Councillors’ unpaid service
A recent survey by the Local Government Association of South Australia has shown that Councillors devote more than 73 hours a month of unpaid work in fulfilling their Council role. The commissioned survey of elected members also provides an insight into the demographics of South Australian Councillors. South Australia’s 751 Council members devote an average of 73 hours a month to community business. This translates into about 110 working days – or almost half a year – of voluntary service each year.
Managing energy information across multiple Council sites *
Many Local Governments experience difficulties in managing and aggregating energy information across multiple Council sites. As the number of sites increase so too does the challenge of providing a variety of staff access to this information.
Socially Responsible Investment * The GREENing of fixed interest Local Government finance managers have been big supporters of the wave of collateralised debt obligation (CDO) issues that have been brought to the interest bearing securities market in recent years, attracted by the relatively high yields offered by the CDOs compared to their ratings bands. Another trend in Local Government financing is the adoption by Councils of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) criteria, against which the suitability of investments is assessed not only on financial grounds, but with regard to their social and environmental aspects.
Building tomorrow’s communities today
For its annual conference in February, Local Government Professionals (LGPro) chose the theme, Building Tomorrow’s Communities Today. With members across the Local Government professions in Victoria, once again the conference aimed to involve as many officers as possible through a series of streamed sessions and workshops.
Community partnership leads to a cleaner, safer environment
South Australia’s Mid Murray Council, located within regions generally known as the Murray Mallee, Riverland and the Eastern Foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges boasts one of Australia’s great natural features, the River Murray. Following the amalgamation of four small Councils to form Mid Murray, the new Council found itself not only responsible for 220 kilometres of this magnificent waterway, but also 220 kilometres of prime recreational land – land that combined all of the complicated issues of intensive development with a vital resource and a sensitive natural environment.
Learning the ropes at VLGA mayors weekend
In January, close to 40 mayors gathered for a weekend retreat in the Dandenong ranges outside Melbourne to learn the ropes of Local Government. This annual event organised by the Victorian Local Governance Association aims to help mayors elected in November get up to speed before their term begins in earnest.
Penrith supports work and family research
Penrith residents have become a part of a vital Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) research project on women, men, work and family. In February, Penrith City Council hosted HREOC focus groups led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Pru Goward, to ask local residents, both men and women, what they think about balancing paid work and caring for a family.
Reserve Bank buys into infrastructure debate The Good Oil by Rod Brown* Reserve Bank Governor, Ian Macfarlane, has warned Australians that the days of booming economic growth and low interest rates are over. He told the House of Representatives Economics Committee in mid February that Australians need to brace for a double whammy of lower growth and higher interest rates. Most interestingly, the Reserve Bank has put its oar in about the lack of investment in infrastructure, based on the capacity constraint argument with the Queensland port and NSW rail systems as examples.
Volunteers set a blooming good example
Residents and visitors to Angaston in the beautiful Barossa Valley could not have missed how well gardens have been maintained over the spring and summer months. This is all due to the untiring volunteer work of members of the Angaston Garden Society Inc.
Mega skate park for Bondi Beach
In February, International guest skaters joined locals to celebrate the opening of Waverley Council’s new skate park, Bowl-A-Rama, which is located almost on the sand at Bondi Beach. Waverley Council decided to build the $800,000 skate park, one of the biggest in Sydney, after extensive consultation with skaters and the local community.
2005 LGMA National Congress
Paul Arnold, General Manager of Burnie City Council, Tasmania and Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) National President, invites colleagues from around Australia to join him at Australia’s only national conference designed by and for Local Government professionals.
In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Geoff Lake, President of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).
Local Governments are leading the charge to reduce greenhouse emissions despite the Federal Government refusing to ratify the Kyoto Agreement. From July 1999 to June 2004, under the programs such as Cities for Climate Protection (CCP), 131 Local Governments have achieved 2,981,541 tonnes of carbon dioxide abatement. The Australian branch of International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) has been working with Councils large and small to achieve this reduction. World wide, under the ICLEI banner, more than 500 Local Governments are now involved in Cities for Climate Protection to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The number of Australian Councils involved in this program is clear evidence, that at the government level, Local Government is certainly doing its part.
