July 1997 Edition

  • Review of national performance indicators

    The Local Government Minister's Conference decided that as part of a Benchmarking and Efficiency Program national performance indicators would be developed for Local Government. National indicators would provide Councils with performance information, beyond State/Territory boundaries, to compare their own performance, identify areas where their performance might be improved and identify appropriate benchmarking partners.
  • Australia's guide to good residential design

    The home is also often the biggest financial commitment most of us ever make. So whether we design it, or buy it, it is essential that we get it right. To help achieve this result, Dimity Reed, Professor of Urban Design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology was commissioned by the National Office of Local Government to produce Australia's Guide to Good Residential Design.
  • Tenth National Awards for Innovation in Local Government

    These Awards provide an excellent opportunity for Local Councils to demonstrate their resourcefulness and creativity. Innovations such as those which are being recognised in the Awards this year are vital if Councils are to meet challenges of today and those which will arise in the future. Over 240 entries were received in the five categories Environment; Organisational Practices; Information Technology; Leisure and Community Services; and Engineering and Infrastructure.
  • Cairns takes GIS to school

    Geographical Information Systems (GIS) commonly used by Councils around Australia provide a ready means of accessing and using a range of data on local infrastructure and land use. The City of Cairns has made the benefits of this technology more widely available by introducing a training program on GIS in local schools.
  • AUS-SPEC the new standard specification

    All Councils must ensure that assets under their control are built to an appropriate and high standard to achieve their full design life. Assets must also be built and maintained to minimise the risk of alternative contract interpretations and poor performance in service which may lead to costly litigation or insurance claims. Two years ago, six Councils commissioned Statewide Roads (SWR), the builders of the award winning M4 Motorway, to assist them in authoring a new technical specification for development/subdivisions suitable for Local Government conditions called 'DEVSPEC'. As a result of the success of this project, SWR joined with the Institute of Municipal Engineering Australia NSW Branch to develop a generic specification.
  • Rates feedback

    The small North Canterbury Council of Hurunui in New Zealand has developed a unique method of accountability to ratepayers. Each ratepayer in the district receives an individualised summary of Council's draft Annual Plan three weeks prior to the close of submissions to the document.
  • Swan Shire goes strategic

    Western Australia's Shire of Swan has embarked upon an ambitious two year plan for the implementation of strategic asset management. Driving the push to a more strategic approach is the need for the cost effective delivery of services and facilities based on changing community needs and expectations.
  • Looking after our roads

    Australia's road network is critical to the nation's economy. For Local Government around the country, the responsibility of maintaining local road networks places a particular burden on budgets which are already strained under various pressures.
  • $1.2 billion in financial assistance grants for 1997-98

    The estimated entitlement for Local Government financial assistance grants in 1997-98 is $1.213 billion, as announced in the 1997 Federal Budget. This is a rise of around 0.8 per cent (or $9.3 million) from an estimated entitlement of around $1.204 billion in 1996-97. Mindful of the importance of the financial assistance grants to Councils, especially for Councils in rural and regional Australia, the Federal Government has aimed to keep the financial impact of Budget cuts on Local Government to a minimum.
  • Challenges similar and unique

    In May the Commonwealth Minister for Sport, Territories and Local Government, the Hon Warwick Smith MP, addressed the IMM National Congress in Canberra. He said that while Local Government experienced challenges similar to those of other levels of government and business, other challenges were unique.

  • Native title - promoting negotiated outcomes

    'Working with Native Title: A Program for Local Government'. A joint initiative between the ALGA and the National Native Title Tribunal. Phase one of the program includes the practical, plain English guide, 'Working with Native Title'. This program of education and information will go a long way toward improving local communities' understanding of native title.
  • Minister suspends democracy

    Following an Inquiry into the inner Melbourne City of Darebin, the Victorian Minister for Local Government, Rob Maclellan, has suspended the elected Council and appointed an Administrator.
  • Editorial

