ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURES COUNCIL MANAGER
FACING the CHALLENGES
OF RAPID GROWTH Wyndham City CEO Kerry Thompson
lor nt l i c e un lem o C pp Su
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46 NEWS TOP 10 NEWS STORIES.................... 2
29 The council has been recognised for its electronic work order system..................... 29
SENIOR POSITIONS Monitoring the comings and goings
By Genia McCaffery, ALGA President ........ 12
of council CEOs........................................ 34
FACING THE CHALLENGE OF RAPID GROWTH
Kerry Thompson, CEO of
REASONABLY APPREHENDED BIAS AND THE COMPETING DUTIES OF COUNCILLORS
Wyndham City........................................... 14
By Kate Oliver, Senior Associate at
FEATURES WOMEN IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT: INSPIRING GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT By Mid-Western Regional Council................ 18
SUCCESSFULLY INTRODUCING VOIP TELEPHONY IN A LOCAL GOVERNMENT ORGANISATION.......19
THE HILLS SHIRE AWARDED FOR INNOVATIVE WORK ORDER SYSTEM
FED BUDGET WELCOMED BY LOCAL GOVERMENT
Maddocks Lawyers................................... 36
COUNCILLOR SUPPLEMENT NEWS..................................................... 40
MY VISION TIME TO REFORM GAMBLING LAWS TO PROTECT COMMUNITIES By City of Monash Mayor, Cr Stefanie Perri........................................ 43
Publisher: CommStrat Editor: Ben Hutchison Graphic Designer: Nicholas Thorne Art Director: Annette Epifanidis Contributors: Rex Pannell, Ben Hutchison, Genia McCaffery, Nicole O’Neill, Anthony Hinds, Angela Quain, Melissa Gibbs, Dr. Louise Parkes, Kate Oliver, Chris Jones,
TWO DIRECTORATE MODEL ONE TO WATCH
The mayors of Paramatta
Cr Stefanie Perri, Tony Harb & Mitchell Morley
By Nicole O’Neill. WA’s Shire of
and Launceston lead the way.................... 44
Sales and Marketing: Yuri Mamistvalov
Kalamunda has adopted a two directorate organisational structure............................. 20
MELTON’S RISK MANAGEMENT JOURNEY By Anthony Hinds..................................... 24
BOROONDARA AND MELBOURNE: AT YOUR SERVERS!........................... 28
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INCREASED PROSPERITY AHEAD FOR HUMMOCK HILL
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By Rex Pannell.......................................... 46
PRODUCTS & SERVICES TRAINING FOR COUNCILS............... 48
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Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 1
TOP 10 NEWS
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Local Government’s carbon questions
Like so many industries across Australia, the local government sector is facing a carbon conundrum. Exactly how the introduction of the Carbon Price will impact on councils is still very much open to question. According to the Clean Energy Regulator, less than 10 councils are expected to be liable to directly pay the tax in the 2012-2013 financial year. However, questions remain about how extensively private landfill owners, electricity retailers and other suppliers to the local government sector will increase their prices to reflect the impact of the tax. Externally, councils must also keep their finger on the pulse of their local economy as businesses adjust to the Carbon Price. And, of course, the crucial question remains: what will happen post the federal election next year? So while councils must be prepared to adapt to the repercussions of the Carbon Price at least in the short term, local government’s carbon obligations post-2013 remain clouded. I hope you enjoy the June edition of Council Manager.
Sincerely, Ben Hutchison, EDITOR, Council Manager email@example.com 2 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
1 Roads to Recovery Program extended The 2012-13 Federal Budget has provided a funding package of $4.1 billion over the next four years to assist councils and shires maintain and upgrade local roads – the centrepiece of the package is the retention of the Roads to Recovery Program until 2019. R2R was due to expire at the end of next financial year, but the government has extended the program for a further five years and maintained its annual funding at the current rate of $350 million, supplementing the support councils receive under the Financial Assistance Grants Scheme. The distribution of funding between councils will continue to be determined by state and territory grants commissions. Since the government last extended the program in 2008, it has funded more than 13,580 local road projects. Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, said the renewal of the Roads to Recovery Program reflected the government’s “longstanding and enduring support for local government”.
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More funding for Black Spot Program The Federal Budget has allocated $300 million in new funding to extend the Black Spot Program for a further five years until 2019. According to a new assessment of the Program, the latest funding can be expected to prevent more than 2000 accidents and the loss of 14 lives a year. It will deliver a further 1200 projects and builds on the $500 million already allocated to the Program. To date, safety improvements have been completed at more than 1420 sites around Australia, including: • Constructing and upgrading 152 roundabouts; • Redesigning and rebuilding 277 dangerous intersections; • Erecting and improving 225 sets of traffic lights; and • Installing new safety measures at 47 pedestrian crossings. The projects funded are recommended by a panel of independent road safety experts. Anthony Albanese, Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister, said independent research proved the benefit of the program, with roundabouts shown to be by far the most effective measure. He said following a detailed analysis of almost 1600 completed black spot projects, the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics estimated the measures funded during the Program’s first seven years were preventing over 4000 crashes and almost 30 road fatalities a year.
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Funding to promote regional development The Federal Budget has built on the government’s commitment to help regions “seize future opportunities for growth and economic diversification”, according to Regional Australia Minister, Simon Crean. Mr Crean said the Budget delivered new investments in productivity and liveability, and included a range of measures that would improve the lives, wellbeing and growth opportunities for Regional Australia, including: • $3.7 billion for the national Living Longer: Living Better aged care plan - including improving aged care service delivery in regional, rural and remote areas; • $1.5 billion Remote Jobs and Communities Program to provide a more integrated and flexible approach to employment and participation services for people living in remote areas of Australia; • $1 billion over four years to start the first stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme - providing people with disabilities in up to four regions personalised care and support; and • $225.6 million to assist parents with the cost of child care, including those in rural and remote areas of Australia who are undertaking work, study or training, to better enable them to take advantage of employment opportunities. Mr Crean said the recent passage of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax secured the remaining $573 million towards the $974 million Regional Development Australia Fund. He said $150 million had been allocated to 35 projects through Round One last year and applications were being assessed as part of the $200 million Round Two.
4 Councils in three states on first carbon tax list Nine councils in three states were included on the first list of entities liable to pay the Federal Government’s carbon tax when it comes into force from July 2012. The councils in Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales were among 248 organisations listed on the first phase of the Liable Entities Public Information Database (LEPID) published by the Clean Energy Regulator. The councils were Brisbane City Council, Gladstone Regional Council, Western Downs Regional Council and Maranoa Regional Council in Queensland; the City of Armadale, the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and Mindarie Regional Council in Western Australia; and Shellharbour City Council and Wagga Wagga City Council in New South Wales. Under the Clean Energy Act 2011, the Clean Energy Regulator is required to publish a list of entities that are likely to be liable under the carbon pricing mechanism. Entities are included if the regulator has reasonable grounds to believe they are, or are likely to be, liable entities because they meet criteria specified under the Clean Energy Act 2011 within a financial year. The database is being published through a staged schedule as information is made available to the regulator. The first phase of the LEPID includes entities identified through emissions reporting under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 and natural gas suppliers. Clean Energy Regulator Chair, Chloe Munro, said the organisation had written to around 330 entities advising they were likely to be liable for the 2012-13 financial year. They accounted for over 95% of emissions covered by the carbon pricing mechanism.
Canberra reaffirms most councils will not have carbon price liability The Federal Government has moved to reassure local government that most councils will not have any carbon price liability from landfills. Mark Dreyfus – Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency – said a number of councils had asked about how the carbon price would apply to pollution from local landfill sites and the potential impact this might have on rates for communities. Mr Dreyfus said the potential effect on rates had been over-estimated, misrepresented or misreported. He said several factors had to be taken into account in determining any impact of the price which applies from 1 July: Mr Dreyfus said the government was working with councils to provide guidance and information on implementing policies to cut pollution and create clean energy and, as part of the cooperation, he had written twice to every council and provided a landfill factsheet. • Only large landfill sites generating more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas pollution a year are covered – the majority of landfills are too small to be covered; • The carbon price does not apply to pollution from waste deposited in a landfill before 1 July 2012; • The Government had made rules deeming landfill emissions in 2012/13 to be zero, so councils with large landfills would not have any obligation in 2012/13; • Councils could capture methane gas to earn “carbon credits” under the Carbon Farming Initiative.
about carbon price
The Municipal Association of Victoria has expressed uncertainty about the impact on councils of the Federal Government’s carbon price. Bill McArthur, MAV President, said determining the impact of the carbon price on landfill liabilities continued to be complex and challenging for councils because no other sector had been asked to “get out the crystal ball” and set prices from 1 July to take account of at least 40 years of carbon emissions liability. Cr McArthur said from 1 July councils should set prices based on an estimated four decades of waste emissions and any future carbon price liability those emissions may attract – not an easy task for them. He said setting prices for landfill waste was further complicated by the uncertainty of how the carbon price and future liabilities might change when a cap-and-trade system commenced in three years. Despite the Government’s rule that there would be zero emissions in 201213, Cr McArthur said waste deposited from 1 July must still include a price that covered any ongoing emission liabilities to ensure future communities were not called on to pay for it. This was known as intergenerational equity. The MAV President said in metropolitan areas, most councils deposited waste at privately-operated landfills which would be liable under the carbon price. He said councils would have little control over price increases set by private landfill operators and would need to pass these on to ratepayers who funded council services.
A range of legal and governance models is needed to provide the most suitable platforms for collaboration between councils, according to a paper prepared for the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government. The interim report – ‘Legal and Governance Models for Shared Services in Local Government’ – said it was clear that shared services would continue to be an option for councils to consider into the future, even if those councils were amalgamated. It said senior managers within participating councils would need to be skilled in aligning the interests of their council with the interests of the group of councils involved. ACELG said the paper builds on earlier work and investigates models of shared services delivery. It said available legal options and models in use varied greatly across Australia and the report provided a summary of those options, illustrated by five case studies. The report contains a number of sections. Section 2 sets out the context and rationale for shared services, while Section 3 discusses alternative models for shared services, together with associated legislative and governance issues. Section 4 provides five examples of existing local government groups in Australia and New Zealand which have used different organisational models to carry out shared services and other collaborative arrangements. Section 5 presents some interim conclusions based on research to date.
Models for shared
Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 5
TOP 10 NEWS
Promoting best practice in innovation and change Councils across Australia can now access a better practice guide dealing with innovation and change in local government. The guide – ‘Innovation in Local Government: Defining the Challenge, Making the Change’ – has been published by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government. The guide is accompanied by a supplement containing 12 case studies used in the research. ACELG said the two publications were designed to help provide councils with the best ways to solve local problems, target scarce resources and prepare for the future. The centre said the guide aimed to be useful to local governments embarking on processes of problem-solving in response to social change. It is mainly intended as a reference document for elected members, chief executives, and senior managers with responsibility for managing and delivering strategic community priorities. The research findings are supported by leading international thinking on public sector governance and innovation; a survey of Australian and New Zealand local government managers; focus groups with Australian local government managers; and, 12 case studies of public value innovation.
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9 10 Challenges facing
rural-remote councils identified
Staff recruitment and retention, lack of leadership and management skills, ability to manage assets and infrastructure, and increasing governance and compliance requirements are some of the key challenges identified by the CEOs of rural-remote and Indigenous councils. The challenges emerged from the responses of 29 Chief Executive Officers to a survey which focused on capacity building in rural-remote and Indigenous councils. The survey was distributed to the CEOs of councils in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and it was part of broader research from the ‘Rural remote and Indigenous local government’ program undertaken by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government. Staff attraction, retention and managing human resource issues were a common thread throughout the survey – the respondents were asked to identify any key positions that were hard to fill. Twenty six councils (90%) responded that positions which were hard to fill included all technical roles, middle management, and accounting and engineering professionals. The respondents said technical roles were hard to fill because of wages (competing with mining sector) and that it was difficult to find suitably qualified or experienced middle managers because of their reluctance to leave positions in country towns or urban areas and work in remote regions.
Change of emphasis on tackling corruption
Government organisations, including local government, need to focus on how they design and manage workplaces rather than relying solely on traditional tools to prevent corruption, according to the Independent Commission Against Corruption in New South Wales. Speaking to community leaders on the NSW north coast, the ICAC’s Executive Director of Corruption Prevention, Robert Waldersee, said corruption was often a sign of underlying weaknesses in the design and management of organisations. Dr Waldersee said the operating environment within which corruption occurred became increasingly challenging, as government continued to shift from delivering its own standardised services to contracted or flexible service delivery through the private sector. He said weakness in the operating environment had been a common thread in several ICAC investigations, particularly those that uncovered corruption in procurement. Poor record keeping, the form of contracting, process design, reporting arrangements, outsourcing decisions, management competence, culture and oversight arrangements all contributed to corruption in an organisation. Dr Waldersee said over time, the ICAC had developed many approaches to minimising corrupt conduct. Commission surveys of the corruption controls of public sector agencies had shown an increase in adopting basic control mechanisms to the point that most of the prevention tools had been adopted by agencies.
IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, July 18-19 2012 | www.lgbestpractice.com.au
• Australia’s national conference on local government organisational development & performance improvement • Two days of leading knowledge and practical advice Leading-edge case studies and advice for local governments on how to improve organisational development and performance, cut costs and pursue continuous improvement will be detailed at the 2012 Benchmarking Best Practice in Local Government Conference. Following on from the highly successful 2011 Benchmarking Best Practice in Local Government Conference, which attracted more than 150 local government professionals from across Australia, the 2012 event will again provide attendees with information they can immediately use to help drive continuous improvement and achieve a culture of excellence within their own local government organisation. CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE: • Nick Heath, General Manager, Hobart City Council • Mark Brady, General Manager Corporate Services, City of Port Phillip • Ian Mackinlay, Manager Organisational Development, Woollahra Council • Melissa Gibbs, Assistant Director, Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government • Denise Bennett, Lean Program Manager, City of Melbourne • Kerryn Ellis, Manager Corporate Planning and Performance, Knox City Council
• Dr Michael Kennedy, CEO, Mornington Peninsula Shire • Damian West, Group Manager Client Engagement, Australian Public Service Commission • Stephanie Sheehan, Principal Corporate Planner, Moreton Bay Regional Council • Ben Dornier, Director of Corporate and Community Services, City of Palmerston • Dave Barry, Director Community and Corporate Services, Towong Shire Council • WORKSHOP: Achieving Excellence through Leadership & Culture.
Presentations will include the latest case studies and advice on innovation and best practice in local government organisational development and management practices, as well as interactive workshops. The Local Government Business Excellence Network and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government are again Official Endorsing Organisations for this event. TO ATTEND: To register your attendance at this event, visit www.lgbestpractice.com.au For more information about attending please contact: Registration Manager Phone: (03) 8534 5050 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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City of Melbourne receives AAA rating International ratings agency, Standard and Poor’s, has delivered a Triple A rating to the City of Melbourne. Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, said the AAA/A-1+ rating was the highest assigned by the agency and the City of Melbourne was the only Australian council to be given the top rating. Cr Doyle said the rating was an independent measure that affirmed the city’s strong financial position and underlined council’s economic responsibility. He said it was such economic management that allowed council to propose a record $481 million draft 2012/13 budget that would deliver vital infrastructure and services for a growing population. Cr Doyle said council delivered the budget against the backdrop of a zero per cent rate rise, allowing it to deliver projects without adding to the burden of ratepayers. A statement by Standard and Poor’s said the City of Melbourne displayed excellent financial management and had a strong balance sheet, a predictable and supportive institutional framework, and strong budgetary flexibility and performance. “The ratings affirmation reflects our opinion of the council’s strong management team and very strong financial position which provides it with flexibility to withstand adverse economic conditions,” said Standard and Poor’s credit analyst, Anthony Walker. Mr Walker said Melbourne’s strong and well-diversified local economy, combined with a supportive and predictable institutional framework also supported the rating.
