March 2006 Edition

  • Historic meeting of Melbourne Metropolitan Mayors
    On 22 February 2006, the City of Melbourne Lord Mayor, John So, hosted the first ever gathering of Melbourne metropolitan mayors. Twenty mayors from across the metropolitan area attended along with Local Government officers and State Government officers from Local Government Victoria. The formation of a Metropolitan Mayors' Network to discuss a range of issues critical to the future success and sustainability of greater Melbourne has resulted from the meeting.
  • A capital city perspective
    Speaking at the LGPro annual conference Chief Executive Officer of the City of Melbourne, David Pitchford, spoke about Council's collegiate approach in becoming a major global city. "If we can deliver the City of Melbourne as a great global city this will benefit the rest of metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria," David Pitchford said.
  • LG Professionals - the next generation
    For its annual conference staged on 16 and 17 February, Victoria's Local Government Professionals (LGPro) chose the theme 'The Next Generation'. LGPro President, John Bennie, said that our ageing community and workforce demands greater flexibility.
  • Excellence acknowledged
    At the conference dinner, awards were presented to teams and individuals in seven categories.
  • Local Shires a model for water quality campaign
    Nine Local Governments in the Peel-Harvey catchment area of Western Australia are setting an example for Local Governments around Australia on how Councils can work together for better water management and environmental protection.
  • Third National Buying Green Conference
    The 3rd National Buying Green Conference will be staged in Perth on 25 and 26 May 2006. It will be hosted by the WA Local Government Association at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre.
  • Liverpool helps residents reduce tap water demand
    Liverpool City Council has developed a draft Community Water Conservation Strategy to assist residents to reduce their demand on tap water. This follows Liverpool's Water Conservation Action Plan, which is being implemented to reduce Council's own water consumption.
  • Sustainable unit complex benefits residents and the community
    Located six kilometres from Brisbane CBD, the suburb of Clayfield will soon be home to the city's first sustainable unit complex, Viret at Clayfield. Currently under construction by QM Properties, the units will house two rainwater tanks, holding 62,000 litres of water.
  • Sharing water supply infrastructure
    Sarina Shire Council and Mackay City Council recently signed an agreement to share water supply infrastructure. The agreement ensures Sarina will have a secure water supply, meeting the needs associated with its growth and development over the next 25 years.
  • Sarina sugar shed: miniature mill, massive experience
    Visitors to Sarina Shire will be able to experience a year round educational and tasting experience at the Sarina Sugar Shed, a mini sugar mill and distillery, that will open its doors in April. Ideally located at the southern entrance of Sarina, the Sugar Shed is in the same complex as the Sarina Museum and Sarina Tourist Arts and Crafts Centre (Visitor Information Centre), making it the first port of call for travelers to the Shire.
  • Centre for Innovation and Excellence tackles social economic issues
    Sarina Shire Council, in a joint effort with the community, a local high school and local businesses, has developed the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Rural and Agricultural Education. The centre aims to address major social economic issues in the Shire.
  • Sarina Shire Council responds to growth
    Strategically located on the coast in Central Queensland, Sarina Shire is the perfect location for both people seeking a sea change, and miners working in the Bowen Basin Coal Fields. Right on the doorstep of Sarina lies a host of picturesque sandy beaches, as well as many offshore islands. Mountain ranges provide an exciting contrast, boasting spectacular views of the surrounding area.

  • Councillor profiles
    Councillor Profiles is a regular feature. This month we are featuring two Councillors from Queensland. Councillor Frank Beveridge, Deputy Mayor, Charters Towers City Council, Queensland.
  • Local Government's role in economic development
    By John Noronha*
    In an increasingly competitive global market it has never been so important for Local Governments to prepare effective economic development strategies. Sustainable economic growth at a local level is vital to generate ongoing employment opportunities and to support improvements in infrastructure and community services. While market forces and external factors are the primary influences on local economic conditions, Local Government can also play a major role in ensuring sustainable economic growth.
  • Balloons Galore help with LG Week festivities
    Last year, Bundaberg City Council held a variety of activities during Local Government Week. Council ran two free movies at the Moncrieff Theatre, with a lot of promotion on radio, in the local newspaper and also on display boards placed in community centres.

