September 2007 Edition

  • Turning good ideas into reality
    Speaking at the Western Australian Local Government Association Convention session titled ‘Connecting Ideas’, scriptwriter and novelist John Harman said that creativity tends to messy, unpredictable and hard to control.
  • Shifting power
    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley*<>In launching the Sub-National Review of Economic Develbropment and Regeneration, it was announced that Regional Assemblies, bodies that have responsibility for the development of regional planning policies, are to be phased out. Their planning responsibilities are to be given to Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).
  • WA conference connecting communities
    The theme for the Western Australian Local Government Association’s 2007 Convention was ‘Connecting Communities’. Staged in Perth from 4 to 6 August, issues addressed by a range of speakers and in focus groups included finding a balance between economic realities and the creative needs of communities, the evolving intergovernmental working relationships, and trends and attitudes to intergenerational changes in the workplace.
  • New compactor with water tank*
    Crommelins Machinery has recently released a rugged, heavy duty compactor suitable for soil and asphalt compacting.
  • Labor confirms timeframe for Constitutional recognition.
    Federal Labor has promised to consult with Councils over Constitutional recognition of Local Government within the first term of a Rudd Government.
  • A climate for change
    Each year, the Australian Local Government Association’s (ALGA) National General Assembly is a key forum for shaping the future for Local Government
  • Taking the pain out of DA processing
    Located on Sydney’s northern beaches, Pittwater Council has made lodging and tracking a development application (DA) much easier. In what is believed to be a first for Australian Local Government, Council now has a complete suite of web based tools to assist applicants and Council officers.
  • How productive is your IT infrastructure?
    The 10th Information Technology Conference for Local Government, IT2007, will be held on 13 to 16 November in beautiful Coffs Harbour. Hosted by Coffs Harbour City Council, the conference provides a forum for Local Government managers and support staff to network, learn and exchange ideas.
  • ICT – It’s a Change Agent
    With the theme ‘ICT – It’s a Change Agent’, the Municipal Association of Victoria’s (MAV) Local Government Technology Solutions Conference was staged in Melbourne from 9 to 10 August.
  • Who is Infor?
    Hansen International Technologies and GEAC Computer Corporation are now part of enterprise software provider, Infor.
  • Recognising LG’s high achievers
    At the 2007 Local Government Managers Australia National Congress in Hobart, Local Government FOCUS invited delegates to nominate individuals or teams from their Council who are improving Council’s operations or enhancing service delivery within their community.
  • Garden awards recognise efficient water users
    With the winners of the 2006 Australian Local Government Flower Garden Awards announced earlier this year, judges said drought conditions across most of Australia resulted in limited entries.
  • Reduced housing affordability: Why State and Local Government are not to blame
    Economist Chris Richardson believes that housing affordability will be a major issue at the next Federal Election.
  • Queensland conference celebrates the entensive achievements of Local Government
    In the shadow of amalgamations that will see Councils reduced from 156 to 72 and the number of elected members more than halved, some 1,000 delegates attended the 111th annual conference of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ).
  • Councillor Profiles
    Councillor Profiles is a regular feature. This month we feature two Councillors from Tasmania.
  • Ongoing reform in SA
    The Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA) has publicly launched the Strengthening Local Government program, which was endorsed at its General Meeting in April.
  • Campbelltown’s youth programs – the best in the business
    Campbelltown City Council has taken out top honours at the 2007 Local Government Youth Week Awards.
  • Sustainable housing wins international award
    Latrobe City Council has been internationally recognised for its innovative sustainable housing project, ‘Our Future, Our Place’. The project won an International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Community Partnership Award in the 2007 Program Excellence Awards scheme
  • Tasmania – where economics and politics come together
    The Good Oil * by Rod Brown
    Professor Rufus Davis was the Foundation Professor of Politics at Monash University. In the late 1960s he merged the Department to form the faculty of Economics and Politics, on the basis that the two disciplines are inextricably entwined. There was a huge debate at the time, and I suspect that Albert Langer, the leftie student activist, was in the midst of the protests.
  • President’s comment
    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.
