The year long celebration of our Centenary of Federation is fast drawing to a close. Across the nation, Local Governments and their communities have undertaken a variety of projects to celebrate our 100 years of nationhood. Communities have come together to celebrate this milestone – to look back on past achievements as well as conflict and struggle – and look to the future, to build a stronger, more inclusive society.
As 2001 draws to a close, our year long celebration of the Centenary of Federation has seen Councils across the nation working with their communities on numerous projects. One of the positive offshoots of this milestone in our nationhood has been wider media coverage of how and why we have a federal system of government, and more importantly, how it operates. This has led to increased discussion and greater understanding of the role of each of our three spheres of government. The involvement of Local Government in ensuring the celebrations became a reality in all localities has once again demonstrated the importance of Councils in implementing programs and policies where they really count, at the grassroots community level.
The Australian Graduate School of Engineering Innovation, in a joint venture with the University of Technology, Sydney, has developed a graduate certificate course which kick starts people who have been appointed to their first managerial role.
At the 2001 General Assembly of Local Governments a remote Community Government Council from the Northern Territory was awarded the ‘National Overall Winner’ of the prestigious Heart Foundation Kellogg Local Government Awards. Numbulwar Numburindi Community Government Council was awarded $10,000 for its ‘Community Food and Nutrition Project’ that promoted healthy food choices and hygiene through a store policy for the Numbulwar Store and Takeaway.
Brenton ‘Alby’ Taylor has recently taken up the position of Secretary of the Local Government and Shires Associations of New South Wales (LGSA).
Devolution – better than a revolution - The Good Oil by Rod Brown * The OECD has just released a report ‘Devolution and Globalisation’ which is a must read for anyone with an interest in economic and social development, and the role of Local Government in that process. The report ties together the themes arising from a major OECD conference held in Glasgow in February 2000.Arguably the key theme, and one of direct interest to Australia, is that governance is most effective and democratic when decisions are made as close as possible to the population affected.
Having successfully obtained the largest grant of $2.565 million in 2000 from the Queensland Government’s Regional Centres Program (RCP), Caboolture Shire embarked on a $5.12 million project aimed at revitalising Caboolture’s traditional central business district. RCP provided a 50 per cent subsidy, with Council making up the rest. As part of this wider project, the Caboolture Central Streetscape Improvement Project was established. Caboolture is located on the coast, north of Brisbane. What resulted were substantial improvements in amenity and access in the area, as well as public art which has become a source of interest, for both residents and visitors.
Kingaroy Shire Council and its residents have historically played a leading role in Queensland’s South Burnett region in regard to natural resource management. Building on the success of previous environmentally focused projects, Council applied for and received funding from the Natural Heritage Trust to undertake a project entitled the Kingaroy Shire Remnant Vegetation Management Strategy and onground Community Conservation Action project.
Australia’s biggest and best show for the Public Works, Construction and Engineering Industries has a new permanent venue for 2002 and beyond. CivEnEx 2002 will be held at the Sydney Showground at Homebush Bay in Sydney’s inner west.
Incorporated in January 1999, Walman Software assists Local Government in the preparation of agendas and minutes. Using the LogoCreate application, the meeting process is enhanced via LogoView and Forum. LogoCreate uses the power and flexibility of Microsoft Word plus a few additional extras that help produce an agenda. The extras include unique numbering of items, adding electronic attachments and importing reports quickly and easily from other sources.
Launched in late 1999 by Blue Circle Southern Cement Victoria, Roadment, a slow setting cementitious binder is now being used by a number of Councils to stabilise local and main roads. As many road engineers are aware, the process of insitu cementitious stabilisation is an effective means to strengthen and extend the life of roads, while, at the same time, conserving local road making materials.
The decision for Hervey Bay City Council to split its Roads Infrastructure department into two separate and accountable units will lead to greater accountability and cost effectiveness according to Executive Manager Corporate Affairs, Dan McKinlay.
This special edition of the National Perspective features the winners and commendations from the 2001 National Awards for Innovation in Local Government (NAILG). The entries received for the Awards this year prove that many councils are at the forefront of innovation in their local communities.
Good strategic planning can be used in almost any situation to resolve a dispute or problem. It is a way of thinking, as much as it is a process that can be applied to determine the values and priorities and as a basis for decision-making about the use and development of land and natural resources.
