Upskilling in the bush helping rural communities thrive Savouring

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Upskilling in the bush helping rural communities thrive Savouring Powered By Docstoc
					ISSUE 20
May 09
ISSN 1449-0234
                                                The official magazine of the Local Government Association
                                                of NSW and Shires Association of NSW




 PLUS...
           > Upskilling in the bush: helping rural communities thrive
           > Savouring the last drop: the need for wastewater recycling
           > Ending the reign of bottled water through water bubblers
     Super designed
for generations to come




A good superannuation scheme will always see its sole purpose
as providing retirement income for its members.
                                                                                               Who said you can’t make money in SRI?
An even better superannuation scheme will also offer a socially
                                                                                               Socially responsible investing.
and environmentally responsible investment style — one that
does not adversely affect people’s lives or the environment.                                   Good returns, better outcomes … better community.


                                                                                               NO
At the Local Government Superannuation Scheme (LGSS)                                                            Tobacco, gambling, armaments, uranium mining,
everybody gains. That’s because LGSS does both.
                                                                                                                poor workplace practices (such as child labour)
Through the adoption of a socially and environmentally
responsible investment style, members enjoy a return on their
investments in the knowledge their money is doing good for their
planet and community.                                                                       Local Government Superannuation Scheme
In fact, LGSS is one of only a few superannuation funds that has                            Contact Details
applied a sustainability screen across its entire Australian share                          T: 1300 369 901                      Postal Address
portfolio. That’s A$2 billion invested in Australian companies that
operate with a socially responsible ethos.                                                  F: (02) 9279 4131                    PO Box N835
All private equity investments, including directly held property,                           www.lgsuper.com.au                   Grosvenor Place Sydney NSW 1220
are also more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
In fact recently all our properties went “green” by sourcing all its
base energy requirements from renewable energy.
Visit our website to learn more about our socially responsible
investment (SRI) approach.

For branch locations and contact details please visit our website or contact us on 1300 369 901.



   Please note that the information contained in this document is of a general nature only and is not for personal advice and has not taken into account your personal objectives,
                                                                                                                                                                                     0361-LGSS-12/07-LA




   financial situation or needs. Any advice in this document is provided by FuturePlus Financial Services Pty Ltd (ABN 90 080 972 630) as an Australian Financial Services
   Licensee (AFSL 238445) on behalf of the Trustee of the Local Government Superannuation Scheme, LGSS Pty Ltd (ABN 68 078 003 497). LGSS Pty Ltd is an APRA
   Registrable Superannuation Entity Licensee (RSEL: L0001243). Local Government Superannuation Scheme is a Registered Superannuation Entity (RSE: Pool A - R1004656
   and RSE: Pool B - R1004663). Members should not rely solely on this information and should consider their own personal objectives, financial situation and needs before acting
   on this information. Prior to making any decision you should obtain and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) pertaining to your Scheme membership.
                                                                                                               of
              ContEntS
                04            President’s Message                                               16             Feature
                              Cr Bruce Miller, President, Shires                                               Savouring the last drop - The Need For
                              Association of NSW                                                               Wastewater Recycling

                05            President’s Message                                               17             Feature
                              Cr Genia McCaffery, President, Local                                             NSW planning legislation - a work in
                              Government Association of NSW                                                    progress

                06            In the News                                                       18             Out & About
                              Country Energy’s formal partnership                                              Willoughby City Council’s bush
                              with Local Government in NSW to
                                                                                                               landscape painting outdoor workshop;
                              continue until 2012; A call for more
                                                                                                               Tulip Time 2009 in Bowral; Bay Day
                              women on councils; UK councils ban
                              jargon; Council voices support for                                               celebrations
                              retention of NSW rural seats; Regional
                              panels to decide planning jobs; Town                              20             Trendsetters
                              taps won’t run dry thanks to funding;                                            Ending the reign of bottled water
                              $1.19m election bill disputed by council                                         through water bubblers

                10            Cover Story                                                       22             Conference &
                              Water for Food - a local issue of                                                Awards Watch
                              national concern                                                                 What’s Coming

                12            Inside LGSA                                                       24             Profile
                              Fiscal star Report confirms NSW                                                  Val Southam: Waste Not, Want Not
                              councils need adequate funding
                              streams
                                                                                                26             Local Government Super
                13            Comment                                                                          The markets and You
                              Local government concerns vindicated
                              as elections referred to inquiry                                  28             Council in Profile
                                                                                                               Upskilling in the bush - helping rural
                14            Feature                                                                          communities thrive
                              Revamping the recycling industry
                                                                                                31             LGSA Cultural Awards
                                                                                                               Creative Council projects shine at
                                                                                                               Cultural Awards Night

8Editor Lisa Kinahan 8Contributing Writers Kate Jones, Lisa Kinahan, Rowena Fairclough, Meredith Downes, Kate Walsh, Jon Dee, Adam Harper
8Production Director Jeremy Soh 8Creative Director Therese McCormack 8Advertising Jeremy Soh (02) 9331 6611 8Publisher The TMTE Group for and on behalf of LGSA
8TMTE Publisher Chris Cormack 8LGSA Publishers Cr Genia McCaffery, President, Local Government Association of NSW and Cr Bruce Miller, President, Shires Association of NSW.
All advertising enquiries to Jeremy Soh Tel: (02) 9331 6611 email: jez@tmte.com.au. All editorial enquiries to Lisa Kinahan Tel: (02) 9331 6611 email: lisa@tmte.com.au.
Local Agenda is published four times a year by the TMTE Group on behalf of LGSA. Local Agenda is the official publication of the Local Government Association of NSW and Shires
Associations of NSW.
All material in is copyright and may not be resold or reproduced in part or in whole, in any format whatsoever, without prior written consent from TMTE Group and/or the respective
copyright holders. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those held by the publisher. No material in Local Agenda can be regarded as professional advice and the
publisher or its contributors cannot be held liable for losses incurred by reliance on information contained therein. ISSN 1449-0234
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE




