February 2005 Edition

  • REROC Councils join forces to solve and save
    It is estimated that the Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils (REROC) has saved its 12 member Councils about $5 million in the course of its ten year history.
  • Excellence in environment management in NSW
    In December last year, Blue Mountains City Council took out three Awards at the Local Government and Shires Association (LGSA) Environment Awards. These annual awards were established in 1998. Council took out the division award for Local Sustainability and won the overall award for local sustainability with its Blue Mountains – Our Future project.

  • Butt free battle intensifies
    The battle to create a butt free environment is being fought in 13 Local Governments across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. The campaign will encourage smokers to be more aware of the degradation caused by careless butt disposal. Following a national call for submissions the independent Butt Littering Trust has invested over $400,000 in projects across the country.
  • Park celebrates local diversity
    Visitors to Osborne Park in Wollongong have more than open space and ocean views to enjoy following the opening of the Storylines art and community project. Celebrating the Indigenous and European histories of the site, Osborne Park Storylines project is the result of partnership grants from Royal Australian Historical Society, NSW Ministry for the Arts, Australia Council – Community, Art, Environment and Design, Living Centres – Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, as well as Wollongong City Council.
  • Public satisfaction
    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley*
    There are many pressures on Councils to continuously improve their economy, efficiency and effectiveness as community leader, service provider, advocate, regulator, service enabler and partner. Balancing such a portfolio of roles in an increasingly complex environment of changing public needs, access to resources and regulation would be a challenge for a multinational company never mind Councils.
  • Hervey Bay – It just keeps getting better!
    The spotlight is firmly on Hervey Bay with the $12 million redevelopment of the city’s airport, announcement of the $75 million Hervey Bay Airport Industrial Park, construction of a new Council operated Visitor Information Centre and a spate of new residential and resort developments either underway or in the pipeline.Hervey Bay, situated on a north facing sweep of the Queensland coastline, 300 kilometres north of Brisbane, has the distinction of being among Australia’s fastest growing regional centres.

  • Councillor profiles
    A regular feature, this edition profiling Councillors from New South Wales.
  • Think that you’ve seen it all?
    You can at CivEnEx Sydney!!!
    May 2005 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Local Government Engineers Field Days and the 100th anniversary of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA).
  • Tourism takes its toll on coastal communities
    Local Governments in coastal tourist regions are seeking alternative funding arrangements to handle high growth rates and summer tourist peaks. Some Local Governments have raised the idea of tolls on key tourist routes to pay for infrastructure and services.
  • Council lift pulse rate for Commonwealth Games
    People may find their pulse is racing a little higher on November thanks to their local Councils. Local Governments in Victoria are being invited to lock Sunday 20 November 2005 into their diaries for a swim, walk, cycle or dance as part of an active countdown to the Commonwealth Games.
  • States reaping GST revenues
    The Good Oil by Rod Brown*
    GST revenues are adding to the tax revenue base in a big way. I recently asked a friendly Commonwealth Treasury official how much the States were actually getting from the GST bucket. He said ‘A lot. So much that they never mention it, and they continue to complain!’
  • 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.
  • Citizenship ceremonies in record numbers
    The nation now has 12,000 more Australian citizens thanks to ceremonies conducted by Local Governments across the country. Many Councils also used Australia Day to help raise funds for a number of tsunami appeals.
  • New era as Kings Cross as businesses embrace $30 million street upgrade
    The City of Sydney’s $30 million Urban Renewal Program of Kings Cross has inspired a wave of new development, renovations and changes. During the past year, the City has received more than 50 development applications from businesses in the area near the streetscape work on Darlinghurst Road.

  • Editorial
    Rising community expectations, trying to keep up with rapidly aging infrastructure, changing demographics placing additional burdens on Councils, cost shifting and unfunded mandates, the reasons why Councils are struggling financially are many. The Fair Share (Hawker report), now 15 months old, was explicit in its findings – councils are under extreme financial pressure and this must be rectified.
  • Local Government takes key role in tsunami recovery
    Local Governments across Australia have moved to quickly to raise funds for the tsunami crisis. The Australian Local Government Association has helped coordinate the fund raising efforts of the nation’s 655 Councils to assist communities devastated by the giant wave. Many Councils are also working through existing sister city relationships to help communities.

  • Armadale providing planning expertise in Sri Lanka
    Western Australia’s Armadale City Council is providing much needed technical assistance and expertise to Sri Lanka’s tsunami devastated communities. The City of Armadale is paying for one of its senior planning staff to work with Sri Lanka’s Urban DevelopmentAuthority.

