Each edition we feature the views of a Local Government Association President. The following is from Councillor Jamie Edwards from the Western Australian Municipal Association.
A change at the chief executive level of any organisation generates some challenges for the future. WAMA's Executive Director Tim Shanahan is moving on after 15 years with Local Government. He has been Executive Director of WAMA since 1989. Tim will be missed by all those who know him through Local Government Australia wide.
For WAMA, the new century heralds in a new future and a new leader for the organisation and beyond. I believe this new era gives us an opportunity to review the future role of Local Government in Western Australia.
Councils of today have gone well beyond Local Government's original role of roads, rates and rubbish. The next Century brings with it plenty of challenges for Local Government including:
€ Maintaining our 'grass roots' links while operating in the 'big picture';
€ Forging partnerships and alliances; and
€ Striving to be smarter, more efficient and more focused in our role serving the community.
It is imperative that no matter how big the issue, Local Government always needs to remember its reason for being. The representation of the local community makes Local Government a unique structure. It is this quality that must be preserved at all costs.
Parochialism has no place in the future. All of our interests are becoming evermore interdependent. It is essential that the right balance is maintained between acting locally and thinking globally.
Globalisation, new technology and vigorous efficiency pogroms are threatening many of the traditional values and qualities of our communities. We must be ever vigilant to protect our communities from the worst excesses of these trends while accessing as many of the benefits and opportunities that are available.
These benefits and opportunities will only be harnessed if we all work together. Cooperation between the spheres of government, groups of Councils and the private sector is all important in achieving these goals.
The tools that Local Government uses must be sharpened and put to good effect. This is not something that is solely the responsibility of the officers within Local Government. Achieving the best for local communities means that the elected and the selected must work together.
To obtain better outcomes elected members have a role in supporting the examination of new ways of doing old jobs and smarter approaches to dumb problems. I believe that WAMA will play a pivotal role by assisting Local Government to improve the quality of life of its constituents.
Local Government will continue to need good leadership into the future and I look forward to positioning WAMA to meet that challenge. Here in Western Australia, we are looking at the next millennium with confidence and a positive outlook!