Technology 'future proofs' Council

It has taken three years and thousands of dollars but ratepayers in the Etheridge Shire can rest assured their Council could not be more ready for the future.

A major upgrade to the Council's technological systems, including email, data protection and disaster recovery has recently been undertaken, which means the Council's record keeping system is now "watertight."

Information technology officer Terry Walsh said the upgrade meant every item of communication with Council, including letters and emails, would be saved indefinitely and be easily retrievable.

"It means Council is now more efficient and records are easier to find," he said.

"This is about planning for the future and by spending this money now we have future proofed our systems for at least the next 15 years."

The upgrade includes the installation of fibre optic networks with regional depots, staff and elected members, which ensures they have access to Council's resources at all times.

It also included the development of Council's own email server and off-site, instant back up programs allowing better control and more efficient archiving, as well as increased security and prompt disaster recovery procedures.

Terry Walsh said on a day to day basis not a lot has changed but staff will notice the difference when they are looking for something or trying to confirm past business.

"It is about making our Council as efficient and successful as possible for a long time into the future." he said.

The upgrade will be completed with the installation of Microsoft Windows 7 on all workstations and laptops in the near future.

"Although we were not as severely affected as some councils in the south east by the 2010-11 Queensland floods, it has prompted both the State and Federal governments to look more closely at legislation surrounding Electronic Document Management, record keeping and Disaster Recovery Systems employed by Local Councils.

This upgrade will ensure Council meets, and in some cases exceeds all the requirements, putting us in the top ten per cent of Councils 'technology wise' in the state."

CEO Lew Rojahn said the increase in proficiency brought about by the changes would quickly prove the upgrade to be an economical move by Council.

"Ratepayers will notice their interactions with Council will become more and more competent and professional," he said.

"And our staff will have everything they need right there at their fingertips, knowing that it will be available forever."