December 2007 Edition

  • Editorial: the year in focus
    2007 was dominated by the Federal election, with the mood for change gaining momentum throughout the year. Major challenges including the impact of climate change, addressing the growing infrastructure backlog and the financial sustainability of Councils have dominated. The following summarises our opinions on how Local Government continues to step up to the mark on these vital issues.
  • Regions face a triple whammy: 2007–2008 State of the Regions report
    The combined impact of the cost to households from climate change, increasing household debt and the fact that international standard telecommunications – particularly high speed broadband – are still not available in many regions is widening the gap between the most affluent and poorest of Australia’s 64 regions.
  • Employment summit with a difference
    Assisting the young and the disadvantaged to gain meaningful employment is one of the most important challenges facing the Western Sydney area.
  • Regional Partnerships Program – the smoking gun
    By Rod Brown*
    The release of the Auditor-General’s highly critical evaluation of the Regional Partnership Program (RPP) one week before the election did great damage to the Coalition. It concluded that the program was not meeting an “acceptable level of public administration”.
  • Swan Hill calls for national mental health network
    Swan Hill Rural City Council is urging Local Governments Australia wide to tackle the issue of depression and mental illness by joining the Healthy Minds Network.
  • Fremantle guides point tourists in the right direction
    Fremantle City Council has relocated its visitors centre and introduced visitor guides to better assist people visiting the City.
  • Green fuel to reduce Logan City Council emissions*
    Logan City Council is trialling Neumann Petroleum’s clean burning biodiesel in its fleet trucks in a bid to reduce vehicle emissions and improve fuel efficiency.
  • Sealed runway helps to secure Flinders Island’s economic future
    The redevelopment of Whitemark Airport on Tasmania’s Flinders Island has taken out the Asset Management Category for Small Councils under 15,000 ratepayers in the 2007 National Awards for Local Government. 
  • Vale John McLean
    By Gerrie Carr-MacFie*
    Many throughout Victoria in public and private sector fields have been affected by the untimely passing of John McLean, CEO at the City of Greater Bendigo. I was honoured to work in collaboration with John in his former role as CEO at the City of Ballarat.
  • Onkaparinga proposes proactive approach to rising oil prices
    The City of Onkaparinga is urging South Australian Premier, Mike Rann, and the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA) to consider the impact of rising oil prices from a Local Government perspective.
  • Bland celebrates 2007 International Day of People with a DisABILITY
    On 3 December, Bland Shire Council in New South Wales celebrated the 2007 International Day of People with a DisABILITY at a local cafe.
  • Queensland LG in good hands
    Each year, Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) Queensland recognises the outstanding commitment and performance of one exceptional Local Government Manager.
  • New brochure assists Council conserve heritage
    Campbelltown City Council has released a new heritage brochure – ‘What is Heritage?’ – to assist residents to identify heritage listed items in the region.
  • 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.
  • Recognising excellence in heart health
    The community based Mai Wiru (Good Food) Regional Stores Policy is this year’s National Overall Winner of the Heart Foundation Kellogg Local Government Awards.
  • Councillor Profiles
    Councillor Profiles is a regular feature. This month we feature two Councillors from New South Wales.
  • Economic Development Excellence Awards 2007 announced
    More than 220 people from Local Government Councils, State Governments and Regional Development Agencies across Australia applauded the finalists and the winners of the Economic Development Excellence Awards for 2007.
  • President’s comment
    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Mayor Mike Gaffney, President of the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT).
  • New Federal Ministry
    The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has announced his new Ministry. The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, and Local Government is Anthony Albanese.
  • Casey leads the way in environmental, energy and water initiatives
    As one of Australia’s fastest growing municipalities, the City of Casey in southeast Melbourne has set it sights on becoming a leader in groundbreaking environmental, energy and water initiatives. Council is currently constructing a $37 million aquatic and leisure centre, which it believes will be the best in Australia.
  • Film policy generates economic benefits
    Located in Central Victoria, Hepburn Shire Council is continuing to work with the film industry and its residents to create film friendly environs.
