March 2007 Edition

  • Gold Coast and Fort Lauderdale build stronger links
    Last October a delegation from Gold Cast City Council attended the launch of the 47th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in Florida. The two cities have held a sister city relationship for the past 26 years.
  • Councils encouraged to get shady
    Councils across Victoria are being urged to showcase 'shady' initiatives within their communities. As well as helping to protect their residents from skin cancer, Councils could win recognition in the 2007 SunSmart Shade Awards.
  • Negotiating native title forum in Melbourne
    Speaking at the recent Negotiating Native Title Forum held in Melbourne on 26 and 27 February, President of the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT), Graeme Neate, said that in the 15 years since the landmark Mabo decision there has been a number of positive outcomes but these have come at significant financial and emotional costs.
  • Researching for the future
    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley*
    It is always interesting when academics, management consultants and practitioners come together to discuss issues. Academics are looking for how existing theoretical models are reinforced by the evidence available or where there is a gap in knowledge. Management consultants are looking for gaps in knowledge and opportunities in the marketplace and practitioners are looking for opportunities to share their problems and to gain solutions.
  • Books by the barrow load
    Beachgoers on Port Phillip beaches this summer have been able to improve their minds as well as their tans. As a result of a creativity workshop run by Council last year, the Port Phillip Library Service's wheelbarrow library service kicked off in February to coincide with some of Melbourne's hottest days.


  • Research findings in performance management released
    Research released on 23 February by Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) reveals the current practices in performance management among Local Government managers.
  • LGAQ courses advance LG careers
    Gatton Shire's Deputy Mayor, Councillor Janice Holstein, recently graduated from a Diploma in Local Government Administration course. Provided by the Local Government Association of Queensland, the course is specifically designed for Local Government employees and elected members.
  • Personal emergency plan kit a first
    The Shire of Yarra Ranges has received $50,000 in Federal Government funding to further develop a personal emergency plan kit. Launched in April 2006, the kit is designed to assist older residents plan appropriate responses to emergencies that occur around the home.
  • Gold Coast on track to be using Class A+ recycled water in 2008
    The recycled water pipe systems (purple pipes) in Pimpama and Coomera on the Gold Coast will be flowing with Class A+ recycled water for toilet flushing and outdoor use by Christmas 2008.
  • Call for Mayors to bat for community harmony
    The word is going out for Mayors to bat for community harmony by taking part in Crickids Australia's Biggest Cricket Game on Harmony Day on 21 March. Crickids, Australia's Biggest Cricket Game, is an attempt to set the national record for the most people participating in cricket games on the same day.
  • Kids save water with Tapstar
    During January, Shoalhaven City Council put on Tapstar, a series of water wise educational shows for primary school children in the area. Held at a local shopping centre, the theatre play featured water saving mascot - Tapstar, and a host of other characters, including Fred Faucet and the Drippettes.
  • History showcased on new pedestrian bridge
    The City of Melbourne is depicting Victoria's and Australia's growth at Melbourne's most historic meeting place. Located a few metres from the old Yarra Falls site, the historic Sandridge rail bridge, now Queens Bridge, has been converted into a new pedestrian and cycle path that links the north and south banks of the Yarra River.

  • Mural lifts spirits in drought affected Snowtown
    An aerosol art workshop held in January has transformed an old Wakefield Regional Council Depot shed into a work of art.
  • LG Pro awards
    As an acknowledgement of the outstanding contribution made by the professionals working in Local Government in Victoria, LGPro announced the winners of its awards for excellence at its annual conference dinner.
  • Sustainable communities: critical insights
    With the massive investment in infrastructure in the post war baby boom period coming to the end of its life, Australian Local Government is faced with a once in a generation infrastructure challenge in the next decade and beyond. The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) responded to this challenge in February with the launch of a new DVD.
  • Addressing the public interest
    A record number of delegates attended the 2007 Local Government Professionals (LGPro) Annual Conference staged in Melbourne from 14-16 February. The theme, In the Public Interest, provided delegates with scope to discuss the needs of communities and how to address them.
  • Shire of Derby/West Kimberley
    At the 2006 National General Assembly in Canberra, we invited delegates to share their Council's projects and initiatives to win a full page feature in FOCUS. This month we feature the Shire of Derby/West Kimberley, Western Australia.