Major study into outer suburban regions Five councils belonging to the National Growth Areas Alliance will be involved in a major study into ways of making the outer 8 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
suburbs of Australia’s major cities more productive, sustainable and liveable. The Practical Design for Resilient Outer Suburbs Project will be underpinned by more than $335,000 in funding from the Federal Government’s Liveable Cities program. A quarter of Australians living in cities reside in outer suburban growth areas which face challenges such as lack of jobs, public transport choices, ad hoc planning and retail development. The study will be led by Whittlesea City Council in Victoria and will include the Town of Kwinana in Western Australia, Penrith City Council in NSW, Mount Barker District Council in South Australia and Ipswich City Council in Queensland. The Green Building Council of Australia will use its Green Star communities rating tool to assist with the research which will look specifically at how to: • Ensure development is well-designed, vibrant and people-friendly; • Make sure these areas are more walkable and less car dependent; • Better integrate public transport with new housing developments; • Improve job opportunities in outer areas so people do not face long daily commutes; and • Encourage greater economic and environmental sustainability. The five councils will disseminate the results and recommendations of the project across the nation so that other growth areas have concrete research to guide their own decision-making. Federal Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, said from a national perspective, the “far-sighted project” was a great example of the kind of cooperation between governments needed to address challenges facing cities such as climate change, a lack of affordable housing and a growing, ageing population. Mr Albanese said as one of the most urbanised societies on the planet, Australia’s future economic prosperity and social cohesion would depend largely on how successful all levels of government were at making cities more productive, sustainable and liveable.
First trigen energy network wins funding Australia’s first large scale low-carbon trigeneration energy network at Green Square in the City of Sydney has been allocated $3.75 million in Federal Funding. The funding is from the $20 million Liveable Cities program, part of Canberra’s efforts to make the nation’s major cities more productive, sustainable and liveable. Trigeneration is an energy-efficient decentralised system for generating electricity, which also provides heating and cooling. It is twice as energy efficient as coal-fired power stations. The trigeneration project is being undertaken by the City of Sydney in partnership with Origin Energy and Landcom, and other investors Mirvac, Leighton Properties and John Newell. The four megawatt energy system, to run on natural gas, will supply low-carbon electricity, heating and cooling to 6000 residents in 3300 dwellings as well as shops and offices at the Green Square Town Centre. The Green Square development will provide 20,000 new homes, house 40,000 new residents and help to 22,000 jobs. It will be one of Australia’s leading sustainable urban developments, with the City of Sydney installing trigeneration and investigating the construction of a recycled water network and an automated waste collection system. Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said the Federal funding demonstrated the national significance of Sydney’s green infrastructure plans and confirmed Green Square’s future role as a leading example of sustainable urban development. Ms Moore said the city’s plan to connect multiple buildings to a trigeneration network significantly improved the energy efficiency of the system - such networks were already operating in Europe, the US and Asia. She said the local energy network could save NSW electricity consumers as much as $1.5 billion by 2030 in avoided or delayed spending on electricity grid upgrades and new power stations.
Expert local government panel finalised The New South Wales Government has finalised the composition of an independent expert panel that will examine the structural arrangements of councils in the context of improving the financial sustainability of local government. The Chair of the panel – Professor Graham Sansom, who heads the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government – will be assisted by Jude Munro and Glenn Inglis. Ms Munro has considerable local government experience. She was the former CEO of the City of Brisbane, City of Adelaide and the City of St Kilda. Mr Inglis has many years experience in local government in regional NSW, including 17 years as general manager at Parry Shire Council and at Tamworth City Council. NSW Local Government Minister, Don Page, said the panel was created after the presidents of the Local Government and Shires Associations, Keith Rhoades and Ray Donald, wrote to him requesting the government explore ways to review certain aspects of the local government sector. He said it would take into consideration councils’ ability to support the needs of their communities, ability to deliver services and infrastructure efficiently, ability to provide local representation and decision making, and the financial sustainability of each council area. President of the Local Government Association, Keith Rhoades, said the newly appointed panel members were extremely experienced local government practitioners and would complement Professor Sansom’s expertise. Cr Rhoades said it was no secret local government needed reform on a number of fronts and he believed the panel would independently review all aspects impeding the performance of councils as well as incentives to improve the health of the sector. President of the Shires Association, Ray Donald, said the LGSA stood firm
on its position that no council should be forced to amalgamate. He said the Review Panel offered councils and communities across the state a wonderful opportunity to have an open discussion with the State Government about what needed changing financially and in legislative terms.
Governments urged to improve capital city planning A review of Australia’s capital cities by the Council of Australian Government’s Reform Council has found that governments need to improve planning for the future land use, infrastructure and economies of the nation’s capitals. Chairman of the Reform Council, Paul McClintock, said governments needed to “get better at bringing together different aspects of their city planning”. Mr McClintock said they couldn’t separately deal with land use, infrastructure and economic development. The council reviewed all eight capital city strategic planning systems against COAG’s nine agreed criteria, with the assistance of an expert advisory panel. Its review found that while governments had shown strong commitment to improve their planning systems, none of those systems was entirely consistent with COAG’s agreed criteria to re-shape capital cities. Mr McClintock said COAG’s reforms and the review process demonstrated the value of collaboration by governments on planning capital cities, and it was essential that governments continued to work together to achieve COAG’s objective for the capitals. He said the value of improving planning in major cities was clear – around 75% of Australia’s population called them home and they generated nearly 80% of GDP. The Reform Council made a number of recommendations to COAG on the need to: • Engage more with community, businesses and other stakeholders; • Focus more on implementing plans and getting results in cities; and
• Consider ways to improve investment and innovation by the private sector.
Melbourne to lead sustainable cities network Melbourne will lead a new global network on Sustainable Urban Development. City of Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, will chair the network with the support of the international C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. It will engage other global cities, including Johannesburg, London, San Francisco and Sao Paulo that have expressed a strong interest in sustainable communities. Cr Doyle said the C40 Network would allow Melbourne to share key ideas and learn from other global cities embarking on similar efforts. He said through the network of cities, Melbourne would also engage key stakeholders and partner with the private sector to deliver on-the-ground, practical solutions to the challenges associated with sustainable urban development. The network was announced at a C40 workshop in Melbourne which also released plans by Lend Lease, in partnership with the council, to create a carbon-neutral sustainable community as part of its participation in C40’s Climate Positive Development Program. The Climate Positive Development Program aims to create a model for largescale urban communities that reduces greenhouse gasses and serves as urban laboratories for cities seeking to grow in ways that are environmentally sustainable and economically viable. Lord Mayor Doyle said Melbourne’s Victoria Harbour would become a blueprint for cities, developers and governments to work together to create strong, sustainable communities. He said the city’s work in sustainability over the past two decades has focussed on adapting the city to a changing climate. Managing Director of Lend Lease’s Development business in Australia, David Rolls, said the past two years had focused Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 9
on refining the Victoria Harbour vision. Mr Rolls said the company had placed a strong emphasis on creating vibrant, activated and appealing places for residents, workers and visitors.
Category winners for national awards announced The 27 category winners of the 2012 National Awards for Local Government have been released by the Federal Government. The category winners were judged by independent judging panels and include 11 winners from small councils with fewer than 15,000 rateable properties. Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Simon Crean, said the quality of the 2012 entries was extremely high and showcased the “vast array of creative and innovative projects our local councils are rolling out all around Australia”. Mr Crean said in 2012, councils were given the opportunity to enter a number of new categories including Active Arts, Energy Smart, Excellence in Road Safety, Improving Services to Remote Communities, Innovation in Natural Resource Management, Land-Use Planning, Rural and Remote Health and Strength in Diversity. He said the National Awards were an important plank of the partnership with local government and recognised the critical role councils were playing to make communities more productive, liveable and sustainable. The category winners will now be considered for the overall 2012 National Awards for Excellence in Local Government, which were to be announced at a special presentation in late June.
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Parramatta ends deal for billion dollar redevelopment Parramatta City Council and developer, Grocon, have dissolved an agreement signed six years ago to undertake an urban redevelopment project valued at around $1.6 billion. A statement issued by the council said the city and Grocon had mutually decided to end the Civic Place Development Agreement because of the “very different economic circumstances” that existed today compared with 2006. The statement said, however, that council remained committed to delivering Civic Place and it would return to the market to give all developers an opportunity to tender for an adjusted project. Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Lorraine Wearne, said council would build on the good work it had undertaken with Grocon and expected to announce updated development plans for Civic Place in the near future, including when the tender process would commence. The council and Grocon refused to comment on whether the developer had been compensated – both parties cited a confidentiality provision for their refusal. Cr Wearne said the council had not yet quantified the amount of money it had spent on the project. The Lord Mayor said the council was also working on two sites recently put to the market for redevelopment – the Lennox Bridge car park and the car park at 189 Macquarie Street. She said the city had received submissions for redevelopment of the Lennox Bridge car park and was now in the process of negotiating with potential partners. Council expected to announce the successful proponent this year. The vision for the site included restaurants, a new riverbank Discovery/Visitor Centre, plus multi-purpose function spaces. Cr Wearne said developers were also invited to submit proposals for a mixeduse development at 189 Macquarie Street.
Together, these sites amounted to more than a third of Civic Place and would complement the next stage of Parramatta’s future.
Surging population growth in outer suburbs Wyndham in outer suburban Melbourne was the largest and fastest growing local government area in Australia, according to the latest population figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Wyndham’s population increased by 12,200 or 7.8% in the 12 months to June 2011. The ABS figures also showed strong growth in the outer Melbourne areas of Whittlesea – up 8,700 people or 5.6% and Melton – up 6000 people or 5.6%. Among the New South Wales local government areas with the largest population increases in 2010-11 were outer suburban Blacktown – up 5800 people; Liverpool – 3400 and The Hills Shire – 2600. Wanneroo and Rockingham on the northern and south-western outskirts of Perth recorded strong growth in the year to June 2011, increasing by 6200 and 3900 people respectively. Population growth continued to be most prominent in outer suburbs, inner areas, urban infill areas and along the coast. Areas that recorded a decline included inland rural areas that had been affected over the past few years by drought. Outside the capital cities, the largest population growth generally occurred along the coast in 2010-11. Several LGAs on Queensland’s seaboard had large population increases including the Gold Coast – up 9600 people; Sunshine Coast – 5000; Townsville – 4500 and Cairns – up 2600.
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Fed Budget welcomed by local goverment By Mayor Genia McCaffery, ALGA President
12 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
ALGA’s budget submission also called for greater clarity and improved equity for natural disaster arrangements and prevention of cost and responsibility shifting onto local government by other levels of government, particularly the states and territories. These issues were not addressed in the 2012-13 Budget but they remain priorities for ALGA and we will continue to advocate for them. Our job is to build on the advances in the budget and to deliver for councils and communities across the country and I look forward to working with the Government to achieve that goal.
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he 2012-13 Budget has provided good news for local government and signalled the desire of the Federal Government to continue a strong partnership with councils. Acknowledging the challenging environment facing the Government, given its commitment to return the Budget to surplus in the face of the enormous cost of rebuilding infrastructure following floods across the country, ALGA submitted its budget recommendations to the Government in January. In our submission, we called on the Government to show commitment to long-term funding of vital services. Our submission stressed that while we understood the current economic climate, important services and projects “do not wait for a convenient moment”. One of our key recommendations was for the Government to deliver an increase in Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs). While the Budget did provide local government with ongoing funding under the FAGs scheme, and we appreciate receiving accelerated quarterly payments, this funding has not been increased. The Australian Government has promised a review of the FAGs payment scheme and we take this opportunity to remind the Government of the need for an escalation of the indexation of FAGs funding to reflect the real financial pressures on local government. Our submission also called for the Government to ensure the long-term future of Roads to Recovery (R2R) funding. We applaud the Government for its decision to extend the program for a further five years, beyond 2014 when it was due to finish, but our objective remains a permanent program. Under the R2R program, councils are provided direct funding of $350 million a year, from the federal Government for local roads, to help them maintain more than 650,000 kilometres of local roads. The maintenance of the local road system is one of local government’s major commitments and for most councils, road maintenance is the single largest item of expenditure. Last year, ALGA launched a national campaign to secure ongoing federal funding to assist councils to maintain local roads and address an estimated shortfall in investment of $1.2 billion. By increasing the investment in local roads and making the program permanent, councils could rest assured that the quality and safety of local roads was being treated with priority. The decision to extend R2R shows that the Government has listened to our call but the task remains with ALGA to push the case for permanency.
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CONFERENCE 2012 SEBEL ALBERT PARK, MELBOURNE 18–19 SEPT Register now at www.governmentsustainability.com.au • Australia’s peak environmental conference for the Public Sector • Sept 18 & 19, Sebel Albert Park, Melbourne • Two Days full of practical and leading knowledge • Two Speaking/Workshop Streams each day • Early Bird Registration: Only $600 +GST - So Book Now
This conference will incorporate the one-day Public Sector Clean Energy Forum: leading the way to efficient, low-carbon energy use. This Forum will be staged on Day 2 - September 19.
The 2012 Government Sustainability Conference will again provide local government professionals and delegates from the wider public sector with comprehensive analysis and advice about how to ingrain environmentally sustainable policies and practices within their organisations and the communities they serve. Workshops will include: • Carbon Accounting in the Public Sector - Workshop presented by National Centre for Sustainability, Swinburne University. • Barriers and Drivers to Embedding Sustainability in your Government Organisation - Workshop presented by Local Government Association of NSW and Shires Association of NSW. This conference will follow on from the highly successful 2011 Government Sustainability Conference, which attracted more than 200 attendees. By focusing on the issues and needs that are faced by governments and their authorities, this conference has become the peak annual environmental conference for Australia’s public sector.
Confirmed Speakers include: • Stan Krpan, CEO, Sustainability Victoria • Felix MacNeill, Environmental Management Coordinator, Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations • Rob Murray-Leach, CEO, Energy Efficiency Council • Michael Oke, Coordinator Environmental Management, City of Yarra • Adam Beck, Executive Director Market Development and Sustainable Communities, Green Building Council of Australia • Laura Lynch, ESD Unit Coordinator, Moreland City Council • Tiernan Humphrys, Manager Environmental Sustainability, Capital Projects & Service Planning, Victorian Department of Health • Andrew Foran, CEO, Centre for Sustainability Leadership • David Baggs, CEO, ecospecifier • Marnie Kikken, Manager Environment and Sustainability, Ku-ring-gai Council • Hugh Wareham, CEO, ECO-Buy • Guy Pritchard, Local Government Programs Manager Yarra Valley Water • Nicola Hoey, Principal Environmental Sustainability Officer, City of Boroondara • Samuel Redmond, Senior Consultant, GerrardBown • Emma Fuchsen, Sustainability Education Officer, Rural City of Wangaratta • Bronwyn Chapman, Manager of Environment, Rural City of Wangaratta
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Facing the challenge of rapid growth Wyndham City CEO Kerry Thompson describes how she is steering her organisation through the complex challenges posed by being one of Australia’s fastestgrowing municipalities.
Council Manager: How are you leading your organisation to address the challenges of such a rapid rate of growth?
KERRY THOMPSON: What we’ve done is a number of different things. When you talk about the rapid growth, you are talking about 62 babies being born a week here, nine families moving a day and we’ve had 12,000 to 14,000 new residents a year that’s the sort of growth we’ve got. What we’ve done is a lot of work around leadership and culture. We’ve been doing leadership capacity work - and I’ve worked with the senior management group (on this) for the last seven months. And a key focus of that’s been around how do you stop and look and reflect and build in that innovation and creativity? So it’s a way of saying how do we create a culture where we can be constantly reviewing and considering what we are doing - what worked in the last community, will it work in the next one, what do we have to learn from that to get a constant
ppointed in 2010 to lead Wyndham City’s 1200 staff, Kerry Thompson is fine-tuning the organisation in a number of ways to ensure it is addressing the many issues and high workload caused by the rapid population growth occurring in the city, which is situated on the western outskirts of metropolitan Melbourne. Wyndham’s estimated population at June 2012 was 184,000 people, with the municipality experiencing a 7.1% annual growth rate. In the following edited extract of an interview with Council Manager magazine, Ms Thompson details how Wyndham City is focusing on leadership development, creating cross-organisational groups and piloting the implementation of lean management systems. 14 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
review process, and looking at other options. So that’s been one of the key things we’re doing, working with that leadership team, and we will do the same with our next level down, they will go through the same program over the next seven months.
This helps to fine-tune the organisation to deal better with complex issues?
It’s getting that overall capacity to manage with complexities. With the pressures of the day-to-day job to get so much done, it’s to have time to say “do we keep doing it this way”, and what’s working and what’s isn’t. The other one is that when I commenced I actually created a position of Director of Advocacy. If you look at the major private sector organisations they will go and have a very high senior position on government relations. So it was really to say advocacy needs to be done in a strategic way in government relations. So we have a
we’re making sure we’re creating as many multipurpose facilities close to schools and other hubs to create good community spaces for new communities.