Intergovernmental agreement vital to addressing cost shifting
The Federal Local Government, Territories and Roads Minister, Jim Lloyd, and the President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Councillor Paul Bell, have pledged to work together to achieve a new deal for Local Government over the next two years. Minister Lloyd and Councillor Bell met in Canberra in February to discuss how the ALGA and the Australian Government can work more closely to achieve an intergovernmental agreement (IGA).
CDEP non negotiable
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has welcomed a Federal Government assurance that the Community Development Employment Program – which is of vital importance for Australia’s 90 Aboriginal Councils – is not under threat. The Community Development Employment Program has been in operation throughout Australia since 1976. This program was introduced to give Aboriginal people a chance to gain skills to further their employment prospects as well as deliver vital services within many remote communities.
Feature: Information Technology & Communications
Community House promotes dignity and independence
The innovative Greenbrook Community House in Epping is designed to meet the social needs of people with a disability. Council’s Access Planner, Angela Armstrong-Wright, said the community house provides community space, leisure and recreation opportunities and a place for social interaction.
Innovative shot in the arm for food manufacturing
In a groundbreaking initiative, the City of Whittlesea has formed a Food Industry Cluster to help build up this important industry sector. The Food Industry Cluster aims to create networking opportunities for local food related businesses, and most importantly to save them money through collective purchasing of common services and stimulate growth through collaboration and a common purpose.
A conference on community and leisure facilities – August 2005
Better Facilities – Stronger Communities, a conference focusing on community and leisure facilities, is to be held on 15 and 16 August 2005 at the Melbourne Park Function Centre. The aim of the conference is to explore best practice in facilities planning, design and management.
Thomastown Library creates a community hub
Creating community hubs around libraries is a key part of the City of Whittlesea’s commitment to building strong, sustainable and connected communities. As part of this drive, in February Whittlesea Mayor, Councillor Sam Alessi, opened the new Thomastown Library and Community Centre.
30 year strategic plan for a growing community
Looking to a 30 year horizon, the City of Whittlesea has unveiled a strategic plan for the delivery of human services. Director Community Services, Ruth Spielman, said the strategic plan was the result of an unparalleled collaboration across close to 20 organisations delivering community services in the City.
GIS aids growth planning
State of the art technology has been applied in an innovative way by the City of Whittlesea to create the first draft of a master plan for Transit City Centres at Epping and South Morang. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology has been used to create three dimensional models of the entire plan.
Bikes improve asset management
The use of old and new technology has saved the City of Whittlesea a great deal of time and money. Every two years, all footpaths need to be audited to ensure that they are not cracked or have sunk. Using officers on bicycles fitted with palm pilot computers and linked to a Global Positioning System (GPS) has improved the efficiency of the process.
In the next three to five years, the City of Whittlesea faces the exciting prospect of being Victoria’s fastest growing community. It is well placed to handle this due to its rigorous approach to forward planning.
One house, one job
As a major development corridor in Melbourne’s north, one of Whittlesea City Council’s commitments is to have at least one person in full time paid employment for every house built. With the area set to become the fastest growing region in Victoria this is an enormous challenge. To meet it, the City of Whittlesea has approved land for a new employment precinct in Cooper Street, which is ideally positioned near the newly opened Craigieburn Bypass, Melbourne airport and the inland rail port in Somerton.
Lots of people LEAPing
The City of Whittlesea’s seniors community is an extraordinarily active one, with dozens of seniors groups operating within the municipality. As well as the recreational opportunities offered by the groups themselves, Council has established the LEAP program for people aged over 55 years. LEAP stands for Let Everyone Actively Participate.