    Once again this newspaper is being produced in a Council area which has had its democratically elected representatives removed by another sphere of Government. Following amalgamation and two years of State appointed Commissioners, just 15 months after residents in Melbourne's inner City of Darebin elected their first Council, the Minister for Local Government has suspended the nine Councillors for a period of 12 months. The crux of this trampling on democracy harks back to the fact that our Constitution still allows for one sphere of Government to remove another democratically elected sphere.
  • $250 million Networking the Nation - funding applications invited

    Communities in regional, rural and remote Australia can now apply for funding under Networking the Nation - the Commonwealth Government's $250 million Regional Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund, launched recently by the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston.
  • CD-ROM cuts isolation

    Local Government in the Northern Territory, which manages some of the world's most isolated communities, is set to benefit from technology specially designed to overcome some of the difficulties remoteness can bring. An innovative CD-ROM now provides information on a range of Local Government issues including recruitment, budgeting, staff management and meeting procedures.
  • Road safety on the web - leading the way!

    In December 1996, a project team was formed with members from the Australian Local Government Association, the NSW Local Government and Shires Associations and the Institute of Municipal Engineering Australia (NSW Division) to develop a road safety Internet pilot for NSW. One of the main aims of the pilot has been to establish a Road Safety Network on the Internet which allows users to find up to date, innovative, road safety information, as well as enabling Councils to communicate good practice in road safety to their communities and beyond.
  • Brisbane's ecologically friendly housing project

    Almost two hectares of undeveloped Council owned land has provided Brisbane City Council with the opportunity to develop a demonstration site of ecologically friendly residential development. The aim is to integrate many of the innovations in environmentally sustainable practice which have been developed in recent years.

  • Tenth National Awards for Innovation in Local Government

    These Awards provide an excellent opportunity for Local Councils to demonstrate their resourcefulness and creativity. Innovations such as those which are being recognised in the Awards this year are vital if Councils are to meet challenges of today and those which will arise in the future. Over 240 entries were received in the five categories Environment; Organisational Practices; Information Technology; Leisure and Community Services; and Engineering and Infrastructure.
  • Seven million dollars savings

    Mornington Peninsula Shire Council in Victoria has just signed what is believed to be the largest Local Government contract let in Victoria to date. The contract worth $48 million over five years was won by Transfield Maintenance for Council's Physical Infrastructure Maintenance Service (PIMS).
  • Looking after our roads

    Australia's road network is critical to the nation's economy. For Local Government around the country, the responsibility of maintaining local road networks places a particular burden on budgets which are already strained under various pressures.
  • AUS-SPEC the new standard specification

    All Councils must ensure that assets under their control are built to an appropriate and high standard to achieve their full design life. Assets must also be built and maintained to minimise the risk of alternative contract interpretations and poor performance in service which may lead to costly litigation or insurance claims. Two years ago, six Councils commissioned Statewide Roads (SWR), the builders of the award winning M4 Motorway, to assist them in authoring a new technical specification for development/subdivisions suitable for Local Government conditions called 'DEVSPEC'. As a result of the success of this project, SWR joined with the Institute of Municipal Engineering Australia NSW Branch to develop a generic specification.
  • Accounting for rates

    The small North Canterbury Council of Hurunui in New Zealand has developed a unique method of accountability to ratepayers. Each ratepayer in the district receives an individualised summary of Council's draft Annual Plan three weeks prior to the close of submissions to the document.
  • Award winning asset management at Kempsey

    An asset management system that provides Kempsey Shire Council Officers with complete data on Council's assets, their current state and any necessary maintenance work recently won the 1997 IMEA (NSW) Award for Management Initiative. Using Mapinfo geographical information software, Council has compiled a complete database of its bridges, culverts, water supply, drainage, cemeteries, Council buildings and other assets, together with condition ratings and their current value.
  • $1.2 billion in financial assistance grants for 1997-98

    The estimated entitlement for Local Government financial assistance grants in 1997-98 is $1.213 billion, as announced in the 1997 Federal Budget. This is a rise of around 0.8 per cent (or $9.3 million) from an estimated entitlement of around $1.204 billion in 1996-97. Mindful of the importance of the financial assistance grants to Councils, especially for Councils in rural and regional Australia, the Federal Government has aimed to keep the financial impact of Budget cuts on Local Government to a minimum.
  • Challenges similar and unique