              I’m extremely pleased to see that the              made difficult by conflicting messages
              Federal Government’s $85 million Building          from the Minister and his Department. We
              the Country fund has started to roll out.          have a responsibility to ensure the quality
              The Associations have been calling for a           and sustainability of these services for our
              community infrastructure fund for a number         communities, so we hope to see the Minister
              of years, and with a $7.8 billion infrastructure   provide us with some clarity on things like
              backlog in NSW, the fund is definitely a win       (insert topics here)
              for local communities.
                                                                 The Associations maintain that the alliance
              The fund will help deliver new and much-           model proposed at the forum holds the
              needed infrastructure upgrades and will play       best potential for the majority of NSW
              a key role in creating and maintaining local       councils. It will help councils share resources
              jobs, which is crucial in this harsh financial     and technical capacity and meet best
              climate. It will also compliment other federal     practice management requirements. Most
              government initiatives such as the Roads to        importantly, the model includes enough
              Recovery program. An ongoing commitment            flexibility to allow individual councils to
              to the program is essential to allow councils      respond to local conditions and community
              to strategically plan for future infrastructure    needs. For further information the Inquiry,
              programs and upgrades, so I hope to see            please visit the Associations’ website at
              the government secure this commitment.             www.lgsa.org.au and click on the ‘Water’ link
              Councils are working tirelessly to improve         under Policy & Communications.
              their communities – and this additional
              funding is certainly a welcomed boost.             Cr Bruce Miller
                                                                 President, Shires Association
              On a separate note, Associations recently
              held a forum to discuss the Inquiry into
              Local Water Utilities. While we are working
              diligently with members to come up with
              workable models for the binding alliances
              recommended by the Inquiry, it is being




Local Government Week
   3 to 9 August 2009
   Get your council involved in
    Local Government Week!
Promote the importance of Local
Government to your community!
      To find out how, visit:
     www.LGWeek.lgsa.org.au
                                                                                            Proudly brought to you by:




                                                                                                    Sponsor:
                                                                                         PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE




There’s no doubt that the new NSW Housing        How is this possible when panel members
Code is ambiguous and confusing. In its          appointed by the Minister will never face
first month of operation, the Department of      an election and be accountable to the
Planning received more than 1300 enquiries       local community? There are better ways
about the code from councils, planners,          of achieving these objectives, including
residents and developers across the state.       establishing Independent Hearing and
                                                 Assessment, which conduct hearings into
The Associations had predicted this
                                                 controversial or complex developments and
widespread confusion, and set up an
                                                 provide council with a written report before
online Housing Code Monitor to provide
                                                 a decision is made.
councils with information and keep track
of difficulties. We’ve already provided the      Yet another blow to Local Government is
Department with one report detailing some        the $20,000 cap on developer contributions.
key problems – such as hasty changes to          Nearly 30 councils have advised the DOP
zoning certificates and the need for broader     they cannot deliver basic infrastructure to
local variations. These reports are driven       their community due to the threshold. And
by council input, so please visit our site and   the Department has been so overwhelmed
provide us with your feedback.                   by applications to exceed the cap that they
                                                 have had to push back their decision date –
The Department of Planning (DOP)
                                                 proof that this will place many councils in an
also recently announced Joint Regional
                                                 unworkable position. Our communities rely
Planning Panels. These panels (of which
                                                 on us to deliver quality facilities and services
only 2 of 5 members are Local Government
                                                 – but this is impossible to achieve without
representatives) will control developments
                                                 extra funding. We’re urging the Department
worth more than $10m and ecotourism
                                                 to seriously consider all applications over this
projects over $5m – again removing
                                                 unfair threshold.
powers from councils and placing them
into the hands of the State Government.          Cr Genia McCaffery
The Planning Minister claims the panels          President, Local Government Association
will depoliticise the development process.
       IN THE NEWS




