December 2005 Edition

  • Skateramps replaces existing facility for Sydney
    Skateramps Australia, well known for its fixed and mobile skating facilities, was recently commissioned by Sydney City Council to design, supply and install a replacement facility at Federal Park in Annandale. The new ‘lip ramp’ has been very well received by local skater groups and is in constant use by a range of age groups across the various skills levels.
  • Maryborough increases marine and maritime activities
    Queensland’s Maryborough City Council has signed an agreement with national development company, Maryborough Investments Pty Ltd, to develop the Fraser Coast Marine Industrial Park and re-establish the marine industry in the region. Maryborough Investments Pty Ltd have agreed to invest an estimated $20 million into the area.
  • Yarra Assist gives disadvantaged communities a voice
    A computer support service program for small to medium sized businesses is enhancing the sustainability of community minded initiatives in Victoria’s City of Yarra. Yarra Assist was set up through the eACE (Electronic Atherton Community Enterprise) project, a project of Infoxchange.
  • First national economic development awards presented
    The first national economic development awards for Local Government were presented at a ceremony held in Melbourne and attended by more than 120 Council and community representatives. Known as the National Economic Development Awards, the competition to locate outstanding performances by Local Governments, community groups and individuals attracted nearly 60 entries and was coordinated by the Economic Development Association of Victoria (EDAV).
  • Recognising Council high achievers
    At the 2005 Local Government Managers Australia National Congress in Canberra, FOCUS invited delegates to nominate an individual or team from their Council who is improving
  • No counselling needed for long term Council couple
    Councillors Mary and Dale Langford have served 12 consecutive years together at Belyando Shire Council in Queensland. Now married for 38 years, Dale joined Council in 1992 with Mary following soon after in 1994. Their combined Local Government experience spans over 25 years.

  • New guide for Ballina
    The Ballina Coast and Hinterland Visitor Guide is a high quality, fresh, vibrant, modern and easy to read publication promoting the Ballina Coast and Hinterland. Launched in October, the new look publication has a print run of 10,000 copies and a shelf life of around 12 months.
  • Councillor profile
    A regular feature, this month we present two Councillors from South Australia.
  • TripStop is a winner
    TripStop would like to congratulate Mornington Peninsula Shire for using TripStop in its Pathlink project. TripStop is a cross shaped device that is encased in wet concrete, at intervals, to form articulation joints.

  • Mornington Peninsula’s 77 km Pathlinks takes out national award
    An innovative Pathlinks Program set up by Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula Shire provides access to 77km of new trails and pathways for 42 different communities. It was named as the overall winner of the 2005 Heart Foundation Kellogg Local Government Awards at the National General Assembly of Local Government.

  • President’s comment
    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Genia McCaffery, President of the Local Government Association of New South Wales.
  • Cook uncovers the Cape
    Cook Shire comprises of over 115,000 square kilometres, making it the largest Council in Queensland and one of the largest in Australia. Accessing the majority of it requires a long trip. Each year Cook Shire invites Local Government Association of Queensland officers, Natural Resources and Mines officers and journalists to join Councillors and Council officers as they embark on a journey uncovering many of the hidden treasures and challengers that residents and visitors encounter everyday as they head north into Cape York and the Cook Shire.
  • Federal issues becoming less woolly*
    About five years ago I wrote in this column that all three Federal parties were like kittens playing with a ball of wool – with Local Government representing the ball of wool. Things are changing. While one shouldn’t read too much into politicians’ speeches at last month’s Australian Local Government Association’s National General Assembly, phrases like the winds of change were bandied about.
  • Editorial - A snapshot of 2005
    2005 has been another challenging year for Local Government. The following highlights our opinion on how Local Government has continued to raise the bar.
  • Expanding broadband vital for all Australia’s regions
    The 2005–06 State of the Regions Report has concluded that expanding broadband access in regional Australia will significantly boost regions. The 2005–06 report was released at the Regional Cooperation and Development Forum, a full day event that kicked off the 12th National General Assembly of Local Government staged in Canberra from 7–10 November.