  • Safeguarding our communities' water is Qld Local Government Week theme
    From 15-21 May, Queensland Councils and their local communities will celebrate Local Government Week - Safeguarding our Communities' Water. The week provides an opportunity for all Councils to promote a greater awareness and understanding of their roles and responsibilities in relation to the urban water issues, to the people who live and work within their region.
  • Study highlights new opportunities
    In February, Victorian Minister for Innovation and Regional Development, John Brumby, launched new research that has investigated how Victoria can establish itself as one of the world's top five biotechnology centres. The research report, Mapping the Life Cycle of Biotechnology Companies, was developed on behalf of the BioCouncils Alliance. This includes the Cities of Hume, Knox, Melbourne, Monash, Whittlesea and Wyndham, in partnership with the State Government's Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development.
  • Tyre recycling - new agendas to help Councils
    The Good Oil by Rod Brown*
    Used tyres in Australia are a major environmental problem for local Councils. Around 56 per cent of used tyres are disposed of to landfill each year. This is equates to 11 million tyres or 225,000 tonnes of the stuff. Apart from the longer term environmental damage and the unnecessary consumption of valuable landfill capacity, there is a loss of the resource value inherent in used tyres.
  • Cooperative approach for flood management
    Launceston City Council is working with the Tasmanian State Government on a flood management program after limitations were recently identified in the City's outdated flood levee system. Launceston Mayor, Ivan Dean, said that the Tasmanian Government will assist Council to send staff to New Orleans and Napa in the United States.
  • Mobile graffiti reporting system: more than just the clean up*
    All Local Governments would realise that there is so much more to graffiti management that just the clean up. Working with the City of Perth, Digital Mapping Solutions has developed a Mobile Graffiti Management solution that is streamlining the administration processes involved in the management of this problem. The system is based on a mobile mapping application using standard Pocket PC devices and GPS technology.
  • Toowoomba raises the bar with community safety
    In 1995, Queensland's Toowoomba City Council introduced its City Safe program to enhance public safety and the wellbeing of residents and visitors to Toowoomba. Some 53 cameras now monitor activities in inner city areas to prevent and identify situations that would alarm residents, damage or destroy property, and prevent and deter anti social behaviour.
  • President's comment
    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.
  • Tackling the graffiti blight
    Every year, Councils across Australia are spending millions of dollars removing graffiti from public places. If we add to this the clean up for Federal and State Government bodies, as well as damage to residential and business property, the full cost to the community is huge and growing annually.

Feature: Information Technology & Communications

  • Wireless applications for field staff
    By Malcolm Thom*
    Saxon Hot Water Systems is a manufacturer of electric and solar domestic hot water systems. Saxon water heaters are sold across Australia and the company has service agents in every State. The company was looking for ways to provide quicker and more efficient customer service by directing customer service calls straight to a service agent, rather than through the company's 1300 service hotline in the first instance and then onto an agent.

  • Mapoon and the digital cape
    Mapoon Aboriginal Council, in partnership with the Cape York Digital Network (CYDN), has developed an Information Technology and Communications system. The CYDN was established in 2001 to provide enhanced information, communication and technology to communities in the Cape York region of Queensland.
  • High speed broadband puts Port Augusta at the forefront of telecommunications
    Located in close proximity to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, Port Augusta City Council is at the forefront of telecommunications, ahead of many metropolitan city areas. Council recently replaced its existing ISDN based data network with a virtual, private network based on ADSL2+ broadband and carrier grade optical fibre. ADSL2+ doubles the maximum data rate, increasing the downstream data rate to as much as 25 Mbps.
  • Lake Macquarie's online development applications become transparent
    Lake Macquarie City Council, located 90 minutes north of Sydney, is committed to providing efficient and quality services to the community. It recognises the growing demand for internet services and convenient access to information. Council offers a range of online services that will expand and be enhanced over time. One of these is the ability for residents to track the progress of various applications and certificates online, with access to publicly available documentation.
  • Online pooch pound helps dogs find their way home
    With over 4,500 dogs registered in Western Australia's City of Albany, and an average of three dogs bought into the pound each day, Council has developed an online Pooch Pound, with photographs and details of all dogs currently held in the City's pound.
  • GeoViz brings proposals to life
    Victoria's Manningham City Council has developed a geographical visualisation program, providing 3D models and images that greatly assist in the assessment of planning applications and design of major projects.

