September 2008 Edition

  • Post amalgamations – Queensland councils are forging ahead
    Following amalgamations involving the majority of Queensland councils and elections for all councils in March this year, the President of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), Councillor Paul Bell, welcomed a large number of first time attendees to the Association’s 112th Annual Conference.
  • Editorial: Lucrative HR a necessity of the future
    In uncertain economic times, the pundits are still unsure if the USA is in recession or about to go into one and what impact this would have on the world economy. With much of the European Union also on shaky ground, analysts are still predicting that with our resources boom, Australia should be able to ride out a world downturn but this would rest heavily on how India and China fare.
  • President’s comment
    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association president. The following is from Councillor Genia McCaffery, President of the Local Government Association of New South Wales.
  • Campbelltown’s Graffiti Action Team
    New South Wales’ Campbelltown City Council recently launched its latest weapon in the fight to keep its public amenities free from graffiti – a dedicated Graffiti Action Team (GAT).
  • Hume road accidents crash to five year low
    Recent Hume City Council road accident statistics show that casualty crashes within the City have fallen to a five year low, plummeting to 319 in 2006/2007 – down from around 500 casualty crashes in 2002/2003.
  • Western Australia’s investment hubs

    We’ve been identifying the main hubs that could form part of a national investment framework. Not in prospect at present, but you must be ready! So, let’s imagine we’re in London or New York and a local investor wants information on what’s on offer.
  • Roma invites rural councils to improve local wellbeing

    On behalf of Active Roma, I would like to invite all rural councils and interested community organisations to attend the annual Rural Local Government Association Physical Activity Forum to be held in Roma on 15 and 16 October 2008.
  • Collaboration reduces flood threat
    The commissioning of South Australia’s $16.1 million Bruce Eastick North Para Flood Mitigation Dam in August represents a major achievement of collaboration and cooperation between Federal, State and six Local Governments.
  • Clark Equipment expands Champion grader range*
    Following the recent introduction of the first Champion compact graders in Australia and New Zealand, Clark Equipment has expanded its product line with an additional four models of Champion graders – the C60C, C66C, C70C and C86C. The Champion lineup now includes five basic models, including the C80C initially introduced.
  • Councillor profiles
    Councillor Profiles is a regular feature. This month we feature two Councillors from Queensland.
  • LG makes recommendations on liquor licensing

    The Federal Government’s recent focus on alcohol problems has presented the opportunity for further Local Government involvement in the development of whole of government policy and programs to address alcohol related problems.
  • Land giveaway to lure tree changers to Pyrenees region
    Victoria’s Pyrenees Shire Council has teamed with the Grampians Pyrenees Regional Development Board (GPRDB) to launch a land giveaway competition, offering potential tree changers the chance to build their dream home in Avoca.
  • Recognising LG’s high achievers
    At the 2008 Local Government Managers Australia National Congress at the Gold Coast, Local Government FOCUS invited delegates to nominate individuals or teams from their council who are improving their council’s operations or enhancing service delivery within their community.
  • Marketing and communications – beyond the media release

    Marketing and communications, public relations, public affairs, corporate communications —whatever the nameplate on the door, most councils have at least one person that devotes their working week to promoting their council’s good work and helping their communities understand the myriad services, activities and changes going on around them.
  • New PR tool for councils*
    An online strategic communications tool to improve the way Local Governments manage their community information arrives in Australia early next year. And that will be good news for council PR professionals already finding themselves working harder than ever.
  • Shades of glory: entries sought for Vic SunSmart awards
    The search is on to find Victoria’s best shade initiative in the 2008 SunSmart Shade Awards.
  • Housing risk

    The credit crunch is taking its toll. Banks are posting record losses arising from their support for unrealistic multiples in lending to people trying to buy houses that had become unsustainably expensive. They are now reluctant to make loans to each other or to people who do not now have a significant deposit for the housing that they want to purchase.
  • Providing the services people actually want
    Professor of Politics and Governance at UK’s University of Southampton, Gerry Stoker, was one of the keynote presenters at the recent Local Government Association of Queensland’s annual conference.
  • Saving a Sunburnt Country – a climate change conference
    Saving a Sunburnt Country is a timely event about the effect of climate change on Australia’s biodiversity and ecosystems. Hosted by the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales, it will be staged on 12 and 13 November at the NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre in Sydney.
  • Constitutional Summit preparation
    The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) recently held a Constitutional Forum in Canberra to consider ways to achieve change to the Australian Constitution that would better reflect the role of Local Government.