In 1951 a group of women in Canberra decided to form an association to support each other through the many issues involved in serving on council and working in Local Government. Fifty years on, that passion and determination has continued and the national capital, where that first historic meeting was held, was also the venue for the 2001 Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) Conference.
Meeting in Canberra from 25-28 November, some 750 delegates from Councils across the nation attended the 8th National General Assembly of Local Government. President of the Australian Local Government Association, Councillor John Ross, said that this was a timely gathering in the national capital, coinciding with the opening of Peoplescape, the final national celebration of our Centenary of Federation.
Once again the General Assembly kicked off with the Regional Cooperation and Development Forum on Sunday 25 November. Delegates discussed issues arising from ALGA’s ‘2001 State of the Regions’ report which was released at the Forum.
In officially opening this year’s National General Assembly of Local Government, the Governor General, Peter Hollingworth, emphasised the importance of Local Government in promoting citizenship and the Federation cause.
First elected to Local Government at the age of 19 and later serving as Mayor of Christchurch New Zealand for nine years, Vicki Buck presented the keynote address titled ‘There are no rules just do it’. A firm believer that Local Government can make a huge difference, she said that with no rules for community development you can start anywhere.
Many rural towns around Australia are in rapid decline. However, Peter Howarth is not about letting his town of Nundle go down the same path. Speaking at the General Assembly, Peter Howarth, a member of the Nundle community, outlined his experiences in helping to make a small rural town sustainable.
According to Peter Kenyon, Director of Bank of IDEAS (Initiatives for the Development of Enterprising Action and Strategies), it is all about going back to basics when it comes to building healthy and enterprising communities.
Immediately after the attacks on the World Trade Centre, New York City was without an emergency centre as it was located on the 23rd floor of WTC 7, a 60 floor building that came down shortly after the main towers. The rationale behind this was that flood was seen as the major threat. With the extensive loss of life and major disruption to power, communications, transport and infrastructure, the immensity of the disaster caught everyone by surprise.
At the Annual General Meeting of the ALGA, which followed the General Assembly, Councillor John Ross, representing the Local Government Association of South Australia, was elected for a third term as President.
Believed to be a first for Local Government in Australia, Banyule City Council in Victoria has purchased a petro/electric hybrid Toyota Prius. The Prius is a futuristic ‘dual fuel’ vehicle running on electricity and petrol. It uses half the fuel, producing half the greenhouse gas and up to 80 per cent less pollution than an equivalent petrol car.
With the support of all the major housing industry associations, SEDA’s Energy Smart Homes Policy has come to be recognised as an essential tool for encouraging NSW Councils to ensure new residential buildings and renovations maximise basic energy efficient principles.
AXS-One has been providing eFinancials, Information Management and Interactive Self Service solutions to the Local Government market for more than a decade. It has recently released an ASP-based Interaction Management System enabling Councils to effectively manage all their customer interactions over the Internet.
The recently released ‘Draft Specification for Supply of Recycled Material for Roads, Drainage and Fill’, has been developed in response to the need for an industry wide specification for the use of recycled materials in a range of public works.
In October Douglas Shire, home to Australia’s World Heritage listed rainforest and Great Barrier Reef, was officially awarded GREEN GLOBE 21 Benchmarking, in recognition of its world class initiatives to achieve sustainability as a community and international tourist destination.
High levels of customer satisfaction are essential if Victorian Councils are to meet the requirements of the State Government’s Best Value Victoria model. According to John Huitfeldt, Director of Customer Service Benchmarking Australia, Local Government must know how well it is handling enquiries from ratepayers and the general public if it is to operate within the parameters of the model.
In pursuing international environmental certification, Carrathool Shire Council is seeking to have its operations certified to the world’s leading environmental standard – ISO 14001, by August 2002. This involves the implementation of a strict environmental management system (EMS) and requires an organisation to monitor and continuously improve its environmental performance.
Australian Local Government Training (ALGT) is the industry-owned Industry Training Advisory Board (ITAB) working with Local Government to identify its training needs. The national ITAB is fortunate to have the peak industry bodies (Local Government Managers Australia, the Australian Local Government Association and the Australian Services Union) underpinning this work through their representatives on its board.
Alice Springs recently won the Best Overall prize in Northern Territory’s Better Practice in Local Government Awards for the second year. Council won the best project in the Community Services and Environment categories, then its Community Services project won the overall prize for best project.