Wyong and Warren win 1997 Bluett Awards

The 1997 prestigious Bluett Awards, the most valued prize in Local Government in NSW have been taken out by Wyong and Warren Councils.

The Awards, one for members of the Local Government Association of NSW and the other for members of the Shires Association of NSW, honour Councils that have achieved the greatest relative progress during the previous financial year.

"Because they measure relative progress, they are accessible to the smallest Councils, as well as larger better endowed Councils, and measure effort rather than resources," said Richard Conolly Chairman of the AR Bluett Memorial Trust.

Wyong took out the Award in the Municipal and Cities Section for achievements covering a comprehensive field ranging from social and community work to major capital works. These included construction of a new Civic Centre and library, building of a major new aquatic complex, work aimed at preserving and reintegrating the natural environment of the region and outstanding services to youth.

The Judges said Wyong had demonstrated sound management and good strategy aimed at improving communication links between Council, the staff and the community.

"The approach taken by Council in meeting the widely differing needs of its community reflects a commendable, well balanced and responsible stance to the discharge of its functions as Wyong's local governing body," the Judges said.

Mayor Fay Brennan praised the foresight of past and present Wyong Councils in setting the progressive guidelines which led to the win. Wyong is one of only two Councils to have won the Award three times. They also won in 1962 and 1978 indicating a long standing commitment to improved practices in Local Government.

Warren in outback NSW, according to the judges, demonstrated outstanding progress in the delivery of Local Government services. This was particularly the case in its provision of additional infrastructure, the involvement of the community in the development of facilities and significant reduction in debt.

Mayor Rex Wilson said that at this particular time when pressure is being placed on Local Government through funding cutbacks, and possible amalgamation, Warren's success is a vindication of how Council has been striving to get best value from the rate dollar and the quality of its management.

"It puts a lie to the idea that you have got to be large to be effective," he said. "I am delighted the organisation has received acknowledgement for its efforts. You do not get into a position to win awards like this unless you have been working at it for several years."

The Awards established in 1945 recognise the pioneering contribution to Local Government made by Albert Robert Bluett, who was secretary of the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW for 34 years. They do not carry monetary reward, only a plaque, but they are highly prized for their acknowledgement of genuine achievement.

"It is a pat on the back from one's peers and nothing beats that," Rex Wilson said.