Doing Council business better

While the National Competition Policy reforms have encouraged Local Government Authorities to take a look at how they can do business better, Maroochy Shire Council is doing it better than most and in some cases leading the way.

With four business units, each with its own board of directors chaired by the CEO, Kelvin Spiller, and with a newly appointed Business Units Group Manager, Carlos Campino, to provide future direction, Council is securing its place in the world of competitive business.

The unveiling of the Spirit of Maroochy, an aeroplane named in honour of our Shire, heralded the arrival of the $62.5 million Sunshine Coast Airport into Council's stable of Business Units, in December last year.

The winner of the National 1999 Airport of the Year Award for Aviation Excellence, the airport is operated, managed and developed by Council and is the only airport in the region capable of servicing jet aircraft operations. Handling about 90,000 aircraft movements annually and with the capacity to service 85,000 passenger movements a year, the airport is a transport hub geared towards attracting aviation industry.

The Council quarry has come a long way from a 1959 Council desire to buy a crushing plant to construct one of the Shire's dams. Today, Image Flat Quarries is internationally accredited and a world class supplier of premium quality quarry products.

With sales averaging 450,000 tonnes of quarry product and 40,000 tonnes of asphalt products, and an income of about $7 million annually, Maroochy Shire Council has become one of the most successful and active Local Governments in the quarrying industry.

A new wave in water and sewerage service was heralded with the unveiling of Maroochy Water Services as a business unit during National Water Week last year.

The service, which recently received national accreditation in the form of five big red ticks &endash; the world-wide recognised symbol for a quality assured business - has an operational budget of about $34 million, revenue of about $53 million and assets valued at more than $500 million. It supplies more than 100,000 people with a reticulated water supply and sewerage. This adds up to the equivalent of 800 one-litre cartons of water to every household, every day of the year!

Council operates seven caravan parks under the banner of Maroochy Beach Parks. A resident manager, contracted by Council, runs each park. The parks attract more than $18 million to the Shire economy each year. With most of the parks, fronting Maroochy's beautiful coastline, Maroochy Beach Parks are really about promoting Maroochy as a beautiful place to visit.

With these business successes under its belt, Council is "incubating" a number of other units within Council to investigate opportunities of developing them as competitive businesses.