May 1997 Edition

  • Better customer service saves time and resources

    Having identified a community concern regarding the amount of 'red tape' involved in development applications, the City of Playford in South Australia resolved to establish a best practice customer service system. Introduction of electronic lodgement of applications, including email and the Internet, electronic payment of fees and the electronic storage of documents will soon make it even more efficient.
  • Something for everyone ...

    The 9th National Local Government Engineering Conference, in conjunction with the International Congress of Public Works, draws its theme from the very reason for Local Government's existence; to deliver the community's aspirations. Speakers from Australia, the United States and New Zealand will address engineering management, technical and Local Government reform issues.
  • Is your Council customer-driven?

    All Councils are service organisations, although you wouldn't think so the way some Councils treat their customers says Manningham City Council Chief Executive Bob Seiffert. As one of the speakers at the National Engineering Conference, Bob will be challenging delegates to question whether their Council is customer-driven.  
  • Creating quality of living

    Keynote speaker David Rhodes has spent 20 years in Local Government. As Director of Public Works in the City of Boulder, Colorado, since 1985, David has responsibility for four divisions employing 320 people and with an annual budget of $40 million. Ensuring Local Governments are fully prepared for emergencies and natural disasters is one of David's areas of professional expertise. And it is knowledge based on practical experience - David was one of the key officials responsible for the Public Works emergency responses in the 1980 Mount St. Helen's volcanic eruption.
  • More than 80 experts

    More than 80 speakers will be sharing their expertise at the Local Government Engineering Conference. These are just some of the papers being presented.
  • Topics

    The conference topics have been carefully selected to respond to the needs of Local Government beyond 1997. Local Government engineering is about the best use of technology, and the best management of people and the resources available. The conference program incorporates a very significant emphasis on engineering management which complements the technical role of engineering in Local Government.
  • Linking Bundaberg to the world

    Residents of Bundaberg in Queensland will gain an international profile with Council launching major innovations in information technology next month. Among initiatives to be introduced are a web site for Council business, an Intranet internal communications system to speed up transactions between Council departments and provision for public access to the Internet at the City Library.
  • Balancing work and family

    The archaic view that women should be 'kept out of boardrooms and senior management positions' has no place in the City of Kensington and Norwood. As a result, a number of women employees with babies, toddles or young children just starting primary school, have been given greater flexibility in their work arrangements to assist with family responsibilities.

  • Newcastle declaration goes to the UN

    A draft declaration, prepared in the lead up to Newcastle Council's Pathways to Sustainability International Conference, was presented to a special session of the United Nations on 16 April. UN support as a signatory to the final declaration at the culmination of the Conference on 5 June is being sought. . The declaration will be officially signed by Local Government representatives at the International Conference, being held in Newcastle on 1-5 June.
  • Editorial

    Five years on from the Rio Earth Summit, Newcastle has secured the right to host 'Pathways To Sustainability', a Conference which will deliver the final phase in the international review of Local Agenda 21. It is a great compliment both to Australia, and particularly Newcastle, to have been selected to host this important international forum. As the international community ratifies the vital role of Local Authorities in planning and delivering on initiatives through Local Agenda 21, how long will it take the Federal and State Governments to include Local Government as a full partner in governance not merely an agency?
  • Public Sector Games

    In April 1998, Melbourne is to host another major event. The City will host the inaugural Australasian Public Sector Games. The Games will bring together athletic, and not so athletic public sector workers from all over Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Anyone working in a public capacity including all spheres of government, statutory authorities and educational institutions is welcome to participate.
  • Search FOCUS Online

    Since May last year, large sections of each edition of Local Government FOCUS have been available on the Internet. As well as highlighting current issues, initiatives and events, the Online pages can now be used for research purposes. Anyone seeking information about Local Government in Australia, can make use of our new 'Search' facility.
  • Preparing for a growing population

    With an anticipated population growth of 83 percent between now and 2011, the Shire of Maroochy in Queensland is determined to be prepared. In just 16 years, it is predicted an extra 86,000 people will need to be accommodated.
  • Palmerston residents have their say in shaping new town centre

