June 2004 Edition

  • New South Wales Minister’s council squad sparks new merger row
    The New South Wales State Government and the Opposition have clashed over council amalgamations focusing on a special investigation squad set up by the Local Government Minister.
  • Conference to explore structural reform alternatives for NSW
    The Local Government Minister, Tony Kelly, will be the keynote speaker at a conference looking at structural reform options being implemented by Councils in New South Wales. The Councils Working Together Conference will be held in Wellington on 24–26 June. It is being hosted by the Strategic Alliance of Wellington, Blayney and Cabonne Councils.
  • AusLink White Paper
    The Australian Government has released its new land transport plan, AusLink describing it as the equivalent of two Snowy Mountains Schemes. It earmarks $11.8 billion for land transport spending, which will include a massive upgrade of Australia’s east coast road and rail systems.
  • Model DA update
    More than 300 Local Government, State and Territory Governments, industry groups, private sector and community groups took part in the first stage of a consultation into Australia’s planning system during May.
  • Asset Management
    Strategic focus to close sustainability gap
    Hosted by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the inaugural International Local Government Asset Management Conference, staged in Melbourne on 12 and 13 May 2004, attracted delegates from across Australia and overseas. Describing asset management as integral to the Local Government sector, MAV President, Councillor Brad Matheson, said it underpins most of the functions carried out by Councils.
  • Roads technology forum
    The 2004 Road System and Engineering Technology Forum will be held at the Bardon Conference Centre in Brisbane on 4–6 August. The technology forum has grown from humble beginnings in 1995 with an attendance of around 80 to in excess of 400 delegates from the Department of Main Roads, Queensland Transport, Local Government and private consultants.
  • Mentoring program earns gold for Launceston
    A mentoring program that recruits volunteers from the community to work with under performing students has been named Tasmania’s top Local Government project. Launceston City Council’s Co-Pilots Mentoring Program was awarded the 2004 Tasmanian Local Government Gold Award for Excellence at the recent Tasmanian Local Government conference.
  • Redefining Local Government in Tasmania
    Tasmania’s 92nd Local Government Annual Conference provided the forum for the State’s new Premier, Paul Lennon, to make his first official address to the sector. The Premier referred to a new optimism sweeping Tasmania.
  • Strong economy expected to drive new deal for LG
    The recent Federal budget was well received by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). It addressed several concerns for local communities, including additional funding for important transport, environment and human services initiatives.
  • Tax change to sound death knell of public private partnerships
    New tax legislation to be introduced by the Federal Treasury in the June Parliamentary sittings could sound the death knell for future public/private partnerships.
  • Regional visitor information centres and increasing tourism dollars
    New research has shown visitor information centres (VICs) in regional areas are having a great impact on visitor activity and spending. The research has found that these centres play a major role in generating tourism income. With most regions working
  • Councillor profiles
    A regular feature, this month we have interviewed two Councillors from Tasmania.
  • 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.

  • Renmark Paringa Council celebrates 100 years of Local Government
    Renmark Paringa Council in South Australia’s Riverland region recently celebrated the milestone of 100 Years of Local Government. Council marked the occasion, 100 years to the day after the first ever Council meeting, by hosting a gala dinner which saw 180 invited guests celebrate in style.
  • Mitsubishi Motors - More than local issues
    The Good Oil by Rod Brown*
    Last month’s decision by Mitsubishi to close its engine assembly plant at Lonsdale in Adelaide’s south raises significant national issues. While around 700 jobs will be lost, with another 2,700 jobs at risk at the company’s assembly plant, it has sent shock waves through not only South Australia, but also Canberra.

  • Jabiru commits to working with traditional owners
    The Jabiru Town Council marked National Sorry Day on 26 May with a formal statement of recognition, an apology and a commitment to Aboriginal reconciliation. The statement represented the first formal acknowledgment by Council that the Mirrar people are the traditional owners of Jabiru.
  • President's Comments
    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.
  • Editorial
    Local Government amalgamations are again in the spotlight in New South Wales and Victoria. Amalgamations are often essential. The council boundaries that were often set up in the 19th Century do not make for good government in the 21st. Change is often needed, healthy and long overdue. While the reasons for change are often undeniable, the process of change is often unfair and even brutal.
  • Cost shifting recommendations
    Council Managers call for tripartite commitment to get reforms rolling.
    Staged in Melbourne from 23–26 May, Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) 23rd National Congress was opened by Victorian Governor, John Landy. He welcomed some 480 delegates from all States and Territories, as well as representatives from the United States of America, United Kingdom, New Zealand and South Africa. During the congress session on cost shifting David Spokes, representing the National CEOs Group, said that the Hawker Inquiry left no doubt that there is a problem, but the onus is on Local Government to ensure that the other spheres will respond adequately to it.