  • Clarence Valley is on the move
    Council's Economic Development Unit (EDU) comprises a professional team established to facilitate sustainable economic growth and to enhance the commercial management of Council owned business operations.
  • New emphasis on community services
    Some 8,500 Clarence Valley residents are aged over 65 years and approximately 25 per cent of these people require some form of assistance. At the time of amalgamation, Clarence Valley Council established a Community and Cultural Services Department, with a specific section focused on Community Support Services. The Community Support Services team, headed by Glennis O'Connell, delivers services from three offices in Maclean, Grafton and Ballina.
  • Gallery reaches out to Clarence community
    In May 2005, Clarence Valley Council won the New South Wales Local Government and Shires Associations award for Cultural Infrastructure for the Grafton Regional Gallery. This award recognises the importance of cultural industries in regional areas of New South Wales.
  • Upgrades promote town pride
    Clarence Valley's five town centre precincts, Grafton, South Grafton, Maclean, Iluka and Yamba are all undergoing redevelopments to support social capacity building, town pride and retail growth.
  • Life in the engine room
    With offices and work sites at 42 locations spread as much as 150 kilometres apart, the development of a single technology system linking the operations of Council has been vital. Manager Information Technology, Tim Howarth, said the IT Team of four had only five months to move from six separate IT systems to just one before the commencement of the 2006/07 financial year.

  • Single business platform streamlines Council operations
    Clarence Valley Council now has a state of the art accounting and property rating system that provides consistent financial reporting across the organisation. Manager Financial Services, Ashley Lindsay, said business software solutions company, Technology One, was awarded the tender to implement the system. "The system fully integrates the accounting, payroll, property rating, statutory building and town building approvals, human resources and assets systems of Council," he said.
  • Clarence Valley facts and figures
    Located at the southern end of the Northern Rivers Region of New South Wales, Clarence Valley Council (CVC) was formed with the amalgamation of four general purpose Councils and two County Councils in February 2004. The new Council covers an area of some 10,440 square kilometres of lush rainforests, rugged mountain ranges, unspoilt beaches and fertile river plains.

  • Consolidating regulations
    In September 2005, an amendment to planning legislation in New South Wales introduced the requirement that only one Development Control Plan (DCP) per planning authority could apply to the same land. After amalgamation in the Clarence Valley, six different Local Environment Plans (LEP) and 73 Development Control Plans existed. Manager Strategic Planning, David Morrison, said that initially Council wanted the 73 DCPs reduced to 32, however the new State Government legislation will mean they need to be reduced to seven.
  • Council Advisory Committee empowers Aboriginal residents
    With five Local Aboriginal Land Councils located within Clarence Valley, the Aboriginal Chapter of the Clarence Valley Social Plan proposed the establishment of a consultative committee. Council's Community Development Worker, Graham Purcell, said the establishment of the Clarence Valley Aboriginal Consultative Committee (CVACC) is a ground breaking initiative of the new Council. "The Committee has been established to provide Council with advice on Aboriginal community needs across the Clarence Valley, to guide the implementation of the Social Plan, and importantly, to create a communication structure," he said.
  • Supporting Council staff through the change process
    Clarence Valley's Human Resources Department has been working overtime to develop a new set of employment conditions and a new salary system to meet the needs of Council. Extensive consultation with staff through every stage of the Agreement's evolution has meant that a new Enterprise Agreement will soon be signed off.
  • Making sustainability a priority
    Current consumer trends and lifestyle choices, including demand for goods and services and the way we plan and develop our communities, are challenging our ability to achieve a sustainable future. The Clarence Valley Sustainability Initiative is a new and innovative project that aims for Council and all sectors of the community to work together to create a sustainable Clarence Valley. As part of the Initiative, a Council cross department team worked with consultants, Sustainable Futures, to develop a sustainability framework.
  • Meeting the challenges and opportunities of amalgamation
    When the new Council was formed on 25 February 2004, the challenges were abundant. The amalgamation brought together one City and 43 towns and villages across an area of over 10,000 square kilometres. Following the elections of March 2005, the first elected Council was tasked with developing and implementing a budget and management plan. A new single general rating structure, single water and sewerage funds and the maintenance of service standards were features of that budget.
  • Good IDEA makes researching Local Government easy
    The Local Government Association of Tasmania's (LGAT) Local Government Online Services program has developed a package that will increase residents' ability to find information on Local Government nationally via the Internet.
  • Fix-o-grams make a difference in Brisbane
    Almost 650 residents have posted a fix-o-gram to Brisbane City Council during the past three months, and another 400 have sent an online fix-o-gram message.
  • A regional approach to water supply
    North Coast Water, a business unit of Clarence Valley Council, is currently implementing a Regional Water Supply Strategy that will provide the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour with a reliable bulk water supply. The two Councils have a combined population of over 95,000 people, which is estimated to more than double in the next 50 years. The major objectives of the scheme are to maintain water supply security for this unique region of New South Wales, and protect the health of current regional water supply sources, the Nymboida and Orara Rivers, through improved environmental flows.