                                             In the
    Country Energy’s
    formal partnership with
                                             nEWS
    Local Government in nSW
    to continue until 2012
    Country Energy and the Local Government and Shires
    Associations of NSW have signed a new three-year
    agreement, extending their formal partnership to 2012.
    The agreement sees Country Energy continue to provide
    financial and other support to the LGSA to help them in
    their mission, to provide leadership to, and advocacy for,
    Local Government for the benefit of local communities.
    President of the Shires Association, Cr Bruce Miller, said
    that the support from Country Energy was very welcome,
    considering the current financial climate and changes          Front (L-r): ramy Soussou – Country Energy, General
    occurring within the energy industry.                          Manager retail Sales & Marketing; Cr Bruce Miller –
                                                                   LGSA, President Shires Association; Bill Frewen –
    “It is extremely generous of Country Energy to continue        Country Energy, Executive General Manager Customer &
    to provide this much needed support that enriches the          Corporate Affairs. BACk (L-r): Peter Coulton – LGSA,
    relationships between local councils and between local         Director Corporate Services; Col Ussher – Country Energy,
    government and the community,” he said.                        Executive General Manager Infrastructure Strategy.
    The agreement helps make possible opportunities for
    councils to network, discuss and collaborate on a range of     A call for more women on
    issues affecting local communities.                            councils
    President of the Local Government Association, Cr Genia        Women will be urged to take a bigger role in local
    McCaffery, said that Country Energy’s support contributed      government, with a new committee to advise on ways to
    greatly to local government activities.                        get more in senior and elected positions.
    “The support of Country Energy allows us to work with          In Blacktown, of 15 councillors only three are female.
    Local Government across NSW on a cohesive approach
                                                                   Not one council in Western Sydney has an equal ratio of
    to delivering the very best of services to our communities,”
                                                                   male-to-female councillors, and of 12 councils, there is only
    she said.
                                                                   one female mayor and one female deputy mayor.
    “Local Government Week – which gives local councils a
                                                                   Local Government Minister Barbara Perry said the
    chance to highlight the range of diverse services they offer
                                                                   committee would talk with the State Government about
    to community members – would not happen without their
                                                                   how to get more women onto councils.
    support.”
                                                                   “It is important we encourage more women into the local
    Country Energy’s managing director, Craig Murray,
                                                                   government arena to ensure a diverse range of views that
    said Country Energy will continue to support Local
                                                                   reflect the complexity of our community,’’ Ms Perry said.
    Government and local communities.
                                                                   Representatives of key groups on the committee include
    “It is fundamental to the sustainability of our business.
                                                                   the Australian Local Government Women’s Association,
    We work closely with local councils across all areas of our
                                                                   the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW,
    business, and understand and share many of the
                                                                   and Local Government Managers Australia (NSW).
    challenges and opportunities facing Local Government.
    Working together we can help ensure our communities’           Minister for Women, Verity Firth said the new committee
    needs are supported, while we rise to the challenges           would bolster the already intelligent and valuable
    before us,” he said.                                           contributions women are making to Local Government.


6
                                                                                                            IN THE NEWS




UK councils ban jargon                                              Council’s submission will also point out the difficulty of
                                                                    an elected MP to fairly represent an even larger area, the
Our ambassador says with our blue sky thinking and can do           variety of community interests that need representation
culture, we will be able to value-add towards a single point of     and the potential difficulties for constituents to access their
contact that should define the coterminosity parameters for         MP. Council believes maintenance of rural, regional and
the predictors of beaconicity.                                      remote seats can be achieved by “topping up” one of the
If you did not understand the sentence above, fret not.             genuine rural seats with outer metropolitan areas.
Britain’s Local Government Association has banned this              A rural seat was lost in the 2004 distribution with seats
kind of jargon to improve communication between councils            falling from 50 to 49.
and the people they serve.
                                                                    The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is calling for
“The public sector must not hide behind impenetrable                suggestions up until May 1, with these posted on the AEC
jargon and phrases. Why do we have to have ‘coterminous,            website seeking further comment by May 15. The proposed
stakeholder engagement’ when we could just ‘talk to people’         redistribution report is expected to be released by August 7
instead?,” LGA Chairman Margaret Eaton said in a statement          when objections to the report will be invited.
released by the organisation.
The LGA said removing such words from use was important             Regional panels to decide
as people turned to local government bodies for help during
the recession.
                                                                    planning jobs
                                                                    NSW will be divided into six regions, each with its own
“Unless information is given to people to explain what help
                                                                    panel to determine which large projects can proceed, under
they can get during a recession then it could well lead to
                                                                    a draft plan prepared by the State’s Planning Department.
more people ending up homeless or bankrupt,” Councillor
Eaton said.                                                         A discussion paper, circulated to planning insiders last week,
                                                                    proposes Sydney be split into just two planning regions,
“If a council fails to explain what it does in plain English then
                                                                    East and West, with separate panels for the North Coast and
local people will fail to understand its relevance to them or
                                                                    Tableland, the Hunter and Central Coast, the South Coast
why they should bother to turn out and vote.”
                                                                    and South East Region and the Western Region.
A list of 200 words and their alternatives has been
                                                                    The paper reveals the first details of the new joint regional
published by the LGA in an attempt to cut jargon from
                                                                    planning panels which are due to begin operating on July
local government speak. Some of the banned words
                                                                    1 despite strong opposition from local councils, who have
include “double devolution”, “holistic governance”,
                                                                    complained the panels will undermine local decision-
“inspectorates”, “place shaping” and “provider vehicles”.
                                                                    making and accountability.
Other examples include:
                                                                    Although councils will have two members on each five-
➤ taxonomy                        ➤ predictors of beaconicity
                                                                    member panel, the Planning Minister, Kristina Keneally,
➤ re-baselining                   ➤ synergies                       will appoint the other three, including the chairman.
➤ mainstreaming                                                     Councils say this will skew the decision-making power
                                                                    away from them.
➤ holistic governance
                                                                    The panels will determine development applications for
➤ contestability
                                                                    residential, mixed use and commercial projects worth
                                                                    between $10 million and $100 million. Those above
Chairman of the Local Government Association,
                                                                    $100 million will automatically be determined by the
Cr Margaret Eaton, said:
                                                                    Government under Part 3(a) of the Planning Act, where
“We do not pretend to be perfect, but as this list shows,           the department assesses a proposal and the minister
we are striving to make sure that people get the chance to          determines it.
understand what services we provide.”
                                                                    Developers have raised concerns about this process, with
The full list of ‘banned’ words can be found here:                  Aaron Gadiel, the head of the developers’ lobby group
http://www.lga.gov.uk/lga/core/page.do?pageId=1716341               the Urban Task Force, complaining the process denies
                                                                    its members a right of appeal to a court that even home
                                                                    owners enjoy if their proposals are knocked back.
Council voices support for
retention of nSW rural seats                                        There would be too many proposals for the panels to make
                                                                    good decisions, said Ken Morrison, the NSW Executive
Warren Shire Council has added its voice to the call to keep        Director of the Property Council.
rural seats in NSW when the planned redistribution of
federal electoral boundaries goes ahead.                            “Our preference would be for four panels in Sydney to
                                                                    ensure the panels are not overworked. The current plan is
A shift in population means Queensland will gain the extra          for the Sydney panels to make nearly two decisions a week,
seat lost by NSW and rural councils such as Warren are              with each matter requiring a considerable amount of time,
keen to ensure it is not another rural seat that is lost.           not just in decision-making but also in site visits.”


