May 2008 Edition

  • Productivity Commission findings

    The Productivity Commission released its final report, ‘Assessing Local Government Revenue Raising Capacity’, on 17 April. This 12 month study into Local Government’s own revenue raising sources resulted from a key recommendation of the Hawker ‘Fair Share’ report tabled in Federal Parliament in November 2003.
  • Editorial: infrastructure on the agenda
    Speaking at the recent Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) Asset Management Conference, MAV CEO, Rob Spence, referred delegates to a speech last year by Treasury Head, Ken Henry.
  • President’s comment
    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Mayor Joy Baluch, President of the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA).
  • Women in the workplace*
    Celebrating 20 inspirational years
    Diversity and equality, leadership, salary gap, workplace culture and flexibility are themes of the 20th Women, Management and Employment Relations Conference to be staged in Sydney on 24–25 July 2008.
  • Toowoomba Australia’s tidiest town for 2008
    Queensland’s town of Toowoomba was a major star at the Keep Australia Beautiful Tidy Towns Awards in April, taking out three awards, including the major title, Australia’s tidiest town for 2008.
  • Simple, sustainable solution to a CORE problem
    A small group in the central north of Tasmania is inspiring the Local Government and community sector to train ordinary community members to be volunteers to stop suicide.
  • Heart Foundation rewards Local Governments for heart health initiatives*
    Are you leading the way in creating healthy communities? If your answer is yes, then the Heart Foundation wants to hear from you.
  • 2020 Summit – now a slow waltz?

    We’ve just had 1,000 passionate citizens pushing their barrows at the 2020 Summit. Fantastic. It has really got the Federal bureaucracy rockin’ – working out how to handle these ideas, particularly Ministers’ desires to accommodate as many ideas as possible
  • Safety first at the City of Palmerston
    The World Health Organisation (WHO) has named Palmerston as the Northern Territory’s first International Safe Community, following its safety and injury prevention work with the community.
  • New sweeper chassis – Euro IV compliant, greater payload
    Director of Schwarze Industries Australia, Mike Webber, recently spoke to Local Government FOCUS about the latest version of the popular, Australian built range of Schwarze regenerative air sweepers.
  • Councillor profiles
    Councillor Profiles is a regular feature. This month we feature two Councillors from Tasmania.
  • LGANT meets in Alice Springs
    Welcoming delegates to the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT) General Meeting, hosted by Alice Springs Town Council on 17 and 18 April, President Alderman Kerry Moir said that this was likely to be the last such meeting in its present format.
  • Community harmony guide for Local Government*

    Community cohesion in multicultural settings is a very significant and growing area and councils are increasingly being expected to provide a leading role in creating positive and sustainable relationships between communities.
  • Innovation abounds at Ku-ring-gai
    Stretching from Roseville to Wahroonga on Sydney’s upper North Shore, Ku-ring-gai is one of the most populated Local Government areas in New South Wales, with more than 108,000 residents.
  • ALGWA: future looking brighter, but more to be done
    Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) National President, Kaele Way, said that while the recent Queensland elections saw females winning 34 per cent of Councillor positions, there is still a way to go.
  • Improving community engagement
    South Australian Councils are looking to an international framework to help improve community engagement.
  • Entries open for IPWEAQ excellence awards
    The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia Queensland Division (IPWEAQ) is calling on Queensland Councils to submit their projects to the 2008 Excellence Awards.
  • Asset management conference in Melbourne
    The 2008 Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) National Local Government Asset Management Conference added two new streams – drainage and water sensitive urban design; and transport, road design and skills shortage – to its program.
  • Free Austroads guides*
    Austroads produces a number of quality guides and research reports, which assist road agencies in the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of their road networks.
  • Green fuel trial aims to reduce emissions for Gold Coast City fleet*
    Neumann Petroleum, Australia’s largest independent fuel company, is supplying clean burning biodiesel for a Gold Coast City Council trial – which aims to reduce vehicle emissions and improve fuel efficiency
  • Australian coastal and tidal councils: IPWEA national conference on climate change response
    The expected rate of sea level rise will have a significant impact on the infrastructure of Australian coastal councils and this will present all sorts of infrastructure challenges for Local Government.
  • NT restructure taking shape
    The Northern Territory’s current 62 Municipal and Community Government Councils will be reduced to 16 on 1 July. Eight of these are new ‘super’ Shires, each serving a number of remote townships and communities and, for the first time, including large areas of land not previously administered by Local Government. Chief Executive Officers have been appointed to the new Shires and FOCUS recently spoke to two of these CEOs.
  • Executive master class
    The UK Experience by Malcolm Morley*
    I have been invited to provide a master class by a university working in partnership with Local Government. In developing my master class I have had to review the transformation process that we have undertaken at Harlow. I’ve also had to draw upon the private sector experience that I gained before returning to Local Government.
  • NT intervention update
    Speaking at the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory’s recent General Meeting in Alice Springs, the Operational Commander for the Emergency Response in the NT, Major General David Chalmers, outlined specific achievements from the Intervention Program that commenced last June.