Feature: Business and Sustainability

  • 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Local Government responds
    At 7:58 am on 26 December 2004, a devastating tsunami hit various places in the Indian Ocean. In Indonesia it took the lives of 250,000 people, and displaced a further 500,000. The earthquake that caused the tsunami measured 9.3 on the richta scale, but delivered only slight damage considering its velocity. However, the 34 metre wave that followed was not so kind.
  • What the politicians said
    A snap shot of key issues raised in the addresses by various Federal MPs at the General Assembly.
  • Partnerships how Councils can push the boundaries
    Keynote speaker, Jim Soorley, former Lord Mayor of Brisbane City Council urged Councils to look at partnerships as a means to achieve their goals. Using the Regional Organisations of Councils (ROCs) as a prime example, he said that Local Government has for many years been good at forming partnerships.
  • Resolutions
    Some of the key resolutions debated and carried. A full list of all Resolutions is available on the ALGA web site at
  • New apprenticeship program takes out Federal award
    Kimbriki Recycling and Waste Disposal Centre is a solid dry waste landfill and recycling centre operated by Warringah Council in collaboration with Manly, Mosman and Pittwater Councils. Over one million tonnes of waste have been saved from landfill since recycling began in 1990.
  • Fair funding, fair treatment and formal recognition!
    In his address at the 12th National General Assembly, President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Councillor Paul Bell, said that after more than 50 years of pursuing fair Federal funding, there is a need for a new campaign. He called on delegates to join a rally to support ALGA’s campaign to achieve three key objectives: fair funding, fair treatment and formal recognition.

  • Crime Prevention – nationally endorsed units of competency
    At the November 2003 meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Crime Prevention Ministerial Forum, Ministers agreed to a Strategic Framework for Crime Prevention and Community Safety 2003–2006, for Australia and New Zealand. One of the priorities in achieving crime prevention and community safety, articulated in the Framework, was ‘workforce development’.
  • Derwent Valley creating real jobs
    Derwent Valley Council’s Real Jobs program is designed to assist young people at risk of becoming welfare dependent, to become skilled and job ready. Collaboration with a number of government and private sector sponsors has added to an initial contribution by the Derwent Valley Council to fund the project.
  • Victoria Police and Macedon Ranges Shire Council form training partnership
    The Victoria Police Airlie Leadership Development Centre (ALDC) and Macedon Ranges Shire Council have formed a partnership to provide a leadership development course for Council staff in supervisory and management positions. The program is based on the leadership program developed by the ALDC, which has been delivered to some 3,500 team leaders in Victoria Police.