Feature: Training and Development

  • National project to curb the loss of council staff
    A national project is underway to help alleviate Local Governments’ skills shortage by preventing the loss of council staff to the booming resources sector. Through new training opportunities, the Regional Employers Alliance Project (REAP) will seek to improve the ability for resource sector workers to move to employment within Local Government.
  • Kingborough ‘Alert’ to food safety training
    Kingborough Council recently launched the I’m ALERT Food Safety Interactive Online Training program. It is the first and currently the only Local Government in Tasmania to offer free online food safety training to all food handlers in the municipality.
  • New training centre opens in the Hunter
    An initiative fully funded by councils in the Hunter Region, the $1.8 million facility is a further step forward in placing the Hunter at the forefront of workplace training strategies.
  • ‘Feel Great in 08’ is working wonders at Baulkham Hills
    ‘Feel Great in 08’ is a year long health and wellness initiative of Baulkham Hills Shire Council in Sydney’s northwestern region.
  • Redland’s driver training programs
    Redland City Council has a strong commitment to the safety of its employees on the roads both in their professional capacity and getting to and from work. As such its proactive approach to driver education has direct benefits not only for employees but the broader community.
  • Future directions in training and development
    Paul Trumble has been employed as Manager Organisational Development at the City of Charles Sturt for more than seven years. This position requires him to manage Council’s cultural change program, training and development, a staff attraction and retention strategy, recruitment and selection, Occupational Health and Safety and employee relations.
  • Finding balance at the City of Whittlesea
    With a current workforce of around 700 staff and a population that is expected to almost double over the next 20 years, the City of Whittlesea has launched a dedicated employment website to assist Council in achieving its goals for both attracting and retaining quality staff.
  • Eurobodalla’s emphasis on training pays off
    In 2005 Eurobodalla Shire Council was duly recognised for its training and succession planning program by first taking out the 2005 NSW Employer of the Year and then following this up by being named National Employer of the Year at the Australian Training Awards.
  • 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 and their asset management and environmental impacts.
  • Charles Sturt nurturing future leaders
    In 2007, South Australia’s City of Charles Sturt and Organisational Development Consultancy Locher Human Resources developed a ‘Future Leaders’ Leadership Program that ran from February to December.
  • A new generation in organisational alignment and HR software that will put a smile on a CEO’s face. . .*
    While computers have revolutionised the modern office, the next frontier is software based HR management systems that actually link directly to corporate goals. According to Gary Bourke, Managing Director of Cambron Pty Ltd, the potential savings and productivity benefits are huge.
  • Aberdeenshire’s model for continuous improvement
    Aberdeenshire Council in northeast Scotland covers an area of 6,313 square kilometres, has 236,000 residents and an annual budget of $AUD931,000. As well as the usual Local Government services, it provides 14,000 Council houses and runs 180 schools. As such, it has around 10,000 employees (FTE).
  • Gold Coast enhances employer branding
    With 3,500 staff spread across seven Directorates, since 2006 Golf Coast City Council has included recruitment and retention of staff among its top ten risks.
  • Warrnambool City’s gap year traineeships
    In an effort to encourage more young people to think about Local Government as a career pathway, Warrnambool City Council has introduced a range of ‘gap’ year traineeships.
  • LMCC traineeship initiative attracts young people to Local Government*
    Lake Macquarie City Council (LMCC) has taken a proactive step to attract young people to work in Local Government. Council is supporting and hosting seven school based traineeships across the skill shortage areas of civil construction, asset maintenance and business services.
  • Campbelltown creating a Learning Organisation
    The Learning Organisation is a catchy title that encapsulates the direction Campbelltown City Council is taking to become more flexible and innovative in its approach to addressing key priorities for the community, and as a strategy to achieve Council’s vision.
  • Experience pays

    The Local Government workplace is changing because of an ageing population, but the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) is providing assistance to Queensland councils through the approach and assistance of the Experience Pays Awareness Strategy.
  • Young manager award assists career advancement
    In 2007, Michael Stretton from Central Coast Council won the Aspiring Young Manager category of the Local Government Managers Australia (Tasmania) management excellence awards.
  • Diploma in Law – a flexible, less costly means to study law*
    The Diploma in Law is awarded by the Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales, which is the authority that admits lawyers to practice in New South Wales. The Board’s students have been taught by the Law Extension Committee of the University of Sydney since 1964.
  • Tapping into the skills pool of ‘grey nomads’
    Mayor of Barcaldine Regional Council, Rob Chandler, has thanked ‘grey nomad’ volunteers on behalf of the Barcaldine community for volunteering to paint the toilet block at the Lloyd Jones Weir.
  • Mitchell’s finance team helps others to improve systems
    Mitchell Shire Council’s Finance Department is becoming a leader in the Local Government sector and lending a hand to help others learn from their experience.
  • Penrith City Council trainees win Western Sydney award
    Two of Penrith City Council’s trainees have recently won Western Sydney Trainee of the Year category awards.