  • GIS tackles insurance claims
    South Australia's City of Charles Sturt recognises the importance of having a well developed system for managing risk associated with Council activities and functions. Council has had a Geographical Information System (GIS), E-View, in place for some time, providing visual representation for a number of different areas including individual properties, compliance information, such as dangerous dogs, development information, and engineering information. Charles Sturt recently added another layer to the program that visually highlights the location of insurance claims in the Council area and helps to identify areas that require prioritisation in asset management programs.
  • Digital signatures for completely paperless Councils*
    Years ago, people were preparing for the paperless office revolution. It would enhance business workflow, reduce printing costs and save trees. The dream faded, however as organisations realised they still had to print and handle paper documents for signing. In time, many Councils implemented document management systems to enhance their customer service offerings. However, the shortcomings of this technology soon became apparent thanks to the demand for handwritten signatures.
  • Pittwater simplifies the development process
    Located in New South Wales, Pittwater Council has placed particular emphasis on providing information and services via the web. To address planning legislation complexities, a high level of development in the Warriewood Valley land release area, and customer uncertainty in regard to the planning process, Council came up with an online Development Enquiry and Assessment Project (DEAP).
  • Connecting communities across the Territory
    The Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT) has many information technology initiatives up its sleeve to improve the online capabilities of Councils in the Northern Territory. NT Connect is just one of LGANT's current schemes.

  • Modern help desk needs modern tools*
    Since the inception of the 'computer age', organisations large and small have struggled with the best mechanism for supporting the users of this ever changing technology. These struggles lead to the birth and rapid growth of the help desk, or service desk, a key part of most organisations today. To function effectively, however, a modern help desk requires modern help desk tools, including help desk software.
  • Mosman boosts service delivery with DataWorks Web integration*
    Mosman Municipal Council is using its document management system, Avand's DataWorks, to process and share information across core business applications, making it available for review on the Web almost as soon as it's captured.
  • Virtual apartment to keep noise down
    The popularity of inner city living has resulted in more people opting for city apartments. In an Australian first, the City of Melbourne, together with RMIT University's Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL), has launched an online virtual apartment. This will provide people with invaluable information on ways to reduce noise in residential properties.

  • Revolutionising planning meetings with Zing*
    Max Dumais is widely known as the Zing man because he installs and trains facilitators to use this electronic meeting system, but he is no stranger to Local Government.
  • Future Directions in Information Technology and Communications
    Future Directions is a regular feature. This month we interviewed Jeff Carson, Chief Information Officer, City of Whitehorse, Victoria.
  • One stop electronic shop encourages Murrayland youth to get involved
    Created by young people, for young people, the Murraylands Youth Website is a one stop electronic shop for this region of South Australia.
  • IH2 a formula for future living
    Along with leading environmental developer, Heritage Pacific, and a host of sponsors and government organisations, Gold Coast City Council has developed Innovation House 2 (IH˛). This high tech, eco friendly home is currently showcasing the very latest in digital and sustainable living.
  • Local Government Corporate Planners using hi tech to shape the future
    Victoria's LGPro Special Interest Groups offer an excellent opportunity to bring together Local Government professionals working in specific interest areas for peer support and professional development. LGPro's 17 special interest groups also provide a vital source of expert advice to ensure LGPro delivers high quality representation and advocacy on behalf of members on all professional matters.
  • Cutting edge floodplain management
    Covering 22,000 square kilometres, Clarence Valley has the largest coastal catchment in New South Wales. With the majority of the population living on the floodplain, Council's business unit, Floodplain Services, is currently working on six major risk management plans for Grafton, Maclean, Ulmarra, Alipou Creek, Iluka and rural areas.
  • Mobility solutions for Local Government*
    Mobility solutions are delivering real productivity benefits and cost savings to Local Governments. Mobility solutions by Victorian company, Sage Technology, provide effective, vital communication between handheld devices and backend enterprise IT systems, mirroring the way field workers, such as home and community care, local laws and maintenance teams, already work in meeting the needs of their Council.