We all try our best, but quite often we would focus on it (advocacy) at federal or state election times...this means it is front of mind in a strategic way all of the time with someone working at that level.
Director of Advocacy who does not have a large operational area but works across the organisation with me and actually developed an advocacy strategy that had community and council involvement and looked at what are the key issues for the next three years and the constant review process. That’s really helped keep our priorities on what we need to keep working with state and federal governments and communities with, as well as other key stakeholders.
It’s very much that, but it’s also very much around policy, around how you do growth, how do we get more local jobs here. So it’s also very much about influencing governments about policy direction as well. The other key one is the strategic work this council has done around its social infrastructure needs and its infrastructure plans. We do have a 10 year capital works program, we don’t just look three-year. So we have a 10 year capital program -
Is the role a key one when it comes to securing grants and funding?
behind that we have a document that takes that to 2040 on social infrastructure needs based on what growth happens. So we’re doing that - absolutely planning ahead. And to help us with that service delivery, we’re making sure we’re creating as many multipurpose facilities close to schools and other hubs to create good community spaces for new communities that can be quite isolated. And that work means you might put your kindergarten, your maternal child health, your libraries and youth services spaces together. And the last component of that is we also are investing a lot of time and energy in talking to not-for-profit organisations and NGOs, and will do things like have space that they can rent, or can work with them to look at how we encourage them to come into this municipality and provide services. And also our economic development unit is very successful in trying to attract investment into the area. Local jobs is one of our most important issues.
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Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 15
How is your organisation coping with what I am sure is a lot of work that needs to be done in relation to urban planning?
There’s a couple of things that’s happened - in Victoria, the Growth Areas Authority does the planning for growth areas, however they want our input and they work in partnership with us. And we appreciate that. So again, that’s incredible pressure because there would be a number of precinct structure plans, growth plans, framework plans occurring. So what we do internally, we have across the organisation what we call an integrated planning group. And that brings our urban planning, our social planning, the recreational and leisure staff in, and they will look at things at a policy level - what works, what’s not working, review those plans and have input. It is a lot of pressure…but we think we get the better outcome by having the different input from those different areas. It also means that as we have to go through those precinct structure plans, we start picking up trends or changes in policies or key issues that we want to follow up. So that group will come up with key issues and work with the Advocacy Director and myself about how do we start influencing some changes there.
In the City’s most recent annual report you mentioned that you are seeking to implement continuous improvement in your organisation - how are you seeking to do that and where are you at in the process?
There’s a number of projects: we’ve just moved to the lean process, which is with the Six Sigma but it’s probably got more 16 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
focus on the service industry than the original one on the manufacturing. So we’ve introduced that. We’ve agreed to pilot it and then do a good evaluation. As you know there are a number of tools or ways you can do it, but so far it’s been very successful. So we’ve gone with lean at this stage, we’ve also appointed a fantastic business continuity sort of plan to work with all the various areas of the organisation. So again, it is an internal consulting role to work with that and the lean process, and so far - terrific! We went out originally looking for volunteers but we knew the key areas, so it’s focusing on our systems and services in areas that are very much across organisation to see if we can get improvements. And the way that we’ve worked with that is to have people trained and understanding and then they help the next group. The other one is all your IT – we’re moving so we’ve got much more mobile access for staff: home care workers with iPads, linkages, getting much more of that in to make it easier for people to do their job out in the field.
What’s your goal for the organisation - where do you hope to take the City in the next few years?
Mine is an organisation that’s absolutely constantly up for the challenges and it’s innovative…so I think my goal is to push leadership further down into the organisation. And to have people feel that they can absolutely come up with innovation and creativity about how we deliver what we have to for our communities, knowing there are less dollars and there is more demand on local government. So it’s really getting the smarts about, you know, just because we’ve done the same thing for 30 years it’s OK to question and challenge. So that’s a real mission: to
That’s a real mission: to get an organisation where thinking and challenging becomes the norm.
get an organisation where thinking and challenging becomes the norm. I say it’s OK to make smart mistakes! And that’s the language I use around here. Sometimes you’ve got to take calculated risks about trying things that may not work in the community, but how else are you able to find out?
What advice would you have for the many other rapid growth councils in Australia drawing from your own experiences?
Mine is to give yourself and your senior management team time to reflect, because I think the biggest thing - and it’s not just growth councils - but you end up on that treadmill going 100 miles an hour. For us we’ve got to construct so many kinders and community centres, and you’re running just to keep up. You’ve got to find a way to say yes, we know all those tasks need to be done, but you have to be able to step away from them and make sure you’re keeping an eye on that strategic direction and reflect on what you’re doing on a dayto-day basis.
For more information about Wyndham City visit www.wyndham.vic.gov.au
Public Sector Efficiency
Tuesday 9th Wednesday 10th October 2012 The Menzies Sydney NSW
Optimising systems and processes to achieve more with less • Solutions for improving government systems, processes & structures while maintaining quality service delivery • Two Days of practical advice on how to achieve efficient organisational performance in today’s challenging public sector environment • ERP & CRM solutions for local, state & federal government departments and agencies
CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT & CALL FOR SPEAKERS With all levels of Australian government under pressure to deliver quality services and manage complex organisations with limited financial resources, this conference will provide public sector professionals with knowledge and solutions to successfully generate efficiencies and optimise systems and processes. Conference attendees will be supplied with practical case studies and advice they can immediately use to improve efficiencies, performance and productivity within their own organisations. This event will be designed for professionals working in both large and small government organisations at local, state and federal level. Key topics will also include: optimising Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for the public sector; harmonising processes across complex organisational structures; achieving efficient and effective CRM and service delivery, etc. CALL FOR SPEAKERS: Has your government organisation achieved efficiencies, systems enhancements or performance improvements that you would like to share with the wider public sector? To propose a presentation for the Public Sector Efficiency Conference, please email a 300-word summary of the presentation to Conference Director, Ben Hutchison, via firstname.lastname@example.org This conference will be staged by CommStrat, specialist provider of Australian public sector events and publications, including Government Technology Review, Council Manager Magazine, the annual Cloud Computing Forum, etc. WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Professionals from throughout local, state and federal government departments, agencies & authorities, including: • CIOs • Corporate Services & Systems Managers • Business Systems Managers • Managers of Enterprise Architecture • Organisational Development Managers • CFOs • Senior Executives • Procurement Managers • Customer Service Managers • IT professionals • Service Delivery Managers • CEOs/General Managers • PLUS: Consultants and service providers from the private sector
FOR CONFERENCE REGISTRATION AND ATTENDANCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: Registration Manager Ph: (03) 8534 5050 email@example.com SPONSORSHIP & EXHIBITION ENQUIRIES: Brian Rault Sales Manager Hallmark Conferences + Events CommStrat Ph: (03) 8534 5014 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.efficiencyconference.com.au Early Bird Registration Now Available
WOMEN IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Women in Local Government: inspiring growth and development A mentoring and training program developed by a team of women at Mid-Western Regional Council in NSW to observe 2010 as the Year of Women in Local Government is attracting interest from other councils as it prepares to enter its second year. The program, called ‘Inspire • Encourage • Enlighten’, took top honours in the Federal Government’s 2011 National Awards for Excellence in Local Government. It has already provided women at MWRC with potentially lifechanging insights they can use both on the job and at home. A “think tank” of 20 women, drawn from throughout the regional council’s staff, was given the challenge by General Manager Warwick Bennett of establishing a program that would offer growth and development opportunities to their female peers. After extensive research, discussion and debate the think tank team agreed on three focus areas – mentoring, assertiveness training and networking. The program they developed won backing from management and was funded with $15,000 to train facilitators and mentors, bring in guest speakers and underwrite the cost of meetings. “This program really allowed us as people to have a good look at ourselves and to celebrate what we contribute to the organisation and to our personal lives as well,” said Human Resources Manager Judy Hitchcock, who took part in the program as a participant. “It gave women additional tools to help them cope with work pressures and with life pressures. It helped us come back and change our approaches, such as learning how to say ‘no’ and not just take on more and more both on the job and at home. “It’s helped women to evaluate their lives and ensure they leave ‘time for me’. It’s also given women things to think about and say ‘I’m good at what I do and I can be better’”. 18 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
The Mentoring Project The goal of the 12-month mentoring project was to help women improve self-confidence, build skills and develop professional relationships through one-toone, non-judgmental relationships with volunteer mentors who were trained to help their mentees. A total of 22 mentors were trained and 12 mentor/mentee partnerships were formed through a pairing process. “The feedback from mentees was that it helped them focus on goals and set goals. Having a sounding board helped them develop self-confidence, gain a clearer understanding of management styles and identify expectations,” said Senior Human Resources Officer Michele George, who helped create the program. “In the first year the mentoring program was just for women, but the second round of mentoring, which we plan to start in July, will be opened up to male and female mentees.”
Assertiveness Training The assertiveness training project was designed to encourage women at MWRC to be confident in themselves and with others, to approach their roles in the organisation with a positive attitude and to enable them to take responsibility and initiative for their career progression. Three organisers attended a NSW Department of Primary Industries training course designed for rural women called ‘Shaping Our Futures Together’ and returned home with permission to modify that course into a program for women at MWRC called ‘Shaping Our Vision’. Ms George said 60 women took part in the three Shaping Our Vision workshops where managers and workers alike were asked to leave their position in council at the door and spend quality time working together on personal development.
“In Shaping Our Vision one of the big positives was that the participants became very engaged,” she said. “We shared a lot of laughs, but we also had tears. Women were prepared to share things about their personal and professional life. “A lot of the focus was on ‘shoulds’ – all the competing things we are told by society, tradition and other people that we should do – and how to identify which ones are the most important uses of our limited time and say ‘no’ to those that are less important.”
Networking Four networking events were held – a get-together breakfast, a trivia night at a local wine bar and two lunches. The first lunch featured the “Great Debate” between Mr Bennett and Ashfield Council General Manager Vanessa Chan about whether men or women make the best council general managers, while the second provided pointers on public speaking. “These events were designed to be fun but also to have a networking or development edge to them,” Ms George said. “Each event attracted 50-60 participants. They had a chance to make contact with other women that they wouldn’t necessarily see or spend time with at work.” Ms George said MWRC has been approached by a number of other councils for information about the program and is happy to discuss it with them. “Even as of Friday I was emailing information to another council,” she said. “This program is not just about work. It’s not just about being a council employee. It’s about being a woman and being proud of our achievements.”
Article contributed by Mid-Western Regional Council. For more information about Mid-Western Regional Council visit www.midwestern.nsw.gov.au
Successfully introducing VoIP telephony in a local government organisation New South Wales’ Campbelltown City Council has recently delivered a new telephony solution across the organisation - on time, within budget, and with an exceptional level of stakeholder and customer satisfaction. While there is a concerted effort across local government to deliver more and more online services, it is clear that telephony is still a vital and valued mode of communication between councils and their residents. The council’s previous telephone infrastructure operated over 35 different sites and consisted of multiple hardware-based PABX systems, as well as a number of direct Telstra phone lines. With the main PABX system having serviced the organisation for almost 20 years, its upgrade limitations and increasing functionality issues meant that it would soon no longer meet the requirements of the organisation, resulting in the need to investigate options for a unified phone system. The chosen solution was a move to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, using existing data network infrastructure to
process the transmission of calls through the digitisation of analogue voice. An extensive two-year planning phase was undertaken to ensure that the existing telephony and network environments were well understood and documented, and that the necessary infrastructure upgrades were completed to ensure that the network was VoIP-enabled. The project delivered a modern VoIP telephony solution that: • Is resilient to outages through a design that accommodates multiple redundancies and fail-over options. • Is-cost effective through the use of leastcost routing and a GSM gateway that can reduce calls to mobiles by around 20 per cent. • Supports Council in its customer service initiatives through enabling a true contact centre.
• Enables better management of calls through effective monitoring, reporting, and automated call overflow handling. • Offers improved internal service to customers through a more flexible system that can be quickly, easily and cost-effectively configured by Council staff to ensure that changing needs are serviced promptly. • Integrates with existing internal systems such as Sharepoint and Outlook. • Improves Council’s ability to continue service to the public in the event of a disaster through the easy activation of offsite call centres and provision of phone services. Campbelltown City Council Director Business Services, Michael Sewell, said that by embracing a strong project management methodology, the organisation was able to deliver a new telephony solution that met operational needs and supported key corporate objectives with regards to customer service and business continuity. “By implementing the project with a strong focus on consultation and communication, the project team was able to manage an organisation-wide change with no disruption to customers and an extremely high level of acceptance from staff. “Extensive staff engagement ensured that issues were identified early and fostered a true sense of excitement about the coming change, rather than the usual fear of change that can often impede on the success of a project,” Mr Sewell said.
Members of Campbelltown City Council’s Infrastructure and Service Desk Team demonstrate the new phone system to a colleague.
Article contributed by Campbelltown City Council. Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 19
Kalamunda Shire’s spectacular Lesmurdie Falls
Two Directorate Model one to watch The adoption by WA’s Shire of Kalamunda of a two directorate organisational structure is delivering a range of benefits, writes NICOLE O’NEILL.
he Shire of Kalamunda has shaken up the world of local government, with the establishment of a Two Directorate Organisational Structure. The Shire is believed to be the only local government of its size in Australia that is operating with such a model. The Shire’s CEO James Trail said that “as a part of the pending local government reform process the Shire underwent an organisational review to ensure that the Shire’s financial and staffing arrangements are managed in a way that demonstrates the Shire is sustainable and has inbuilt flexibility to respond quickly to changing community expectations, legislative demands and other external factors that may require urgent responses over the short and long term.”
20 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
“At the Shire of Kalamunda we believe that Service, Professionalism and Innovation will provide quality outcomes for our community. “The new structure focuses on moving with the times and has been developed with a goal to de-layer and strip back unrequired levels of middle management, encouraging teams to work across functions with more flexible arrangements in place.” According to James R. Johnston, “a supporting rationale for the learning organisation lies in the belief that change and learning are inextricably linked. Adapting, responding, anticipating, and learning are descriptors commonly used to envision learning organisations.” CEO James Trail said, “I believe there needs to be a strong link between strategic planning and the choice of organisational structure that an organisation develops and operates within.” “The reviewed organisational structure saw the Shire shift from a 4 Directorate to a two directorate model, namely Development and Infrastructure Services and Corporate and Community Services,” Mr Trail said.
“The new structure stems away from the ‘silo’ approach and encourages officers to work across various business units.” “It also creates a more conducive Executive Leadership Team, with Directors more aware of a cross-section of operations that the organisation is required to perform. “Within the Development and Infrastructure Services Directorate there are four business units – Health and Ranger Services, Technical Services, Development Services and Infrastructure Operations. “Corporate and Community Services is comprised of six business units including Economic Property and Procurement Services, Community Development, Technology and Corporate Support, Financial Services and Community Care. “Governance, Business and Strategy, Human Resources, Public Relations and Events teams form part of the CEO Business unit. “The organisation also has a dedicated organisational development systems officer, assisting to ensure that the Kalamunda planning and performance management framework continues to operate effectively and efficiently.