A wired Whittlesea
As a fast growing municipality, the City of Whittlesea has been vitally concerned that its residents and businesses can reap all the benefits of the information age. Council boasts an impressive record in using information technology and in recent years has won many awards for its work.
Townsville access mapping
Townsville Access Mapping (TAM) is the newest addition to the suite of products available to residents and businesses. Townsville City Council was one of the first Local Governments in Australia to implement a Geographic Information System some 20 years ago. Council understood that representing information spatially in map format with associated databases would provide tremendous benefits to both its internal processes and the community.
Cashless parking now in Fremantle
Fremantle residents should no longer find themselves in the situation of being short of change when they need to pay for parking. A solution is now at hand for motorists to pay with their mobile phones. Western Australian company iPark Australia was awarded the contract to install the iPark cashless parking service in the City of Fremantle, which became operational last December.
Virtual planning at Doncaster
An online 3D presentation tool has proved to be a highly successful consultation and planning tool for Manningham Council in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. The online tool has been used during consultation for the major Doncaster Hill project.
WA portal launched
A whole of WA Local Government Portal has been launched by the Western Australian Local Government Association. As the latest milestone in the Linking Councils and Communities (LCC) program, the portal is the first online shared service that includes all WA Councils.
Local-e procurement for NSW Councils
New South Wales Councils now have the opportunity to purchase goods and services online using one program. Local-e Online Action for the NSW e-Procurement project is an initiative of the Local Government Association of NSW and the Shires Association of NSW (LGSA), in association with the Australian Government’s Networking the Nation (NTN) program.
Mobile mapping takes off at Noosa *
Mapping on hand held computers was first deployed by the Works Directorate of Noosa Council 12 months ago to manage the location and maintenance of infrastructure assets in the field. This exercise resulted in a 90 per cent reduction in paperwork and a 50 per cent cost saving over the traditional methods.
Assisting our remote communities with ICT
With many of the Northern Territory’s Local Governments being small, remote communities the latest information and communication technology (ICT) can greatly assist in overcoming isolation as well as enhance local services and governance practices.
New computer system for fire prevention
Melton Shire Council has developed a new high tech computer system which is saving resources and giving a major boost to efficiency in fire prevention checks. The new system helps record and control potential fire risk sites around the Shire by Local Laws officers using laptop computers linked to GPS satellite systems.
Kiama’s SMS info@yourlibrary
Kiama residents in New South Wales can now SMS their library to get faster answers to their questions Kiama’s SMS info@your library is both a new service and new concept in information access.
Webcasting of Council meetings
Warringah Council’s fortnightly meetings at the Council Chambers in Dee Why will now be broadcast live over the Internet to increase public participation and access. The live broadcast – known as webcasting – will allow the community to watch the meeting from their homes or offices without the need to physically attend.
IT2005 – call for papers
2005 sees the 8th Information Technology Conference for Local Government – IT2005, to be staged from 15–18 November in beautiful Coffs Harbour. The conference, hosted by Coffs Harbour City Council, provides a forum for Local Government managers and support staff to network, learn and exchange ideas.
Maroochy Plan now accessible online
The Maroochy Plan 2000 has been in place since June 2000 and last year was included in Council’s web site. Town Planner, Phillip Roth, said that the web presence represents a fundamental shift for planning in Queensland with the introduction of the Integrated Planning Act (IPA), requiring all Local Governments to prepare an IPA compliant planning scheme.
Adaptive technology improves library access
Access to information, resources, and the Internet at Moreland City Council’s Coburg Library just got a whole lot easier for people with vision impairment. The library launched its newly acquired ‘adaptive technology’ – a range of resources and software to assist people with vision impairment to access information and library services.
Yarra Ranges puts performance online
An online performance management system introduced recently by Victoria’s Shire of Yarra Ranges is giving staff a new sense of clarity and ownership in their own performance development. Shire of Yarra Ranges Executive Organisational Development, Jill Colson, said that replacing the old paper based Word template performance management program with an online, software driven system was likely to deliver significant benefits over time.