  • Councillor profiles
    Councillor Profiles is a regular feature. This month we interviewed two Councillors from Victoria.
  • Rural community at its best
    In February, Hepburn Shire Council in Victoria responded to the drought situation with a community forum - Getting Through: Stock Feed and You.
  • Company executives, get on the plane!
    The Good Oil* by Rod Brown
    Barry Ferguson, a former senior Victorian Government official (and a straight shooter, from memory) wrote an excellent piece in the Melbourne Age recently. His message was that governments must ensure that all markets work freely to embrace global market signals and convert to local action. He points to our weak links between business and the science base, low levels of innovation and private sector R&D, and the lack of sophistication and global perspective of our business base.
  • New Bombing of Darwin video launched
    Darwin City Council launched a new video production in February titled, 19.2.1942 the Bombing of Darwin. Together with a public display, the video was launched to an audience of veterans, survivors and their guests, commemorating mainland Australia coming under attack for the first time, when Japanese forces mounted two air raids on Darwin on 19 February 1942.


  • Randwick takes out Bluett Award
    Randwick City Council was recently announced the winner of the annual AR Bluett Memorial Award. The prestigious award is considered to be the highest accolade a New South Wales Council can aspire to and has been in existence since 1945.
  • President's comment
    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Dick Gross, President of the Municipal Association of Victoria.
  • NT's reform package aiming to deliver for remote communities
    Under a far reaching structural reform program for Local Government in its regional areas, the Northern Territory Government has announced a new framework based on four existing Municipal Councils and nine new Shire Councils. The Territory's current 57 Community Government Councils and 'Association Councils' will be replaced by these nine new Shire Councils.
  • Editorial - Water remains hot topic for all spheres of government
    With the run up to the Federal Election in full swing, a recent Newspoll survey published in The Australian newspaper found 82 per cent of respondents said water planning was a key issue placing it ahead of health, education and the environment.

Feature: ADMINISTRATION & MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Burwood enhances efficiency with digital signatures
    Burwood Council in metropolitan Sydney has streamlined its processes through the introduction of digital signatures.
  • Councils install email and web security*
    Hobsons Bay City Council and Nillumbik Shire Council are just two Local Governments that have installed IronPort's C100™ email security appliance. IronPort® Systems, Inc. is the leading email and web security products provider.
  • Alert system connects the police with the local community
    The City of Belmont and the Western Australia Police are working together through what is believed to be the first internet based crime prevention communication system. 'BeCrimeAlert' allows Western Australia Police to SMS, telephone, email and send regular mail to instantly communicate current threats and alerts to the community.

  • Future directions in Information Technology and Communications
    Future Directions is a regular feature. This month we interviewed Karen Vought, Chief Information Officer, Gold Coast City Council, Queensland.
  • Effective HR solutions for Local Government*
    IECOM Group Pty Ltd is offering Local Government world class state of the art solutions that will revolutionise the way HR and other information workers access, analyse and use enterprise data to move business forward.
  • Website reduces compliance burden for small and home based businesses
    Thirty Victorian Councils are participating in a project led by Whittlesea City Council that will allow small and home based businesses to identify and understand the need for various Local Government licenses, permits and registrations.
  • A milestone of success
    IT2007 is scheduled for 13-16 November 2007 in beautiful Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. The conference provides a forum for Local Government managers and support staff to network, learn and exchange ideas.
  • MiMAPS reduces pressure on planning department
    Mackay City Council is using an innovative online tool that provides residents and ratepayers with access to a wide variety of information on land and property, planning and land use, services and infrastructure and community facilities.
  • New software promotes business excellence
    Located midway between Sydney and Newcastle in New South Wales, the City of Gosford has developed an IT solution to manage its performance reporting.
  • LGASA puts Councillor's faces to names
    South Australian residents are finding it easier to contact their local Councillor following a Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA) initiative to showcase them on the internet.
  • Graffiti workshops online at Frankston City Council
    With support from Film Victoria and the Australian Council for the Arts, the Frankston Arts Centre has created Graffiti Online. This website allows youth to share ideas via an online forum and view digital artwork by participants of Graffiti Online workshops.
  • Fremantle's seniors share their stories
    The Film and Television Institute WA (FTI) is assisting Fremantle residents aged 55 and over to develop a series of three minute films that depict personal and local histories or situations and events.
  • Computer workshops to assist Tasmania's elected members
    Recognising that some of its elected members have not had the benefit of growing up in the computer age where computer literacy is now taken for granted, and have not been required to use computers as part of their employment, has lead to the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) to organise a series of full day workshops.
  • Latest communications infrastructure brings broadband to Yorke Peninsula
    New communications infrastructure has been installed across South Australia's District Council of Yorke Peninsula to provide high speed communications to major business and population centres in the region.
  • Coffs Harbour introduces GIS technology to all local high schools
    Since 1999, Coffs Harbour City Council has played an active role in introducing Geographic Information System (GIS) technology into local schools.