Feature: Environmental Management

  • Maroochy Shire initiates Sea Change Summit
    Following a number of years of growth and development on the Sunshine Coast, and indeed many similar coastal areas around Australia, Maroochy Shire Council is at the forefront in addressing this issue and the implications it has for the future of the Sunshine Coast. In February this year, Council hosted a special summit of Chief Executives from 27 municipalities across Australia to examine options for dealing with the demands of unprecedented population and tourism growth in coastal regions.

  • Creating a long term vision for the Shire
    Maroochy is poised at a critical point on its path to the future. There has never been a more important time to shape the Shire for the communities of today and tomorrow. For a number of years, Maroochy has been the fifth fastest growing of 675 Local Governments throughout Australia. The prospect of a relaxed lifestyle set in a wonderful backdrop of sand, sun and lush greenery has been a strong factor in the wave of migration to Maroochy.
  • Focusing on the long term health of the Maroochy River
    A major issue faced by not only Council but also the Maroochy community is the long term water quality and overall health of the Maroochy River and its catchments. The health of the Maroochy River was recently highlighted with the release of the 2003 Ecosystem Health Report Card. Part of the Healthy Waterways Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program, the Report Card provides health ratings on South East Queensland waterways.
  • Improving water quality
    The Maroochy River pilot will provide an integrated and comprehensive approach to water quality improvement that is measurable and which can be used as a demonstration site to assist in furthering improvements in the Shire’s waterways. The proposed pilot project that was presented to Council comprises three interrelated components.
  • Councillors use 13 point plan to drive Maroochy forward
    It’s an exciting time and a new era for Maroochy Shire as the community welcomes a new Council and Mayor who will guide the Shire over the next four years. The face of the Maroochy Shire Council team changed following the Local Government election held on 27 March. The new Council comprises 12 Councillors under the leadership of new Mayor, Councillor Joe Natoli.
  • Latrobe City Council cuts plastic bag use by one third
    A ten week promotion by Latrobe City Council and its Litter Prevention Taskforce has helped reduce the use of supermarket plastic bags across the municipality. Major supermarkets in this Victorian regional city are reporting a massive reduction in their purchases of plastic bags, with some claiming plastic bag use has decreased by one third over the past six months.
  • Maroochy – the centre of the Sunshine Coast
    The Maroochy Shire is one of the fastest growing areas in Australia. Only one hour’s drive north of Queensland’s capital Brisbane, Maroochy is as diverse as it is popular. With its lush green hinterland, mountain ranges with sweeping views to the ocean and 25 kilometres of beautiful beaches, Maroochy offers everything from refreshing rainforests to the sparkling blue waters of the coast, all within 30 minutes drive of each other.

  • Lifestyle and opportunity
    Maroochy Shire is the largest and most central area of the Sunshine Coast. Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales are within easy travelling distances, while regional urban centres suchas Caloundra, Noosa, Caboolture, Gympie and Maryboroughare close neighbours. Maroochy is close enough to enjoy easy access to all that metropolitan Brisbane has to offer, yet far enough away to offer a pristine environment with modern services, amenities,and a relaxed lifestyle.
  • Thriving local economy
    Maroochy Shire is the holiday destination for people who are attracted to this region’s beautiful landscape, climate and lifestyle. As one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations with year round sunshine, Maroochy offers a host of first class recreational activities, restaurants, shopping centres and numerous tourist attractions.

  • Earth Carers educating the community
    Earth Carers is a community education program that aims to improve community knowledge and skills in waste minimisation at Local Government level. The program has been introduced in Perth’s western suburbs by the Western Metropolitan Regional Council. This includes the councils of Subiaco, Cottesloe, Claremont, Peppermint Grove and Mosman Park. The City of Nedlands also participates in the program.
  • “We want our Council to take on sustainability and triple bottom line...but where do we start?”
    Sustainability, triple bottom line and state of the environment reporting – these terms are moving quickly into the everyday vocabulary of Local Government. While these concepts represent an exciting new way of doing business for Councils, many are still asking the fundamental question, “Where do we start?”.
  • Local Government involvement in natural resource management
    As World Environment Day on 5 June 2004 rolls around it is timely to reflect on the great work being done in Australia by all levels of government, from the Australian Government right through to the local councils, to encourage the sustainable management of our natural resources. Local Governments are playing a key role in rescuing the environment, in partnership with the Australian and State and Territory Governments, regional bodies, community groups and industry across the country. This environmental rescue is possible because of the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) and the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP).