  • Editorial: Constitutional recognition on the agenda
    With Federal Labor confirming that if a Rudd Government is elected, during its first term it will consult with Councils over Constitutional recognition of Local Government, and Federal Minister Jim Lloyd also stating that in light of the events surrounding amalgamation of Queensland Councils, he is now willing to reconsider his view on Constitutional recognition as a means of strengthening the role of Local Government.
  • NT remote communities under siege
    The Local Government Association of Northern Territory (LGANT) President Alderman Kerry Moir said that she was concerned but not surprised at an article in the Australian on 21 August headlined, ‘Council bosses threaten to quit’.
  • Climate change: experts say it’s not too late to act
    In opening the 14th Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) International Conference, CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Don Henry, said the dangers of climate change are avoidable, but we need to act now.

Feature: TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

  • Moree Plains safety challenge
    Located on the border of New South Wales and Queensland, Moree Plains Shire Council has reduced loss time injuries and the cost of workers compensation through a whole of Council program – ‘The Safety Challenge’.
  • Making a model employer
    By Michael Butler*
    Fair remuneration, work–life balance and recognition of career development needs topped the list when the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA) asked members to help design its employer of choice model.
  • Have you met your obligations in emergency management?*
    Local Government is clearly identified as having a major role in making information and physical resources available to assist the emergency services and take a lead role during the recovery from an incident. IFAP can help you meet your responsibilities under your emergency management/disaster legislation.
  • Frankston specialist wins award
    Frankston City Council’s GIS/GPS Projects Specialist, Paul Bormann, has been awarded the Australia and New Zealand Excellence Award by the Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA)
  • Defensive driving course increases skills
    Recognising that driving is one of the high risk activities employees undertake on a regular basis, MidCoast Water is offering staff defensive driving courses.
  • Technical skills training delivered to your desk*
    Local Government technical staff must keep up to date with advances in the design, construction and maintenance of road pavements.
  • Tell it in pictures! Easy Guides finds niche market*
    James Tennant was working as a workplace English teacher when he was asked by a number of workers to help explain the questions and answers in a forklift test they were sitting the following week.
  • Yarra Ranges reduces ecological footprint
    Located on metropolitan Melbourne’s eastern fringe, the Shire of Yarra Ranges is known for its beautiful natural environment and its strong sense of community. For this reason, Council staff have enthusiastically embraced a program encouraging them to think creatively about how the organisation can reduce its ecological footprint, both internally and in Yarra Ranges’ communities.
  • Tasmanian workshops in run up to elections
    The Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT), in conjunction with the Local Government Office and the Tasmanian Electoral Commission, recently held a series of free information seminars for people interested in standing at the next Local Government elections in October.
  • How do the National Awards for Local Government Work?
    The National Awards for Local Government have been conducted for the last 21 years. The Awards were set up to highlight the excellent and innovative work being undertaken across Australia to improve business practice within Councils and service delivery to communities.
  • Category Winners
    Category Winners from the National Awards for Local Government.
  • Getting the right people on board
    The Australian Government Department of Transport and Regional Services plays a key role in assisting regions to manage their own futures through our programs and policy development.
  • Randwick City Council leads the way in water savings
    Water management has become part the lives of all Australians and we all have a key role to play in managing this precious resource. This important role has been acknowledged by the Australian Government with the establishment of the Community Water Grants programme.
  • NT Emergency Response
    On 21 June 2007 the Prime Minister, together with the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, announced emergency response measures to protect Indigenous children in the Northern Territory.
  • Healthy spaces and places National planning guidelines project
    The Planning Institute of Australia, the Heart Foundation and the Australian Local Government Association with support from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing are working together to develop national planning guidelines for the design of healthy built environments for Australians.
  • Partnerships Week 2007:Launch of Toolkits for SMEs
    Under the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs strategic framework, Strengthening Australian Communities, Partnerships Week 2007 was held from 20–24 August. Partnership Week operates on the premise that communities are stronger, more cohesive and dynamic when individuals, community organisations, government and businesses work together to achieve positive social outcomes.
  • Universal design for public amenities award
    Incontinence is a significant health problem that has physical, social and economic implications for women and men of all ages as well as children, carers, families and the community.