  • National conference to address long term financial sustainability issues
    As Local Government consolidates its national efforts to secure more sustainable funding arrangements, billions of dollars worth of ageing infrastructure continues to present a significant challenge for Councils across the country.
  • GIS keeps track of Council trees
    Located in Melbourne's north west, Hume City Council is using a state of the art GIS mapping and risk management system to improve the management and planning of its 100,000 plus trees. The Hume Tree Management System (HTMS) uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and qualified arborists to assess each tree for health, species, height, potential risk and predicted life expectancy.

  • Federal Government provides $36.6 million to improve Indigenous telecommunications
    Federal Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, has invited remote Indigenous communities to apply for funding under the new $36.6 million Backing Indigenous Ability telecommunications program.
  • Digital signatures: Automating processes enabling real time service delivery online*
    Top consulting groups are backing the automation of business processes still mired in the paper intensive mindset of the 20th century. A recent report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) New Zealand highlighted the importance of automating key business processes that aren't already supported by software systems.
  • New technology to drive LG reform
    The New England Strategic Alliance in northern New South Wales is meeting the challenges of Local Government reform with a new IT based efficiency and performance measurement system.
  • Pine Rivers provides high tech services
    With lifestyles continually changing and becoming busier, Pine Rivers Shire Council has introduced a number of new technologies to enhance the services it provides.
  • Promoting a learning community
    Hobsons Bay City Council is a proud supporter of life long learning and is committed to providing learning opportunities to residents of all ages. A shining example of this is the $4.2 million Altona Meadows Library and Learning Centre, which was officially opened in February 2006.
  • Council takes customer service to the streets
    Hobsons Bay City Council is again taking the Council to the people as it embarks on the second year of its revolutionary Mobile Customer Service Program.
  • New program creates vibrant villages
    A selection of Hobsons Bay's smaller shopping precincts are receiving a new lease of life thanks to the Council's Vibrant Villages art program. The Vibrant Villages program aims to enhance the physical, economic and social activities in local neighbourhoods by upgrading key facilities and creating a site specific artwork.
  • Laverton Community Children's Centre provides a great start to life
    Opening its doors in January, the $2.3 million Laverton Community Children's Centre represents a significant investment into quality children's services by Hobsons Bay City Council, the Victorian Department of Human Services and the Laverton Community Centre.


  • Revitalising Laverton
    Hobsons Bay City Council, the Victorian Government, Victoria Police and local community members are working together in partnership to revitalise and strengthen the Laverton community.
  • Students assist Council to monitor local waterways
    Local students are working with Hobsons Bay City Council and Melbourne Water to undertake a water monitoring project of Cherry Lake in Altona.



  • A sustainable community
    In April 2006, Council officially launched its Environment Strategy 2006-2010 and Stormwater Management Plan 2006. The Environment Strategy will guide environmental actions throughout the municipality for the next four years.


  • Hobsons Bay at a glance
    Located at the northern end of Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay, and stretched over 20 kilometres of open bay frontage is the city of Hobsons Bay.
  • Putting the wheels in motion for a healthy community
    Hobsons Bay maintains a unique mix of heritage, industry and nature. With over 20 kilometres of coastline, five creeks and a series of shopping villages, Hobsons Bay is a great place to explore by bike or on foot.


  • Council lending a hand
    Hobsons Bay City Council has proudly entered into a rural friendship alliance with Buloke Shire Council in Victoria's northwest, bridging the gap between city and country communities. Since establishing the alliance both Councils have formed a strong bond, which has included staff exchanges and the promotion of joint initiatives.
  • Community garden unites residents across Laverton
    From dedicated green thumbs to gardening novices, the Laverton Community Garden is uniting residents from across Hobsons Bay.