    Widespread public consultation has been the key to the Palmerston Urban Landscape Master Plan. Under the scheme, Palmerston Town Council in the Northern Territory, will revamp the town centre using funding provided by the Northern Territory Government and support from the Council's Mainstreet Advisory Committee, Palmerston Towards Tomorrow.
  • Trials, tribulations and triumphs of a remote Council

    Several years ago, Coober Pedy residents identified a grassed oval as their most important priority in order to give the young people a recreational outlet as well as reduce juvenile crime. Responding to residents' priorities, Council embarked on the biggest project in its short history. To keep the grass in summer, when temperatures regularly hit 45°c and sufficient effluent water isnot available, will cost the Council 10 percent of its rate base.
  • Celebrating the arts in North Queensland

    Townsville's claim to be the arts capital of northern Queensland will be confirmed in July this year when the City launches into a month long festival celebrating every area of arts and cultural life. The festival will complement the City's two major international arts events, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and the International Festival of Young Playwrights known as Interplay.
  • QLD comes to the party on NCP funding

    The Queensland Government has announced that it will share a substantial portion of its payments from the Commonwealth Government to implement National Competition Policy reforms with Councils. Cr John Campbell, President of the Australian Local Government Association, has called on all States to follow Queensland's example.
  • Vital resources for good design and performance based planning

    Two Local Government Development Program funded publications, Australia's Guide to Good Residential Design and Education and Training Modules for Performance Based Residential Development were launched by Warwick Smith, Commonwealth Minister for Sport, Territories and Local Government, on 29 April. Both publications are complementary materials to the national resource document for residential development known as AMCORD.

  • Topics

    The conference topics have been carefully selected to respond to the needs of Local Government beyond 1997. Local Government engineering is about the best use of technology, and the best management of people and the resources available. The conference program incorporates a very significant emphasis on engineering management which complements the technical role of engineering in Local Government.
  • Macedon increases accessibility

    While Council amalgamations have enabled cost savings in service delivery a hidden drawback can still exist for residents in some rural Shires. Residents with a query or problem to resolve can find themselves needing to travel long distances, or alternatively incurring high telephone bills if they are outside the local call area of the Shire offices. Macedon Ranges Shire Council in Victoria has addressed the problem by introducing a new 'quick call' 1300 telephone number for a range of Council business.
  • Easy way to pay

    In working towards achieving a customer satisfaction benchmark, Warringah Council on Sydney's Northshore has introduced a range of payment options for all its goods and services. Council's 'Easy Way to Pay' aims to improve access to Council services. Payments are accepted by credit and debit cards through an EFTPOS facility, or by cash, cheque or money order.
  • Skilled for change

    Since 1988, Gosford City Council's Water and Sewerage Sections have been running a staff development program. The program now focuses on quality/best practice, empowerment of employees and training to meet the new national competency standards.
  • Catering for customers

    With a view to providing the best possible customer service, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has just launched its new Customer Management System (CMS). Serving a population of 112,000, CMS will assist Council to manage its business more efficiently and cost effectively. Alongside new Customer Service Centres designed to give clients easy, friendly access to Council facilities and advice, the new system provides efficient and timely responses to inquiries, requests and correspondence.
  • Something for everyone ...

    The 9th National Local Government Engineering Conference, in conjunction with the International Congress of Public Works, draws its theme from the very reason for Local Government's existence; to deliver the community's aspirations. Speakers from Australia, the United States and New Zealand will address engineering management, technical and Local Government reform issues.
  • Is your Council customer-driven?

    All Councils are service organisations, although you wouldn't think so the way some Councils treat their customers says Manningham City Council Chief Executive Bob Seiffert. As one of the speakers at the National Engineering Conference, Bob will be challenging delegates to question whether their Council is customer-driven.  
  • Creating quality of living

    Keynote speaker David Rhodes has spent 20 years in Local Government. As Director of Public Works in the City of Boulder, Colorado, since 1985, David has responsibility for four divisions employing 320 people and with an annual budget of $40 million. Ensuring Local Governments are fully prepared for emergencies and natural disasters is one of David's areas of professional expertise. And it is knowledge based on practical experience - David was one of the key officials responsible for the Public Works emergency responses in the 1980 Mount St. Helen's volcanic eruption.
  • More than 80 experts

    More than 80 speakers will be sharing their expertise at the Local Government Engineering Conference. These are just some of the papers being presented.

