In 2012, LG Professionals, NSW – in collaboration with PwC Australia – began preparing councils for prospective mergers by developing a benchmarking program and set of analysis tools for merging and non-merging councils to measure their performance.
72 percent of participating merging councils in NSW are utilising the benchmarking survey program.
The Snowy Monaro Regional Council was created following the merger of Snowy River Shire Council, Cooma-Monara Shire Council and Bombala Council.
Interim General Manager, Joe Vescio, said the survey data would provide a rigorous baseline for comparison of the merged council against the performance of the three pre-merger councils.
“We’re using the data to inform the community on our performance and guide our future planning and strategic direction for the merged entity.
“We can build on those areas where we are performing above average and review those areas where we are performing below average.
“The comparative data will guide us to look at which of the three councils performed better in various areas to see if those processes and systems form the basis for the new ones.”
Mr. Vescio said the data will also provide a direct opportunity to track industry change and improvement overall.
Wollongong City Council is slated for merger with Shellharbour City Council.
“Increasingly, Council, including our elected representatives, seeks to understand how we perform relative to the local government sector in NSW,” said Clare Phelan, Executive Strategy Manager, Wollongong City Council.
“A key benefit of the survey is the provision of a broad suite of benchmarking indicators and data, measuring value for money, efficiency and effectiveness of operations.
“Prior to commencing the survey, there were a few items which we simply didn’t track, so participating over the last three years has helped identify and close those gaps.
“We are using the data to identify opportunities for business process improvement, and to inform strategic work such as development of our annual plan and workforce planning and people strategies.”
Chief Executive Officer of LG Professionals, NSW, Annalisa Haskell, said the commitment shown by the majority of councils to continue to self-measure and improve during this challenging reform period is indicative of their strong leadership and foresight.
“Leaders who understand the power of hard data will be best positioned to create robust organisations for the future which serve their local communities efficiently and cost-effectively,” said Ms Haskell.
“All councils who have participated and who are merging – or face possible mergers – need to stay in this program.”
Six Victorian municipalities in the Loddon Campaspe corridor have signed-up to a new strategy that prioritises key transport projects needed to drive future progress in the region.
The Loddon Campaspe Integrated Transport Strategy considers the transport drivers and issues for Greater Bendigo, Loddon, Campaspe, Mount Alexander, Macedon Ranges and Central Goldfields and endorses a strong and unified approach to seeking project funding and support.
The strategy has taken around 18 months to complete and has been undertaken by the six councils in partnership with: Vic Roads; Public Transport Victoria; the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Regional Development Victoria; and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.
It lists 46 projects for development or advocacy, including 10 key projects:
- Murray Basin Rail Project
- Echuca Moama bridge
- Capacity improvements on the Bendigo, Swan Hill and Echuca passenger rail services
- Increased passenger rail services throughout the region
- Bridges, structures and higher mass limit access study
- Develop a functional road use hierarchy for freight, community access and tourist routes, then prioritise investment on these road networks
- A freight hub study for Loddon Campaspe region
- A railway station access improvement program, encouraging active and public transport
- Rail trails and recreational tourism bike networks
- Small towns connectivity plans.
The strategy acknowledges that the projects require support from other levels of government and in some cases the local councils will only play an advocacy role. It also includes a new evaluation tool to assist in building strong business cases for projects and assist in developing applications for State and Federal funding.
Greater Bendigo City Council Mayor, Rod Fyffe, said, “The Loddon Campaspe Regional Transport Strategy is an important regional initiative which will help councils across the region to continue to deliver improved services to the community. Benefits should be seen in tourism, business costs, safety and convenience.
“By allowing the region to have a clear focus on what are the most significant regional issues, we will be better placed to coordinate our activities for project funding.”
Chief Executive Officer, Craig Niemann said, “The Loddon Campaspe Regional Transport Strategy is a living example where officers from across councils and government are working together to improve regional infrastructure.
“It is not unusual for a transport asset to be within one municipality but still deliver benefits to the other municipalities. By taking a regional co-operative approach we are able to help one another and share expertise.”
One of the ways Adelaide City Council is marking today’s National Sorry Day and the coming Reconciliation Week is by flying additional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags around the city. The gesture is particularly fitting as the Aboriginal flag was first flown in Adelaide’s Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga when it was created in 1971. Read more >
People of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who are interested in Standing for the Mob at the local government elections are invited to come and yarn with Aboriginal Councillors from around NSW Read more >
Residents of the City of Parramatta are being encouraged to have their say on what kind of digital initiatives they would like to see in their local area.
The Council has released its first Smart City survey, which has been designed as a benchmarking tool to gauge public interest in new services and to guide the ongoing development of the City of Parramatta’s Digital City and Smart City strategies.
City of Parramatta Administrator Amanda Chadwick said, “Creating a Smart City that improves access and liveability for residents and visitors is at the forefront of our plan to build Australia’s next great city.
“We want to hear from the community about what they would like Council to prioritise as part of our Smart City strategy.
“Among the questions we’re asking is ‘which new tech-services should be prioritised to make Parramatta more liveable?’ and ‘how could technology best enhance your city experience?’
“A Smart City is one that listens to its community and caters to their needs and what they would like to see achieved in their city. I encourage people to complete the survey and play their part in helping Parramatta become a globally recognised Smart City.”
Survey responses will be received for a period of approximately two months and the results will be used to develop the City’s annual Smart City Smart People report to guide future planning and to scope public perception of the City’s capacity to be transformed into a place of major trade and innovation.