“Each business unit has a very clear strategic objective, with clearly defined roles, key focus areas and core services. “Directors have made a commitment to the success of the new structure. Senior staff members liaise with each other more, rather than business units operating in isolation which is conducive to better decision making and a more strategic approach to the operation of the organisation. “To date the shift has been extremely effective and, though the organisation is still adapting, the feedback has been positive.” “There are strong links across business units so that core competencies are shared and corporate cohesion is maintained. Lateral communication forms a touchstone of the new structure. “A two directorate model does require extremely versatile staff, with Directors expected to have a broad understanding of the function and role of local government, as well as an extremely high level of management skills, with service quality a major focus.” No doubt one of the most important factors of an organisation is its structure. It can make or break an organisation. Every organisation needs a functional structure that enables it to exhibit a high level of organisational performance and demonstrate best practice. The structure must take into account an organisation size, culture, environment and strategy. If an organisation is to achieve its objectives and maximise its performance its structure needs to fit with and adapt to changes in its environment. Too often the importance of organisational structure is overlooked – usually with disastrous effects. An organisation’s structure is vital to ensure that work and responsibilities are allocated accordingly, subsequently achieving the organisation’s goals. An inefficient structure equals an organisation that will not survive. A successful structure enables staff to achieve the strategic objectives of the organisation by ensuring that it is able to adequately plan, action and delegate all of the tasks required to achieve success, ensuring it functions as a dynamic entity
connecting all aspects of an organisations activities. The new model and current management style also pulls on aspects of Complexity Leadership Theory, with a number of senior staff undertaking Complexity Leadership Training, based on the concepts of complexity science with the POWA Institute under the direction of CEO Ali Sumner. Complex Systems Leadership Theory is based on the assumption that human interactions can be explored using a complex systems model and then focuses on identifying what leadership might mean in a complex adaptive system composed of human beings interacting in a social network (Hazy, 2008). Leadership is defined within the theory as a system function that operates among people or groups within a complex adaptive system of interactions (Hazy, Goldstein, & Lichtenstein, 2007; Goldstein, Hazy & Lichtenstein, 2010). Complexity theory is a science of complexly interacting systems; it explores the nature of interaction and adaptation in such systems and how they influence such things as emergence, innovation, and the fitness of an organisation (Uhl-Bien & Marion, 2008). The Shire of Kalamunda recently undertook an independent survey of elected members to gauge Councillors’ satisfaction with the new structure and related leadership model. The analysis was conducted by Murray Jorgensen and Associates. Principal, Murray Jorgensen, has had an extensive career in local government and consults to a wide range of commercial, state and local government agencies. He was the CEO of the Town of Albany and Commissioner of Local Government (City of Cockburn). Murray concluded that the satisfaction of Elected Members at Kalamunda was higher than he had possibly expected. Murray congratulated the Shire of Kalamunda Executive Leadership team saying, “the positive response of the elected members speaks highly of the transition to the new structure.” “There has been a substantial increase in the Elected Member satisfaction with
the communication between the Elected Members and Executive Leadership Team, since the restructure; with the total satisfaction on a scale of 1- 10 (with one being very dissatisfied and ten being very satisfied) measured at 8.6, which is extremely high.” “There is a very high level of Elected Member satisfaction with the overall performance and service levels of the Executive Leadership Team, since the restructure.” “Maintaining or improving this level of satisfaction over the medium to long term will be a challenge to the Executive Leadership Team.” The results of the research undertaken clearly indicated that elected members preferred the new model over the previous four directorate model that had previously been in place at the Shire of Kalamunda. CEO James Trail said, “staff have been very receptive to the new structure and have settled in well to the changes.” “There is a significant financial saving from a staffing point of view, which ensures that money can be spent where it is needed most – on community development, asset maintenance and infrastructure requirements. “The new model is also focused on ensuring that the organisation is adaptive and able to react to change and to absorb shocks to the system.” Toffler (Toffler, Alvin, Future Shock, New York: Random House, 1970) raised the world’s consciousness regarding the accelerating rate of change in his 1970 work, Future Shock. He discussed the overwhelming impact of change on individuals, society, and organisations. More importantly, he raised our collective awareness of the importance of adapting to change, of responding to the inevitability of change. Kalamunda Shire Director of Corporate and Community, Rhonda Hardy, said “the new structure assists in setting the direction, identifying our strengths and weakness, finding solutions that can drive efficiency and laying down a pathway for improvement, innovation and enhanced customer service.” Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 21
“It was interesting to note that throughout the restructure all staff indicated that they greatly valued their roles in serving the community and are very passionate and dedicated to this cause. It was also interesting to note that all staff recognised the constraints of resources that face the organisation. “As a part of the restructure the organisation has focused on team development and planning sessions to explore innovative ideas further and maximise the organisations resources, focusing on group solutions and crossfunctional support. “This ignited a process of shared responsibilities and improvement started to occur intuitively. The big issue of delegated decision-making has been (and continues to be) investigated and this has required input from all staff to help build a decisionmaking framework that all agree to and work with. “Increased motivation is also a key driver to success and the development of cross functional project teams and an effective and interesting team development program has enabled synergies and solutions to be derived.” “Whilst there was some immediate ‘shocks’ to the Directorate in the short term; as people and roles change and we quickly learned to adapt - in the longer term the rewards of greater levels of job satisfaction, increased learning opportunities and teamwork are resulting in the outcome of better customer service to our community as well as happy, motivated and high performing ever willing to change capable staff.” For the Planning and Engineering worlds the structure came as quite a shock – Could Planners and Engineers work together? They certainly should be operating hand in hand, to ensure the overall success of a project from start to finish. The Shire’s Director of Development and Infrastructure Services, Clayton Higham, certainly believed that they could – and should! Though initially he was 22 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
apprehensive about the task of being the Director of what had previously been two separate departments, namely planning and engineering. “I am a Planner, who has spent a good part of my life working in local government, and whilst I was an advocate of the two directorate model and believe that it makes communication lines more streamlined, I acknowledge that the decision to combine the two fields in the one directorate certainly raised a lot of eyebrows.” “Ultimately I think, no matter what your structure is – it still comes back to the people involved and the willingness and desire of individuals within the organisation to make it work. “With the amalgamation of the Planning and Engineering departments the Director role has become more about leadership and setting direction, it is about working with Managers in the organisation and the technical experts to achieve success. I would argue that having either a Planning or an Engineering background is not what is most important, it is about having experience in local government and ensuring that staff are leaders in their field, with a professional and exceptional standard of work. “Individuals are required to operate at a higher level, taking a greater responsibility for the objectives of their service areas. “Overall, two directors works better than four, communication lines are open and issues can be dealt with across the organisation in a more efficient and effective manner.” Shire of Kalamunda Manager of Technical Services, Kanwal Singh, said “the structural reform that was undertaken and the creation of the two Directorate model did create some uncertainty in the whole team initially resulting in lower team morale. However, with the consolidation of the two director’s structure the team’s motivation and optimism has started building again.” “Decisions on technical matters can be made more efficiently than the previous
structure allowed for as the reliance of the team is only on the manager now. “My decision-making skills have improved and I find myself more confident in decision-making and my decisions are supported by the Director. “There is a marked improvement in the communication with the planning team in general. The organisation has greater community involvement and there is a greater understanding of the community issues from the Manager’s perspective. “One aspect of the model that must certainly be noted is that Managers need to step up to accept increased responsibilities. Succession planning and ensuring that the gap between managers and directors is kept small is pivotal to the success of the structure. Manager of Community Development, Darren Jones, echoed Kanwal’s sentiments, saying “the model can assist in reducing the silo effect of a large organisation, providing opportunities for increased integration between various business units
A view of Perth CBD from Kalamunda Shire
and specifically cross pollination of projects and activities.” “The model is reliant upon suitably skilled and experienced Directors and Managers being in place and a strong emphasis should be placed upon business continuity programs, succession plans and training. “It is imperative for other organisations who may be considering adopting a similar model to ensure that staff attraction and retention is adequately managed within the Executive Leadership Team, as the roles are demanding and require leaders with a range of characteristics, diverse skill sets and abilities.” The adoption of the new structure has been strongly supported by the Council, with Shire President, Donald McKechnie, saying “Council believes that the Shire of Kalamunda has a greater sustainability due to the two directorate model.” “As more and more emphasis is placed on local government reform the Shire of Kalamunda is dedicated to being adaptive.”
“The Council recognises Kalamunda has a strong sense of community and is committed to ensuring that this is protected and enhanced. The Shire has significantly raised the bar in its strategic, asset and financial management, proving that it is sustainable now and into the future.” Additional to the recent organisational restructure, the Shire of Kalamunda has spent extensive time on its strategic planning framework – which has achieved international acclaim, since it was presented at the Local Strategic Partnerships Conference in London. The Shire’s Planning and Performance Management Framework has enabled it to establish clear linkages between all levels of planning and to drive significant performance improvements at organisational, service and individual levels. The Shire of Kalamunda has been internationally recognised for best practice in the development of the Kalamunda Planning and Performance Management Framework, which focuses on making the Local Government Authority accountable and enables clear communication of the Shire’s strategic plan, progress and outcomes by implementing an integrated approach to strategic and business planning, service delivery and performance management. The framework enabled the Shire to: • Establish a clear integrated planning and performance management framework. • Establish a direct link between organisational plans and individual performance to ensure accountability and ownership. • Align the capital works planning process with the development of business plans. • Integrate planning documents with Long Term Financial Plan and Workforce Plan. • Ensure that service delivery is aligned to community outcomes. Collectively, the new organisational structure and strategic planning framework complement each other to assist the organisation to achieve its goals.
Overall, the organisation appears to be succeeding. Manager of Human Resources and Organisational Development, Davina Sandhu, noted that “having a more streamlined structure has definitely been a benefit. It has given the Managers within the organisation more authority and empowerment to go about performing their roles.” “Items requiring attention are signed off faster and the breaking down the silos is happening. Senior staff are now given exposure to the different areas within the organisation, which in return is increasing skills sets and knowledge.” “Cross organisational teams are being put together to work on projects and there is a greater appreciation for everyone’s role and responsibilities. Overall, I believe the two directorate model has brought the organisation to work together more and communicate across different areas. From an HR perspective, I believe matters are still being dealt with in an efficient and timely manner, and more ownership is given to the Managers to work with their staff in making sure their teams are content and satisfied with work, which ultimately assists with staff retention.”
About Kalamunda Shire Located a mere 24 km from Perth, Shire of Kalamunda has just under 300 employees and covers an area of 349 square kilometres. With a population of 55,814 (and growing) the Shire of Kalamunda services 22,447 households, and is expected to grow by as much as 30% by 2031. The Shire currently has a total revenue of $42,533,097, with just over $21,000,000 of this amount attributed to rates. The Shire of Kalamunda is isolated from the balance of the Perth metropolitan area due to the green belt created by the national park, state forest and rural areas. It is close to regional centres, such as Midland and Cannington, and includes the picturesque Bickley Valley. Nicole O’Neill is Public Relations Coordinator for the Shire of Kalamunda Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 23
Melton’s Risk Management Journey By Anthony Hinds, Risk Management Coordinator, Melton Shire Council Can’t see the wood for the trees? Overloaded with the micro issues, but not talking about the macro? Risk Register full of operational risks, but empty of strategic ones? This was our problem at Melton. In addressing it, we went on a six month journey where our Executive and managers discussed, workshopped and consulted, and identified 19 strategic risks. But much more was achieved in the process than just a list of risks. The work we undertook continues to be of real benefit to us all. We began enterprise risk management in earnest mid 2008. We purchased an online risk application and dutifully populated it. Each leader entered their top 5 risk issues. We used it to store internal audit findings and actions. Our Executive nominated their top risk issues too. And steadily the Risk Register grew to 500 risks by 2011. But despite our best efforts, the data was micro, operational and did not address risks such as political agendas, the possibility of another GFC, or other strategic issues that should have been there. One reason for this problem was a focus on objectives. We came to realise that if you only consider risks in the light of objectives you end up with data in silos. This is one of the limitations of AS/NZS/ISO 31000. Figure 1 displays the model we have used at Melton in the last six months to help us understand the risk landscape. (The label on each silo is indicative only.) An organisation may identify its risks associated with objectives related to OHS, HR, climate change, IT etc; the most frequent, likely or severe operational risks are escalated to the senior decision-makers. They are represented by the “pointy” part of each triangle in Figure 1.
Some risk professionals imply that these most frequent, likely or severe operational risks are the strategic risks. But this overlooks what lies between each silo. These are the ‘common mode failures’ that can disable a whole organisation in one fell swoop. To illustrate, in a factory context you might assess every micro risk of each machine or component breaking down, and come up with an overall likelihood of losing production capability. However, that would not account for the common mode failure of losing electricity to the whole site. Figure 2 shows this in a local government context.
Figure 2 In fact there is a range of issues in the top space. This is the area that senior decisionmakers are, and should be, focused on. The risks in the top space are by definition an organisation’s strategic risks (see Figure 3).
24 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
So this was what we needed – to populate the top space by identifying our strategic risks. One way to do this, and the way we chose at Melton, is through a vulnerability assessment. There are other top-down techniques, such as SWOT analysis. Once the risks have been identified, controls are identified and implemented as for any other technique. A vulnerability assessment considers: • Critical Success Factors (sometimes called Assets – in other words, the things we must have in place, and protect, for us to be able to function). • Credible Threats. • Critical Vulnerabilities (in a matrix of the two lists above, where is the organisation most exposed? If done BENEFITS DELIVERED THROUGH MELTON SHIRE’S IDENTIFICATION OF STRATEGIC RISKS: Benefits for Executive • Provides line of sight through organisation about key issues. • Provides clear focus in distilling the important issues. • Enables prioritising in otherwise cluttered space.
Figure 3 Lastly, the model shows the dual role of managers, to both assure the Executive that the strategic risks are being managed, and to empower their reports to manage the operational risks (see Figure 4).
Benefits for managers • Awareness of key issues for Executive – feel included. • Informs daily activities of managers and their teams. • Provides broader context for projects that managers are already undertaking. Other benefits • Operational risk profiling tool. • Informs internal audit plan. • Encourages discussion with all stakeholders.
correctly, only 10% of the matrix cells will show critical vulnerability – these are the strategic risks). By way of process, we started with the model, a list of suggested Critical Success Factors, a list of possible Credible Threats, and a proposed vulnerability assessment matrix in a table. The Executive considered these, added to and amended them, and then met with the managers to discuss them. After a consultation period where the information was refined by manager input, the Executive developed the data into formal risks for entry into the Risk Register. The managers were then consulted again about these, especially because those managers were about to be assigned mitigation actions! When that final round was completed, the risks were entered. The whole process took from June to December 2011. Since then, managers have been continuing to refine the actions in order to provide the necessary assurance to the Executive that the issues are being dealt with. Naming and discussing the data was of real benefit, especially naming the Critical Success Factors (see Table 1). Our CEO, Kelvin Tori, grouped these under three headings lifted from his performance plan: Maintain community confidence, maintain financial capacity, and maintain service delivery capacity. This showed us clear organisational alignment. The list in Table 1 gave managers an insight into the mind and concerns of the Executive. It also helped managers understand the context in which they do much of their work. Where we had named our objectives, and formalised them in the Council Plan, we had not listed the things we must have in place, and protect, to enable us to achieve the Council Plan. Since this process has been undertaken, the CEO has suggested the Critical Success Factors be used as a risk profiling tool for the organisation’s operational risks too. For our Credible Threats, see Table 2. This was the first time we had formally looked at many of these threats. Issues like political agendas were on everyone’s minds, but we had not committed them to our Risk Register.
CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
Service delivery capacity
• Corporate image • Governance • Local partnerships e.g. Police, health, education, emergency services
showing moderate (“xx”) or minor (“x”) potential vulnerability, or possible value adding (“va”), are the province of the organisation’s middle management. 19 strategic risks were generated out of the 20 cells shown in yellow, with two issues being combined into one risk.
• Financial management – income and expenditure • Government partnerships • Investments • Developer partnerships • Fixed assets • Human resources • Information management • Organisational planning • Outsourced service providers • Plant and equipment
CREDIBLE THREATS • Political agendas • Destructive event in major physical asset (Council or community) – fire, storm, explosion • Major breach of Code of Conduct – including fraud and corruption • External financial/economic downturn • Poor, or lack of, leadership • Skills shortages • Arson and sabotage • Change of Government or their policy • Natural disaster • Civil unrest • Cyber attack • Failure of major business partner • Negative campaign in traditional or new media • Pandemic or major health event • Poor Council use of new media • Staff or contractor OHS – serious injury or death
Table 2 Figure 5 is a depiction of our vulnerability assessment, to give an overview of how we tabulated the information. It has not been reproduced full size, but the column and row headings are the same as shown in Tables 1 and 2. Only 10% of the cells (highlighted) show “xxx” or critical potential vulnerability. These are the province of the organisation’s senior decision-makers. The other cells
Figure 5 Here are three of the resulting 19 risks: • That political agendas will result in Council suffering a loss of corporate image and community confidence. • That an external financial/economic downturn will result in Council losing a significant amount of revenue from all sources. That the failure of a major business partner will result in Council not being able to deliver critical community services. The 19 issues continue to define our risk management activity. The Audit Committee has been informed of them, and the internal auditors have been asked to consider their inclusion on the internal audit plan. And our managers are, of course, working on implementing the mitigation actions developed through the process. And now our Risk Register contains our strategic risks. But the journey has been just as good, if not better, than the destination! Overall it has been an exciting process because it has had the organisation talking about risk in a way we have never talked about it before. And that in itself has been of strategic benefit!
