March 2014 Edition

Articles

  • Relief in sight
    Lack of rainfall in rural communities has farmers and local government struggling for solutions as conditions in eastern Australia continue to challenge community resilience, even with the recently announced drought relief package by the Federal Government.
  • Have your say... Letters to the editor
    This is your chance to speak up about current issues affecting your council. Please forward your letters to editorial@lgfocus.com.au
  • NSW Premier takes leadership challenge
    Participants of the Local Government Managers Australia, NSW (LGMA NSW) Rural Management Challenge were given a rare opportunity to challenge the Premier of New South Wales, Barry O’ Farrell on Thursday when he dropped in on the first of the four events being held for local government over the next two weeks.
  • 2014 Heart Foundation Local Government Awards*
    The Heart Foundation Local Government Awards recognise and showcase Councils who are working to improve heart health through building a sense of community, encouraging people to be physically active, be smoke-free and make healthy food choices. 
  • President’s comment - Planning on a better Tasmania
    In Tasmania local government has an excellent working relationship with the State Government and through the auspices of the Premier’s Local Government Council much has been achieved in the area of local government reform.

  • Sun–safe childcare centers awarded
    Nine Greater Geelong early learning centres are the first in Victoria to be recognised as ‘healthy early childhood services’ through the State Government’s Healthy Together Achievement Program.
  • Local government reform opposed
    Lake Macquarie City Council has prepared a submission in response to the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s final report into local government reform in NSW, opposing suggested amalgamations.
  • Funding for better bins
    Better household recycling and reduced costs to landfill will be made possible with the provision of $7.5m in funding announced in Western Australia in January.
  • Keeping the black dog at bay - The Good Oil by Rod Brown
    Late last month, the Abbott Government announced $10.7 million for mental health initiatives for the Bush, as part of the Drought Relief package. This is much welcomed, given the farm suicide statistics coming through.
  • Council satisfaction up
    Public satisfaction with Queensland’s local councils is on the increase according to a comprehensive survey of attitudes towards local government.
  • Capital plan to accelerate job growth
    A plan for Ballarat’s next phase of growth has been unveiled which will develop a range of infrastructure in the region.
  • Waste and resource recovery boost for SHOROC
    SHOROC (Shore Regional Organisation of Councils) and its partner councils, Manly, Mosman, Pittwater and Warringah in northern NSW, have received a $600,000 grant over four years to improve waste and resource recovery services for the region.
  • Major events
    The City of Busselton, Western Australia’s major event calendar has doubled in the last two years after it announced in 2012 that it would strive to become the events capital of regional WA.
  • Commitment to Australia’s north
    The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has emphasised the economic potential of Australia’s northern regions as a key item on the policy agendas of all three levels of government.
  • Councillor profiles - This month from Queensland
    Gail Sellers, Mayor, Gladstone Regional Council, Queensland
  • Councillor profiles - This month from Queensland
    Bill Shannon, Mayor, Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Queensland
  • Growing community and infrastructure
    Aurukun Shire Council in Queensland has announced its corporate plan for the next five years looking to combat the many challenges facing the region, including the local economy, environmental challenges and community unrest.
  • Mergers split opinion in Western Australia
    Last month Local Government Focus featured a story on local government amalgamations in New South Wales. This month we feature competing opinions on similar amalgamations facing Western Australia.
  • Community gardens flourish after bushfires
    A $1 million Community Based Gardening Project in some of Victoria’s worst hit regions from the 2009 bushfires has resulted in a Community Gardens Manual that has been written to assist individuals and groups planning to set up a community garden or POD (Productive, Organic, Diverse) food growing space.
  • Standing up against bullying
    Bullying in the workplace is a terrible experience many Australians endure every day, even in local government, but there is hope that this unfortunate practice can be brought to an end.
  • A place for everyone
    The 2014 LGPro Annual Conference has lived up to its theme, ‘A Place for Everyone’ with 746 people across Victoria registering for sessions.
  • High road or low road?*
    The world is transforming into a networked, collaborative society, and Local Government needs to align itself with the global push for reform and increased productivity.

Editorials

  • Editorial
    Satisfaction with council’s operations seems to rely upon rates and roads, and the money local government has to spend on maintenance governs both. 

Feature: Information & Communication Technology (ICT)

  • Wiping out blackspots
    Local governments across Australia are working to eradicate black spots, areas where mobile or broadband coverage is limited, unreliable or in some cases nonexistent.
  • Report on asset management
    Victoria’s 79 local councils manage over $73 billion in physical assets. These buildings, parks and gardens, roads, bridges and drainage networks need to be maintained so that councils can continue to provide services and support community activities.
  • 24-hour service for regional gym
    Swipe card readers and 24-hour CCTV cameras have opened up a regional Western Australian gym for after hours use.
  • Future Directions - Digital Technology a key success factor in promoting Stonnington events
    Stonnington Council is committed to incorporating digital technologies into its communications and marketing activities. Council has a dedicated Website and Digital Communications Project Manager and key staff are trained in managing social media channels for their areas.
  • NBN improves council services
    Video conferencing and a Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping service will soon be available at Moorabool Shire Council under a Federal Government initiative to use the National Broadband Network (NBN).
  • Roads to Recovery back on track
    The Federal Government have committed $35.5 billion for a huge variety of public infrastructure projects designed to meet Australia’s upcoming challenges in the 21st century, $1.75 billion of which will be committed to an extension of the Roads to Recovery programme.
  • Toolkit to assist with reform process
    To assist with preparation for the Western Australia local government reforms, local government Minister Tony Simpson has launched an online Reform Toolkit.

  • Report highlights broadband blackspots
    A new report released by the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils (WBBROC) has highlighted the broadband blackspots across the Wide Bay region of Queensland.
  • ‘My Maranoa’ app to connect residents
    April will see the launch of the ‘My Maranoa’ App, a free App soon to be available to all smart phone users throughout the region and beyond.
  • Benefits for councils who collaborate
    New South Wales councils have a unique opportunity to access a leading edge performance management tool for the sector – the Local Government Management Association NSW (LGMA NSW) Local Government Operational and Management Effectiveness Survey.
  • Speed and ease of Internet access
    Whitsunday Regional Council has resolved to upgrade its internet services across the region allowing the community and council staff better access to the World Wide Web.

  • ‘Guardian’ makes situational awareness live*
    During a disaster information is key, and your situational awareness software should be live, constantly reporting and adhering to the principles of the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System (AIIMS).
  • Scholarship continues passion for education
    A passion and dedication to geography and mapping has earned The Hills Shire Council’s Senior Spatial Systems officer Chunhua Zhang a scholarship from the Prime Minister to study for a PhD at the University of Queensland.
  • Social network connects disabled citizens
    The Greater Bendigo and Loddon Shire Inclusive Communities Team is inviting professionals, people living with a disability and their supporters to join an interactive social network on Yammer.
  • Cloud technology lets staff leave desks
    With a vision for staff to move beyond their desks and out into the community, Mitchell Shire Council is paving the way for local councils to adopt cloud-based technologies.
  • IT leaders in NSW
    Gosford City Council (GCC) has become the first council in the country to be granted an Australian Communication & Media Authority carrier licence, allowing access to wholesale telecommunication services.
  • The digital sea change of information processing*
    The conflux of cloud hosted software systems is opening the application access floodgates, previously pent up behind internal IT department implementation or development backlogs.
  • Increasing disaster alert accuracy
    Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Jenny Whitney said Council is working with Geographical Information System (GIS) specialists and the Queensland Government to improve the mapping that drives the State Government Emergency Alert system for the Whitsunday region.