July 2004 Edition

  • Frogs with attitude are no croaking matter
    New South Wales Sport and Recreation Minister, Sandra Nori, has praised the Balranald community for using the southern bell frog to attract more tourists to the region. The Minister inspected Frogs with Attitude at the Visitor Information Centre during a visit to Balranald in June.
  • The ECOEDGE Conference
    Urban environments or urban disasters?
    10–11 February 2005

    ECOEDGE, the latest in the renowned CityEDGE conference series, will explore the question of whether cities can rightly be classified as urban environments or urban disasters. Presented by the City of Melbourne since 1999, the CityEDGE conference series provides a platform for critical discussion and debate on urban design, architectural and planning issues facing cities today.
  • Six step strategy for Councils to secure sustainable cities
    A six point strategy was needed to secure a sustainable future for the nation’s cities and towns, President of the Australian Local Government Association, Councillor Mike Montgomery, told the National Summit on the Future of Australia’s Cities and Towns, which was held recently in Canberra. The summit was an initiative of State Local Government and Planning Ministers and Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) hosted by ACT Planning Minister, Simon Corbell.
  • Recognising Council high achievers
    At the 2004 Local Government Managers Australia National Congress in Melbourne FOCUS invited delegates to nominate an individual or team from their Council who has excelled
  • Councillor profiles
    A regular feature, this month we have interviewed two Councillors from Victoria.
  • New generation civic centre for Harlow
    Harlow is one of several English towns constructed in the postwar period as New Towns. Orbiting London, the New Towns were seen primarily as a way of reducing London’s population and providing an opportunity to plan for high standards of living in a modern environment for working people.
  • Embracing tomorrow’s prosperity together
    A highly successful conference, titled Embracing Tomorrow’s Prosperity, was held at Tom Price in Western Australia’s Ashburton Shire on 28 May 2004. The theme of the conference was how the community can best work with Federal and State Governments, Government agencies, Indigenous communities, the resource and business sectors to manage the impact and meet the opportunities presented by the rapid expansion now occurring in the iron ore market.
  • SA framework for customer service
    A framework for customer service standards in Local Government has been developed by the Local Government Customer Services Network (South Australian Chapter). Launched in 2003, the framework was conceived by the network and initially scoped through two workshops conducted with its members.
  • Give me the money! (Frankly, no)
    The Good Oil by Rod Brown *
    A large part of my company’s work is accessing Federal program funding, or cutting through the red tape for clients. In coming months, we will provide some tips on dealing with government, and if you get stuck, perhaps we can assist. As a starting point, don’t be crass by giving the impression that ‘the money’ is the overriding objective – winning the hearts and minds is the pitch, and be ready to put your own money – aka ‘hurt money’ – on the table. Also please note that support through Ministerial championing may be more important than money.
  • Forum to grow peace in Ashfield
    Sydney’s Ashfield Council is looking for new ways to build bridges between Muslim and Christian cultures. In June it held a forum to look at ways to promote non violence as a way to grow peace and mutual understanding.

  • Frankston’s safety initiatives attract national interest
    Senior officers from the City of Cockburn, in Western Australia, recently visited Frankston City Council to look at initiatives to improve people’s perception of safety in the town centre. Cockburn Chief Executive, Rod Brown, and Community Safety Director, Don Green, were taken on a tour of the Central Activities District by Frankston City Council’s Amenity Services Manager, Geoff Cumming, Community Safety Coordinator, Bonnie Baird, and Frankston Police Sergeant Mary Marshall.
  • Local Governments take part in world class marketing
    Local Governments that participated in Harmony Day on 21 March this year will be pleased to learn their efforts, along with others in the community, have received international acclaim. On 7 June in Los Angeles, the US based International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) handed Harmony Day its prestigious Gold Quill Award for Excellence in Communications.

  • President's Comments
    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Fran Kilgariff, Mayor of Alice Springs Town Council and now President of the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory.
  • Boost for green waste recycling
    More of Victoria’s garden clippings and food scraps will be turned into compost instead of creating greenhouse pollution under a $9 million plan announced recently by the Victorian Environment Minister, John Thwaites. Speaking at Natural Recovery Systems in Dandenong, Minister Thwaites, said the $9 million over three years would support Local Governments and green processors to invest in more sophisticated green waste recycling facilities.
  • Editorial
    A Latham Government approach to intergovernmental relations will be the area of great interest to Local Government. This would be the same under a Costello Government. Certainly the groundwork for an overhaul of roles and functions of our spheres of government, together with a long overdue review of financial arrangements, is undoubtedly a major achievement of the current Government. But driving the bipartisan support for change clearly set out in the Hawker Report to the next level will be a major challenge for which ever side of politics forms the next Federal Government.
  • AusLink starts bidding war
    The recent release of the Federal Government’s new land transport plan, AusLink, has started a bidding war for road development across Australia in the run up to the Federal election. The Federal Government has set out $11.8 billion in land transport spending, including a massive upgrade of Australia’s east coast road and rail systems. The Federal Opposition claims AusLink did not go far enough and spelt out different spending priorities, particularly on the Deer Park Bypass in Victoria.
  • Regional city mayors combine forces to lobby for better deal
    The fortunes of regional cities received a boost when mayors from around the country converged on Parliament House Canberra in June to formally launch Australian Regional Cities. Australian Regional Cities is a dynamic group of 28 municipalities from regional Australia that has come together to seek support from political parties and candidates in the lead up to the Federal election.With membership from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, Australian Regional Cities represents more than 1.68 million people. This equates to 23 per cent of the population living outside of the capital cities.