  • National Youth Roundtable: bring your ideas!
    The National Youth Roundtable provides an opportunity for 46 young people and the Australian Government to exchange ideas on a range of issues that are relevant to youth.
  • Sharing Our Achievements: Symposiums on Australian Muslims
    In November 2006 the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA) launched a whole of government initiative called Sharing Our Achievements: Symposiums on Australian Muslims. The aim of the symposiums was to increase the understanding and social cohesion between Australian Muslims and the wider community.
  • Study flexibly at West Coast TAFE*
    West Coast TAFE, the 2007 Large Training Provider of the Year in Western Australia, offers a range of flexible courses that will assist Local Government employees in progressing through their career.
  • Youth Councillors attend international summit
    Two of Rockhampton City Council’s Youth Councillors, Caterina Nicolo and Jack Piggott, were chosen by Brisbane City Council to attend one of the leading business and government forums in the Asia Pacific region.
  • New disciplinary system set for WA
    To assist in the smooth operation of Councils, elected members in Western Australia engaging in inappropriate behaviour may soon face penalties ranging from a six month suspension through to a five year disqualification.
  • Improving business performance through HR effectiveness*
    The AHRI vision ‘people leading business’ recognises the changing requirements of Australian business against a background of economic challenge. It also acknowledges the continuing opportunity for the HR profession to actively contribute specialist knowledge for the delivery of people management solutions to business.
  • Free health screenings for Huon Valley staff
    Earlier this year, Huon Valley Council offered all staff a free health screening. Held during work hours, the screenings checked for a number of general health items including blood pressure, skin cancers, vision, body mass index and diabetes.
  • Financial advice at a not for profit price*
    You work hard for your money – but perhaps it’s time it worked hard for you. Financial advice can help you make decisions about your finances and financial future.
  • JobScore to assist Local Government workforce
    A new job classification system, JobScore, will make it easier for Councils to ensure their employees are being fairly rewarded for their efforts. Released in August, JobScore is a contemporary, valid and reliable position classification and remuneration system designed specifically for the Local Government sector.
  • Recognising Australia’s best employers
    In August, Federal Minister for Vocational and Further Education, Andrew Robb, announced the winners of the 2007 Minister’s Awards for Excellence for Employers of Australian Apprentices. Among the winners was Queensland’s Mackay City Council, taking out the Central Queensland Category for its solid completion rate and site specific program for apprentices.
  • Workforce Plan tackles anticipated skills and people shortage
    Located in northwest Victoria, Swan Hill Rural City Council recently adopted a Workforce Plan, aimed at addressing skills shortages and future recruitment.
  • Monash offers professional development options for Local Government Councillors and staff*
    In a political environment it is vital that Councillors and staff understand the political and practical imperatives of the three tiers of the government decision making processes.
  • Bendigo showcases expertise
    City of Greater Bendigo Design Engineer, Leigh Oliver, has showcased his expertise across the nation.
  • Need Defence Force advice? Ask the experts!
    Major General Greg Melick has just been promoted to become Australia’s most senior Defence Reservist and will oversee the organisation that liaises between Defence, Reservists and their civilian employers.
  • Mentor network introduced
    The Western Australian Branch of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) is set to increase the number of women in Local Government with the launch of a new mentoring program – Mentor Net.
  • Addressing Local Government training needs*
    Government Skills Australia (GSA) is one of ten National Industry Skills Councils registered with and funded by the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST). GSA supports the development of skills and knowledge in the Local Government, Public Sector, Public Safety, Corrections and Water sectors.
  • Targeted training vital for skills development and enhancing efficiencies*
    Creating the right learning solutions is essential for Local Government to optimise the effectiveness of its staff training programs.
  • Port Macquarie-Hastings staff member named Best Engineer
    Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s Water Supply Manager, Murray Thompson, has taken out the 2007 National Local Government Engineering Medal, announced in August at the International Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) International Conference in Cairns.
  • Future directions in training and development
    An interview with Tania Pieterse, Human Resource Officer, Central Coast Council, Tasmania