Feature: Human Resource Management/OH&S

  • Local Government partnership to help manage emergencies
    A dedicated Community Development Branch has been created within Emergency Management Australia (EMA) in Canberra to improve dialogue and increase coordination of the Australian Government’s training and liaison activities, with Local Governments and volunteer organisations on emergency response issues. This has resulted from
  • Building partnerships in the community
    Our Community Pty Ltd, in partnership with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Municipal Association of Victoria, deliver the national brokerage service for community business partnerships - an initiative of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership.
  • Leading Practice Seminar series: Local Government ‘showing it off’ in Tas, NSW, WA and SA
    Nowadays there is much talk about the need for capacity building in Local Government. Unfortunately the tyranny of distance can often lead individual Councils to feel isolated in their struggle to do more with less. The Australian Government’s commitment to Local Government, through the National Awards for Local Government and associated Leading Practice Seminars, gives you the opportunity to share the knowledge and successes you are achieving across your diverse range of responsibilities.

  • Partnerships: delivering integrated solutions
    In a national first, the Perth Area Consultative Committee (Perth ACC) partnered with the South West Group of Councils and the Department of Transport and Regional Services to bring to Perth an outstanding showcase of Leading Practice Initiatives from Local Government Authorities from across Australia.
  • Improving regional welcoming strategies
    The Regional Women’s Advisory Council was established in 1999 by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, to provide a women’s perspective on issues that affect communities in regional, rural and remote Australia.The Council provides advice directly to the Deputy Prime Minister, and over the last two years has focused on Building Stronger Communities.
  • Regional Partnerships
    The Australian Government’s approach to regional development is to work in partnership with communities, government and the private sector to foster the development of self reliant communities and regions. This approach is consistent with the Government’s framework for developing Australia’s regions: Stronger Regions, A Stronger Australia. Regional Partnerships is a programme that delivers on the Australian Government’s approach to regional development. A total of $308m is available through Regional Partnerships over the four years from 2004/05 to 2007/08. Regional Partnerships focuses on four areas.
  • Local Governments making harmony happen
    21 March is Harmony Day
    Harmony Day happens on March 21 each year and is a time when Australians come together to reflect on and celebrate the many cultures that make up our country and to reject racism and discrimination. Since its inception in 1999, Local Governments around Australia have been vital supporters of Harmony Day, recognising the importance of the day in promoting social cohesion and community harmony.
  • More funding for local roads
    The Australian Government has renewed the Roads to Recovery programme for a further four years and will direct $1.35 billion to about 700 councils to develop the local road network throughout Australia. At the same time, the Government will increase its land transport spending to an unprecedented $12.5 billion over five years, including the Roads to Recovery funding and extra allocations to the Black Spot National Road Safety Programme.
  • Lean on me at Launceston
    Launceston Council’s Lean on Me: A day in the life of Total Workforce is about communicating the human aspects of Council’s outdoor crew. Total Workforce is a commercialised business unit of the Launceston City Council that provides maintenance and development services. With the aim of disproving the common perception that Council workers lean on shovels, the program title was an attempt to embrace this perception and then subvert it.
  • Saving time, saving money, saving lives*
    It’s rare to find a product that truly is cutting edge technology, with the benefits of saving time, money and lives. Brisbane based e-learning development company, Life International Training Pty Ltd, has done exactly that. Its CD ROM program, First Aid Now, delivers first aid training to the level of Senior First Aid including CPR. It is also capable of assessing the learning of students with an online interface.
  • Message from the Minister
    Following the return of the Howard Government to office, I was delighted to be reappointed as the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads and look forward to working with Local Government throughout Australia to progress the Government’s initiatives for effective local governance. As your Minister, I intend to listen to Local Government and take action to address the challenges it faces. It is also my intention to continue the process of convening an annual roundtable with Local Government Associations to hear first hand what issues need to be addressed and how I can assist in the process.
  • Call to increase volunteers
    Hobsons Bay City Council in Melbourne’s west has launched two programs aimed at increasing rates of volunteering among older members of its community. The two volunteering programs, Volunteer Ambassadors and Friendly Mentoring, are running from January to May this year.
  • Local Government supports learning communities
    The Adult Learning Australia (ALA), which is the peak body for adult learning in Australia, runs the site. The Learning Communities Catalyst web site has been established to serve as a clearinghouse of information, research, case studies and practical tools to assist communities, Councils, Government, businesses, policy makers and other stakeholders establish themselves as a learning community.
  • Workplace planning – why it can’t wait any longer
    With up to 60 per cent of Local Government employees aged between 35 to 55 years and only a few Victorian Councils undertaking formal succession planning, the need for workforce planning in the sector is becoming more and more vital. An under representation of young people in the sector and the need to attract and retain talent, particularly in rural and regional areas, has seen the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) working to address the issue on a number of levels.
  • Safer and smarter footpaths
    Kangaroo Island works staff have built an affordable mechanical device to replace the traditional way of constructing rubble footpaths, eliminating back breaking manual work that often resulted in back and shoulder injuries.

