Happy Birthday to Local Government FOCUS; we have been publishing for 30 years this month.
I purchased Local Government Focus four years ago in 2011 from my sisters Eryl Morgan (one of the founders) and Corinne Morgan who steered the publication through the last years prior to me.
Recently whilst I was at the ALGWA conference someone asked me about the history of Focus. I explained the original group that started the paper included my eldest sister Eryl and then the management was handed onto another of my sisters Corinne until it ended up in my hands; they thought that this was a great story.
FOCUS began in 1985 as a free newspaper distributed to all Councils in Victoria. It then relied wholly, and substantially still does, on the sale of advertising to a range of service and product providers to Local Government. It was the advertisers in 1989 who asked “why don’t you expand to include New South Wales Councils in your coverage”. The suggestion was taken up and FOCUS has never looked back; the next step to national coverage was taken in 1996.
The website went online in the same year and it was updated in 2013 to incorporate breaking news on a daily basis.
Throughout the years we have remained true to our editorial policy, reporting on key issues impacting the sector and best practice initiatives and programs by Councils large and small.
The first edition talked about the Cain Government wanting to implement amalgamations in Victoria and today many states are still facing talks with their respective state governments about amalgamations.
The burning question that has run throughout the 30 years is Councils’ financial viability; as prevalent today as in 1985. We don’t have the answer but we will be reporting on all the announcements as they come to hand.
We at Focus hope you continue to read and enjoy the publication now and for the next 30 years.