                                                                                                                                      7
       IN THE NEWS




    town taps won’t run dry                                        The program is scheduled to run until 2016-17 and has
                                                                   now expended more than $758 million.
    thanks to funding
                                                                   The 340 water supply and sewerage projects that have
    Wellington council has welcomed funds for emergency
                                                                   been delivered have enhanced public health, improved
    drought works that will improve the security of water
                                                                   environmental outcomes and security of supply to more
    supplies in Wellington and Geurie.
                                                                   than one million people living in the country towns where
    NSW water minister Phillip Costa has announced that            those projects were delivered.
    $100,000 will go towards projects to ensure the town’s
    water supplies do not run out during dry periods.
                                                                   $1.19m election bill disputed
    The projects, which will be undertaken by Wellington           by council
    Council, include rehabilitating existing disused bores or
    if necessary, constructing new bores at Wellington and         Blacktown Council has yet to decide whether to pay the
    Geurie for a total cost of $200,000.                           $1.19 million bill it has been charged to host last year’s local
                                                                   government elections.
    The NSW Government will meet 50 per cent of the cost.
                                                                   Mayor Charlie Lowles said it had estimated a cost of
    Council’s acting director of technical services Eric Poga
                                                                   $580,000, based on previous elections conducted by the
    said the emergency drought works would be beneficial for
                                                                   council, as compared to the Electoral Commission’s much
    the future needs of the community.
                                                                   larger figure.
    “A couple of years ago the dam had 1.5 per cent of water
                                                                   “The council will wait for the final invoice before deciding
    in it and we started looking at what we could do in an
                                                                   whether or not, when, how or if it would be paying the bill,’’
    emergency situation; fortunately the rain came but in the
                                                                   Cr Lowles said.
    future if the dam runs low we can provide support for the
    two towns,” Mr Poga said.                                      “To meet this extra $600,000 council will have to use
    The drought is continuing its stranglehold on many             ratepayers’ funds for repairing roads, maintaining
    communities across rural and regional NSW and Minister         playgrounds and sports fields or putting resources in our
    Costa said that if dry conditions continued, Wellington        libraries.
    and Geurie’s existing water supplies might not be sufficient   “Our council could have run the elections in Blacktown for
    to meet the communities needs, even under water                half the cost of the commission.
    restrictions.
                                                                   “In the current economic climate, council does not need
    “With the support of the Rees Government, Wellington           the extra strain of a ridiculous election bill.’’
    Council is acting to ensure the town’s water supplies do not
    run dry over summer,” he said.                                 Local Government Association president Genia McCaffery
                                                                   said the charges, ranging from about $60,000 for a small
    The minister said that the funding was being provided
                                                                   council, were excessive.
    through the NSW Government’s $1.1 billion Country
    Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program.                       She said the Government had controlled council rate
                                                                   increases and yet kept increasing their costs by making
    “This essential community program has so far provided
                                                                   councils use the commission to run its elections.
    assistance to more than 340 projects directly benefiting
    more than one million people in rural and regional NSW,”       Ms McCaffery said it was a money-making exercise for
    Mr Costa said.                                                 the State Government to pass on costs to the councils that
                                                                   belonged to them.
    The Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program
    provides technical and financial assistance to local water     NSW councils ran their own elections until 2004, when
    utilities to better plan and manage their water supply and     the Government decided the Electoral Commission
    sewerage businesses.                                           should appoint returning officers to ensure the polls were
    The program is managed by the Department of Water and          independent and impartial.
    Energy, who work in partnership with local water utilities     An Electoral Commission spokesman said it was caught
    in regional NSW to manage town water supplies during           in the middle of the council’s battle with the State
    drought.                                                       Government over election costs.
    The benefits and outcomes of this program are that water       He said the commission had fulfilled its legal obligations to
    supply and sewerage services in urban areas of regional        conduct the elections under the Local Government Act.
    NSW are appropriate, affordable, cost-effective and well
    managed, meet community needs, protect public health           The spokesman said debate on whether it was the right
    and achieve sustainable environmental outcomes.                system was a matter for the Local Government Minister.



