Local Government resolution before Federal Parliament
On 6 September the Federal Minister for Local Government Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, moved a resolution in the House of Representatives recognising the vital role of Local Government in our system of governance.
Editorial - Council partnerships lead to improved services
In Queensland the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has recently formed a new company with Queensland Partnerships Group called LG Shared Services. Aiming to assist councils in streamlining and improving their operations, LGAQ believes that the benefits of sharing services are clearly being recognised by governments and the corporate sector in Australia and overseas.
In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Beth Davidson, President of the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA).
LibraryLink helps Victorians find the perfect read
In August, Minister for Local Government, Candy Broad, along with celebrated authors, Shane Maloney and Errol Broome, launched an Australian first $500,000 LibraryLink website at the Northcote Library in Melbourne's City of Darebin. The website will give Victoria's 2.5 million public library users unprecedented access to the 10 million books, CDs and other items in the State's public library catalogues.
Rockhampton friendliest town
Rockhampton has taken out the Tourism Queensland Friendliest Town Award at the Ergon Energy Tidy Towns 2006 State Awards.
Rising fuel costs a further burden for Councils
Local Councils are bearing the burden of escalating petrol prices, with ratepayers expected to wear an average increase of 21 per cent on fuel bills. New South Wales Minister for Local Government, Kerry Hickey, said a survey of New South Wales Councils showed that rising fuel prices would impact on Council finances.
Labor regional policy = huge can of worms The Good Oil by Rod Brown* In July, Opposition Regional Development spokesman, Simon Crean, outlined Labor's alternative policy and he's still banging on about it. Readers in regional areas should take a close interest.
Regional issues discussed at Launceston conference
Australia's major national forum debating issues including population trends, climate change, town planning and forecasting opportunities has attracted its largest audience since its inception ten years ago.
An overview on 'panels' By John Clark* In last month's issue of Local Government FOCUS, I outlined some of the research methods used to gather feedback from the local community. In this month's article, I provide more information about the latest trend in market research techniques: "panels".
Councillor profiles is a regular feature. This month we feature two Councillors from New South Wales.
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 two more of our high achievers for 2006.
Toowoomba hosts LGAQ annual conference
The Local Government Association of Queensland's 110th Annual Conference was staged in Toowoomba from 28-31 August. LQAG President, Councillor Paul Bell, said that the Association is working with its member Councils to anticipate change and provide the necessary tools for Councils to deal with this.
Harnessing the power of groupthink
US author and journalist, James Surowiecki, presented the keynote address at the recent Local Government Association of Queensland Annual Conference. His best seller, 'Wisdom of the Crowds', argues that under the right conditions groups of people can be smarter than the smartest individual within that group.
$13 million in grants to tackle emergencies
In August, Attorney General Philip Ruddock announced details of 365 projects, valued at $13.1 million, to be funded in 2006/07 through the Local Grants Scheme (LGS) and National Emergency Volunteer Support Fund (NEVSF).
Council sustainability needs intergovernmental support
More than half of Western Australian Councils are financially unsustainable from their current own source revenue. This is the key finding from an independent Systemic Sustainability Study (SSS) commissioned by WALGA.
Feature: Training and Development
Mental health training for Council staff
As the presence of mental health problems gain focus and recognition, Western Australia's City of Geraldton has taken a progressive stance, implementing a training course for key members of staff.
Union and employer partnership leads the way in work life balance
The Australian Services Union (ASU) - Victorian Authorities and Services Branch and the Victorian Hospitals' Industrial Association (VHIA) have developed a new publication to guide the introduction of family and work life balance provisions for employees in the social and community services (SACS) sector.
Calendar provides easy access to training
Now in its third year, the City of Whittlesea's Family Services Training Calendar is helping local families and Council's childcare workers to improve their skills. The A4 publication lists training sessions available across the northern Melbourne municipality for the upcoming year.
