October 2006 Edition

  • Financial sustainability demands a national, strategic approach
    The recent announcement of the category winners for the 2006 National Awards for Local Government resulted in the South Australian Local Government Association (LGA) winning the Efficiency Improvement category for its Independent Inquiry into Financial Sustainability in South Australia.

  • Editorial - Councils key to the Australian Government meeting national objectives
    Speaking at the recent Financial Sustainability Summit organised by the Municipal Association of Victoria, Chief Executive of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Adrian Beresford-Wylie, said that the Local Government sector has enormous opportunities for additional Federal funding by demonstrating the array of ways Councils can assist the Australian Government in meeting its national objectives.
  • North-south railway corridor study released
    A new major study has found that an inland railway linking Melbourne and Brisbane will need to be in operation by 2019 to meet Australia's forecast transport task.

  • Presidentís comment
    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Genia McCaffery, President of the New South Wales Local Government Association.
  • Keeping Hornsby beautiful reaps rewards
    Hornsby Shire Council has taken out the overall Most Sustainable Council award at the New South Wales Keep Australia Beautiful Awards. Announced in August, Hornsby also took out the Biodiversity category and was runner up in the Waste category.

  • Neil Hughes seminar
    The Municipal Association of Victoria has organised an evening seminar featuring Neil Hughes, one of the stars of the highly acclaimed 7Up documentary series that has followed the lives of 14 British people from 1964 when they were aged seven through to adulthood.
  • Getting the job done right*
    For construction works it is important to establish a firm bedding upon which to build. If soil compaction is not done properly, settling will occur and the structure will be damaged. In turf care, compaction ensures a flat surface after turf is laid.

  • Inland rail - let the games begin
    The Good Oil by Rod Brown*
    The construction of an inland railway from Brisbane to Melbourne has moved closer to reality with the release of a DOTARS commissioned report last month.
  • 'Panels' take community consultation to a new level
    By John Clark*
    In this third article for Local Government FOCUS, I wish to challenge Councils to do more with their community consultations. Whilst annual telephone surveys measure small percentage changes in 'Importance' and 'Performance', such reports can also generate a lot of "feel good, do nothing" responses.
  • Councillor profiles
    Councillor Profiles is a regular feature. This month we feature two Councillors from Queensland.
  • LGMA NSW excellence awards announced
    LGMA New South Wales, in conjunction with the Sydney Morning Herald, announced the winners of the 2006 Management Excellence Awards for Local Government during its recent annual conference.
  • Working in the Council of the future
    The Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) New South Wales Division staged its annual conference in Port Macquarie on 13-15 September. With the theme "Working in the Council of the Future", LGMA President, Steve McGrath, said with the skills shortage Councils are already very different organisations than even a few years ago.
  • 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 of our high achievers for 2006.
  • SA shows leadership in financial sustainability
    The South Australian Local Government Association's 2005 Independent Inquiry into Financial Sustainability in South Australia was a first for Australian Local Government. This statewide inquiry investigated and made recommendations on the long term financial viability of Councils and since has led to other State Associations running their own similar inquiries.
  • Economic boom benefits one sided
    According to the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA), local communities are facing a decline in living standards as Local Government is starved of the profits emerging from the State's continuing economic boom.
  • Going for growth
    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley*
    Councils in the East of England are anticipating the Secretary of State publishing her views on independent review proposals to increase housing provision by 505,500 and jobs by 421,500 by 2021 within the region. Councils will then have the opportunity to respond within a 12 week period.

Feature: Best Practice

  • Cutting edge waste management
    Mackay City Council has transformed a 38 hectare parcel of land into one of the most advanced waste management facilities in Queensland. The Paget Waste Management Centre, located in the industrial hub of the city, is the centrepiece to Council's $21 million Integrated Waste Management Strategy.
  • Burnside's national aged care award
    South Australia's City of Burnside recently received the Aged and Community Service Australia (ACSA) 2006 Award for Excellence in Community Care from entrants across Australia. Burnside's commitment to providing quality home based care for its older residents was judged the best in Austral.

  • Maroondah goes the extra mile
    In July, Maroondah City Council's MetroAccess Coordinator, Katie Goodrope, received Vision Australia's 'Making a Difference' award for best practice. Vision Australia is the largest provider of blindness and low vision services in Australia.

  • Gaining a professional career advantage*
    Continuous improvement and reform are recurring themes for Local Governments. Moves towards competitive, flexible and managerial models of public administration are forcing political leaders and managers to face challenges such as sophisticated regulation of privatised utilities, managing contracted services and active engagement with citizens.
  • Future directions
    Future Directions is a regular feature. This month we interviewed Phil Pearce, CEO of Mildura Rural City Council in Victoria.
  • Claims tracking system wins risk management award
    Redland Shire Council has taken out the 2006-07 Local Government Mutual (LGM) Risk Management Excellence Award. Presented at the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Annual Conference in August, the award recognises innovation and initiatives in risk management.
  • Electronic signature solution automates Townsville's workflow
    With more than 1,200 staff working in a number of different locations, Townsville City Council has installed a digital signature appliance. CoSign provides Townsville with an integrated solution to improve workflow, enhance document security and enable paperless business processes within Council and with its third party suppliers.
  • Wastewater treatment infrastructure to meet population growth
    Located on the south east coast of New South Wales, Bega Valley Shire is in the process of upgrading its wastewater treatment systems. The Bega Valley Sewerage Program (BVSP) aims to meet environmental obligations and cater for population growth over a planning horizon of 20 years.
  • Fremantle's service centre - ten years of helping the community
    Opening in August 1996, the City of Fremantle's Service and Information (S&I) Centre has recently celebrated ten years of helping the community. Located on the ground floor of Council's Town Hall Centre administration building, the S&I Centre has played a vital role in the past decade as the first point of contact for residents, ratepayers and visitors to Fremantle.
  • New wok assists Asian restaurants to save water in southern Sydney
    The Ethnic Communities Council of New South Wales (ECC NSW) is helping Asian restaurants to save water via funding from the New South Wales Government's Water Savings Fund, and Wollongong and Hurstville City Councils.