Feature: Administration & Management Systems

  • City of Stirling CEO on work experience
    Since January, City of Stirling CEO, Stuart Jardine, has been working in one of Council’s 149 services for one morning a month to gain a better understanding of what the City’s 1,100 employees do on a daily basis.
  • National Local Government Shared Services Conference

    The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is hosting the National Local Government Shared Services Conference, part of its Future of Local Government process.
  • Innovative community consultation
    The City of Burnside is one of five South Australian Councils developing an innovative tool that allows residents to participate in the Council decision making process from their own home.
  • Future directions in administration and management systems
    An interview with Frank Pearce, General Manager, City of Glenorchy, Tasmania.
  • Councils looking to efficient futures*
    Northern Grampians Shire in Victoria and Leeton Shire in New South Wales recently signed up for Civica’s Authority Local Government management software, with both seeking a single enterprise solution that delivers improved customer service through streamlined workflows and the use of web based applications.
  • Digital signatures automate business process at Marrickville Council*
    Marrickville Council in the inner west region of Sydney has implemented a CoSign® digital signature solution, offering standards and efficiencies across Council’s operations.
  • ‘DRAG-ON’ mapping services taking care of business
    Following the implementation of e-business, Sydney’s Kogarah Council has recognised the importance of the world wide web in communicating with its stakeholders.
  • Striving for continuous improvement
    Centrally located on the Murrumbidgee River in the heart of the New South Wales Riverina, Narrandera Shire Council caters for a population of around 6,500 people. Council has established a connection between the goals of its corporate strategic plan and various departments and team members to assist with this job.
  • Bosch adds digital recording and playback to its Ultro Discussion System*
    Bosch Security Systems has updated its CCS 800 Ultro Discussion System with a built in MP3 recording capability to enable record and playback of actual to the minute meeting proceedings.
  • Melbourne’s facility management fit to lead
    Melbourne City Baths (MCB) is continuing to lead the fitness industry, taking out the Fitness Centre of the Year Award at the recent Fitness Victoria 2008 Industry Awards.
  • Monash masters degrees offer professional development options for LG Councillors and staff*
    In recent years it has become increasingly necessary for the three levels of government in Australia to seek common policy and governance solutions. The previous and current Federal Governments have intensified the challenge to State and Local Governments to deliver more effective and efficient services, or face more intervention or partial takeover by the Commonwealth.
  • Councillors tour the length and breadth of Logan
    In April, traffic blackspots, community improvements and places with tourism potential came under the spotlight at Logan, when the recently elected Council and senior executives toured the new City.
  • Škoda – now available in Australia*
    Škoda is one of the newest European car companies ‘Down Under’, after launching its all new operation at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney on 11 October 2007.
  • Improving the business paper process*
    It is a contemporary, stable and economical package for managing Local Government business papers. Here’s a snapshot of how it works.
  • Sorell becomes an infoXpert
    Located 25 kilometres northeast of Hobart, Tasmania’s Sorell Council has implemented a new electronic document management system (EDMS) to streamline its records management practices.
  • Raising labour force participation
    In its annual report for 2006–07, the Australian Productivity Commission focused on the scope to raise labour force participation rates in Australia, and the policy challenges involved.
  • Constructing engineering careers
    It is anticipated that 30,000 engineers across Australia are likely to retire within the next ten years.
  • Shoalhaven Water staff member – Operator of the Year
    Located on the south coast of New South Wales, Shoalhaven Water’s Wastewater Treatment Operator, Peter Hale, has been awarded the prestigious Operator of the Year award from the State Water Directorate
  • Shoalhaven Water staff member – Operator of the Year
    Long term water supply security for current and future generations of the Clarence Valley/Coffs Harbour region is just one feature of the $180 million water supply project currently under construction.
  • Mayor’s introduction
    Clarence Valley is very much ‘On the Move’, with its economy growing in the last calendar year at a record eight per cent.
  • Council serious about sustainability
    The Clarence Valley Sustainability Initiative is a leadership action of Council that was adopted in March 2006.
  • Tackling affordable housing
    In response to the increased demand for housing options and the need to support more vulnerable community members, Clarence Valley Council has developed an Affordable Housing Strategy.
  • Valley of opportunities
    Rigorous economic planning has been completed and a framework for growth established. The Clarence economic agenda is supported by a set of investment opportunities based on the area’s competitive and natural strengths including:
  • New era – new planning
    After amalgamation, the newly created Clarence Valley Council inherited a complex array of planning policies from the previous Councils. This resulted in six Local Environmental Plans (LEP) – the principle planning instrument for each area; over 70 development control plans (DCP), and any number of written and unwritten policies and practices that potentially applied to planning decisions.
  • Industrial land in the right location
    Seven industrial precincts with access to the Gwydir Highway, Pacific Highway, Summerland Way, North Coast rail line, power, water, sewer services, and telecommunications are open for business and investment.
  • Investing in service infrastructure
    Council is making a significant investment in service infrastructure.
  • Invest where the tide is high
    Clarence Valley is undergoing an economic revolution fuelled by the sea change and tree change, affordable and available residential and industrial land, comparatively lower operational costs, higher yields and a growing population.
  • Unification through social planning
    Amalgamation of the former Councils has enhanced development and delivery of Clarence Valley’s Social Plan
  • Cultural planning: unity in diversity
    The Clarence Valley Cultural Plan provides an opportunity to bring together people in geographically diverse communities with a passion for the arts and culture to converge and work collaboratively towards mutual goals and achievements.
  • Traineeships for Valley youth
    The Human Resources, Finance, Information Services and Water Cycle sections of Council recently employed five trainees through group training company, North Coast Group Training.
  • Aboriginal consultation
    The establishment of Clarence Valley Council has for the first time united the five Aboriginal communities within the Local Government area.
  • More than just a gallery...
    The Grafton Regional Gallery was established in 1988 and has been the recipient of many awards since its inception.