8
                                DEPARTMENT OF ENvIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE NSW ADvERTORIAL




                       Canterbury clears contamination from
                       kerbside organics recycling
               contamination in kerbside
sting Reducingcollections can greatly earth
       for a healthy increase
      organics
                                                                                                                                                                                Composting in
                                                                                                                                                                                nsW prevented th
mental benefits. Compost creates healthy soils – the foundation for healthy eco-systems, saves water, reduces
                                                                                                                                                                                equivalent of 400
                       environmental and economic benefits of
and improves agricultural productivity.                                                                                                                                         tonnes of Carbon
                                                                                                                                                                                dioxide emissions
nment:
                       council waste and resource recovery services.
                                take sorted organic material to council collection depots
                                                                                                                                                                                last year.
ic material for council collection       specify compost in landscaping and rehabilitation works.                                                                               this is the same as
                                                                                                                                                                                taking 100,000 Car
ng at www.livingthing.net.au
                                                                                                                                                                                permanently off
omposting Awareness Week, 4-10 May.
                       Often, the difference between high and low levels of                                                                                                     the road.
.com.au
                       contamination can be as simple as having clear, open
                       stakeholder communication and regular follow up of
                       reported contamination. Canterbury City Council provides                                 “Using reliable reports, our audit and education staff
                       an example of how such processes, if implemented by an                                   approach householders who are using the service
                       informed and committed team, can lead to outstandingly                                   inappropriately and provides them with information about
                       low levels of contamination.                                                             which materials belong in each of the three bins given to
                                                                                                                residents. This face-to-face approach has proved successful”.
                       Jim Montague, General Manager at Canterbury
                       City Council, proudly reports that audited levels of                                     Council’s recycling education campaign for their culturally
                       contamination in their garden vegetation collection service                              and linguistically diverse community is also credited for
                       have been maintained at under half of one percent.                                       encouraging low-contamination behaviour in council’s
                                                                                                                garden organics collection service.
                       “The key to this great result is that the contractor’s
                       collection staff are committed and consistent in                                         Together, these elements have led to Canterbury City
                       reporting contamination and identifying contaminated                                     Council being nominated for the 2009 Compost Industry
                       bins and loads for follow up by Canterbury City Council”,                                Leadership Award for Most Improved Contamination
                       said Mr Montague.                                                                        Management in Source Separated Organics. The winner
                                                                                                                will be announced at the Compost Ball on 13 June 2009
                                                                                                                in Orange.

                                                                                                                The Department of Environment and Climate Change
                                                                                                                Reducing Contamination of Dry Recyclables and
                                                                                                                Garden Organics at the Kerbside guide can help you
                                                                                                                improve your collection and contamination management
                                                                                                                systems. The guide was developed using extensive research
                                                                                                                and analysis of garden organics and co-collected food and
                                                                                                                garden organics collection systems. It contains practical
                                                                                                                examples for you to reduce contamination and can be
                                                                                                                found online at
                                                                                                                www.environment.nsw.gov.au/warr/
                                                                                                                PrefResourceRecovery.htm

                                                                                                                For more information about the Compost Ball visit
                                                                                                                www.compostweek.com.au/compost_ball.php




                                                                                                                                                                                          9
        COvER STORy




     Water
     4
                                                                     That’s only one side of a complicated issue, but they have
                                                                     a compelling argument; water + farmers = food. Known
                                                                     now as the environmental water purchases, the Federal
                                                                     buyback scheme was set up to return environmental flow to
                                                                     our rivers and wetlands. Whether you look at this from an
                                                                     environmental perspective or a pragmatic one it all amounts
                                                                     to the same thing – the health of the farming community
                                                                     depends entirely on the health of the river system.




     Food
                                                                     What many fail to overlook when they beat their drum for
                                                                     various causes is that the system is currently overallocated
                                                                     for the amount of water available, even in non-drought
                                                                     conditions. So, there is little choice but to reduce the
                                                                     amount of entitlement in the system to a more realistic
                                                                     and sustainable level. But at what cost? This is the question
                                                                     currently plaguing all those with a connection to the land.

                                                                     “At enormous cost to all our communities,” says Terry
                                                                     Hogan, rice farmer and Mayor of Jerilderie, ‘this is the
                                                                     biggest problem with the water buyback scheme – the
     By Lisa Kinahan                                                 knock-on effects of the decline in the agricultural industry.
                                                                     If the buyback guts communities, who is going to help these
                                                                     people... the State Government or the Federal Government
     Jerilderie is located on the Newell                             – there just doesn’t seem to be an overall plan.”
     Highway, approximately 60                                       The LGSA have been active in calling for participation
     kilometres north of the Victorian                               to represent all those in the affected shires and to have a
     border and is nestled on the banks of                           voice on such a critical national issue. In August of last
                                                                     year the LGSA put forward a submission to the Federal
     the Billabong Creek, the longest creek                          Government. In summary the LGSA’s concerns echo
     in Australia.                                                   those of farmers and rural communities with their greatest
                                                                     concerns being around the impacts of the buyback program
     Renowned in history for being the only place in NSW that        on regional and local economies.
     Ned Kelly visited and the origin of the Jerilderie Letter, it
     is a thriving agricultural area. As well as producing rice,     According to Shires President, Bruce Miller, “The LGSA
     wheat, soya beans, canola, wool, beef, grapes, and onions,      believe there is a need to establish a regular consultative
     latest statistics show that 24% of the gross national tomato    mechanism between the Australian Government and peak
     product is grown in the area, as well as 5% of the world        local government bodies, such as the LGSA, not only on the
     supply of licorice.                                             Restoring the Murray- Darling Basin Program but also on a
                                                                     number of other programs under the Water for the Future
     This was once the picture of perfection. However, times         Plan to ensure a co-ordinated and cohesive approach.”
     have changed and things have not been so picture perfect
     at Jeriliderie or indeed anywhere along this stretch of the     Miller adds, “Many areas in regional and rural NSW
     Murray River for some years now. Hit hard by a monster          are largely dependent on agricultural industry, with
     drought, the district has become a dustbowl and is just         significant long-term investment and little opportunity
     holding itself together, hoping to ride out the drought.        for diversification. The purchase of water entitlements
     So, when the government announced a water buyback               from irrigators and other water dependent industries
     scheme the farmers were left wondering how their already        could ultimately result in these industries leaving rural and
     precarious community was going to survive.                      regional areas.”