  • Booklet promotes safety on motorised scooters
    A locally produced booklet that shows the safe way to use motorised scooters and wheelchairs has been updated and reprinted to help people throughout Victoria. The booklet is an initiative of the City of Greater Bendigo and Loddon Shire Rural Access program.
  • Strategic alliance delivers new financials solution
    Having provided asset management, billing, permits, licensing and customer relationship management solutions for Local Government in Australia since 1995, Hansen International Australasia has recently launched Hansen Financials.
  • Meeting the needs of a growing community
    Located in western Melbourne, Wyndham City Council has received $300,000 from the Victorian Government to help fund the new $4.6 million Tarneit Community Centre. The State Government funding is a result of Council's successful grant application through the Department of Victorian Communities 'Building Stronger Communities' grants program.
  • Community comment on Management Plan
    Penrith City residents will soon have the opportunity to comment on Council's draft Management Plan for the City. The plan details services and projects that Council will undertake during the next 12 months.
  • Victorian Councils connect through new WebNetwork
    Victorian Councils have joined forces to create a WebNetwork for Local Government professionals. Network members can share information and ideas, recognise best practice, and advocate for funding, support and career opportunities within the sector.

  • Increasing community safety
    In response to a growing community perception of slow response times and inadequate police attendance in the suburbs, the City of Melville and its neighbouring Council, the City of Cockburn, began a shared Community Security Service (CSS) in 2004.

  • POSTbillpay: A partner of Local Government and local communities*
    At Australia Post we are proud of our longstanding association with the Australian Local Government Association and are pleased to be sponsoring the 2006 National General Assembly of Local Government. Australia Post's network of Licensed Post Offices (LPOs) plays a central role in the social and commercial fabric of their local community.
  • New Shire quickly comes of age
    In spite of only coming into existence in March 2004, Gwydir Shire recently took out the coveted Bluett Award. Each year, the New South Wales Local Government and Shires Associations recognise one rural and one urban/regional Council that have shown the greatest improvement over the previous 12 month period.

  • Challenges and opportunities win through
    Mark Coulton was elected Mayor of Gwydir at the first Council meeting he attended. With no wards, the nine Councillors are elected to represent the whole of the new Shire.

  • Growth and prosperity
    To help boost the economic and social viability of the Shire, in the organisational restructure of Council, economic development, tourism, recreation and leisure have all been brought together in the one division.
  • Community that dreams things and makes it happen
    "The new Council had some strong building blocks to work from," said General Manager, Max Eastcott. "The former Shires had nurtured staff who were dedicated and committed, while the community is certainly one that dreams things and then makes things happen.
  • Teamwork and sustainability
    "Since amalgamation, staff have fully embraced a learning and development culture," said Leeah Daley, Human Resource Manager. "Teamwork and sustainability is our key focus. The notion of a job for life can no longer be assumed, so staff fully recognise the benefits of upgrading and extending their skills."
  • Recognising all aspects of our shared history
    A reconciliation project undertaken by Indigenous and non Indigenous residents provides a place for people to reflect on one of the less glorious events of our shared history since European settlement.
  • Lifelong learning for a 'can do' community
    A cooperative venture, involving Gwydir Shire Council, New England Institute of TAFE, Bingara Central School, Warialda High School, Adult Learning and the University of New England, has the primary goal of promoting lifelong learning.
  • Local business ready to take on the world
    Warialda Engineering and Welding is about to launch its Davis Starlifter into the United States of America market. The company, owned by Mick Davis, currently employs 12 people including five apprentices.
  • Roxy Theatre lights up again
    Situated in the main street of Bingara, the beautiful art deco Roxy Theatre is a multipurpose cinema and performing arts venue.

  • Young people are well supported in Gwydir
    With its population spread over a considerable area, Gwydir Shire aims to provide as many services as possible for children and families. Youth Services Coordinator, Suzy Webber, said participation in Youth Week, running Youth Leadership camps, festival workshops and Blue Light Discos and are just some of the activities Council offers.
  • Work out Warialda
    In a joint venture between Council, Warialda High School, Warialda TAFE, and Warialda Sports Council, Gwydir Shire is now home to a fully functional fitness centre and training facility for personal development, health and fitness.

  • 50/50 approach gets the job done
    Following amalgamation, Council has regularly engaged in community consultation highlighting the need for a greater focus on resources and maintenance.