  • The Coalition implodes
    The Good Oil * by Rod Brown
    The tears and retribution continue among the Coalition. The truth of the matter is that the Australian electorate got it right. People sensed the arrogance creeping in. And the Australian electorate does not like this. In my view, there were two critical factors.

Feature: Business Efficiency & Sustainability

  • Top Councils rewarded for their mobile phone recycling efforts*
    Brisbane City Council, Lake Macquarie Council and Campbelltown City Council have been announced the top Councils in encouraging and boosting mobile phone recycling at the inaugural MobileMuster Local Government Awards.
  • Shoalhaven investigates new methods to raise funds
    In the interests of providing better infrastructure, Shoalhaven City Council is looking at innovative measures to raise funds for essential services.
  • A climate for change
    “ALGA is ready and able to work closely with the new Federal Government,” said President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Councillor Paul Bell, at the opening of the 14th National General Assembly of Local Government.
  • West Coast turns green
    Tasmania’s West Coast Council has converted its entire 25 vehicle fleet to run on LP Gas, providing significant savings on running costs and minimising the impact on the environment.
  • LGASA supports National Recycling Week
    The Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA) has applauded Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week initiative, which ran from 12 to 18 November and dovetailed neatly into Councils’ year long waste management and recycling initiatives.
  • Energise Business is saving money and the environment
    Ararat Rural City Council is offering local small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) the chance to slash their energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a groundbreaking efficiency program called ‘Energise Business’.
  • Gilgandra: Australia’s first free WiFi community
    Located in the central west of New South Wales, Gilgandra Shire Council has become one of the first towns outside of capital cities to have a free wireless internet service for the whole community.
  • Penrith takes out Excellence Awards
    Penrith City residents can feel assured that the management of the City is in safe hands, with Council winning a Gold Award for Management Excellence at the annual Sydney Morning Herald Local Government Management Excellence Awards for New South Wales.
  • Kogarah enhances efficiency in water management
    Councils across the nation are facing the challenge of doing more with less water and finding reliable and safe alternative sources of water.
  • Service excellence despite amalgamation distraction
    Thuringowa City Council residents have given a resounding vote of approval in Council’s latest independent customer service survey.
  • Maroochy talks the talk
    Maroochy Shire Council has launched a new Council Language Bank, assisting residents with English as a second language with everyday matters. Situated in the heart of southeast Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, some 20 per cent of Maroochy Shire’s population is made up of people born overseas.
  • Many benefits from joined up government initiatives
    Wangaratta Rural City Council has taken a leading role in the initiation, planning and construction of two joined up Government projects: the Wangaratta Government Centre and Wangaratta Library and Community Resource Centre.
  • Need a wired, wireless or hybrid network? Call the experts*
    Black Box will help you plan, design and install your wired or wireless network infrastructure. Our data networking services also include cable system management, thorough documentation, and computer-aided design. After installation, we can maintain your system.
  • Transforming Harlow Council
    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley*
    This transformation represents one of the biggest and fastest improvements in Local Government history. Below I share some key learning points from the journey.
  • Ci property and rating solution*
    TechnologyOne has launched its new generation Property and Rating solution for Local Government on its Connected Intelligence (Ci) platform.
  • Better emergency service planning to link communities
    The City of Salisbury in South Australia is embarking upon an ambitious project to facilitate an integrated communication system linking providers of emergency services, relevant Government agencies and communities, with information before, during and after any emergency situation.
  • Country/City Partnership reaps rewards all round
    The City of Ryde and Central Darling Shire have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will see the two Councils working together in providing assistance and exploring opportunities to become involved in mutually beneficial programs and experiences.
  • Storm tide study improves cyclone preparedness
    As part of a commitment to improve disaster risk management, Townsville and Thuringowa City Councils released a major study assessing the risk of damage from storm tides in the region. Storm tides occur when strong winds from a cyclone generate currents that push a raised mound of seawater, called a storm surge, onto the shoreline.