10
                                                                                                   COvER STORy




a local issue
of national
concern Stop
                                                                                     the
Politics and policies aside, what are the practical solutions
for farmers, local government and communities that are
dependent on farming communities for their survival?
                                                                                     preSS               As this edition
                                                                                       of Local Agenda was going to
Farmers like Hogan would like to see Local Government                   print, the NSW Minister for Water, the Hon Phil
having a more active role as the voice of local communities,            Costa, announced a freeze on water buybacks
as councils, as collectives such as the networks of Regional            until a more equitable solution can be found.
Organisation of Councils (ROCs) and through peak bodies
such as the LGSA.                                                      At the time of the freeze approximately 97% of
                                                                       water buybacks so far had come from NSW.
Active campaigners at the Riverina and Murray Regional
Organisation of Councils (RAMROC) are collecting funds                The LGSA supports the Minister’s statement
for a campaign from the region to promote the case of                 that there is a need to urgently balance water
water for food. RAMROC Executive Officer, Ray Stubbs,                 purchases between all the Murray-Darling states,
says, “it’s not just a country issue – we all eat food and           and congratulates the State Government for finally
so we want to get captains of industry engaged. The two              taking a stand on this issue.
meetings we’ve had so far are beginning to address some
of the solutions. One of the objectives is to work with the
government at all levels to try and find some answers – it      “Computer-programmed moisture probes tell me how far
needs to be a collaborative approach.”                          the water is down in the soil profile and I can check that
                                                                on screen and adjust accordingly. If you let it dry out too
At the same time farmers are taking advantage of major          much, it takes so much more water to get back to optimum
advances in technology to more accurately manage their          levels. The moisture probes ensure a consistency in
soil and water use to ensure that every precious drop is        efficiency, and minimise water usage. After a summer crop
used and not wasted.                                            we’ll go in and plant a winter crop because the moisture
                                                                is there after summer watering. Generally a good rain will
Coleambally crop farmer David Belato is a pioneer of            keep crops going during winter.” Says Belato,
conservation agriculture and an advocate of the role
technology plays in current farming practices.                  Nearby dairy producer, Lloyd Chesworth is also dependant
                                                                on technology to ensure each of his cows is getting the
Conservation agriculture includes precision techniques          water, feed and, where necessary, the medication they need.
such as raised beds and watered down furrows. The
distance between plants is chosen by computers receiving        So the future for the Murray Darling region? Weather
data from satellites so that they are not too close together,   aside it’s all about keeping the lines of communication
which can result in sudden death and not too far apart          open and involving all levels of government to ensure
which means water wastage. And, as the name suggests,           there is a countrywide and co-operative approach to this
they are in a precision straight line.                          national issue.


                                                                                                                              11
        INSIDE LGSA




     fiscal star
     REPoRt ConfIRMS
     nSW CoUnCILS nEEd

     A d E q UAt E
     fUndInG StREAMS
                                                                   Cr Bruce Miller, President of the Shires Association, said
     By Kate Walsh                                                 that despite income restrictions councils have made some
                                                                   significant gains in addressing the infrastructure backlog
                                                                   through increased infrastructure spending.
     The Fiscal Star report confirms what                          The annual infrastructure renewal funding shortfall has
     Local Government in NSW already                               declined from around $500m in 2005 to $150m pa in
     knows – that inadequate financing                             2007/08.

     has forced many NSW councils into                             “This demonstrates that councils have become very adept
     an infrastructure renewal backlog.                            at doing a great deal with very little,” he said.

     However, the Local Government and Shires Associations         “We have contained operational expenditure increases at
     believe that the report also shows improvement for the        around CPI levels, which has allowed us to make greater
     Local Government sector despite obstacles and constraints.    funding allocations to infrastructure.

     The ‘2009 NSW Local Government Financial Sustainability       The newly released Integrated Planning Guidelines
     Review’ bears out up the findings of the Independent          will reinforce councils’ work at improving long term
     Inquiry into the Financial Sustainability of NSW Local        infrastructure management.
     Government conducted in 2005/06.
                                                                   “This demonstrates that councils
     President of the Local Government Association Cr Genia
     McCaffery said that long term under-resourcing for NSW        have become very adept at doing a
     councils has resulted in the infrastructure renewal backlog
     outlined in the report.
                                                                   great deal with very little.”
     “Through a combination of inadequate tax transfers            “A renewed focus and improvement in our asset
     from State and Federal coffers, and rate pegging, Local       management has already been reflected in the
     Government has been made to operate on a minimal              improvement in the backlog highlighted in the report,” said
     budget for years,” she said.                                  Cr Miller.

     “Now we are facing a cap on Developer levies, which           “The Guidelines will only help councils reinforce this
     have been one of Local Government’s only avenues for          approach.
     attempting to keep pace with the needs of our growing
     communities.                                                  “However, we need additional funding to address this
                                                                   issue, and we would like to see the State and Federal
     “None the less the annual infrastructure renewal funding      Governments provide an ongoing commitment to funding
     shortfall has declined from around $500m in 2005 to           programs like the Building Australia Fund and the Regional
     $150m pa in 2007/08.”                                         and Community Local Infrastructure Fund.”