The author cites Robinson, R, Francis, G, Dean, M, Kanga, M, Robinson, J & Stoks, F 2010, Risk and Reliability – Engineering Due Diligence, 8th edn, R2A, Melbourne as the source of the information used in this article.
Is your Council up to speed – or will your community be left behind? High speed broadband can transform how local governments operate, provide services to the community and nurture the local economy. In order to best leverage the NBN, there are a range of responsibilities and required actions which fall under the jurisdiction and capabilities of local government. Every 10% of the population that gets online represents a one percentage increase in GDP and local government has an important leadership role in digitising its own services and enabling communities to exploit broadband. These were strong messages delivered by Dr Tim Williams, senior advisor to both the UK and Australian Governments, at the Moreton Bay Better Business Forum hosted by Moreton Bay Regional Council and RDA on 20th April. It’s the technology that is a ‘game changer’ he says, with the ability to “eliminate isolation” and “transform public service”. Dr Williams claims that regional towns in the UK are experiencing repopulation as a direct result of better connectivity and Australian regional towns would similarly benefit. In Wales, 22 local authorities and all public services are sharing one network, saving millions, sharing client data and improving quality. Online health and aged care is saving millions in visits to the doctor and enabling the elderly to stay in their homes. The Local Government NBN Summit held on 29th March in Sydney showcased a number of best practice approaches to harnessing the benefits of the digital economy and being on the front foot with NBN Co. Keynote speaker Brad Howarth (www. afasterfuture.com) talked about the ‘game changing’ abilities of high speed broadband which are already changing society and eliminating the concept of isolation. For instance, the 3D digital printer which can scan and reproduce objects from layers of material with a myriad of applications - spare 26 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
parts including metal, just as strong if not stronger than the real thing, even medical applications such as the case of an elderly woman receiving a replacement jawbone. The technology has the potential to change the local cost and availability of products and services, particularly for rural and remote communities. The summit also heard how there remains a lack of awareness about local government’s role and, more importantly, the dangers of communities missing out as a result. Until now, the focus has largely been on whether a community will be part of the NBN fibre rollout and when. The summit heard that there are clear responsibilities and imperatives to facilitating the NBN – providing the mapping and infrastructure information, investigation and planning approvals including engineering and traffic management considerations, providing access to Council infrastructure and in some cases, cross border implementation. The bigger picture planning comes through the coordination of all of the above in conjunction with the development of a digital economy strategy including funding applications, provision of community and business engagement strategies and consultations to inform Council’s planning, regulation and economic development roles. An important point highlighted by Anthony Godden, NBN Co’s Territory Manager for Queensland’s new developments, is the ongoing issues experienced with some Councils not appropriately conditioning new developments in line with new legislation – and Queensland is apparently one of the worst offenders. It’s also important to make the distinction between high speed broadband and the digital economy as opposed the NBN. They are two very different elements. The NBN is a digital enabler, improving access to high speed broadband. In terms of timing, the
reality is that many communities already have this level of technology – and many which have since been earmarked as part of the three-year fibre rollout will actually wait longer than surrounding communities earmarked for fixed wireless or satellite access. It’s important that communities work with what they have now to get ahead of the game. Most don’t understand the NBN is an engineering project which doesn’t tell the whole story – high speed broadband is already here. LGAQ have been working closely with the Broadband Today Alliance, an initiative led by Sunshine Coast Regional Council and now taking in a membership of over 120 Councils and 35 affiliate organisations across Australia. Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s Broadband and Digital Economy Manager, Michael Whereat said: “BTA was formed to respond to the opportunity that the NBN presents. The name of the group emphasises though that you should not wait for the NBN but work with the broadband available today”. LGAQ recently partnered with Economic Development Australia (EDA) and BTA to launch a digital readiness survey which also serves as a useful checklist across Council operations to help prepare and get the best from the digital economy. See www.broadbandtoday.com.au In addition to LGAQ’s postings through LGOnline, a range of local government planning resources are also available at http://www.nbnco.com.au/gettingconnected/local-government.html Brad Howarth will also speak at the upcoming International Economic Development Conference & Awards which has been developed in association with LGAQ. See www.edaustralia.com.au/ nedc2012 Article by Angela Quain, Local Government Association of Queensland
Impact of Fly-In Fly-Out Work Practices on Local Government By Melissa Gibbs, Assistant Director, Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) The Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) has published a scoping study on the impact of fly-in/fly-out (FIFO), drive-in/driveout (DIDO) work practices on local government. ACELG initiated the scoping study in response to a request from the State Council of the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA). The scoping study builds on a desktop review of literature undertaken by WALGA in 2010. The request from WALGA roughly coincided with the announcement by the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Simon Crean MP, to conduct an inquiry into the use of fly-in, fly-out and drive-in, drive-out work practices in regional Australia by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia. Dr Robyn Morris of Edith Cowan University (ECU) conducted the scoping study for ACELG. ECU is ACELG’s program partner in Western Australia.
Research Approach. Dr Morris undertook the scoping study in several steps: • A brief literature review to update and supplement the work undertaken by WALGA in 2010 • A review of FIFO work practices submissions by local governments and other local government sector stakeholders to the Standing Committee on Regional Australia inquiry. • Discussions with a small number of local government sector representatives with an interest in the FIFO issue and its impacts on local government (including WALGA, the Local Government Association of Queensland and the Pilbara Regional Council).
• Input from members of ACELG’s RuralRemote and Indigenous Local Government Reference Group on the possible role of ACELG on the FIFO issue. • With the assistance of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), input was sought from Queensland resource community councils on key areas that future research could focus in relation to the impact of FIFO/DIDO work practices on local government and its operations, should ACELG take on a role.
Key areas for future research The research identifies potential gaps in the literature, provides a greater understanding of the impacts of FIFO/DIDO work practices specifically within the local government contexts and suggests areas upon which to focus future research. The study has concluded that a project designed to fill the gaps in this field of research would benefit from: • Partnering with interested stakeholders such as WALGA and LGAQ. • A better understanding of the implications and demands on local government capital and operational costs and their long term financial planning need. This would enable councils to better manage these issues, particularly for decision-making purposes. • A staged research design, which would allow the following to be examined over time: - the impacts on ‘host’ resource-based community councils, as these typically appear to be most directly and adversely affected by FIFO workers. - the effects on councils adjoining mining areas that provide ‘home’ communities for FIFO workforces, as well as adjoining council areas that are experiencing a population decline, as they are not transport hubs for FIFO workforces.
- the impact of FIFO work practices on the sustainability and liveability of communities in mining regions.
Next steps The study has revealed that the research required is extensive, complex and may not be easily quantified. Future research on the topic might begin with a focus on ‘host’ communities. This could include the following aspects: • Direct impacts of FIFO operations on local government infrastructure, services and facilities. • Funding model options for compensating resource based community councils for any deficit in funding for added investment and/ or operational costs resulting from increased demand on local government services and/or infrastructure by-FIFO reliant mining activities. • Comparison of the costs to local government of supporting an increased population under different FIFO scenarios – for example 100% FIFO versus a 100% resident workforce or other alternatives. • Indirect impacts of FIFO operations on local government operations. ACELG will await the completion of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia Inquiry before commencing further research. The scoping study is available to download from ACELG’s website: www. acelg.org.au
The Queensland resource communities councils are a group of local governments located within or adjacent to Queensland’s key resource regions – the Bowen Basin, Galilee and Surat Basins and the North West Minerals Province. Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 27
Meeraj Shah (left) and Michael Hughes members of the City of Boroondara’s innovative Information Technology department.
Boroondara and Melbourne: At your servers! A unique shared data centre arrangement between the Victorian cities of Boroondara and Melbourne is delivering cost savings and a range of other benefits to both organisations.
Thinking outside the square has paid off for the cities of Boroondara and Melbourne, who are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars and improving disaster recovery plans by housing each other’s secondary data centres. A secondary data centre is a collection of back-up servers. By locating the secondary centre at a separate site, councils can recover quickly and continue their dayto-day work should their primary site be damaged, disabled or destroyed during a disaster, such as a fire or building collapse. The City of Boroondara’s Technical Support Team Leader, Michael Hughes, says the idea was raised three years ago for the first time. Boroondara Program Manager, Jim Papazoglou, attended a local government forum where he met City of Melbourne IT staff and they discussed the risks posed when all of a council’s servers are stored close to one another. “Boroondara I.T. staff were then approached by the City of Melbourne about the idea just as we were commencing construction of Boroondara’s Camberwell Office redevelopment,” said Mr Hughes. “The timing was perfect. We had the space to house Melbourne’s secondary data centre. All we needed to do was ensure that the plans included the capacity to accommodate City of Melbourne’s secondary data centre, and also develop the legal framework to ensure all aspects were covered.” Approximately a year after the idea was first suggested, the City of Melbourne moved its servers into the City of Boroondara’s Camberwell office, where they are still housed today. 28 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
Around the same time, the City of Boroondara was planning to redevelop the Hawthorn Town Hall, where Boroondara’s secondary data centre is housed. “It was always anticipated that Boroondara would be able to take up the reciprocal agreement for housing our secondary data centre in the City of Melbourne’s primary data centre. Thanks to the work we had already done with Melbourne we were able to sign off on this and start working on transferring our equipment within six months.” The City of Boroondara completed its secondary data centre relocation to the City of Melbourne in May. Michael Hughes said that while it required a significant amount of logistical work, the transfer went smoothly. “The fact that we discussed our current and future needs in those initial talks three years ago has allowed us to plan very successfully,” said the Technical Support Team Leader. “Over the last 18 months, the City of Melbourne has renewed their primary data centre. They kept our needs in mind, ensuring they had the capacity to house our equipment.” He believes the shared data centre arrangement between the two councils is unique. “Companies such as Hewlett Packard and others, lease out space for data source hosting. But it can cost organisations significant amounts of money. “By doing something as simple as swapping the locations of our secondary data centres, both councils have made substantial savings,” said Mr Hughes.
When it comes to maintaining the servers, he said each Council looked after their own equipment. “However, if something simple needs to be done, such as switching something on or off, we are both happy to help each other out.” Both Councils assist one another with regular storage and replacing back-up tapes. “The tapes need to be changed, weekly or even daily sometimes. By doing that for one another we both save the time and inconvenience of sending our own staff to our secondary data centre.” Any other data centre maintenance is completed by the relevant Council. One of the unexpected bonuses of the arrangement between the two councils has been incidental knowledge sharing between Melbourne and Boroondara’s IT staff. “Simply by discussing with one another our current or future projects while coordinating equipment maintenance has seen Boroondara and Melbourne IT staff share their knowledge.” For example, both councils’ IT staff have discussed back-up strategies, disaster recovery testing and the pros and cons of the varying types of IT equipment each uses. “The collaboration project between the cities of Boroondara and Melbourne has been fantastic,” said Mr Hughes. “While it has served its practical purpose of finding an effective and cost-efficient way of housing our secondary data centres, it has given both councils a tremendous learning opportunity that will benefit us all.” Article contributed by the City of Boroondara.
The Hills Shire awarded for innovative work order system The Hills Shire Council’s
The Hills Shire Council has won an award in the 2012 National Awards for Local Government in the category of ‘Asset and Financial Management’ in recognition of the council’s innovative Electronic Work Order system and portal.
winning team: back row (left to right) – Project Manager Steve Dobis, Parks Infrastructure Operations Team Member Stephen
Council’s Electronic Work Order distribution system (EWO) is an initiative that grew from employees suggesting that the use of technology could improve their work processes. As a result, works orders are sent directly to field staff, saving time and allowing work to be prioritised on the spot. Progress can be tracked electronically, work orders can be created in the field and details of work performed can be recorded, automatically interfacing with the asset system and producing electronic timesheets which are sent to the payroll system. The project has improved productivity by increasing the efficiency of the work order process, improving service delivery times, and allowing co-ordinators to spend more time on site. The Hills Shire Council’s General Manager, Dave Walker, said Council had a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, and the award recognised this. “I congratulate all Council staff involved in this project, especially the Operations staff who have embraced the use of this new technology and to those, particularly Steve Dobis our Project Manager and Christine Dunand our Corporate Trainer, who supported the implementation of this new approach,” Mr Walker said. “We are confident that the remote allocation of work will bring major benefits for our customers and our organisation including better response times, more efficient use of resources and importantly, improved customer service,” he said. Some of the benefits of The Hills Shire Council’s new Electronic Work Order distribution system include: • Better response times to maintenance issues by immediate distribution of requests directly to staff in the field.
• Reduced environmental impact by creating a paperless process. • Staff no longer need to return to the Operations Centre to pick up work orders. • Identification and protection of any endangered species through the geographic information systems in the portal component. • Time saved by automatically created timesheets and closure of work orders. • Improved asset and plant management through recording its use. • Up-skilling of the workforce by developing computer literacy skills and exposure to new technologies.
Seabury, Senior Database & Systems Analyst Ben Wong, Executive Infrastructure Manager Steven Coleman, Senior Coordinator Reactive Road Maintenance Adrian Davies, Co-ordinator - Planned Road Maintenance Richard Goldsworthy. Front row (left to right) – Manager - Customer Services &
The National Awards for Local Government recognise, reward and promote the innovative work of local governments across Australia, and The Hills Shire Council’s submission was to be considered for the overall 2012 National Award for Excellence in Local Government.
Technology Warwick Purdy, General Manager Dave Walker, Senior Vegetation Maintenance Co-ordinator Steve Kenna and Corporate Systems Trainer Christine Dunand. The Hills Shire Council’s Parks Infrastructure Operations Team Member Stephen Seabury and Coordinator - Planned Road Maintenance Richard Goldsworthy use the award-winning Electronic Works Order system.
Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 29
Driving Passion and Performance in Local Government By Dr Louise Parkes, Senior Consultant, Voice Project, email@example.com For the last 10 years Voice Project at Macquarie University has been investigating what drives employee engagement (what we label ‘Passion’) and performance in organisations, and measuring and benchmarking those work practices and systems. In research with more than 1000 organisations, work practices were found to cluster together in discrete work ‘systems’ and outcomes – the ‘7 Ps’1.
Of these workplace systems, three have consistently emerged as critical for engaging employees: Purpose, Participation and Progress. They reflect the fundamental needs of employees to: • believe in a purpose for what they do, why the organisation exists and the values it operates by • belong to a group in which they experience participation, recognition, and growth, and • achieve progress towards the goals of their group, to make a meaningful and significant difference. Is this the case in councils? And how effective are councils at managing these systems? Voice Project compared survey results from nine councils to data from both public and private sectors2. Public and private organisations differed in some important areas, and these differences were magnified in councils. For example, 30 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
compared to both sectors, more council staff report that they like their work and would like to continue working in their council. Councils also outperform other industries in the areas of safety and work-life balance. Consistent with research across all industries, Purpose, Participation and Progress were again identified as the most important work systems in the council data. 3
Purpose In the purpose system, the biggest positive driver of passion was alignment of staff with council mission and values. Councils sit alongside other public sector organisations in having an inherently engaging purpose to serve the community, and in councils, 90% of staff understand how they contribute to that mission. They are perceived as ethical and socially responsible, and stand out particularly for being “green” with 77% of staff rating councils as environmentally responsible, compared to 61% in the public sector. There are some Purpose practices which councils do not implement as effectively. Less than half of staff were aware of the vision and strategy management had for their council. Councils were less likely to be perceived as results focussed, and fewer staff in councils were encouraged to improve their performance.
Progress Perhaps the most startling difference was in regard to the Progress system, which in councils was the strongest of all engagement drivers. Yet staff rated the success and future viability of their councils well behind the rest of the public sector, and held poorer perceptions of customer satisfaction. Only 41% of staff thought their council had made improvements in the last year.
The 3 Ps in action Although councils are starting from a unique position with a naturally engaging purpose, staff lack confidence in councils, pride in the services they provide, and suffer a deficit in performance focus. They need visionary leaders to bring a customer focus, drive change and innovation, and link rewards and opportunities to individual accountability.
Participation A few Participation practices were important for engagement, yet also areas of least satisfaction: opportunities for career development; trust in leadership; and rewards and recognition. Only 28% of council staff said there were enough opportunities for their career to progress in their council, 14% less than other public sector organisations. These opportunities were also less likely to be perceived as equally available to all staff.