  • Minimising waste: a case study on Ricoh Australia*
    What does it take to win the ACT Government’s Gold No Waste Award? For Ricoh Australia’s Canberra branch, it wasn’t easy but it was worthwhile. As a result of its award winning initiatives, the volume of material entering landfill from Ricoh’s operations in Canberra has decreased by over 98 per cent.
  • Port Augusta drug and alcohol testing a first for SA
    Port Augusta City Council has introduced mandatory drug and alcohol testing for staff and contractors. Port Augusta City Manager, John Stephens, initiated the plan, which was adopted by Council’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee.
  • Online pound streamlines customer service and saves animal lives
    Over the past 18 months, Latrobe’s Local Laws Team has made several integrated and innovative operational improvements relating to domestic animals. The changes are designed to enhance service delivery, customer service and animal welfare.
  • Improving the business paper process*
    It seems that everyone is being asked to do more with less these days, so it’s important to find that extra edge. InfoCouncil is a technology advantage being offered to Councils. It is a contemporary, stable and economical package for managing Local Government business papers. Here’s a snapshot of how it works.
  • LGAT launches new Councillor Resource Kit
    With Tasmanian Local Government elections held in October, President of the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT), Mayor Mike Gaffney, recently launched a new Councillor Resource Kit.
  • Future directions in business efficiency and sustainability
    An interview with Mark Withers, Chief Executive Officer at the City of Charles Sturt in South Australia
  • Rockhampton recognises staff skills
    Staff at Rockhampton City Council are jumping at the opportunity to have their current skills formally recognised through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). In an exciting move for Local Government staff, RPL is now being provided for the first time for Local Government Administration qualifications.
  • Creating a healthy organisation
    Moonee Valley City Council continues to strive to be a creative and innovative organisation, able to address the challenges facing the city to improve the quality of life. Council is contributing to this through organisational change and bringing best practice in Local Government to its operations.
  • Creating a healthy community
    The City’s services, facilities and infrastructure – such as child care centres, schools, aged care, shops, public transport and employment – all influence who moves into Moonee Valley and who moves out. Maintaining the amenity of the City for the increasing and diverse needs of the community is the major challenge facing Council.
  • ALGA Board maps path for Constitutional Recognition of Local Government
    ALGA President, Councillor Paul Bell, described the debate on Constitutional Recgonition at the General Assembly as excellent.
  • Creating a healthy economy, environment, community and organisation
    Moonee Valley has long been a prime location to live, work and play. It is conveniently located just 10 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD, with easy access to the major airports, railway lines, ports and freeways.
  • Vision to become an economic leader
    A thriving business enclave, Moonee Valley has the highest number of businesses in the Western Melbourne region with at least 10,600 businesses employing about 34,500 people.
  • Policy and planning
    During 2006/07 Moonee Valley’s focus has been on creating a healthy city – delivering and facilitating a healthy economy, healthy environment and a healthy community, supported by a healthy organisation.
  • Creating a healthy environment
    Moonee Valley leads the way in sustainability, council is placing an increasing emphasis on sustainable service delivery
  • Communities of the future
    Futurist, Richard Neville, said that Local Government and governance go back a long way, but at the same time we need to move forward.
  • Local Governments role in climate change
    Nick Rowley, advisor on environmental issues for then UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair and former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr, told delegates that climate change presents a problem of a whole new scale.
  • The case for formal recognition
    With formal recognition of Local Government a key policy platform of the Australian Local Government Association, Professor Cheryl Saunders, from Melbourne University Law School addressed the National General Assembly on developing a framework to progress this issue.
  • Strategies for dealing with the media
    It was a full house spilling into the hallway for the concurrent session that looked at media/communications – how do I market Local Government?
  • Resolutions
    Here are some of the key resolutions debated and carried. A full list of all Resolutions is available on the ALGA web site at
  • Local leadership in a new global revolution
    Australian of the year, scientist, explorer and national spokesperson on climate change, Professor Tim Flannery, told delegates that he had been looking forward to be speaking to them at the National General Assembly.