auction went to the Peter Brock Foundation, with the legendary racing driver accepting the donation of almost $1,000 in person.
Alice Springs skate park wins Territory award Alice Springs Town Council’s skate park has been named the Territory’s best Recreational Infrastructure Facility at the 2003 Heart Foundation/Kellogg Local Government Awards. Mayor Fran Kilgariff said Council was thrilled with the award after working very hard to improve the skate park in recent months.
The Good Oil by Rod Brown * Charles Landry, urban planning guru, has headed back to the UK after a stint as Adelaide’s Thinker in Residence. He certainly got Adelaide thinking at Playford City Council’s ‘Investing in the Future’ conference last month. His basic argument is that Adelaide is defensive about its positives, and passionate about its negatives. He says the city is still drained of confidence, and that watching someone else – in this case, Sydney and Melbourne – is only playing catch-up. Psychological stuff matters.
A regional success story Community owned Southern Phone Company was a finalist in the Best Regional Telecommunications Provider category of the prestigious Australian Telecom Annual Awards announced jointly in Sydney in September by the then Communications Minister, Senator Richard Alston, and ACCC Chairman, Graeme Samuels.
A regular feature, this month profiling two Councillors from Tasmania
Local Government leads the way in managing diversity How to manage diversity and realise the advantages of a diverse range of skills within a Council organisation have become key goals for Local Government. Managing diversity for the benefit of the whole community – including multicultural, disability and indigenous issues – was the focus of the Managing Diversity Conference 2003.
The NSW Government has introduced tougher penalties for building owners or managers who fail to lodge annual fire safety statements with their local Council. The new regulations came into effect in February, in response to Local Governments’ concerns that many building owners were not lodging the statements.
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.
Training and resources for women candidates in Local Government elections The Strengthening Communities Through Women’s Participation (SCWP) Project is offering some excellent resources for women who are potential candidates in Victoria’s November 2004 Local Government elections. This includes women who are new to Local Government and incumbent Councillors who decide to stand again. Victoria has 79 Councils comprising about 620 Councillors, of whom 178 (29 per cent) are women.
Hobson’s Bay and Toyota share national arts award Hobsons Bay Council and Toyota Australia have won an Australian Business Arts Foundation award for the Bayside Festival. The Prime Minister, John Howard, and the CEO’s of 50 large Australian companies attended a ceremonial dinner for the national awards presentation in Sydney on 7 August. There were more than 130 nominees, with three finalists chosen in each of the 12 categories.
Titled ‘What Money Can’t Buy – Community Development, Globalisation and the Market Economy’, the 2003 Local Government Community Services Association (LGCSA) NSW conference, will be held in Port Macquarie from Wednesday 12 to Friday 14 November 2003.
When real estate is hot property Last May, East Timor’s first elected government celebrated its first anniversary Brad Collis* reports on a former Melbourne academic’s role in restoring civil administration.
Paying rates at newsagencies Long queues at Municipal Offices for the payment of rates and other Council services may be a thing of the past.
Woolcott Research 2003 identified that newsagencies are visited by 70% of Australians at least once a fortnight. Newsagencies are the major participants in the national payment collection network, Bill EXPRESSTM. The network also includes a self-serve kiosk in Coles Supermarkets.
3D modelling for planning matters As part of the Adelaide City Council’s New Directions Strategy to engage the community and key influencers in City decisions, studies undertaken with the aid of computer modelling to simulate 3D urban environments have provided a mechanism leading to better understanding of the City’s urban environment.
Big water saving incentives offered to City ratepayers Saving water is high on the priorities of the Adelaide City Council. Not only has the Council introduced a program to significantly reduce the amount of water it uses on the City Park Lands, but it has also launched an innovative new incentive program to encourage Adelaide residents and ratepayers to install water saving devices.
City rental program an Australian first In an Australian first, Adelaide City Council has created an exciting new program designed to make renting in the City more affordable for young workers. Council recently endorsed a Rental Housing Program. This involves Council purchasing apartments from private developers and then on renting them at a 25 per cent discounted rate.
