July 2012 Edition


  • Williams decision steals the show
    The 2012 Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) General Assembly, held over three days in Canberra in June, was characterised by a sense of high drama for a number of reasons.
  • President's Comment - High Court decision boosts case for constitutional recognition
    In each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association president. The following is from Councillor Paul Bell, President of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ).
  • Breakthrough on disaster reconstruction funding
    Councils recovering from the devastating floods and cyclones of 2010 and 2011 have been given the green light to use their own workers to repair and restore local infrastructure under ‘value for money’ changes introduced by the Federal Government.
  • Environment Minister awards polystyrene recycling champion
    Polystyrene recycling champion Leo Sines was honoured with the Minister’s Award for Leadership at the Queensland Premier’s Sustainability Awards, for 12 years of campaigning to turn polystyrene waste into wealth.
  • About lobbying the feds - The Good Oil by Rod Brown
    There was a very good rollout at the ALGA National Assembly in Canberra last month. Attendees appreciated the opportunity to better understand the Mad House and its occupants.
  • Mina Wylie – Coogee’s pioneer Olympian
    The 1912 Stockholm Olympics were the first Olympics to include women’s swimming in the program – to the shock of many. And a plucky girl from South Coogee called Mina Wylie got there, despite the odds stacked against her.
  • Councils putting homelessness in focus
    The Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning (CHURP) is working in partnership with the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) and state-based local government organisations to explore the role of local government in addressing homelessness and housing.
  • The steps to grant application success*
    The Australian Government has allocated grants to local governments through eight programs in the first half of 2012.
  • Small Business Mentoring Program graduation
    Twenty Warringah women graduated from the six-month Small Business Mentoring Program this week, hosted by Warringah Council in partnership with Inspiring Women and the NSW Department of Trade and Investment.
  • Commission against corruption welcomed
    The Local Government Association of South Australia has welcomed the State Government’s announcement that it would introduce legislation to create an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
  • Website keeps officers up-to-date
    Formed in 1988, Victoria’s South West Authorised Officers Group promotes consistent practices in local laws and animal management and provides council officers with a voice at the state level, ensuring better legislation and codes of practice.
  • Community Car Pool Launched
    Residents of the eight Mid North Coasts councils in NSW will have the opportunity to save money on fuel, get priority parking, reduce wear and tear to their vehicles, cut their carbon footprint, meet new friends and help reduce road congestion by becoming a member of Carpool Mid North Coast.
  • myRANDWICK app an Australian first
    Randwick City Council in NSW is set to launch a unique smartphone app that will change the way residents and ratepayers interact with Council.
  • Management Challenge Winners
    A team from across the ditch has impressed judges at the Australasian Finals of the Local Government Managers Australia’s (LGMA) 2012 Management Challenge.
  • Councillor profiles - Local Government Focus
    This month we are profiling two councillors from the Northern Territory.
  • Fridge buyback
    Shoalhaven City residents have been encouraged to save money on their power bills and help the environment by getting rid of unwanted upright freezers and fridges.
  • “Water into Gold” The Year of the Farmer*
    In the year of the farmer it is only fitting that our food security is guaranteed and our regional communities are given the opportunity to share in the responsibility of delivering water where it is most needed.
  • Book building inspections online
    Lake Macquarie City Council is offering builders access to a new online service for booking building inspections.
  • Regional training program goes national
    At a time when there is significant focus on regional Australia, Economic Development Australia’s Regional & Remote Area Training Program (RRATP) provides valuable insight into planning and practicing sustainable economic development.
  • Bold ideas for local government infrastructure
    Local Government Minister Simon Crean has released a major review that identifies potential new ways for local governments to plan, finance and deliver infrastructure investments.
  • Recognising local government’s high achievers
    At the Local Government Managers Association Congress in Perth in May, Local Government Focus invited delegates to nominate individuals or teams from their councils who have made a significant contribution to their council and local community. In this issue we profile the first two of our high achievers for 2012.


  • Editorial
    It’s been a huge month in local government, with barely a day gone by without a council or council-related issue in the news. This increased profile has, in many ways, highlighted just how important the role of councils is and how crucial it is that they take that responsibility seriously.

Feature: Financial Sustainability & Asset Management

  • Council employee tops Spatial Excellence Awards
    When it comes to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), City of Busselton employee James Spath is top of his field.
  • ALGA welcomes solar heating announcement
    ALGA President, Mayor Genia McCaffery has welcomed the announcement that the Australian Government will use funds from the Solar Hot Water Rebate Scheme to provide a one-off grant to support local communities with heating costs.
  • Future directions in financial sustainability and asset management
    As part of our ongoing interaction with the local community and to increase our understanding of who resides, works and visits the area, Burwood Council worked to implement a system that provides the latest information on our local government area.
  • Regional collaboration benefits Gippsland
    Councillor Richard Ellis, Mayor of East Gippsland Shire Council and Chair of the Gippsland Local Government Network (GLGN), was thrilled to be a part of the release of the Gippsland Region Priority Area initiative.
  • The Australian Public Service Benevolent Society
    The Australian Public Service Benevolent Society (APS Benefits) is a not for profit organisation providing a wide range of financial services to all staff of the ADF, Reservists, government departments, their families and friends.
  • Resource sharing builds stronger councils
    Waratah-Wynyard and Circular Head Councils General Manager Greg Winton recently released the findings of the ‘Impact of Resource Sharing on Staff and Councillors’ report prepared by the Institute for Regional Development, University of Tasmania.
  • Australian made road maintenance and construction innovation leaves others in the dust
    Polycom Stabilising Aid is proving to be increasingly popular among councils and shires and road building authority’s across Australia.

    All over the country from the dry remote zones in Western Australia, through the NT and down to South Australia across Victoria and NSW then back up to Queensland, not forgetting Tasmania.

    The main reason’s for the Increased uptake of PolyCom are ease of use with standard equipment and easily managed by your existing crews in house.The fact that PolyCom reduces re work due to wet weather damage to roads, coupled with the fact that PolyCom is environment and OHS compliant as well as full on site support by local distributors also provides confidence for our customers.
  • Low carbon finance to combat rising energy costs
    Cardinia Shire’s premier health and recreation facility will receive a $739,163 energy efficiency overhaul to help it save on its power use and cut its greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Dust sealing success for unmade roads*
    The Australian rural environment means there are many kilometres of unsealed roads for local officials to maintain – often with inadequate funding. The major portion of local governments’ budgets for unsealed roads is spent on grading and re-sheeting gravel that, unfortunately, immediately begins to deteriorate. Dusty fines blow off the road, causing the larger aggregates to become unbound and drift into verges and drains.
  • Melbourne’s City-wide sustainability push
    The City of Melbourne’s ‘1200 Buildings’ program has been highlighted in a global carbon usage report.
  • ALGWA networking breakfast
    On the first morning of the ALGA National General Assembly, the Australian Local Government Women’s Association’s (ALGWA) held a networking breakfast in conjunction with The White Ribbon Foundation, Australia’s campaign to stop violence against women.
  • What the politicians said
    Minister Crean’s address was keenly anticipated, following the Sunday launch of the 2012 – 2013 State of the Regions Report and in light of the some of the pressing issues for local government — climate change, the carbon tax and constitutional recognition.