Subsidised regional training promotes good business
The Snowy Valleys Way Project, in partnership with Wodonga TAFE, has launched a range of innovative, subsidised training courses throughout the project's five Council areas. The Snowy Valleys Way training is available to all local businesses, residents and employees from the Shires of Gundagai, Tumut, Tumbarumba in New South Wales and Towong and Indigo in Victoria.
Self service focus cuts costs, improves efficiencies*
Brisbane based Aurion now has 35 Councils using its HR and Payroll system. "Self service has been a major contributor to our success, because it ensures Council employees have 24 x 7 access to their own information and workspace," said Aurion Managing Director, Silvano Basso.
South Australian Youth Parliament
Two young Adelaide Hills residents have been accepted into South Australia's Youth Parliament 2006. Managed by the YMCA for the South Australian State Government and the Office for Youth, Youth Parliament provides young people with an opportunity to express their views, network and develop legislation in a safe environment.
Local training reduces costs
Through collaboration with local IT specialists, Quill Consulting, the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) is now offering training for Tasmanian Councils for the UnityDCW Content Management System.
Students become teachers in sustainability
A group of secondary students have helped Gold Coast City Council to polish its annual report card at a sustainability 'test' in August. Council hosted a Student Sustainability Forum, giving a keen group of secondary school students the chance to contribute ideas on how to make the City more ecologically, economically and socially sustainable.
Induction program assists new staff
The City of Port Phillip recognises that new ways of working together will achieve better outcomes across the organisation. Council calls this work culture a 'web organisation'; that is, a network of relationships based on learning, openness, care and respect.
Mildura filling the town planning shortage
Mildura Rural City Council's effort to help local people take on a career in town planning is reaping rewards. Council provides scholarships for people intending to study town planning.
Whitsunday staff walk around the world
Fifty-six health conscious Whitsunday Shire Council staff are participating in the 2006 Global Corporate Challenge. The challenge encourages corporate Australia to curb the country's growing obesity problem.
Practical pavement studies delivered to your desk*
Local Government technical staff must keep up to date with advances in the design, construction and maintenance of road pavements. The Centre for Pavement Engineering Education (CPEE) is currently accepting applications for the Graduate Certificate of Pavement Technology and Master of Pavement Technology for study period one in 2007.
Message from the Minister
It has been a busy year so far for the Australian Government in terms of its Local Government responsibilities. The following is an update on some of the work I have been overseeing recently.
Tropical Cyclone Larry - Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements
On 20 March 2006, the North Queensland region surrounding Innisfail was devastated by a category 5 cyclone, Tropical Cyclone Larry. With wind speeds of up to 290 km/h cutting a swathe over 150 km wide, Cyclone Larry caused extensive damage to residential, industrial and agricultural property over an area half the size of Tasmania.
Third Indigenous Road Safety Forum to be held in Broome
The third Indigenous Road Safety Forum will be held in Broome, Western Australia, from 23-25 October 2006. Reducing the involvement of Indigenous Australians in fatal and serious road crashes is a key national road safety issue: Indigenous road users are at least three times more likely to be involved in a fatal road crash than non indigenous road users.
Hobart City Council's Botanical gardens to recycle rainwater
There is nothing more satisfying than finding a simple solution to several challenges. Hobart City Council has done just this. A clever plan to install a stormwater tank at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens will save fresh drinking water and also prevent pollutants from entering the Derwent River estuary.
ACCELERATING NOW! conference supports Local Government excellence in greenhouse action
The Australian Greenhouse Office in the Department of the Environment and Heritage is a key supporter of Local Government excellence in greenhouse action. Some 214 Local Governments representing more than 80 per cent of the Australian population play an active role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the Cities for Climate Protection™ Australia programme.
Hot topics: recent publications from the BTRE
Doctors, nurses, teachers, tradespeople: Australia's much discussed skill shortages are a hot topic in the media today. Skill Shortages in Australia's Regions, the latest working paper from the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE), provides a timely overview of this topical issue from a locational perspective.