July 2006 Edition

  • Local Government endorses roads and transport strategy
    More than 400 delegates from Councils across Australia attended the 7th National Local Roads and Transport Congress, held in Alice Springs from 10-11 July.

  • National LG Roads and Transport Strategy at a glance
    The strategy combines all Local Government's broad roads and transport agenda into a single document focusing on the following five core areas of concern:
  • Editorial - Long term financial planning the key to Council autonomy
    In a recent article in the Guardian, the UK Local Government and Communities Secretary, Ruth Kelly, pointed to the fact that Central Government and its agencies currently require UK Councils to report on 566 separate performance criteria. She said research has found that Councils are now spending 80 per cent of their time reporting to Whitehall departments.
  • President's comment
    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Paul Bell, President of the Local Government Association of Queensland.
  • Horse drawn tram wins icon status
    The historic Victor Harbor horse drawn tramway has been declared an icon of South Australia by the National Trust. Originally run by South Australian Railways, the tramway is now owned by the City of Victor Harbor, located 80 kilometres south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

  • Pooling resources takes the stress out of the HSC
    Over the past four years, the eastern Sydney municipalities of Woollahra, Randwick, Waverley and the Botany Bay have joined forces to help year 12 students prepare for their Higher School Certificate examinations.
  • New community nursery for Mt Marshall
    The Shire of Mt Marshall and the Mt Marshall Natural Resource Management Committee, together with support from Lotterywest and Westpac, have built a community nursery in Bencubbin.
  • PC's theorising on waste management
    The Good Oil by Rod Brown*
    I read the 443 page draft report by the Productivity Commission (PC) on Waste Generation and Resource Efficiency (May 2006). Talk about double standards from the Federal Government! This report provides the rationale for waste management policies, and a guide to industry, Local Government et al. But it's so convoluted and overloaded with resource allocation theory - hardly for anyone in a hurry.
  • Brisbane develops social enterprise hub
    Brisbane City Council, Social Ventures Australia and the PricewaterhouseCoopers Foundation have joined forces to establish Brisbane's first Social Enterprise Hub. Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said the three parties had each committed $30,000 to the Hub, which will support the growth of Brisbane's emerging social enterprise sector.
  • King Island takes out Tas excellence award
    The 2006 Local Government Association of Tasmania Awards for Excellence were announced in June. King Island Council took out the overall Gold Award, along with the Sustainable Community Assets Category, for its Currie Sewage Treatment Wetlands.

  • Tas working together
    Staged in Hobart from 21-23 June, Working Together, enabled delegates to investigate improved ways for their Council to work with their community, other local stakeholders and the State and Federal Governments.
  • Councillor profiles
    Councillor Profiles is a regular feature. This month we profile two Councillors from Victoria.
  • Alice Springs opens its $10.4M Civic Centre
    After years in the planning, the Alice Springs Town Council $10.4M Civic Centre Redevelopment Project is finally complete. The official opening was held on Saturday 1 July 2006 to coincide with Council's 35th birthday.

  • Recognising LG's high achievers
    At the 2006 Local Government Managers Australia National Congress in Perth, FOCUS invited delegates to nominate individuals or teams from their Council who are improving their Council's operations and meeting community needs. In this edition, we showcase the first two of our high achievers for 2006.
  • Dubbo and Gwydir Councils NSW's AR Bluett winners
    Dubbo City Council and Gwydir Shire Council are the winners of the coveted 2004-05 Bluett Awards for outstanding achievement in New South Wales Local Government. Announced in June, Dubbo won the Local Government Association section for excellent progress in delivering services, in particular its multi million dollar capital works program.
  • Supporting communities in a changing rural climate
    The need to study the climatic change indicators, and adapt to new crops and technology, due to reduced water availability to 2010 and beyond, will be a key theme at the 62nd National Conference presented by the Murray Darling Association.
  • New consultation approach a planning success in Bendigo
    The City of Greater Bendigo and its residents are embracing a new approach to community consultation.
  • Calling all Local Government planners
    Newly elected Chair of the Planning Institute Australia (PIA) National Local Government Planning Network (LGPN), Leo Jensen, is calling on all Local Government planners to get involved in PIA's special interest group.
  • Letter to the editor
    Heritage listing versus property rights
    Heritage listing laws in most States were never intended to expropriate property rights or prevent reasonable development. However in practice they commandeer property rights and oftentimes prevent quality development entirely.
  • Speaking the right language
    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley*
    It was once said that professionals create a conspiracy against non professionals by the development and use of language. Look at any professional journal and you will see that this is true. Language excludes through professionals making language exclusive. The public sector is no different.