Tamworth Regional Council is one council to have taken on this challenge. They implemented a deep culture change program aimed at changing the perceptions of council workers, encouraging pride in their work and in the council as an organisation. They chose core values to acknowledge the strength and value of safety and teamwork, and to bring about change in equity, accountability and ...continued on page 32
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Looking out for the fraud red flags In recent years, there have been a number of instances of fraud and corruption in local government. Tony Harb and Mitchell Morley, risk management, audit and governance specialists from InConsult, identify elements of an effective fraud management program, list some of the fraud red flags to look for and provide an overview of the fraud triangle.
Fraud and corruption are alive and well In 2007, the NSW Audit Office estimated the potential fraud risk at $2.6B or 2-5% of turnover. In May 2010, an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) report concluded that local councils are highly vulnerable to corruption yet did not use adequate risk controls such as audits. 12 months later, ICAC found that a council’s Community Services Manager solicited a payment of $10,000 from a supplier for his own benefit. In June 2011, ICAC found that a council employee corruptly exercised his official functions in favour of various business owners within the council area in return for money, gifts, free meals and free visits to massage parlours. In October 2011, ICAC held a public inquiry to examine an alleged $1.5m fraud concerning councils. Between 2006 and 2008, a NSW council paid invoices for safety mesh totalling 444.55 kilometres, enough to line the Great Western Highway between Bathurst and Sydney both ways... the problem was that none of the safety mesh was delivered and the invoices were false, part of a corrupt scheme whereby the
council was ripped off to the tune of $757,000. At present, ICAC is investigating allegations that between September 2009 and February 2010, a councillor accepted a cash payment from a developer to secure assistance to expedite approval for a development application lodged for a restaurant/karaoke bar.
Elements of an effective fraud and corruption management program An effective fraud and corruption management program requires five elements working together in harmony to be effective. 1. Fraud Prevention Policies that set the tone of expected behaviour for councillors, staff, suppliers and the community are the foundation of a good fraud management program. Examples include Code of Conduct, Public Interest Disclosure/ Whistle-blower Policy, Complaints/ Grievance Procedures, Gifts and Benefits Policy and Statement of Business Ethics. In line with best practice, a formal Fraud and Corruption Strategy should be developed to reinforce council’s position.
2. Communication and Training is essential for ensuring all people are aware of the various policies, structures and responsibilities so council’s position is clear. Regular communication, well written job descriptions and fraud awareness training is required. Good policies are necessary elements, but alone, they’re far from sufficient. According to the Association of Fraud Examiners, an effective internal audit function, surprise audits, fraud awareness training and whistle-blower hotlines will reduce median fraud losses by half. 3. Fraud Risk Assessments are designed to identify specific fraud risks, their causes and assess level of risk. In these workshops, participants are proactively thinking like fraudsters and developing scenarios to perpetrate the fraud asking how can the controls be over-ridden? 4. Fraud Control involves designing and implementing specific fraud risk controls i.e. internal controls that prevent, detect and correct fraud risks. The best organisations monitor and record all incidents of fraud (minor and major) and formally report statistics to the Risk and Audit Committees.
...continued from page 30
customer orientation. They extensively involved staff in defining what these core values looked like ‘on the ground’, and are seeking feedback from staff about areas in which practices are not matching the values. In an alternative approach, Ryde City Council has particularly focused on developing their leadership capability, providing 360 assessment for development, executive coaching, a 32 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
tailored management training program, and mentoring for female leaders. Having taken baseline measures in 2010, they are planning to survey again later this year to assess the impact of initiatives. Both these councils are striving to achieve that ‘virtuous circle’ in which employee engagement not only drives performance, but progress in turn ignites staff passion.
Langford (2009) Measuring organisational
climate and employee engagement: Evidence for a 7 Ps model of work practices and outcomes. Australian Journal of Psychology, 61 (4), 185-198. 2
Based on 1260 employees in equal sized
samples from 9 councils, 1128 public sector employees and 8405 private sector employees. 3
Staff wellness also emerged as important for
engagement in councils.
Examples of fraud and corruption performance indicators include: • Staff education is tested and X% of staff understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to fraud. • Timeframes for implementation of strategies/controls are met. • Ongoing testing of controls shows that they are effective in preventing fraud. • Allegations are dealt with within agreed timeframes. • Investigations are undertaken in line with standards, including timeframes. • Results of investigations and remedies are disseminated to act as a deterrent. 5. Fraud Response Plan establishes clear escalation lines, investigation protocols, external reporting measures and remedies. Remedies sought may include: • Suspension. • Recovery action. • Transfer to another area. • Counselling. • Demotion. • Loss of privileges • Termination. • Greater scrutiny/increased controls.
The Fraud Triangle One of the most popular hypotheses to explain why people commit fraud is the “Fraud Triangle” developed by criminologist Donald R. Cressey in the 1950s. The Fraud Triangle consists of three conditions generally present when fraud occurs: Opportunity, Pressure, and Rationalisation.
Fig 1.0 The Fraud Triangle Over the years, input from forensic experts and academics consistently shows that evaluation of information about fraud is enhanced when auditors and fraud experts evaluate fraud in the context of these three conditions. Opportunity is the ability to commit fraud. Because fraudsters don’t wish to be caught, they must firstly believe that their activities will not be detected. Opportunity is created by weak internal controls, poor management oversight, and/or through use of one’s position and authority. Failure to establish adequate systems and procedures to detect fraudulent activity increases the opportunities for fraud and corruption. Opportunity is the element over which councils have the most control. Limiting opportunities for fraud is one way every council can reduce it. Red flags that can increase opportunity include: • Management environment – lax style and attitude. • Unsupported transactions. • Undue secrecy. • Employee relationships. • Related party arrangements. • Too much trust placed on too few employees. • Weak security checks for employees. Pressure, motivation or incentive is another piece of the fraud triangle. It is the pressure or a “need” felt by the person who commits fraud. Red flags that could motivate individuals to commit fraud include: • Addictions to gambling and/or drugs. • Desire for material goods but not the means to get them. • Living beyond ones means.
• Significant losses from speculative investments. • High personal debt. • High medical bills or debts. Rationalisation involves a person convincing themselves that the fraud is OK. This is the hardest fraud condition to understand and determine. Common rationalisations include: • Just “borrowing” money and will pay it back one day. • Making up for being underpaid. • Replacing a bonus that was deserved but not received. • Council doesn’t need the money or won’t miss the assets. Remember, fraudsters are generally trusted, respected, normal people. In a recent PwC Global Economic Survey, it was found that 71% of public sector fraud was committed due to pressure, 15% because more opportunities were present and 12% could rationalise the fraud. For people who are generally dishonest, it is often easier to rationalize a fraud. For people with higher moral standards, it is probably not so easy…and it is the combination of policies, procedures, training and communication that help raise peoples’ moral standards and set expectations. A fraud and corruption management framework should be ongoing, dynamic and reflect council’s environment and activities otherwise it will be seen as useless. In a recent ICAC hearing it was reported that a council’s fraud check was like “using a rubber band to drive a Mercedes”…i.e. totally inadequate!
Tony Harb & Mitchell Morley can be contacted on 02 9241 1344 or email@example.com. Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 33
Senior Positions: monitoring the comings and goings of council CEOs Perth CEO to retire City of Perth Chief Executive Officer, Frank Edwards, will retire later in 2012 to make way for what he calls “new leadership” to take the council into the future. Mr Edwards has been CEO since April 2002 and will finish on September 21. Perth’s Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi, said Mr Edwards had served the city with great distinction during a period of rapid growth. She paid tribute to his managerial style, leadership skills and expertise. Cr Scaffidi said Mr Edwards’ departure date would allow the process of seeking a replacement CEO to be completed and a smooth transition to occur.
New Monash CEO starts work The new Chief Executive Officer of Monash City Council in Melbourne’s south-east, Andi Diamond, has commenced her role with the council. Dr Diamond succeeds David Conran who retired after 17 years as Monash’s CEO. Mr Conran was appointed in 1995, three months after the amalgamation of the former cities of Oakleigh and Waverley. At the time, Monash had an operating budget of $35.7 million, total equity of $473.7 million and 915 staff. Today, the council’s operating budget is over $150 million, the organisation has more than $2 billion in equity and 1,350 employees. Dr Diamond is no stranger to Monash, having been the Director of Community Services from 2000 to 2008 before being appointed as CEO with Yarra City Council.
Surf Coast searching for new CEO Surf Coast Shire in Victoria’s south-west is searching for a Chief Executive Officer to succeed Mark Davies, who has resigned after almost four years in the top job. 34 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
Mr Davies, who has served with council since 2008, has resigned for family reasons and was to finish working at the council in July 2012. Applicants for the CEO’s position had until June 11 to lodge their applications.
Tweed GM ends decades of service Tweed Shire Council General Manager, Mike Rayner, has retired after a 38-year professional career – 30 of those years at Tweed Shire. Mr Rayner began his career at the council as a water engineer in 1982 and progressed to the role of Director Engineering Services, which he held for 12 years. After a period as Acting General Manager, he was appointed to the role of General Manager in May 2006. He was GM during council’s transition from administration (May 2005-August 2008) to a new elected body following elections in September 2008. Mr Rayner gave six months’ notice of his retirement in November last year so the council had sufficient time to recruit a replacement before a new panel of councillors is elected in September this year. He will remain in the Tweed district in retirement and says he is looking forward to enjoying more time with his wife, Vicki, and his grandchildren, as well as travelling and golf. Tweed Shire’s new General Manager is David Keenan, who left his role as CEO of Victoria’s Mitchell Shire in April in order to make the move north to Tweed Shire. Located 40 km north of Melbourne, Mitchell Shire appointed June Dugina as interim CEO while the council chooses a new Chief Executive. The successful applicant will be appointed on an initial three-year performance-based contract. Applications for the post closed on May 7.
Lane Cove Council searching for new GM Lane Cove Council in Sydney is searching for a new General Manager to succeed Peter Brown who is stepping down after 17 years with the council - 10 of them as GM. Mr Brown was scheduled to leave in August 2012 and he plans to take on some part-time work and spend more time with his family. Applicants for the GM’s role had until 4 June to apply for the position.
Coorow Shire renews search for CEO The Shire of Coorow in Western Australia is re-advertising for a new Chief Executive Officer. The shire – located 280 kilometres north of Perth – chose a CEO earlier in the year, but the successful applicant withdrew. The Shire said previous applicants would be considered for the position, which would be offered on a performance-based contract of up to five years. The deadline for applications was May 9. Also in Western Australia, the Shire of Roebourne is searching for a new Chief Executive Officer. The successful applicant will receive a salary package of between $240,000 and $275,000. Applications for the position closed on May 21.
Narrabri Shire searching for GM The Shire of Narrabri in north-central New South Wales is searching for a General Manager to succeed Phillip Marshall. Mr Marshall has moved to Wingecarribee Shire Council where he has filled one of two newly created Deputy General Manager positions. He has been appointed Deputy General Manager of Operations. Prior to his time as General Manager at Narrabri Shire, Mr Marshall was the GM of Bland Shire Council from 2007 to 2009.
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Reasonably Apprehended Bias and the Competing Duties of Councillors By Kate Oliver, Senior Associate at Maddocks Lawyers
Introduction Local government is undoubtedly the most accessible tier of government, with Councillors elected from their local community by their local community to represent and further the interests of their local community. It is inevitable that Councillors will hold some strong views on the manner in which their local community should be developed. Although expected, these strong views can at times impact on the decision-making processes of councils by giving rise to an appearance of bias and exposing the validity of a council’s decisions to challenge. This position can expose the competing duties of Councillors, such as the duty to represent and further the interests of ratepayers and other electors and the duty to act in a manner that does not expose decisions of council to challenge and invalidity. This article considers the role of the common law position on reasonable apprehension of bias in the decision-making functions of councils and the difficulties in reconciling those competing (although not necessarily conflicting) duties.
Councillor Duties The specific functions and duties conferred and imposed on Councillors vary between jurisdictions. However, common to all Councillors are the basic duties to: • represent the interests of ratepayers and other electors and further the interests of their local communities; and • act prudently and in a manner that does not jeopardise the validity of decisions of council. 36 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
The first of these duties is inherent in the role of Councillors as elected representatives of their community. It will involve Councillors being informed of and sensitive to the issues and challenges of importance to those electors and taking steps to address them at the council level. This will inevitably involve Councillors forming views in relation to particular issues, often prior to the matter being brought before their council for decision. The second of these duties requires Councillors to behave in a manner that is consistent with the legislative framework within which councils are required to operate. Councillors must ensure, for example, that where a legislated conflict of interest arises, they declare that interest and observe their other legislative obligations. Councillors and council staff will be aware that conflict of interest situations are not always easily identified and opinions will differ on when a conflict arises. This process is made even more difficult where a situation arises which does not reach the level of a conflict of interest, but may give rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias as established by the common law. These situations require Councillors to reach a balance between the potentially conflicting duties to effectively represent the interests of their local communities and to act in a way that does not expose council decisions to challenge, for example as the result of a reasonable apprehension of bias.
Reasonable Apprehension of Bias At common law councils, when making decisions that affect the rights, interests
or legitimate expectations of persons, must act fairly and in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness.1 The particular requirements of procedural fairness will depend on the facts of the particular case and the circumstances under which a decision is made.2 But one of the main principles of procedural fairness requires that a decision-maker is not biased when deciding a particular matter. Bias can be demonstrated where a decision-maker appears to have so prejudged an issue that he or she no longer applies an open mind to the situation arising for decision, or is not capable of persuasion one way or another.3 The test has been formulated as whether: a fair minded and reasonably informed member of the public might entertain a reasonable apprehension that the councillor was not open to persuasion on the matter in question, because of the councillor’s previously held and expressed views on the matter, or because of the councillor’s previous involvement in the issue in question.4 or whether: a fair-minded lay observer might reasonably apprehend that the decision-maker might not bring an impartial mind to the exercise of the power.5 On its face, the test appears to prohibit Councillors from expressing any view on any matter prior to a council’s decision being made. Importantly however, the test does not go quite that far. It recognises that Councillors are democratically elected and carry out both political and legislative roles. It is expected that they will form and express views on matters that concern their community.
Bias can be demonstrated where a decision-maker appears to have so prejudged an issue that he or she no longer applies an open mind to the situation arising for decision, or is not capable of persuasion one way or another.
The test focusses instead on whether Councillors are so set in their views that they are not, when deciding a matter, open to persuasion on the basis of material put before them. In applying the test, the actual presence of bias is irrelevant. The courts will not conduct an examination of whether the Councillor concerned was biased, or of the actual effect that any bias had on the decision.6 Instead, the courts will consider whether a ‘fair minded and reasonably informed member of the public’ might apprehend bias. The Councillor’s specific mindset is not relevant to that investigation. It is unclear whether the involvement in a decision of just one Councillor who is alleged to be biased is enough to invalidate a council’s decision, especially where that Councillor’s vote was of no mathematical significance in the decision made.7 When expressing views on matters which will come before a council for decision therefore, Councillors must be conscious to avoid an appearance that they have fixed their mind on a particular outcome prior to decision. It will be acceptable to express an opinion on a particular matter, however Councillors must leave matters sufficiently open to enable them to judge the materials before them before making a final decision.
Weighing Duties The courts recognise the competing duties of Councillors and will approach the question of reasonable apprehension of bias with regard to the role of a Councillor and particularly the hybrid political and legislative role they fill.8 The principles that will apply in determining whether a reasonable apprehension of bias arises in relation to Councillors have been firmly established as follows:
• consideration of the fact that Councillors are democratically elected and carry out political and legislative roles – a Councillor will not be disqualified from participating in a decision merely because they have previously held and expressed a view on the matter for decision; • the relevant question is whether the Councillor is open to persuasion despite their previously held views – they will be disqualified from consideration of the matter if it can be shown that their views were so demonstrably fixed that they were not open to being dislodged by reason or argument; • it is sufficient if a fair minded and informed member of the public might entertain a reasonable apprehension that a Councillor might not be, open to persuasion by reason of their previously expressed views on, or involvement in, the matter for decision.9
act within the parameters fixed by legislation and by the common law to avoid exposing their councils’ decisions to challenge. While it is acceptable for Councillors to hold views on matters before their councils for decision, it is imperative that those views are not so strongly held as to give the appearance of a closed mind. This will be considered prejudgement of the matter and may invalidate a decision. Councillors must therefore regularly weigh their competing duties and carefully consider whether their views on a particular matter disqualify them from participating in the decision-making process.