  • Shoalhaven targets risk management
    The City of Shoalhaven, located 160 kilometres south of Sydney, spans 1,000 kilometres of coastline with pristine beaches, spectacular cliffs and rock formations. These unique characteristics, combined with the demands of rapid growth, the provision of infrastructure and ongoing maintenance gives rise to many risk management issues.
  • Mackay traineeship help address staff shortage
    With Year 12 students getting their results recently, Queensland’s Mackay City Council has urged school leavers to consider one of the 26 Council traineeships on offer as an alternative to university. This innovative program is starting to produce great results for the community.
  • Flexibility – a two way process
    Many well known organisations, such as IBM, 3M, Microsoft and the NSW Government, have realised times are changing and that their employees are their most valuable asset. This is why these organisations and many more are including work/life balance in their long term business strategy. These workplace policies assist employees in combining their personal, family and work responsibilities.
  • Sustainable education for sustainable Local Government *
    The Master of Sustainable Management (MSM), offered by the Faculty of Rural Management at the University of Sydney’s Orange Campus, is designed to meet the changing needs of today’s Local Government managers. It equips managers with the necessary skills and attributes to be successful, inspirational leaders in a world increasingly demanding sustainability.
  • Banyule promotes work/life balance
    Work/life balance has been one of the catch cries of the past few years of corporate heavyweights. Banyule Council in Melbourne’s north has been working harder than most to ensure that work/life balance not just a slogan and but it is firmly embedded in work practices.
  • Average salary increases and staff retention
    The historic salary gap between Local Government and the private sector has been steadily closing. This finding is based on the remuneration database of Mercer Human Resource Consulting, which reveals that salary increases passed onto council staff have been accelerating over the past four years. The results of the 2004/2005 Local Government Report show that for the first time in recent years, the average base salary increase for employees working in Local Government (4.3%) actually outstripped the rate of increase across all industries (3.8%).
  • Leading people to the highest levels of commitment *
    Finally, a Leadership Workshop for you and the people you lead! Create One has partnered with Maximum Impact Inc of Atlanta Georgia to bring Developing the Leader Within You™, an internationally recognised two day intense multimedia workshop to Australia.
  • Perth recognised in Prime Minister’s awards
    Having staff closely involved in the business planning process is a key factor in the success of the City of Perth’s corporate knowledge program. This program has now been recognised with high commendation in the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management. It is the first year the awards have been open to Local Government.
  • Future directions in HR management
    An interview with Erica Goodsir, Corporate Development Manager, at Pittwater Council in NSW.

  • Measuring morale through organisational climate surveys
    By Sue Loukomitis*
    The link between a workforce with high morale and good results are plain for all to see. A workforce that is happy and motivated is far more likely to deliver good results over the long term, since lower morale leads to absenteeism and lower performance overall.
  • UNE Partnerships – Powering up Local Governments’ skill base
    UNE Partnerships leads the field in professional and vocational training and development. It is a Registered Training Organisation offering nearly 100 qualifications in a range of areas and levels, nationally. Owned by the University of New England, one of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious teaching and research universities, UNE Partnerships provides flexible workplace based teaching and learning.
  • Australia’s most wanted staff *
    Each quarter Hays produces a Quarterly Forecast to target candidate hotspots and present market commentary. Along with our own extensive experience, this data is based on interviews with Councils about current candidate conditions and future hiring intentions.
  • Performance management software goes online*
    Performance management software online is set to revolutionise staff appraisal and development processes in the Local Government sector. Melbourne based human capital specialist, IXP3, says the benefits of online performance management systems over paper abased systems are too great to be ignored. IXP3 Director, Lyle Potgieter, says when you consider that more than 40% of average Council expenditure relates to human resources, programs for increasing the performance of employees can pay big dividends.
  • Frankston CEO accepts South African assignment
    In January, Frankston City Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Gawler, began a five week assignment in South Africa to assist in the delivery of Local Government services in developing areas of the country. He was selected to take part in the Australia South Africa Local Governance Partnership (ASALGP), which is funded by the Australian Government through its Agency for International Development (AusAID).
  • OHS excellence in Bankstown
    Lost time injuries (LTI) have declined from 47 in 1999 to 30 in 2004 at Bankstown City Council in New South Wales, partly due to new accreditation systems. Civic Services Group General Manager, Klaus Kerzinger, said Occupational Health and Safety, Environment and Quality Management Systems at Bankstown are now recognised as being world class.

  • Inspire innovate and lead – through Corporate Social Responsibility
    A leading exponent of Corporate Social Responsibility in the United Kingdom is visiting Australia in February to address leaders in the business, not for profit and government sectors. Deputy Chief Executive of UK based, Business in the Community, Peter Davies OBE, will speak at business breakfasts in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. He will also deliver a lecture in Canberra. The Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership will host these events.