Councils are always striving to improve their processes and practices, right across the board, thereby enhancing the long-term viability and sustainability of local government and, indeed, that of the communities they serve.

Our feature on ‘Best Practice’ covers a diverse range of ways councils are putting the principles of best practice into place, from utilising the many new technologies and applications available to improve efficiency and staff engagement, to reaching new heights in project management or infrastructure maintenance and development.

The Shire of Capel in Western Australia and the City of Charles Sturt in South Australia have both put a lot of energy into thinking about the way open spaces contribute to healthier communities, drawing on best practice research in putting their strategies and guidelines for residential developments in place.

The feature also includes the ‘good news’ story of the small town of Nabiac, just north of Sydney. A strongly community-based approach to the future of the ‘rural village’, which straddles two local government areas, is contributing to the revitalisation of the town. The Nabiac Village Futures Group, made up of representatives from the region, feeds the community’s views to Council, ensuring that any strategies or decisions reflect the needs and wishes of Nabiac’s residents and businesses.

As is clear both in our general news section and the feature, the Internet and social media are beginning to play a crucial role in councils getting their message across to their constituents. This is a clear acknowledgment of both the efficiencies enabled by carrying out council business online and the remarkable fact that over 80 percent of Australians now use the Internet on a regular basis.

Finally, our front page touches on the perennial issue of illegal dumping, and the enormous costs borne by councils and charities in coping with the deluge of waste. Increasingly, it seems, many Australians are showing a blatant disregard for proper and sustainable methods of waste disposal, and councils are becoming increasingly frustrated by the amount of rubbish strewn around op-shop doorsteps, in parks and gardens, and across nature strips and pavements.

Local Government Focus is keen to hear about the ways councils across the country are dealing with illegal rubbish dumping, or about any other issues facing local government in Australia. Please email your letters to sophieg@lgfocus.com.au.