12
                                                                                                              COMMENT




Local government concerns
vINDICATED as
elections referred to inquiry
By Kate Walsh

The Local Government and Shires                                “And in one blatant example of mismanagement it appears
                                                               that residents of one shire have been asked to foot a
Associations have welcomed news                                $15,000 bill for the rent of premises that Council had
from NSW Premier Rees that there                               provided free of charge.
will be an investigation into the                              “The Premier’s decision to investigate our claims proves
conduct and escalating costs of the                            we’ve raised some legitimate and serious issues that
2008 Local Government elections.                               urgently need to be addressed, and highlighted the need
                                                               for accountability of the State Government and the NSW
Responding to calls from councils across the state,            Electoral Commission in conducting our elections.”
Premier Rees has referred the matter to the Joint
                                                               With rate pegging pushing finances to breaking point
Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for Inquiry.
                                                               already, councils simply can’t afford to let crucial funds
The Associations believe that this indicates an important
                                                               slip away.
turning point in their ongoing lobbying for fairness and
transparency in the conduct of the elections.                  Councils are encouraged to make their own submissions
                                                               and, if possible, provide a copy to the LGSA.
President of the Local Government Association Councillor
Genia McCaffery said that both NSW councils and voters         The terms of reference for the inquiry are available at
will now have a chance to examine the conduct of the NSW       http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/PARLMENT/
Electoral Commission.                                          committee.nsf/0/7481444A850D310BCA25758300129128.

“Finally we have the opportunity to get to the bottom of
these poorly conducted and expensive elections, and get
some answers on where our money was spent,” she said.

“The State Government took over the elections saying
they wanted to ensure that the people of NSW had Local
Government elections conducted with the same level of
professionalism and transparency as the State and Federal
elections.

“But the management of last year’s elections was appalling.”

President of the Shires Association Cr Bruce Miller said
that over the past 12 months, the Local Government and
Shires Associations have uncovered numerous examples of
what went wrong with the elections.

“We have examples of unsecured ballot boxes, understaffed
polling booths, and lack of ballot papers – voters at one
booth that ran out of ballot papers were told to just go
home as their name had been crossed off the roll and they
wouldn’t be fined,” he said


                                                                                                                            13
       FEATuRE




                    e cy
      Revamping the




                                              cli
 r

                              ng
                                            industry
     More than 20 of Australia’s biggest recycling companies have formed a unique
     alliance with environment groups and local government to kick-start the
     Australian economy through $2 billion in new infrastructure to increase
     recycling by two million tonnes a year and create 6000 new jobs.


                                            The National Recycling Initiative (NRI), launched last
     By Lisa Kinahan                        month, detailed a plan to kickstart the green economy
                                            to result in significant environmental benefits and
                                            infrastructure improvements with an envisaged increase to
                                            the industry’s workforce by 20 per cent. The alliance behind
                                            the NRI said the plan for growth and new jobs made good
                                            business and environmental sense and urged the Federal
                                            Government to partner them in ensuring maximum
                                            benefits were delivered for all Australians.


14
                                                                                                            FEATuRE




The NRI is clear though that investment is being sought         sector categories. Thus Visy was seen as a packaging
at state level as Local Government is already bearing a         company, not a (giant) recycling company.
significant burden (around $100million p.a) in terms of
the State Government levies.                                    The importance of the industry to the economy was hidden
                                                                and it did not have the profile it deserved. This is one
According to alliance campaigner Dave West, “Local              thing the NRI hopes to change as it engages ministers in
Government already plays a leading role in recycling            its call for accelerated depreciation and capital support to
activity and as a sector is already carrying the lion’s share   accelerate investment.
of the government burden for stimulating good outcomes.
It is important that Local Government should not be             Says Jeff Angel, alliance member and head of Total
expected to take on any increased financial burden for          Environment Centre, “some people have said we should
waste management without significant relief for their           wait until waste levies reach sufficient harshness and the
recycling activities.”                                          market will take care of it. But this ignores the capacity
                                                                of landfills to lock up resources in the next few years,
Adds West, “it is the NRI’s view that states should             starving reprocessing plants of their essential inputs. You
contribute towards this stimulus (they get substantial          can’t attract investors and you can’t add over $770 of value
economic and employment benefits) and that the most             for every tonne if you don’t have access to the resources
effective way to achieve this would be for states to redirect   currently wasted in landfill.”
a proportion of levies to this program via the Local
Government sector.”                                             The LGSA is in agreement and welcomes the proposal.