Have you ever wanted to quickly find out what is happening in your community, let people know that you have lost your pet, find a hall to hire for that special occasion, or find somewhere new to go for a bite to eat? In Adelaide Council’s e-service www.adelaideres.com is the place to go.
Adelaide the home to first city wide wireless internet network Adelaide has become the first city in the world to establish a wireless Internet network that will cover whole City streets. The Lord Mayor, Michael Harbison, launched the new network, known as citilan, which uses high-speed Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) on 17 September 2003.
New approach to legal knowledge management On 1 January 2002, Adelaide City Council and the Cities of Marion, Salisbury, and Onkaparinga entered into an agreement with local law firms Thomson Playford and Norman Waterhouse, known as the Greater 6 (G6) contract. The G6 contract was established to outsource the provision of legal services, including legal advice, opinions, litigation and drafting. The G6 contract has now expanded to include the Cities of Charles Sturt and Tea Tree Gully.
Keeping our brightest young people in SA Early in September 2003, Adelaide City Council launched a new web site aimed at encouraging students to come and study in Adelaide’s tertiary institutions. A large number of students from regional areas of the State each year leave South Australia after completing Year 12 to continue tertiary studies. Many of them do not return following the completion of their studies, taking up positions interstate.
Council sets Library and Community Centre benchmark at a high level In July 2003 Council officially opened the first of four new hi-tech community libraries. Located on North Terrace the new travel themed Library and Community Centre provides a unique, flexible and accessible centre where groups, clubs and social networks can meet, host functions and present special events.
Award winning marine pump a first for Tas Break O’Day Council, on Tasmania’s north east coast, recently won the Gold Award for Excellence at the Local Government Association of Tasmania’s 2003 Annual Conference. Council also won the Environment Innovation Award for its marine waste pump out facility on the commercial wharf at St Helens.
Access to cheap, good quality water is an important issue in most parts of Australia, but for South Australia — our driest State — it is critical. While enough rain falls on Adelaide to satisfy the demand for water, much of this is allowed to run off as stormwater.
Western Australia launches its new Local Government recruitment business The WA Local Government Association has launched a new recruitment and selection service, Local Government Workplace Solutions, as part of the 2003 Local Government Week Convention. The new service will provide recruitment and selection services, training and development, advocacy and representation, CEO and Executive reviews, and events management functions to Local Governments across the State.
The City of Fremantle is a special place and CEO Ray Glickman is determined to make Council a special organisation staffed by special people. Council has developed an Organisational and Cultural Statement as part of its Best Practice policy.
The WorkPlace web site www.workplace.gov.au is an entry point to every aspect of employment information. It is a handy resource for Local Government managers in that it provides information on employment, labour markets, working conditions and government assistance available to both employers and job seekers.
Brisbane’s youth training program wins State award Last month, Brisbane City Council’s Youth in Recovery program was named Queensland’s best public sector training initiative at the 2003 Queensland Training Awards. State Employment and Training Minister, Matt Foley, announced 14 category winners at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre event, in front of 750 guests.
The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley* To encourage the sharing of best practice, those Councils classified under the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) as Excellent in a particular service, and with at least a classification of Good performance overall, have the opportunity to be awarded Beacon Status. This confers a status and recognition on Councils by Central Government.
Campaspe’s user friendly management system The Shire of Campaspe’s Integrated Management System (IMS) centralises quality, safety and environmental information in a single, user friendly tool for Council staff. The system replaces several unrelated programs to ensure leading management practices and quality services across all Council activities. Assembled through the Shire’s intranet, the IMS Manual ensures consistent information is disseminated to staff, including policy statements, corporate plans, corrective and preventative actions, work instructions, forms and registers.
Pittwater Council, on Sydney’s northern beaches, has won the AR Bluett Memorial Award for 2002. The award – announced in June 2003 and presented in September – recognises the greatest relative progress made by a NSW Council in the previous year.