Feature: Financial Planning & Asset Management

  • Alice Springs a regional leader
    As a large regional centre, Alice Springs Town Council is a major player in various initiatives both within Central Australia and wider afield. Town Council has a Memorandum of Understanding with Tangetyere Council Incorporated which administers 18 town camps in Alice Springs. This has recently been revised providing opportunities for additional cooperative ventures.
  • Central Australia – home of desert knowledge
    The Central Australian Regional Development Board is chaired by Alice Springs Mayor and LGANT President, Fran Kilgariff. The Board is working on a collaborative research project with Desert Knowledge, a statutory authority set up to advance the skills and expertise established over the years by people who live in this desert environment.
  • A solution for dumped cars
    With long distances between settlements and an extensive network of gravel roads soon takes its toll on motor vehicles. Over the years, many abandoned and derelict vehicles have been left wherever further repairs became a pointless exercise. As a result, many communities are littered with car bodies that quickly become a haven for vermin, health hazard with snakes hiding under them and an eyesore.
  • Nyirranggulung – Making it happen
    Amalgamating seven communities, all from different language groups, and covering an area stretching 320 kilometres to the east of Katherine has been no easy task.
  • Regional cooperation in Katherine
    Katherine Town Council is a major player within this region. Mayor Ann Shepherd is also Chair of the Harmony Group. With a committee comprising 26 people, she heads an Executive of nine people which assists in streamlining decision making.
  • Community harmony a winner
    As part of the Territory wide Community Harmony Strategy, Sharon Hillen coordinates various programs in Katherine. Designed to address antisocial behaviour, a number of initiatives have been highly successful in and around Katherine.

  • Marketing the Barkly
    The Barkly is the largest region in the Territory, but has the smallest population with just 6,000 people. Local Government bodies including Ali Curung, Elliot, Tennant Creek and Alpurrarulan, as part of Building A Better Barkly, are looking at opportunities for improving service delivery and capacity building projects.
  • Pine Creek fights back
    Built on mining, the township of Pine Creek located 200 kilometres south of Darwin has certainly experienced its ups and downs. Once the largest town in the Territory with the gold rush in the early 1900s, population numbers swelled again with the opening of new generation mines in the 1980s. Their closure in 1993 again placed enormous pressures on the town’s ongoing viability, but this small, robust community was not ready to die.
  • East Arnhem sharing resources
    The East Arnhem Regional Development Board (EARDB) recently visited far north Queensland to examine the work of development organisations in the Cape York and Torres Strait regions. Discussions were held with the Torres Strait Regional Authority, the Torres Shire Council, Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships, the Cape York Peninsula Development Association and Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation.
  • LGANT assists Councils to drive the change process
    “It is a characteristic of Local Government in Northern Territory to have a council in virtually every town,” said Tony Tapsell, Executive Officer, Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT). “Most of our 63 Local Governments are small and many lack capacity, particularly the professional people, to enable them to perform an increasing range of responsibility required of Local Government. The more remote a Council, the wider the service areas, such as health, policing and welfare, the Council is expected to perform as there are no other agencies in the area to do this.”
  • Darwin the gateway to Asia
    With the recent completion of the Ghan railway, Darwin strategic location close to Asian markets has opened up many more opportunities for growth and development. The region has enormous potential to build on its already strong tourism and expanding agricultural sectors. Representing Darwin and Palmerston City Councils, Litchfield Shire, Cox Peninsula, Coomalie and Belyuen Community Government Councils, the Top End Regional Organisation of Councils (TOPROC) is working on a regional development plan to take full advantages of these opportunities.
  • New and borrowed ideas drive reform in the Territory
    Reform of Local Government in the Northern Territory is a combination of home grown solutions and some borrowing of what has worked well elsewhere in Australia.