See, eg, Annetts & Anor v McCann & Ors (1990)
170 CLR 596. 2
See, eg, Kioa v West (1985) 159 CLR 550; Minister
for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs v Jia (2001) 205 CLR 507.
Councillors must therefore be mindful of these principles when considering matters arising for council decision. In particular, Councillors should be wary of making public comments unequivocally committing themselves to a particular outcome. Councillors should also take care when involving themselves in a matter for decision, for example by availing themselves of legislative rights to representations, particularly in a planning context. This requires Councillors to consider their competing duties as a representative of the community and as a prudent, rational and open-minded decision-maker mindful of the need to protect the validity of their council’s decisions.
Conclusion Councillors are political beings obliged to enthusiastically represent the interests of their constituents. However, Councillors must also
See, eg, R v West Coast Council; ex parte Strahan
Motor Inn (1995) 87 LGERA 383; Winky Pop Pty Ltd v Hobsons Bay City Council  VSC 468. 4
Winky Pop Pty Ltd v Hobsons Bay City Council
 VSC 468, . 5
McGovern & Anor v Ku-ring-gai Council & Anor
 NSWCA 209, . 6
McGovern & Anor v Ku-ring-gai Council & Anor
 NSWCA 209, . 7
See the competing views in McGovern & Anor v
Ku-ring-gai Council & Anor  NSWCA 209. 8
Magee v Boroondara City Council  VSC
78, . 9
Old St Boniface Residents Association Inc v
The City of Winnipeg and the St Boniface-Saint Vital Community Committee (1990) 75 DLR (4th) 385; R v West Coast Council; ex parte Strahan Motor Inn (1995) 87 LGERA 383; Winky Pop Pty Ltd v Hobsons Bay City Council  VSC 468; McGovern & Anor v Ku-ring-gai Council & Anor  NSWCA 209; Magee v Boroondara City Council  VSC 78. Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 37
AP Automation for Government First things first, Accounts Payable automation has nothing to do with paying your bills earlier. It’s all about knowing sooner what your cash exposure is so you can better manage your cash flow. Automating the Accounts Payable department provides limitless opportunities to realise deep and continued cost benefits. Waste is rife and automating invoice processing and approval will see departments more efficient and provide better business intelligence for the organisation.
Cost to Mail As Government organisations are distributed over numerous locations invoices are often received locally at each location. These are typically packaged up and mailed back to head office at great expense. Costs include – labour to package and receive mail, cost of postage and delays in receiving the invoice at HQ meaning that, even if you wanted to, you cannot pay the bill early to access early pay discounts.
Cost to Process Receiving the invoices. Sorting those with PO’s from those without. Forwarding them around the office for approval. All of these add to the cost of processing each invoice.
Matching to a Purchase Order The process of matching invoices to a Purchase Order is a task that automates easily. Data is extracted from the invoice and used to query your finance system to confirm the invoices match. A computer does this in nanoseconds. Far more importantly where invoices do not match an exception report will identify exactly which lines do not match potentially saving hours of work trying to identify them manually.
Cost to Approve The irony of the typical AP department is that even though the business paid to mail the invoice to HQ, it is often the branch location that needs to approve it. Mailing/ 38 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
walking these invoices through the office/ organisation is a painfully inefficient way to run your department. It does not stop there. Due to its manual nature, waiting for approval for payment of the invoice is even more costly. By the time the manager actually sits down to approve the invoice often weeks have been lost. In the automated world a link to these invoices would be emailed directly to the responsible manager. Click on the link, view the document and update the status of the invoice is all it will take to approve the invoice for payment.
Cost to File The usable life of an invoice is 60 days. They are generally only kept to satisfy compliance regulations and are rarely referred to again. Filling one filing cabinet after another is an inefficient and costly form of storage. As part of the automated
approval process all invoices are filed electronically and may be accessed at any time via your Finance system. An investment in a Redmap’s AP Automation solution (smartPayables) provides most organisations with a Return on Investment of less than 12 months. Redmap holds regular webinars to help organisations understand the benefits that automation can deliver. For more information or to register for one of these free webinars please visit www.redmap. com/events/webinars.php.
“Redmap provided Council with greater control. Our new Redmap infrastructure ensures less risk in completing these important tasks.” Bernard Hoehmann – IT Project Manager, Moreland City Council Article by Chris Jones, Redmap
Councillor The City of Whyalla WECOMING A NEW ERA OF PROSPERITY
MONASH: REFORM GAMBLING TO
COUNCIL LEADERS Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 39
News of June Fresh faces in Qld council chambers Queensland’s local government elections delivered what the state’s Local Government Association described as a “fresh start for local councils”. The LGAQ said there would be many fresh faces in council chambers as a result of the elections with 43 new mayors, most of whom were new to local government. Association Chief Executive, Greg Hallam, said the sector would move forward from the election result free of the after effects of council amalgamations in 2008. “We acknowledge and thank those mayors and councillors who were defeated in the amalgamated councils as they were set an almost impossible task by the former Labor government,” he said after the poll. Mr Hallam said there was a good mix of mayors with previous experience as well as many who came with fresh ideas, not having been part of any sphere of government. He said trends from the elections showed a harsher marking of mayors than councillors. There was a 60% turnover of mayors compared to a 41% turnover of councillors – a lower figure than in 2008. Graham Quirk was returned as Lord Mayor of Brisbane; voters in Ipswich returned Paul Pisasale for a third term as Mayor; in Moreton Bay, Allan Sutherland was returned; while Pam Parker was returned unopposed as Mayor of Logan.
New political donation laws to impact on NSW council elections
members of the NSW Parliament and mayors and councillors. Under the changes, only an individual who is enrolled for Federal, state or local government elections can make a political donation. A donation is defined as a gift made to or for the benefit of a political party,
High-profile businessman, Tom Tate, was
Changes to the laws covering political
candidate, group of candidates, elected
elected the new Mayor of the Gold Coast;
donations in New South Wales are now
member or third party campaigner – it may
Karen Williams out-polled Melva Hobson
in force and will apply to the state’s local
be monetary or gift-in-kind.
– Redland’s Mayor for the last four years;
government elections in September.
and Bob Manning defeated Val Schier in the fight for the Cairns Mayoralty. 40 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
Amendments to the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 cover
Individuals are prohibited from making a donation on behalf of a corporation or other entity.
Fee increase for councillor duties welcomed by LGSA
Legislation prohibits ‘dual roles’ in NSW
Fees awarded to councillors in New South Wales have been
New South Wales Local Government Minister, Don Page,
increased by 2.5% under a determination by the Local Government
has welcomed the passage through Parliament of legislation
Remuneration Tribunal – a decision welcomed by the Local Government
to provide clear separation between state MPs and local
and Shires Associations.
government mayors and councillors.
President of the Local Government Association, Keith Rhoades, said
Mr Page said the Local Government Amendment
councillor fees had generally increased by around 3% or more each
(Members of Parliament) Act 2012 brought NSW into line
year, but the 2.5% rise in 2012 was is in line with the capped wage
with all other mainland states where dual roles were
increases for NSW MPs.
Cr Rhoades said he was pleased the tribunal determined that
He said it was important to note that the legislation was
councillors should be allowed to receive the maximum remuneration
not about the capacity of a person to hold down two or more
increase, recognising the importance of elected local government
jobs – having a second job was not the same as holding two
representatives. He said councillors faced an immense task juggling
elected positions in different tiers of government.
their council-related workload, paid work, and family responsibilities, often foregoing study and paid work to meet their council duties. President of the Shires Association, Ray Donald, said this year the Tribunal also looked at council categories, which are based on factors including a local government area’s population, council performance, and sources of revenue and expenditure.
Mr Page said the issue was about optimal governance. It was about the separation of distinct levels of government to ensure clearly defined segregation between the tiers in Australia’s political system. He said just as Federal MPs were prohibited from sitting in a State Parliament, it was appropriate the same separation
Cr Donald said the LGSA sought to have a number of councils recategorised but the tribunal declined to take such a step this year. He
existed between state and local government. Local government wanted to be an effective, independent,
said unfortunately, the tribunal had missed another opportunity to re-
legitimate third tier of government, according to Mr
categorise councils, as the next categorisation year was not until 2015.
Page, who said any downgrading of local government
Cr Donald said as the tribunal only assessed council categories every three years, it had now been 10 years since the Tribunal last agreed to
representation to effectively a part-time role would weaken the value of both local and state representation.
re-categorise a single council in NSW.
WALGA says reform is more than amalgamation Councils in Western Australia have been
Mayor Pickard said for the past four
Mayor Pickard said the forum resolved
hesitant to “engage in unproven methods
years, local government had been actively
to work towards achieving an objective
of structural reform simply to reduce their
participating in sector reform by developing
of 15-20 councils based on sustainability
number”, according to the State’s Local
asset management plans, long term
principles and the State’s Directions 2031
financial and strategic plans, and reform
strategy, using existing local government
of planning processes. He said claims
boundaries as a starting point.
The WALGA President, Troy Pickard, said sector reform needed to go beyond
that councils were anti-reform were
a simple reduction in numbers to include
initiatives demonstrated to meet local communities’ service needs into the future.
Meanwhile, a meeting of 29 Mayors
He said in the event that local government reform proceeded, the mayors believed any transition process must
of Perth metropolitan councils has
include clear objectives and parameters
finalised the Western Australian Local
by the WA Government, with participating
appreciated the State Government might
Government Association’s submission to
councils being empowered to achieve the
feel some frustration at the lack of progress
the draft findings of the Metropolitan Local
objectives within 24 months.
on structural reform, but the sector had
Government Review Panel.
Mayor Pickard said local government
been calling for some time for the State to provide a clear vision for the future.
WALGA President, Troy Pickard, said the
Mayor Pickard said the WALGA submission restated the sector’s
forum did not support the Review Panel’s
commitment to voluntary reform and the
suggested options for final numbers of
need for community representation during
the partnership with the State Government
metropolitan local governments; instead
any reform process, with elected members
to work on structural reform, collaboratively
supporting a governance model for the
managing transition arrangements rather
looking at ways to deliver greater outcomes
metropolitan region consisting of
than appointed commissioners.
for local communities.
He said councils wanted to strengthen
Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 41
WA councils focus on long-term strategic planning Communities in Western Australia will have
Mayor Pickard said councils’ integrated
many councils were already advanced in
greater opportunity to shape their future
strategic planning included a thorough
introducing the process, and were using a
neighbourhood with councils across the State
community engagement process to
number of methods to gather input from
undertaking long-term strategic planning.
establish a community strategic plan for a
The integrated strategic planning
“10 to 20 year horizon”. He said it laid out
Those methods ranged from
framework, including community strategic
the needs and priorities of the community,
conducting surveys and public meetings
plans, has been introduced as a legislative
from which shorter-term corporate business
to communicating through social media,
requirement and councils have to finalise
plans were constructed.
newsletters, local newspapers and directly
their plans by July 2013. WALGA President, Troy Pickard, said local
Mayor Pickard said the process was
with elected members. Mayor Pickard said
constructed around a deep community
the fact the State Government embraced the
governments fully supported the planning
engagement process that sought genuine
initiative and had made it a requirement of all
framework, with its genesis in the sector’s
input and the long range planning would
local governments was an indication of the
own reform process through their Systemic
assist councils in their annual budgeting
value placed on community engagement and
and day-to day operations. He said
effective long range planning.
Bill to overcome ban on Qld councillors becoming State MPs Queensland councillors will be able to
Mr Crisafulli said it was a “ridiculous”
to obtain their views on the “dual role” issue
contest State Government elections without
situation that councillors were allowed to
and other legislative changes they believed
having to resign their positions under
stand aside to contest a Federal election but
were necessary to further empower local
changes planned by the State Government.
were forced to resign before standing at the
government. The spokesperson said the
state level. The requirement was introduced in
changes would be bundled together and
Crisafulli, said changing legislation to remove
2001 by the Beattie Labor Government and was
come before Parliament later in 2012.
the requirement for a sitting councillor to
opposed by local government and the opposition.
Local Government Minister, David
resign before contesting a State poll was one of his priorities.
The removal of the councillor resignation
A spokesperson for Mr Crisafulli said he
requirement has the backing of the Local
planned to meet with mayors and councillors
Government Association of Queensland.
Progressive transfer of DA powers to Qld councils The Queensland Government has started
Brisbane UDAs of Fitzgibbon, Northshore,
mayors and councils could get on with the
transferring planning powers back to 17
Hamilton, Bowen Hills and Woolloongabba
job of planning their local communities. He
local governments from the Urban Land
will be the first to transfer.
said, however, that councils would need
Development Authority (ULDA). The authority
Mr Newman said while in the longer term,
to perform to the same standards and
is delegating its development assessment
the transfer of powers might become broader
timeframes as the ULDA to ensure the
functions to the councils.
and require legislative amendment, the
Queensland Premier, Campbell
transition was a “good and quick first step”.
Newman, said the government believed it
The Department of State Development,
was important to shift power back to local
Infrastructure and Planning will work with the
government and, where appropriate, give it
ULDA and local governments to ensure the
the autonomy to make decisions
transition is achieved smoothly.
for communities. Mr Newman said it was important that
Section 136 of the ULDA Act allows the authority to delegate its functions
councils had stronger input in planning
to the CEO or an appropriately qualified
decisions because they knew their local
officer of a council. The delegations will
communities and would make more effective
apply to new development applications to
decisions with the powers.
avoid disruption to existing development
The delegation process will be progressively rolled out to all 17 Urban Development Areas in Queensland – the 42 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
applicants and land owners. Mr Newman said using the delegation clause in the Act meant newly elected
Time to reform gambling laws to protect communities By City of Monash Mayor, Cr Stefanie Perri
he approval of seven new pokie machines in Clayton won’t make headlines, but it shows exactly why Victoria’s regulation of pokies needs to change. Yet again, an application to add more pokies to a vulnerable community has succeeded against community opposition. It’s time to give the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, which
Like most municipalities, Monash has relatively affluent areas as well as communities that are vulnerable. Using measures such as the SEIFA index of socio-economic disadvantage, Clayton is the most vulnerable
In Clayton, the venue initially offered a
community in Monash. It has higher numbers
$20,000 per annum charitable fund over
of single parent households and more rented
10 years – or, a $200,000 benefit for the
homes than other parts of Monash. Tellingly,
community of more than $17 million that
there is also a problem gambling centre.
would be generated by the seven extra
Using data from census collection districts
machines over the same period. That’s just
decides applications for more pokies, the
we are able to paint an accurate picture of
power to examine the potential impact
the socioeconomic status of a neighbourhood
of pokies on areas much smaller than
directly around a gaming venue. Census
a say in the nature of the community benefit
municipalities. Legislative change is required
Collection Data (CCDs) have long been used
and to prioritise real community benefits that
to give decision makers the tools to protect
to identify the relative wellbeing of areas as
seek to address and minimise the harm that
small as a few streets.
comes from problem gambling.
In the last year alone there have been
For example, this kind of data has been
over 1% of total profits gained. It would be appropriate to give communities
We want decision makers to be given the
38 applications to increase pokies in
used by the Federal Government since 1999
tools to protect vulnerable communities and
various communities around Victoria. Of
for the allocation of schools funding.
legislative change is required to do this. We
these, only one, Benalla, has managed
Yet the decisions of the VCGLR are not
believe that the Minister for Gaming should
to stop an application for more pokies.
mandated to consider the data of the Census
make three key changes to the Gambling
This happens despite the views of local
Collection Data. We say this is essential-
Regulation Act 2003.
communities because our legislation does
simply pokies impact their local community.
not adequately address the pattern that is
As well as considering the impact of
Decision makers should be required to consider the impact of additional pokies on
obvious in the location of pokies: they are
pokies on a gaming venue’s neighbourhood,
smaller neighbourhoods, not just the impact
more likely to be found in vulnerable or
we should also assess applications for
on a municipality, by using census district
more pokies by considering the existing
data for the neighbourhood around the venue
proliferation of pokies in the less advantaged
making the application.
