December 2003 Edition

  • Report calls for shake up
    of intergovernmental relations
    The tabling on 24 November 2003 of the Commonwealth House of Representatives Inquiry into Cost Shifting onto Local Government recommends a major overhaul of intergovernmental relations. The unanimous report confirms overwhelming evidence of cost shifting to Local Government from all levels of Government. It is the culmination of an extensive 18 month public inquiry.
  • Albury hosts LGA
    Annual Conference
    Speaking at the Local Government Association of NSW Annual Conference, President, Councillor Sara Murray, said the three major challenges facing Councils in the State were planning issues, ratepegging and reform of Local Government. Staged from 9–12 November, the Conference was hosted by the City of Albury.
  • Editorial

    Duplication, overlapping and blurring of the roles and responsibilities across all three of our spheres of government have led to the proliferation of unfunded mandates and cost shifting by other spheres to Local Government. After many years of effort by the Australian Local Government Association and the State Local Government Associations to have this situation rectified, reform of intergovernmental financial arrangement is now high on the agenda. It is interesting that the impetus for change has again not come from within, but has been influenced by factors outside this nation.This time it is not a military threat but an economic one. Globalisation and the need for nations to be internationally competitive has finally forced the hand of the Commonwealth Government to seriously look at intergovernmental financial arrangements.
  • President’s comment

    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor John Legoe, President of the Local Government Association of South Australia.
  • Local healthy hearts,
    national winners
    The national winners of the 2003 Heart Foundation Kellogg Local Government Awards were presented at the General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra on 24 November 2003. These awards recognise Local Governments that put into practice projects, policies and programs which can help prevent cardiovascular disease.
  • Music program reaching youth

    A new nine week music exploration program, ‘Amp it up’, funded by Sydney’s Ashfield Council is helping local young people with a disability express themselves through music. Following the success of the one day music program ‘Play it Loud’ in 2002, Amp It Up is a longer term project made possible by a collaboration between Council, the Summer Hill Community Centre and Accessible Arts.
  • Shark Lake Industrial Park
    to boost Esperance economy
    The proposed Shark Lake Industrial Park is a joint project between the Shire of Esperance and the Esperance Port Authority. This 378 hectare property is ideally located on the Coolgardie–Esperance Highway, at the junction of key feeder roads from the east and west. It is only 12 kilometres from Esperance, and has the Goldfields railway and gas pipeline running adjacent to it.
  • FTAs
    – eyes wide open!
    The Good Oil by Rod Brown *

    In a recent address to a Melbourne audience, Trade Minister Mark Vaile justified the Australian Government’s spate of bilateral deals on the basis that you cannot ‘simply wait and watch current and future economic opportunities go by’. He likened himself to 1960s Trade Minister, ‘Black Jack’ McEwen, who didn’t wait until Australia’s exports were imperilled by the UK’s entry into the Common Market, but pushed to open up new opportunities for Australian exports to Japan.
  • Safer communities awards

    Local Councils in three states have taken national awards in the 2003 National Safer Communities Awards, promoted by Emergency Management Australia (EMA). Towong Shire in north east Victoria, Blue Mountains City Council in NSW, and the City of Gosnells Council in WA were among the 12 final award winners.
  • Blooming marvellous

    Melbourne’s City of Port Phillip recently received the Nations in Bloom award in the world’s only international competition based on management of the environment and enhancement of the quality of life and community well being, held in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. Council won the Gold Award, beating off heated competition from cities in Category C with daytime populations between 75,001 and 200,000 people.
  • Councillor profile

    A regular feature, this month profiling two Councillors from South Australia.
  • Tasmania’s Campbell Town
    wins national Can Do Community Awards
    The Tasmanian community of Campbell Town was named state and overall national winner in this year’s Can Do Community Awards. The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, presented the awards at a special event during the National General Assembly of Local Government, held in Canberra in November.
  • 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 the final two of our competition winners for 2003.

Feature: Business and Greater Efficiency

  • Shadow Treasurer predicts
    a LG revival
    While Australians are becoming more cynical about global politics, their interest in local governance is increasing, Shadow Treasurer, Mark Latham believes.
  • Opposition to release
    new Local Government policy
    Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Local Government and Housing, Gavan O’Connor, has signalled the release of a major new Local Government policy before the next Federal election. He said Labor started launching policies for Local Government and urban renewal last year.
  • Services for an
    ageing population
    Professor of Demography at the Australian National University, Peter Macdonald, presented the keynote address at the 7th Regional Cooperation and Development Forum. He said the good thing to come from our ageing population is that we are living longer, but with falling fertility rates there will be a shortage of young workers to provide the services this rapidly expanding section of our community will require.
  • New Minister welcomes
    the challenges ahead
    In his first address to the General Assembly as Federal Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Senator Ian Campbell said that with the Federal Election due next October, and likely to occur between then and February 2005, he pledges to muster all the enthusiasm he can to achieve some goals over the next 12 months.
  • Telecommunications that are
    meeting generational changes and local needs
    “Telstra has been a major sponsor of the Regional Cooperation and Development Forum and the National General Assembly of Local Government for some years,” said Group Manager Director of Telstra Country Wide, Doug Campbell. “Good relationships with Local Government are essential to our work in meeting the needs of rural and regional Australians,” he said. “Local Government is both a facilitator of change in telecommunications – particularly in its role in regional development – and a major user of telecommunications services.
  • Hobsons Bay chooses S+inbox
    for email risk mitigation and compliance
    Just having a policy for document retention is no longer enough. To be compliant under the various Acts, a system needs to be adopted and used.
  • Procuring excellence