  • Alternative to amalgamating

    In 1992 when Tasmania was undergoing a restructure process, as an alternative to amalgamating, Kentish and Latrobe Councils in the northwest of the State received Ministerial approval to enter a formal Resource Sharing Agreement. After a successful three month trial, the two Councils have now formalised this arrangement by putting in place a joint five year contract for the General Manager. This paved the way for a Joint Authority providing all administrative and technical requirements for both Councils. The Joint Authority operates as a contractor to both Councils for both service delivery and project implementation.
  • Vital resources for good design and performance based planning

    Two Local Government Development Program funded publications, Australia's Guide to Good Residential Design and Education and Training Modules for Performance Based Residential Development were launched by Warwick Smith, Commonwealth Minister for Sport, Territories and Local Government, on 29 April. Both publications are complementary materials to the national resource document for residential development known as AMCORD.
  • Newcastle declaration goes to the UN

    A draft declaration, prepared in the lead up to Newcastle Council's Pathways to Sustainability International Conference, was presented to a special session of the United Nations on 16 April. UN support as a signatory to the final declaration at the culmination of the Conference on 5 June is being sought. . The declaration will be officially signed by Local Government representatives at the International Conference, being held in Newcastle on 1-5 June.
  • LG's role in health and community services

    The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is currently conducting a major examination of the role of Local Government in health and community services. The context for the project are reforms currently occurring in Local Government and foreshadowed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).
  • Editorial

    Five years on from the Rio Earth Summit, Newcastle has secured the right to host 'Pathways To Sustainability', a Conference which will deliver the final phase in the international review of Local Agenda 21. It is a great compliment both to Australia, and particularly Newcastle, to have been selected to host this important international forum. As the international community ratifies the vital role of Local Authorities in planning and delivering on initiatives through Local Agenda 21, how long will it take the Federal and State Governments to include Local Government as a full partner in governance not merely an agency?
  • Public Sector Games

    In April 1998, Melbourne is to host another major event. The City will host the inaugural Australasian Public Sector Games. The Games will bring together athletic, and not so athletic public sector workers from all over Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Anyone working in a public capacity including all spheres of government, statutory authorities and educational institutions is welcome to participate.
  • Flagging a century of Federation

    As we approach the centenary of Federation, the City of Greater Bendigo in Victoria has resurrected the historic Federation Flag, formally adopted as the flag of the Federation Movement in 1892. Cr Megan Weston, Mayor of Greater Bendigo, believes any national celebrations of Federation need to recognise the significance of the contribution Bendigo made to the achievement of nationhood.
  • Glenelg invents its future

    Like many areas, Glenelg Shire in Victoria's south west is still suffering from the economic downturn, particularly in the rural sector. The return of elected representatives in March last year, the new Council realised it had to do something different. With job creation being the key goal, a major development for Glenelg has been the establishment of a Capital City presence.
  • Eating out safely

    Recent outbreaks of salmonella and other food contamination in mainland States has focussed attention on Local Government responsibilities in the regulation and monitoring of food production and retailing outlets. Kingborough Council in Tasmania's south east already has a policy in place. It seeks to encourage not only hygienically prepared food but goes further in encouraging local food outlets to offer healthy alternatives on their menu.
  • Elected representation post amalgamations

    In March, 54 of Victoria's 78 Local Government areas elected their first Council. All but one Council have now returned to elected representation following Statewide amalgamations. Surf Coast Shire was one of the first Councils to return to democratic representation. It also had the shortest period under State appointed Commissioners, with just 12 months. Most Councils were without elected Councillors for closer to two years and sometimes longer. Elected in March 1995 and now two years on, Surf Coast's Communications Coordinator, Jon Breedveld, spoke to three of the Shire's Councillors about their impressions of elected representation post amalgamations and prepared this report.  
  • Australia's strategic gateway

    Hume City Council, located in the northwest region of Melbourne, is promoting itself to potential investors as one of the lowest cost, highest revenue areas in the world. Working with Business Victoria and a number of Commonwealth bodies, the City of Hume recently secured a $50 million investment by Belgium based global giant, UCB SA. A speciality plastic film plant to be located at Craigieburn will create 100 permanent jobs.