    In May the Commonwealth Minister for Sport, Territories and Local Government, the Hon Warwick Smith MP, addressed the IMM National Congress in Canberra. He said that while Local Government experienced challenges similar to those of other levels of government and business, other challenges were unique.
  • Review of national performance indicators

    The Local Government Minister's Conference decided that as part of a Benchmarking and Efficiency Program national performance indicators would be developed for Local Government. National indicators would provide Councils with performance information, beyond State/Territory boundaries, to compare their own performance, identify areas where their performance might be improved and identify appropriate benchmarking partners.
  • Australia's Guide to Good Residential Design

    The home is also often the biggest financial commitment most of us ever make. So whether we design it, or buy it, it is essential that we get it right. To help achieve this result, Dimity Reed, Professor of Urban Design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology was commissioned by the National Office of Local Government to produce Australia's Guide to Good Residential Design.

  • Communities respond five years on from Rio

    A draft declaration, prepared in the lead up to Newcastle Five years on from the Rio Earth Summit, some 900 delegates from over 50 countries gathered in Newcastle to reaffirm that in working towards global sustainability there is an urgent need to accelerate local programs and plans. The international 'Pathways to Sustainability' Conference was hosted by Newcastle City Council and staged on 1-5 June. The Newcastle Declaration endorsed and signed on World Environment Day, 5 June 1997 the final day of the Conference, will be presented to a Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly later this month.
  • Minister suspends democracy

    Following an Inquiry into the inner Melbourne City of Darebin, the Victorian Minister for Local Government, Rob Maclellan, has suspended the elected Council and appointed an Administrator.
  • Editorial

    Once again this newspaper is being produced in a Council area which has had its democratically elected representatives removed by another sphere of Government. Following amalgamation and two years of State appointed Commissioners, just 15 months after residents in Melbourne's inner City of Darebin elected their first Council, the Minister for Local Government has suspended the nine Councillors for a period of 12 months. The crux of this trampling on democracy harks back to the fact that our Constitution still allows for one sphere of Government to remove another democratically elected sphere.
  • $250 million Networking the Nation - funding applications invited

    Communities in regional, rural and remote Australia can now apply for funding under Networking the Nation - the Commonwealth Government's $250 million Regional Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund, launched recently by the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston.
  • Search unearths aboriginal heritage

    Evidence of aboriginal culture and heritage prior to white settlement has been unearthed in a search underway at Macedon Ranges Shire located a short distance north of Melbourne. This unique research project aims to identify and assess the significance of all known Aboriginal archaeological sites in the surrounding district.
  • Parramatta's OZ Day a winner

    An outstanding program of events held to celebrate Australia Day earlier this year, has resulted in a High Commendation in the Local Government Australia Day Awards for Parramatta City Council.
  • Stanley wins national Tidy Town Award

    Once again Australian towns, which have involved their communities in improving and enhancing their local environment, have been rewarded for their efforts through the 1996 Mitsubishi Australian Tidy Towns Awards. Over 2,000 communities around Australia actively participate in the program which contributes annually an estimated $50 million to the Australian economy. This year's winner is Stanley in the Tasmanian Council of Circular Head.
  • Tas Councils rewarded for excellence

    Winners of the 1997 Local Government Awards for Excellence were announced during the annual Conference of the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) in May. Northern Midlands Council won the major award, the William Adam-Boral Resources Award, for its Waste Management Strategy.
  • Road safety on the web - leading the way!

    In December 1996, a project team was formed with members from the Australian Local Government Association, the NSW Local Government and Shires Associations and the Institute of Municipal Engineering Australia (NSW Division) to develop a road safety Internet pilot for NSW. One of the main aims of the pilot has been to establish a Road Safety Network on the Internet which allows users to find up to date, innovative, road safety information, as well as enabling Councils to communicate good practice in road safety to their communities and beyond.