Get ready for top class speakers at IT2003 in Coffs Harbour IT2003 is the sixth Information Technology Conference for Local Government, scheduled for 18–21 November in beautiful Coffs Harbour. Hosted by Coffs Harbour City Council, the conference provides a forum for Local Government Managers and support staff to network, learn and exchange ideas. Major sponsors this year are Telstra Country Wide, Trilogy Computer Systems and GlobalPoint Systems.
Darebin’s best practice approach to self-service Best practice in the eyes of Mark Davies, General Manager Corporate Services at Darebin City Council, dovetails nicely with Council’s ‘Online Vision’ – “to improve the quality, efficiency and responsiveness of services and information provided by Darebin City Council to the staff, residents and other community members using the enabling power of Internet technologies”. Over the past two years, Council has identified a number of key areas that would benefit from utilising browser based technology to automate and improve business processes.
Walking for healthy hearts a winner Sponsored by Kellogg, the 2003 Heart Foundation Kellogg the 10,000 Steps Rockhampton Project run in conjunction with the Rockhampton City Council is the Queensland State Winner for the 2003 Heart Foundation Kellogg Local Government Awards. These Awards recognise and promote excellence in Local Government initiatives that encourage healthy lifestyles and promote heart health.
Charles Sturt wins United Nations enviro award An environmental program developed by the City of Charles Sturt in South Australia recently won a United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Award. Council’s Reducing Energy Through Partnerships: Local Government Industry Sector program won the Local Government category for the Best Specific Environmental Initiative. Council received the award at a ceremony held in Melbourne in June.
Liverpool City Council has won a major environmental prize for its efforts in creating a more sustainable future. Council’s Environment Plan and Biodiversity Strategy initiatives recently won the coveted 2003 Keep Australia Beautiful Metro Pride Award for the NSW National Parks Service and Wildlife Habitat Restoration and Renewal Award.
Solar the superior energy source for outdoor lighting No electricity bills ever, virtually maintenance free, easy low cost installation, a choice of modern or heritage styles, and no underground or overhead services, it makes perfect sense why Rockdale City Council selected solar pathway lighting by Solar Technology Australia as part of a recent park upgrade.
Magnetic Island waste water recycling wins award Citiwater – a business unit of Townsville City Council – has won the environment category of the 2003 Queensland Engineering Excellence Awards for its Magnetic Island Water Recycling Treatment Plant. Mayor Tony Mooney said Citiwater demonstrated world’s best practice technology to solve an environmentally sensitive problem on Townsville’s popular island.
Following the introduction of South Australia’s new Food Act, Adelaide City Council is using a high tech management tool called Audit-Easy for external auditing and inspections. Auditing is done on a palm computer and reporting is automated through the downloading of data to a PC. The program ensures that Council’s environmental health officers adopt a uniform approach to inspections.
Camden Council in south west Sydney is hosting Australia’s first scientifically validated biodiesel trial. Biodiesel is a fuel made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower, canola and coconut oil, as well as animal fats. The trial received $90,000 funding from the NSW Environmental Trust and is being run in conjunction with the NSW Environment Protection Authority and Road Traffic Authority.
Making informed decisions for sustainable energy use Think Global, Act Local is a well worn mantra from the 1980s but the future impact of decisions made by Local Government on our energy use cannot be underestimated. To be staged from 26–29 November at The University of Melbourne, ‘DESTINATION RENEWABLES – from research to market’, promises a wealth of practical information that Local Government can use to make informed decisions for a sustainable energy future.
Advancing communications online @ Campbelltown City Council With a population of some 150,000 people, Campbelltown City Council is the twelfth largest Council in New South Wales. In the 2001 census, almost 50,000 or up to one third of the population were using the Internet each week. This statistic is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years as availability of Internet access and broadband increases.
Dalby Town Council in south west Queensland believes it is the first Australian Local Government to set up a reverse osmosis water treatment plant. The plant will be used to convert low quality bore water to drinking water for the town.
West Ryde Tunnel wins national award The National Local Government Engineering Medal for 2003 was recently awarded to Group Manager Public Works and Services, Tony Reed, and Ryde City Council for the West Ryde Drainage Tunnel Project.