Feature: Finance and Asset Management

  • Financial planning for APS Local Government members*
    After starting as a funeral fund for Melbourne postal workers in 1905, membership of APS Benefits today offers a wide range of financial services, such as mortuary benefits paid within 24 hours of notification and the Everyday Unsecured Loan or Special Purpose Loan.
  • Straightbuy streamlines purchase order process at Mildura
    Mildura Rural City Council implemented 'Straightbuy' - an electronic procurement (e-procurement) system in May 2003. Since that time over 10,000 purchase orders have been raised electronically across Council.
  • Melbourne retains AAA global credit rating
    Global credit rating agency Standard & Poors has again reaffirmed the City of Melbourne's AAA credit rating. AAA is the highest rating assigned by Standard & Poors.
  • New consumer cost index for WA Councils
    The Western Australian Local Government Association has released a Local Government Cost Index (LGCI) as an alternative to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) commonly used in Council planning and budgeting processes.
  • 2006 Public Sector Finance and Management Conference*
    This year 2006 will see a significant change for public sector organisations, particularly in finance and accounting.
  • Future directions in financial planning
    Future Directions is a regular feature. This month we interviewed Michael Shave, Manager Financial Services at Noosa Council in Queensland.
  • New stormwater infrastructure helps keep Melville's rivers clean
    The City of Melville in Western Australia has installed advanced devices to assist in removing pollutants from stormwater before it enters the Swan and Canning rivers.
  • Community support is the key to rate variation approval
    Coffs Harbour City Council's application for a 9.56 per cent rate variation has recently been approved by the NSW Local Government Minister, Kerry Hickey.
  • Microphone smarts help Councils communicate*
    In March 2002, Prime Minister, John Howard, at the end of his chairing the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Coolum, where BRAHLER® ICS DIGIMIC® microphones with PC control were used by the Australian Government, walked to the BRAMSHAW® control desk and said that it was wonderful to be able to clearly hear all that was said in a conference.
  • Byron Shire - funding biodiversity conservation
    Byron Shire Council has spent five years developing a conservation strategy to guide Council and the community in improving biodiversity conservation across the Shire.

  • Australian Councils set to benefit from Acreis' revolutionary offering*
    Councils around Australia will soon be able to provide their residents with a revolutionary new service that takes the headache and hassle out of rate payments.
  • Infrastructure funding - looking at all the options
    When the Local Government and Shires Association of New South Wales commissioned a Local Government inquiry into the financial sustainability of Local Government in New South Wales, infrastructure funding was raised as a significant issue.

  • LOGOV Expo 2006
    10-11 October
    LOGOV Expo, Queensland's premier exhibition of construction plant, materials, equipment and services to Local Government, will be staged at Meakin Park in Logan City.
  • Asset Map addresses natural disaster risks
    Logan City Council has a large number of assets. In some cases, the position and condition of these assets was not known. However, it is estimated it would cost approximately $2 billion to replace all of these.

  • Manningham enhances life cycle planning with AssetLife*
    Manningham City Council, like all Local Governments, faces many conflicting pressures. The community seeks continual improvements in the delivery of services, while Council is under pressure to maintain prevailing rating levels and restrictions on the funding of infrastructure investments.
  • Victorian campaign to address ageing kindergarten buildings
    The Municipal Association of Victoria's (MAV) State Council has thrown its support behind the "Don't Forget About Us" Kindergarten Campaign to address the problem of ageing kindergarten infrastructure across Victoria.

  • Council satisfies strict auditing requirements with Centennial Discovery*
    Victoria's Greater Dandenong City Council uses Centennial Software's asset management system, Discovery 2005, to manage its IT infrastructure and track software licensing.
  • Glenorchy acts to secure assets
    Glenorchy City Council is taking action to ensure it has adequate revenue to repair and replace essential infrastructure. In March, Council agreed to a new long term financial plan.
  • 5 NE Vic Shires pushing boundaries
    Benalla Rural City and the Shires of Mansfield, Mitchell, Murrindindi and Strathbogie have become increasingly popular destinations among 'treechangers' seeking to escape the city rat race.

  • A snapshot of the Goulburn River and Ranges Councils
    Below is a brief introduction to the five featured north eastern Victorian Shires.
  • Country women can juggle
    Working for Local Government in regional Victoria has enabled this group of women to climb the career ladder while also attaining that elusive work life balance.
  • Gimme a home among the gum trees
    Jason, Jo and Jessica McInnes made the transition from Sydney city slickers to Murrindindi Shire country folk ten years ago. The pressure of city living weighed on the family.
  • Horse capital of Victoria worth millions to local economy
    Victoria's thoroughbred industry has met with consistent success in the sales ring and on the track, and now thanks to collaboration between Strathbogie Shire Council and industry players, it has had a win in the State Government funding stakes.

  • Teamwork makes a sustainable tidy town
    Victorian Premier Steve Bracks said the most impressive thing about Benalla Rural City's Victorian Tidy Towns win was the way the whole community was involved in working together to improve their environment.

  • Finding balance in the High Country
    Mansfield Shire's stunning natural attributes - mountains, rivers and lakes - and local iconic destinations, such as Craig's Hut, have protected it from Victoria's down turning tourism market while also contributing to impressive population growth.
  • A new angle on employment
    Traffic snarls or the open road? The choice is simple for employees in Mitchell Shire who have swapped grid locked roads for accelerated career opportunities.
  • Municipal boundaries no obstacle...
    Shire boundaries are sometimes seen as an impediment to collaborative effort, but in North East Victoria a unique partnership between the Shires of Murrindindi and Mansfield has seen the creation of the Upper Goulburn Food Wine and Culture Group (UGFWCG).
  • Internationals queue for Mitchell schooling
    A wide variety of quality schools in Mitchell Shire proves access to educational opportunities is not the sole province of major cities.
  • They're a weird mob - Mansfield's secret to success
    There's Kevan from Canada, a bunch from Melbourne, some from interstate and the locals. They're a kaleidoscope of characters - parents, students, young and not so young, the arty-farty and fitness fanatics. Yet they all piece together to create Mansfield Shire Council staff.
  • Benalla - a leader in land management
    The production of a Land Management Directory is evidence that Benalla continues to lead the municipal field in environmental initiatives that display a flair for partnerships and an acute understanding of what its community needs.