    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley *
    Together, Councils in England spend over £40 billion per year on the procurement of goods and services. Despite this huge investment the procurement activity in Councils is often underdeveloped and means that opportunities to improve value for money are missed. This in turn means that the potential to free money from within existing budgets to invest in the provision of additional services or in the improvement of existing services is never realised.
  • Sutherland’s strategy
    for sustainability
    The Sutherland Shire Strategy – Integrating Biodiversity and Planning – received a commendation in the 2003 National Awards for Local Government. Council entered its Integration of Biodiversity Conservation into the Local Government Planning category of the awards, staged annually by the National Office of Local Government.
  • Better business practices
    with Expense Cycle Management
    South East Water Limited is a State owned company providing water and sewerage services to 1.3 million customers in the south east of Melbourne. South East Water’s achievements have been recognised by a number of business excellence awards, particularly the Australian Quality Council Gold Award for Business Excellence. This award focuses on best practice across key business areas.
  • Local Government careers

    Northern Grampians Shire employees have given some of the area’s young people an insight into their working lives at two Careers Month forums.
  • Landcare welcomed

    Across Australia, the national Landcare movement has assisted urban and rural communities to sustainably manage their environment through community based works. This Landcare movement has been highly successful, and now involves more than 4,000 Landcare groups.
  • Town Planning Register
    now online
    The City of Kingston, in south east Melbourne, has developed a new, easy to navigate, online Town Planning section on its web site. People applying for permits and the general public can access relevant planning information.
  • Tasmania protects online privacy

    The Local Government Online Services (LOGONS) project is helping Tasmania’s 29 Councils bring online services to residents and ratepayers. The Local Government Association of Tasmania project is also helping Councils in other States to develop privacy guidelines for the collection and storage of online information.
  • Communication and customer service

    The tiny Town of Claremont, nine kilometres west of Perth’s CDB, won two of the three categories at the 2003 WA Local Government Best Practice Awards. Council was the overall winner of the Effective Communication Award, for outstanding communication with residents on its underground power project.
  • Risk management award
    for Northern Grampians
    Regional Victoria’s Northern Grampians Shire Council recently won a Victorian Local Government Risk Management Excellence Award for its sustained commitment, dedication and improvement to risk management principles and practices.
  • Continuous improvement a
    winner at Hervey Bay
    The Continuous Improvement Program at Queensland’s Hervey Bay City Council is yielding positive results across the organisation after only 18 months of implementation. Employees committed to the program, based on the Japanese style Kaizen Teian system, as part of Council’s fourth enterprise agreement in March 2002.
  • Council welcomes improvement report

    Redland Shire Council has welcomed the 2003 Healthy Waterways Ecosystem Health Report Card, displaying vast improvements in the physical condition of Moreton Bay from last year.
  • Remote Link technology
    reduces paper trail
    Blue Mountains City Council has reduced a ‘mountain of paperwork’ to a molehill, thanks to an innovative project called Remote Link. Remote Link involves field officers using iPAQ hand held computers to log and process information across Council’s civil operations, including customer service, routine planned work and unscheduled work.
  • Lower fleet maintenance
    costs and reduced emissions
    After the initial installation of Filter Technology’s in line diesel filtration systems at Lake Macquarie City Council, a comprehensive 18 month cost benefit analysis was completed.
  • Technology for community needs

    Autodesk civil engineering solutions have a proven record in providing a cost effective combination of technology and services for planning, surveying, design, construction and strategic asset management.
  • Safer community for
    City of Gosnells
    An internet based crime reporting program set up by the City of Gosnells in Western Australia recently won a commendation in the 2003 National Awards for Local Government. The eWATCH program is part of Council’s Safe City Urban Design Strategy, which has also received two Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Certificates of Merit.
  • Wins all round with
    Bill EXPRESS®
    Rate payment collection benefits Councils, ratepayers and local businesses

    Local Government can play a vital role in assisting local businesses in finding synergies for growth, and achieving greater efficiency by outsourcing the collection of rate payments at convenient locations such as newsagencies. Councils recognise newsagencies as an ideal collection point for Council dues.
  • Think national,
    operate local
    Political analyst, Paul Kelly, said that if our Constitution was rewritten today, Local Government would have much more prominence than it has currently. In delivering the keynote address at the opening session of the National General Assembly, Paul Kelly referred to a comment by Prime Minister John Howard at last year’s Assembly that the Australian mindset is now very much national and local.
  • A fair share for
    Local Government
    Some 750 delegates from Councils across Australia gathered in Canberra on 23–26 November for the 10th National General Assembly of Local Government. In his President’s address, Councillor Mike Montgomery said that there are many important issues confronting Local Government but there are two that stand out above the rest, demanding a united effort by Local Government over the next 12 months and beyond.
  • Resolutions

    Key Resolutions passed by the Assembly. A full list of all Resolutions is available on the ALGA web site at
  • PM stresses the importance
    of Federal/Local interface
    In his address to the National General Assembly, Prime Minister John Howard said that his government “places tremendous store on the role of Local Government”.
  • Nedlands is judged
    WA’s best Council
    The WA Local Government Association has judged the City of Nedlands as the Best Local Government in Western Australia. Nedlands won the coveted ALCOA Leadership Award at the 2003 Local Government Best Practice Awards, announced on 6 November.