  • National conference calls on all spheres of government to address regional issues
    The Communiqué from the ninth annual national Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) conference staged in Yeppoon, Queensland last September is calling on government at national, state and local levels to act in six key areas in the interests of sustainable economic growth for regional Australia.
  • New Victorian sustainability accord outlines environment principles and actions
    The Victorian Local Sustainability Accord was launched on 7 November by Environment Minister, John Thwaites, and its cosignatories including the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) on behalf of its members, Victoria’s 79 local Councils.Signatories to the Accord include the Minister for the Environment, MAV, Victorian Local Governance Association, Environs Australia, Metropolitan Environment Forum and ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability – Aust & NZ).
  • New South Wales Councils save buckets of water per day
    Forty-one Councils across Sydney, the Illawarra and Blue Mountains have joined Sydney Water’s Every Drop Counts (EDC) Business Program to identify and achieve substantial water savings. These Councils are working to prove their commitment to managing water as a valuable community asset and a sustainable business resource.
  • Water issues
    The action and lead taken by Federal Minister, Peter McGauran, in advocating more money for infrastructure upgrades as apposed to water ‘buy backs’ is also the cornerstone to the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Murray Darling Basin.
  • Renewable energy generation from landfill gas in Darwin
    In September, Darwin City Council commissioned Northern Territory’s first methane gas power plant at the Shoal Bay Waste Disposal Deposit site. The Darwin Renewable Energy Facility will produce enough energy to power approximately 1,000 homes and save more than 46,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. This is equivalent to removing 9,000 cars from the road each year or using 101,500 less barrels of oil.
  • Improved sewage treatment benefits Redlands waterways
    The health of Redland’s waterways is expected to improve significantly following a $17 million investment into the Capalaba, Thorneside and Victoria Point Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs).
  • Trust sustains rural business
    You do all this environmental work on the farm but how do you know it really makes a dent? This was one of the burning questions that prompted South Australia’s Eastern Hills and Murray Plains Catchment Group to trial an Environmental Management System (EMS).
  • Innovative development application technology receives industry recognition
    Pittwater Council in New South Wales has been recognised by the State’s peak professional body, the Planning Institute of NSW, for its electronic assessment process. The innovative approach reduces the administrative burden associated with the processing of development applications. The project won the Urban Planning category at the 2005 Awards for Excellence for an outstanding contribution to current urban planning practice.
  • Extending the value of spatial data
    Shrinking budgets and increasing community demands for higher services levels with fewer people and resources is impacting on all governments. Keeping up with infrastructure demands, in particular taking a strategic approach to maintenance planning, including the ultimate replacement of that road, footpath or community facility, requires state of the art geospatial technology.
  • New CEO for LGMA
    John Ravlic has been appointed the new CEO of Local Government Managers Australia’s national office and will commence duties on 14 December 2005.
  • Kiama leads the way in sustainable development in New South Wales
    Kiama Municipal Council is leading the way in sustainable development in New South Wales. Council was a finalist in the Environment and Heritage category at the recent Engineering Excellence Awards for its project, Leading by Example – Best Practice Sustainable Development and Water Management.
  • IBIS system helps share the rate burden
    Irrespective of size, location and resources, all share the problem of how to allocate the rate burden across their rate base to effectively meet Council’s objectives. Yankalilla District Council, located an hour south of Adelaide in South Australia, is one of several Councils using the IBIS Information Systems Rate Modelling and Valuation Analysis application to quickly model the impact of a particular rating proposal on the total rate bill and individual properties.
  • Engineer training enhances Melbourne as employer of choice
    Engineers at the City of Melbourne can now work to become chartered engineers by undertaking a new training program. Lord Mayor John So said Council had signed an agreement with the engineering industry’s peak professional association to allow employees to complete Engineers Australia’s Professional Development Program.
  • Broadband connects Burnie
    Burnie City Council in Tasmania has been awarded a commendation in the 2005 National Awards for Local Government for its new Regional Broadband Community Network. eBurnie Connect aims to strengthen the local economy by establishing advanced broadband telecommunications services.
  • Safe, healthy staff can greatly improve the bottom line for Local Government
    Human resources experts have long recognised the benefits of improving business through corporate health programs, staff social clubs and workplace safety. However, measuring the impact these programs have on the bottom line can be difficult.Victoria’s City of Whittlesea has received a very strong indication of how fostering a culture of health and safety among staff can result in substantial savings.

  • Future directions in business and sustainability
    Is your Local Government driving efficiency?

    Stuart Jardine, Chief Executive Officer of the City of Gosnells (current Western Australian Local Government of the Year), shares his thoughts on the future direction of the industry. In a career spanning more than 30 years, he has been involved in strategic planning in leading Local Governments in both Australia and the United Kingdom.
  • Hepburn Council takes no risks and wins
    Hepburn Shire Council, located in Victoria’s popular spa country region, has won the Victorian Risk Management Excellence Award for 2005. The award recognises innovative risk management practices and principles that have guaranteed the survival of key community activities and events.
  • Testing for the X factor
    There is a television program in England called Stars in Their Eyes where aspiring singers imitate famous stars. It’s very popular and provides people with a particular type of talent (singing in other people’s style) with recognition. Another very popular show has emerged based upon a real talent contest, called the X Factor. In the X Factor contestants have to be themselves and to prove their own real talent. For some this leads to real fame; for many a realisation that they do not have the X factor.
  • Brisbane hotel leads water saving message
    With Brisbane in its worst drought in living memory, Brisbane’s Sofitel Hotel is leading by example in its efforts to reduce water usage. Brisbane Lord Mayor, Councillor Campbell Newman, said since September Council’s water conservation experts had been working with staff at the Sofitel to devise innovative ways of reducing the amount of water used.
  • Customer service is tops at Adelaide
    Adelaide City Council (ACC) recently won the Local Government Association of South Australia’s 2005 Service Quality Leadership Award – Best Customer Service Team. The Customer Service Centre has been recognised for its high quality and efficient customer service by the Service Quality Network for Local Government and the Benchmarking Australia Quality Assurance Program.