The Clayton application granted recently by the Commission may seem minor. An
parts of a municipality. In Monash these are
We need community benefits that are
extra seven machines at the Clayton venue
Clayton, Chadstone, Oakleigh, Mulgrave and
more significant and genuine than those we
is an increase from 28 to 35. The City of
Ashwood, and it is no coincidence that 10 of
see today. Ideally these would be measures
Monash has the distinction of having the
our 15 gaming venues and 673 of our 1000
like help for problem gamblers, not upgrades
greatest number of pokie machines of any
pokies are in these suburbs.
to privately owned gaming facilities.
municipality. In this light, the effect of the
In other words, right now the VCGLR is not
Decision makers should also have to
application may sound even more modest but
mandated to consider the cumulative effect
consider whether the application will drive
the impact is massive.
of pokies in vulnerable areas – but it should
the number of pokies over the state average
because this is where we know that the real
in a local neighbourhood.
The gaming venue says that the seven extra machines will generate annual expenditure of $1,718,696, or $673 every day
damage is being done. Applicants for extra pokies need to
These are some practical ways that we can change the tests that must be applied
from each machine. That’s in a suburb where
nominate the community benefit that
when applications for more pokies are
57.6% of individual incomes are $400 or less
will flow from the extra machines. It is
considered. We acknowledge that pokies are
per week. (ABS, 2006) There is also almost
commonplace to see gaming venues argue
a legitimate form of entertainment for many,
double the number of pokies than the state
that upgrades to their own facilities, paid for
but it’s time we stopped the disproportionate
average; in Victoria there are 6.19 pokies per
by pokies losses and privately owned, are a
encroachment of pokies into communities
1000 people but in Clayton there are 10.5.
that are least able to afford them. Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 43
On May 16, council held an economic development forum – Rethinking Sydney – at the Sydney Opera House as part of its overall strategy to promote development and growth in Parramatta and areas to the west. “We have to decentralise Sydney, decentralise jobs to Parramatta, Penrith and to other areas where people are going to be. “We are saying to Sydney that we believe we’ve got the solutions to an enormous number of problems that greater Sydney is starting to experience and will experience in the future. We have to rethink the future of where Sydney’s growth is, where office centres are, where job centres are and how people can reach those centres.” Lord Mayor Wearne said the City of Parramatta had become extremely active over the last 12 months in progressing the Rethinking Sydney vision to a reality. “We’ve drawn up proper, positive planning ideas that we’re trying to progress and secure funding for; ideas like the Western Sydney Light Rail network.” Cr Wearne said she had called on the Federal Government to divert part of the $2.1 billion originally set aside for the Parramatta to Epping
From opposing speed humps to championing Parramatta
rail-link, to help further the development of the light rail proposal. “We’ve got a proposal on the table that has received support from local, state and federal leaders, and we’re now seeking the necessary funding to undertake the first stage of a feasibility study. “We believe the light rail network can help relieve congestion, provide strong regional connections across Western Sydney and integrate with existing transport infrastructure such as heavy rail,” Cr Wearne said.
And council has just announced that it will fund the first stage of a
ORRAINE WEARNE was upset about what she thought was a lack of consultation from Parramatta Council regarding proposed speed humps in her area, so she decided after talking with her husband to stand for council.
proposal to develop the light rail network, including a feasibility study
Lorraine won a seat on council in 1995 and has now given 17 years
realise the project including the feasibility study. A successful tender
of service to her city. She became the first woman to be elected Lord Mayor of Parramatta in 2000-01, and the first woman to hold the Lord Mayoralty twice when elected again in 2011. Cr Wearne said she found being a councillor and Lord Mayor an enormous growth experience because she had been able to observe the many facets of human behaviour and become involved in a broad
into the project. The study will commence early in July, Cr Wearne said council believed in the light rail development and had committed up to $1 million towards a number of initiatives to is expected to be selected by council in July. “We’ve also got a ring road proposal which we believe the state government is considering favourably; a proposal to create a ring road by upgrading a number of existing intersections so the project can be achieved at a lesser cost; in other words more bang for our buck.” Cr Wearne said she believed the city had come a long way in the
spectrum of issues that arise in local government – issues that impact
last 12 years. “We’ve undergone a growth spurt in our maturity and
on people’s lives.
our approach to the goals we have and to achieving them.”
“It’s been quite a lesson along the way watching how people react to various circumstances; it’s been a real eye opener. “Communities tend to be very luddite and adopt the ‘not in my back
She said Parramatta’s development was more than aspirational. “The beauty of looking out my office window is that I now see cranes. A few years back we went through a slump, but now we’ve
yard syndrome’, but you can take communities with you if you adopt the
got cranes on the city skyline. A lot of big picture projects are outside
right approach. It’s about informing them; changing their expectations
our capacity because we have a primary obligation to provide services
and aspirations about what is good for them and their area.
for the people we represent, and that’s why we need partnerships to
“At a local level, I’ve always been passionate about conservation zones. We’ve got some beautiful pockets of housing and I’m still driven to complete what I describe as the missing links in our conservation zones,” Cr Wearne said. “At a city level, Parramatta is just hitting its straps. We’re on the cusp of what is a quite startling growth period for the city and I would desperately like to be a continuing part of that growth.” 44 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
make large scale development happen.” Cr Wearne said Parramatta was taking a trade exhibition overseas later in the year to try to attract investment. We’re going to run a trade exhibition as part of a major international conference. We’re taking our city to sell it at a major event for business leaders, bankers, super funds and realators. “Our message will be simple – this is our city; come and invest.”
Helping the socially disadvantaged impacts on
Council was working with businesses and individuals to generate the maximum benefit from the roll-out of the National Broadband Network, Alderman van Zetten said. “We have businesses that are very skilled at communicating globally. We want to encourage IT literate businesses – retailers selling online as well as in shops and a viticulture industry that can make the most of the IT revolution.” Launceston has a campus of the University of Tasmania and hosts the Australian Maritime College, which Alderman van Zetten said attracted students from all over Australia. The college incorporates the National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics, the National Centre for Ports and Shipping and the National Centre for
LBERT VAN ZETTEN has a history of serving the Launceston community. He is a chartered accountant by profession, but he
served for 18 years as the Chief Executive Officer of
the Launceston City Mission and is now Mayor of Launceston City Council.
Maritime Conservation and Resource Sustainability. Launceston is famous for its heritage streetscapes and claims the greatest collection of intact Georgian and Victorian buildings in Australia. “The vast majority of our heritage buildings have been maintained as opposed to a lot of other cities where these sorts of buildings
Alderman van Zetten was first elected to council in 2005
have been neglected and fallen into disrepair. We have a heritage
after being approached by business colleagues to enter local
committee which makes awards to people who preserve historic
government. He was elected Mayor in 2007 and his current
buildings,” Alderman van Zetten said.
Mayoral term ends in 2013. Alderman van Zetten said one of his key aims was to improve the lot of Launceston’s underprivileged. “I’ve always been involved with
“The heritage buildings are a tourist drawcard along with our beautiful gorge, the old Duck Reach Power station and our food and wine.” Launceston’s Cataract Gorge runs from the mouth of the South Esk
people who are struggling; who are down and out. Launceston’s
river at King’s Bridge and winds its way up the river for five kilometres
northern suburbs have a large number of socially disadvantaged
to the Trevallyn hydro electric dam.
people and we need to work out what we can do as a council to make their lives better. “It’s something I’ve been working at for about three years now and it’s going to be a slow process,” he said. “Working at the City Mission changed me as a person. I saw a side to people that I hadn’t experienced before. I was dealing with the
The Duck Reach Power Station was the first publicly owned hydroelectric plant in the southern hemisphere and provided Launceston with hydro power from its construction in 1895 to its closure in 1955. The power station was closed following the construction of the Trevallyn dam and power station. Alderman van Zetten said a challenge for council was maximising
disadvantaged; people marginalised by addiction and poverty, people
the return on Launceston’s tourist attractions. “You must get the
who experienced family problems.
message out that you have these fantastic attractions. We’re working
“You come into contact with business people in your role as an accountant and as a councillor/Mayor, and working at the mission for an extended period gave me an understanding of people who were struggling.” Alderman van Zetten said being a regional city, Launceston had a
on the best ways to market and promote our city, particularly to Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.” Alderman van Zetten said council experienced financial difficulties being a regional city and being home to regional facilities. “We have
sense of community. “There are a lot of generous people in our city,
a museum, an aquatic centre and Aurora
so working with charities and community groups is a real pleasure.”
Stadium where AFL football is played,
The Mayor said he was working to achieve cultural change within
and these facilities are costing council and
the council. “I’ve been working with the last couple of council general
ratepayers a lot of money, especially when
managers to change attitudes, to ensure there is a “can do” attitude
we don’t receive assistance from surrounding
within the organisation. The cultural change is starting to take effect
councils or the Tasmanian Government.
and that’s great.” Alderman van Zetten said he was determined that Launceston
“The state doesn’t have the resources, but we need its support with
would be a vibrant city and council was currently working on a Greater
advocacy to Canberra. At different
Launceston Plan which was going to provide a blueprint and a vision
stages, we’ve received significant
for the city.
Federal funding because we are
“We’re looking at transport, the best location of industrial areas to
in a marginal seat, but overall the
benefit the city and ways to achieve quality inner-city living. The plan
funding is not consistent enough
also takes in other councils so we can develop a bigger picture for
and that’s a problem we have to
Launceston and surrounding areas.”
work on as a council.” Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 45
Increased prosperity ahead for
Mayor of Whyalla, Jim Pollock
AYOR OF WHYALLA, JIM POLLOCK, believes his city is about to transition from the tough times to a new era of prosperity. Cr Pollock said resources projects
commercial craft, and in 1958, the company
Cr Pollock said Whyalla’s future would be
decided to further expand its operations by
largely underpinned by a number of very
building an integrated steelworks. 1958 was
large resources projects including the $25
also the year Whyalla was proclaimed a city.
billion Olympic Dam expansion project being
The first consignment of exported steel left
undertaken by BHP Billiton, a rare earths
the steelworks in 1966 and construction of
development by Arafurra Resources, a new
underpinned a very strong future for Whyalla
the complex was finally completed two years
solar thermal project being delivered by a
and the region which grew on the back of
later when a pellet plant and coke ovens
consortium using the technology of Wizard
iron ore mining and later ship building.
Power and the continued operations of
Whyalla was originally a speck on the map
Whyalla developed rapidly in line with the
named Hummock Hill in 1802 by explorer,
industrial expansion and the population reached
Matthew Flinders. The name applied to
a peak of about 33,000 people in 1976.
an area of land on South Australia’s Upper Spencer Gulf.
Mayor Pollock arrived in Whyalla in 1973 and was there only a few years when the
Despite being named in the early 1800s,
city suffered a major setback which hit the
it wasn’t until many years later that a town
economy and saw the population shrink to
started to develop and grow.
around 21,000 to 22,000 people. That set back
The iron ore taken from the region from the early 1900s was used in BHP’s smelter at
was the closure in 1978 of the shipyards. “Once the shipyards closed, we lost about
Port Pirie and Hummock Hill grew relatively
14,000 people from our city overnight, and
slowly until April 1914 when it was officially
that really hurt,” Cr Pollock said. “We’ve been
proclaimed the Town of Whyalla.
in the doldrums for quite some years, and it’s
In 1937, land was set aside under the BHP Indenture Act for the construction of a blast furnace and harbour. Construction started
nearly our turn to get back on top, and again become a proactive, vibrant city.” “It’s been damned hard work to
“We’ve been in the doldrums for quite some years, and it’s nearly our turn to get back on top, and again become a proactive, vibrant city.” BHP Billiton has been granted Federal and state environmental approvals for the Olympic Dam expansion and has started on a $1.2
in 1939 and the first ship to be built at the
recover and the people, to their credit,
billion program of preliminary infrastructure
shipyards was launched in 1941.
have kept fighting.”
development. Olympic Dam will eventually
Four years later, a newly formed Town
Cr Pollock was first elected to council in
involve the company digging a 4km-long, 1km-
Commission was established comprising
1997 and is now in his 10th year as Mayor.
a government-appointed Chairman, three
He is retired from professional life, but
elected members and three members
works full time on his Mayoral duties and his
the end of this year whether to finally proceed
appointed by BHP. The commission was the
other positions. He Chairs the local Regional
with the project which would create thousands
forerunner of Whyalla City Council.
Development Australia Board and is President
of new direct and indirect jobs – an estimated
of the Local Government Association of the
6,500 of those jobs would be in Whyalla, Port
Augusta, Port Pirie and Roxby Downs.
After the end of World War Two, BHP switched from building Navy vessels to 46 | Council Manager Jun-Jul 2012
deep, open-cut copper, gold and uranium mine. The company’s board will decide towards
Whyalla City Councillors: The elected members of Whyalla Council are a Mayor, and nine councillors who represent the whole of the City of Whyalla. Councillors are: Jim Pollock – Mayor, Tim Breuer, Colin Carter, Merton Hodge, Eddie Hughes, Joanne Marshall, Ruby McGinniss, Sarah Minney, Raj Rajamani, and Jack Velthuizen. Residential Population: around 23,000 Local Towns: As well as the city of Whyalla, the district comprises a number of areas including: Backy Bay, Cowleds Landing, Douglas Point, False Bay, Fitzgerald Bay, Mullaquana, Murninnie Beach, Nonowie, Point Lowly, Tregalana, Whyalla Jenkins, Whyalla Norrie, Whyalla Playford and Whyalla Stuart.
“We’re waiting on BHP Billiton to finally give the green light to this huge project and then be further stabilised with growth and prosperity,” Cr Pollock said.
annum and sufficient land access to allow for
room for expansion from a residential point of
large scale projects.
view. When the city was first planned, it was
“It’s a very exciting project; something that this council has been pursuing like a dog with
designed to cater for about 60,000 people. “We’re working hard as a council to make
The Arafurra Resources rare earths project
a bone for 14 years to get it off the ground,”
sure all our services are capable of meeting
is a long-term development which will involve
Cr Pollock said. “Regional Australia Minister,
the growth the city is going to experience
rare earth oxides being mined at the Nolans
Simon Crean has inspected the project; it’s a
and one of my biggest challenges as Mayor is
Bore Mine in the Northern Territory and being
green light and we’re going to showcase it to
to change the outside perception of Whyalla,”
shipped to a processing plant in Whyalla – a
Cr Pollock said.
complex which the company describes as a “substantial value-add component”.
Onesteel has been synonymous with
“It’s not unusual to hear people ask ‘what
Whyalla for many years and is an integrated
are you going to Whyalla for? It’s a dry dusty
The deposit has sufficient resources to
miner, manufacturer, distributor and recycler
place. A lot of people probably still don’t
support mining and processing for 20 years
of metals and steel-related products. It has
realise that Whyalla is on the coast.
and the annual production of 20,000 tonnes
just reorganised its operations and changed
of oxides from the planned Whyalla complex
its name to Arrium. Arrium Mining will
see Whyalla prosper and grow, and to have
will amount to about 10 per cent of the
incorporate its operations in the Middle Back
some of these major projects taken from the
Ranges and its port operations in Whyalla.
drawing board to become reality.”
“Whyalla is looking at this project being another stabiliser for us. It will generate about 1,000 jobs during construction and about 300
Mining and mining consumables account for 44 per cent of the company’s business. “The availability of workers is going to be
fulltime jobs on completion,” Cr Pollock said.
a huge issue for Whyalla,” said Cr Pollock.
The $230 million solar project will use 300
“We’re focusing on bringing workers and
solar thermal concentrators, each 500 square
families to Whyalla to become part of the
metres in area, to generate 66 gigawatts of
community as opposed to a fly-in/fly-out
electricity each year; enough to power 9,500
workforce. We find fly-in/fly-out workers don’t
homes and reduce greenhouse gasses by
integrate as well.
60,000 tonnes per annum. The site of the Whyalla Solar Oasis plant is
“We have to be very mindful of continuity of employment. Some of the major
currently undergoing front-end engineering.
companies here have been to South Africa
The plant will be located adjacent to the Solar
and the Philippines to recruit a labour force
Storage pilot plant already under construction
because there’s going to be such a high
in Whyalla by Wizard Power. The company said
demand, particularly for skilled labour.
solar thermal electricity generation had the
“What I’m look to do on my watch is to
“Whyalla is an industrial city, but it’s also
potential to be a significant industry in Whyalla
a very attractive city and we’re spending a
due to the area’s 300 days of sunshine per
lot of money improving it. We have plenty of Jun-Jul 2012 Council Manager | 47
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