  • Capacity building the key to the reform process
    The Northern Territory Government proportionally provides more money directly to Local Government than any of the other States. In matching the Commonwealth Government’s $21 million per annum, it places a huge investment in Local Government to deliver to local communities.
  • A regional approach to build a better future
    Covering one sixth of Australia’s total land mass, Northern Territory currently has 63 Local Governments providing services for its 200,000 residents. It has six Municipal Councils, one town, 30 Community Government and 28 Association Councils which largely service small, remote communities. These Local Government bodies are responsible for five per cent of the total area in the Northern Territory, with the remaining 95 per cent being unincorporated land.
  • Online first for local heritage study
    Researching the past can mean using the cutting edge tools of the present. Hobsons Bay City Council has become the first Local Government in Victoria to make its Heritage Study a fully searchable database accessible through its web site.
  • EServices generates cost savings
    In 1999, the City of Whittlesea in Victoria was convinced that emerging Internet technology had enormous untapped potential to offer new possibilities for the delivery of Council services. Director of Organisation Development, Neill Hocking, said in the absence of existing systems to support service delivery, Council resolved to take a leadership role, establishing the vision and strategy to deliver electronic services that served both staff and the broader community.
  • Secure funding future for swim and leisure centre
    A certain and exciting future for the Sunshine Swim and Leisure Centre in Victoria has been secured following the State Government’s announcement of $1.48 million funding under the Better Pools Program. The funding tops up $4.44 million being provided by Brimbank and marks a massive capital investment in the community.

  • Caboolture prepared for records management recovery
    Caboolture Shire Council in Queensland has developed a coordinated approach to recover Council’s vital records. Council’s Record Supervisor Angela Garnett said the procedure was developed last year to ensure there was a set of clear and comprehensive instructions to recover records, and to ensure a minimum of loss and disruption of services in the event of an emergency or disaster.

  • Fund raising boost for regional recreation complex
    Narrogin Town Council has raised about $1 million through private means for a regional recreation complex. With a town based population of 4,700, and using a series of pledges and tax deductible donations, Narrogin has built a major recreational centre.
  • Parafield stormwater harvesting initiative
    A staggering 1.5 billion litres of water each year has been saved along the Murray River and pollution massively reduced through an engineering solution that benefits both business and the environment. Salisbury Council in South Australia has played a leading role in halting a possible major business relocation by implementing a highly effective environmental solution.
  • Safeguards assets people, finances and property
    Risk management is one of the key tools for any Local Government. It is an attempt to systematically devise, implement and improve risk management practices and decision making. The risk management objectives within North Sydney Council are to maintain the highest possible integrity in services provided by Council.
  • Penrith City Council uses Mondelio to deliver long term planning *
    One of Australia’s most progressive councils, Penrith City Council, is implementing a revolutionary corporate modelling solution to deliver effective control over long term planning. Named New South Wales Public Sector Organisation for 2003 by CPA Australia, Penrith City Council is one of the largest Local Governments in New South Wales.

  • Project delivered on time and on budget
    The introduction of a new project management process at the City of Tea Tree Gully in South Australia was a response to a need to significantly improve the overall performance in the management and delivery of projects.
  • Small shire thrives on innovation
    A small rural shire is as rich in innovation, motivation and enthusiasm in response to change, as it is poor in financial and staff resources. Thus its response to change, and particularly the Victorian Government’s requirement of Best Value investigations, has been innovative and dynamic.
  • Internal audit takes whole of Council approach to risk management
    The Gold Coast City Council’s Internal Audit Strategic Peer Review and Implementation Project has provided a reinvention of the focus and function of internal audit.
  • Council responds to cost shifting
    A Victorian Council has taken a strong stance to demonstrate the effect of cost shifting on Local Government. This is the process of giving Local Government more services without the funding or asking councils to collect fees.
  • Increasing efficiency with integrated GIS
    Goulburn Valley Water (GVW) based in Shepparton, Victoria provides urban water and wastewater services to more than 105,000 people across 54 towns and cities. Managing 2,000 kilometres of network requires a fully integrated and efficient geographical information system (GIS) with the ability to see at a glance the impact of any burst water pipes or scheduled maintenance work.
  • Plans for the future
    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley *
    A consequence of the modernisation of Local Government in England has been the proliferation of plans – Community Plans, Medium Term Financial Plans, Service Plans and Asset Management Plans, to name but a few. These plans have been required by Central Government to get Councils to think more clearly about their assets and services. Indeed, the number plans required to be produced by Councils has reached the point that a reduction in the requirement to produce them is being used as a reward for good performance!
  • Albury puts people first
    For Albury City Council in New South Wales, providing a modern physical environment and a clear corporate image has contributed to a much improved performance of its Customer Service Unit. Manager Customer Service, Ros Walls, said construction of a bright, professional one-stop-shop in 2001/02 and the recruitment of a ten member team from across the organisation was just the beginning.
  • Huon Valley’s bridge workbox a winner
    Working under and around Huon Valley’s 180 bridges can be dangerous and difficult. The Tasmanian council’s response to this problem has now opened up business opportunities and gained recognition across the State.

  • Assisting councils with roads management *
    Two of Australia¹s leading asset management service providers, MoloneySystems and Pitt & Sherry, have joined forces to produce a practical anaffordable software package to help Councils meet their road managemenobligations.