  • Redland community countering contaminants
    Redland Shire Council in Queensland is asking residents, business operators and developers to consider how they can help prevent contaminants and pollutants entering stormwater drains, and eventually its waterways. Mayor Don Seccombe said while rainfall is a natural and harmless occurrence, the pollution that it gathers from roads, parking lots, buildings and other urban structures is not.
  • G-Team cleans up Ashfield
    The best way to beat graffiti is to clean it up as soon as it appears. Letting it stand can attract further vandalism up and down the street. In Sydney’s Ashfield, graffiti does not stand a chance with the creation of the G-Team.

  • Used oil recycling across Australia
    A Federal Government program that works with Local Governments across Australia is scoring points in oil recycling. More than 400 oil collection points have been set up in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia and a further 300 are under construction.
  • Alexandrina integrating sustainability
    Alexandrina Council in rural South Australia has successfully integrated its environmental, economic and social goals into its strategic planning process. Local Agenda 21 Project Officer, Graham Webster, said the project is a solid demonstration that smaller, rural councils are able to engage in and benefit from sustainability planning, such as that provided by applying Local Agenda 21.
  • Kaikoura proves small can be green
    Located two hours north of Christchurch on New Zealand’s south island, Kaikoura District Council has a population of just 3,500 people. The coastal township, with its magnificent mountain backdrop, attracts 1.6 million visitors each year. Visitor numbers are growing at 14 per cent annually. Abundant marine life, including whales, seals and dolphins, is the major drawcard for visitors within New Zealand and overseas.

  • ‘Hop in and help’ at Manly Lagoon
    After more than 9,000 volunteer hours the rehabilitation of the Manly lagoon in Sydney has been recognised as one of the finest examples of environmental management in Australia. Manly Council’s Manly Environment Centre Hop in and Help Manly Lagoon restoration project was supported by over 1,500 local volunteer workers. This project took out the 2003 National Awards for Local Government prize in the Local Agenda 21 category.
  • Smiths Lake Reserve redevelopment
    It is hoped that more frogs will soon be hopping around near Smiths Lake Reserve when Western Australia’s Vincent Town Council creates a living stream running into the lake. The new development is the result of extensive planning and community consultation.

  • Overcoming acid sulphate soils with new ViroSoil™ technology
    The environmental impact of acid sulphate soils (ASS) can be devastating. Apart from killing plant life, they generate sulphuric acid that leaks into waterways, killing aquatic life. They can also corrode steel and concrete.

  • Blue Circle Ash
    Leading the industry in environmental products
    Blue Circle Ash is leading the way in developing environmentally friendly products for use in the construction industry. Blue Circle Ash has produced a variety of graded ash products, known as Envir-O-Agg, which is the coarse by-product from coal fired power stations.
  • Landscape is more than just trees and grass in Tea Tree Gully
    The City of Tea Tree Gully Urban Landscape Master Plan has created a shift in Local Government thinking. Landscape is often used as an equivalent term for terrain, although in its generally accepted sense it is a much broader concept that includes visual, artistic and cultural aspects of the surface of the land as well as the physical environment.
  • Greene-Eden – still the one for sub-surface drip irrigation
    After installing several million metres of drip tube, specifically into sub-surface drip systems, the proof that Greene Eden Watering Systems work – and work well – became distinctly obvious to during water restrictions introduced last summer.
  • Recycle collection made easy *
    Dakota Industries specialises in the design and manufacture of steel containers for the waste industry. With its new state of the art manufacturing plant in Penrith, Dakota is able to manufacture high volume product in short lead times. Using modern manufacturing technologies, it offers quality collection bins at competitive prices.
  • Sustainable growth
    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley *
    Central Government’s growth agenda means that Councils are facing pressures for development from many directions. They are also often facing pressure from their local communities to limit or prevent growth. This provides a complex dynamic for UK Councillors with Council elections in this month. While Central Government is determined that growth is sustainable in terms of the environment, proximity to employment and community infrastructure, inevitably it will mean that green fields will be built on.