“We are trying to close the circle of                           Commenting on the new direction, LGA’s McCaffery said,
                                                                “Local Government is all for stimulating the economy
widespread community enthusiasm                                 and providing environmental improvements but for most
for recycling, and create a vibrant                             councils they are already achieving high return rates for
                                                                home-consumed recyclables and containers through their
industry that wants to grow and                                 kerbside schemes. Whilst we recognise that NRI plans are
develop economic policy settings.                               to increase that capacity, Local Government would also
                                                                like to see more emphasis placed on away-from-home
It deserves support.”                                           schemes such as the Container Deposit Legislation to
                                                                spread the load and ensure that materials have sufficient
However in NSW the emphasis would be on utilising               value throughout their life cycle to make the system
the existing waste levies to provide a rebate to fund the       economically viable.”
program. President of the Local Government Association
Councillor Genia McCaffery welcomed this direction,             Members of the alliance are committed to making
“We see a large proportion of the waste levies every year       sweeping changes in the sector and stopping the policy
going to Treasury and its time we saw the levies benefitting    failures they consider have been witnessed over the years.
waste reduction and recycling for everyone in NSW from          The last time Australia had a National Waste Policy was in
residents to businesses.”                                       1992 and since then millions of items of e-waste have been
                                                                dumped into landfill.
If supported nationally the NRI will provide billions
of dollars of private investment into new recycling             The NRI is about changing the landscape of decision
infrastructure over the next 3-5 years with the following       making – public and private – for recycling. Says, West,
triple bottom line benefits:                                    “we are trying to close the circle of widespread community
                                                                enthusiasm for recycling, create a vibrant industry that
➤ Retention of the 10,000 current recycling industry workers;
                                                                wants to grow and develop economic policy settings. It
➤ Injection of $2 billion into new infrastructure;
                                                                deserves support.”
➤ Increased recycling by two million tonnes per year;
➤ Employment of 2000 extra direct staff and a further           The NRI recognises that Local Government is critical to the
  4000 indirect jobs;                                           growth of the sector as gatekeepers rather than facilitators
➤ Increase in the value of recycling exports by $500 million    in building and infrastructure and will be talking to LGSA
  per year; and
                                                                and other peak bodies about the involvement of Local
➤ Direct benefit to Australian economy of $1.5 billion/yr and
                                                                Government.
  approximately $7 billion in new activity.
One of the early realisations in the exercise was that          So its watch this space for a while but hopefully Australia
the engine room of value that recycling provides via the        will soon have a world class recycling industry that will take
reprocessing plants was not even recognised in traditional      the management of our waste well into the future.


                                                                                                                                 15
       FEATuRE




     SAvOuRING THE
     LAST
                                           It has forced the hand of many New South Wales councils
                                           with little choice but to introduce water restrictions,
                                           which are often unpopular. Goulburn Mulwaree Council,




     DROP
                                           for example, introduced such restrictions in 2002, and
                                           they have been in place ever since. Here, the lack of water
                                           became so severe that in June 2005 Council went several
                                           steps further and opened up the controversial discussion
                                           of whether or not to start using ‘recycled’ waste water (or

     THE NEED
                                           treated effluent) to augment drinking supply; a procedure
                                           known as “indirect potable reuse”. However, due to public

     FOR
                                           concern, this did not go ahead. Instead, Council now uses
                                           this water, rather than the town’s drinking water supply to


     WASTEWATER
                                           irrigate some 220 hectares of agricultural land.

                                           Recycled, or reclaimed, water can come from a number

     RECyCLING                             of sources including effluent (black water), domestic
                                           bathroom and laundry water (grey water) or municipal
                                           wastewater. With an increasing population and demand
                                           on our natural resources, waste water reuse is becoming a
     By Adam Harper                        matter of necessity for both urban and rural councils.

                                           Armidale/Dumaresq Council in the New England region
                                           also irrigates some 200 hectares of crops with treated
     Australia is the driest inhabited
                                           effluent as opposed to releasing it into nearby rivers. This
     continent on earth, yet Australians   saves 1.7 billion litres of treated effluent from flowing into
     have one of the highest levels per    local waterways. There are now 500 Sewage Treatment
                                           Plants (STP) across the country doing the same thing and
     capita of water consumption. On
                                           recycling at least some of their effluent.
     top of this, our population has
                                           President of the Shires Association, Councillor Bruce
     tripled since the end of World War
                                           Miller, said: “water, or the lack of it, is one of the most
     II. A combination of these issues,    pressing issues facing our communities today. We need to
     along with crippling drought, has     make sure that councils are using this precious resource
                                           sustainably because it impacts on social wellbeing, personal
     left many communities high and
                                           health, and environmental health. Even business and
     certainly dry.                        economic growth are affected by the availability of clean
                                           water. In this state, water is our oil. “

                                           Apart from irrigation, recycled water can also be used
                                           for industry and even more domestic purposes such as
                                           watering golf courses or even home gardens. In Sydney,
                                           Rouse Hill provides recycled water to more than 17,500
                                           homes. A Port Kembla recycling operation provides around
                                           20-million litres of water a day to BlueScope Steel to assist
                                           in industrial operations.

                                           Adds Miller, “recycling water is a great short term solution,
                                           but we need to work across all levels of government on a
                                           long term strategy to safeguard our water supplies. Part
                                           of that strategy needs to revolve around education. On
                                           average, each Australian uses around 350 litres of water
                                           per day. The LGSA encourages Local Government to make
                                           communities more aware of their water use and try to
                                           reduce that figure by up to half.”


16
                                                                                                             FEATuRE




NSW PLANNING LEGISLATION
a work in progreSS
NSW LGSA is calling on the                                       next step: JRRPs
                                                                 The Department is now set to introduce new Joint Regional
Department of Planning (DoP) for                                 Planning Panels (JRRPs). To come into operation from mid
a full review of the recent changes                              2009, the panels will take more planning control from local
to the planning system before they                               communities.

proceed with any further changes.                                Developments worth more than $10m, and ecotourism
                                                                 projects over $5m, will go to the local JRPP along with
While the Associations welcome the structure of the DoP’s        public and private infrastructure projects.
timetable which details timelines for a number of further
changes for NSW Planning during 2009 and beyond,                 With three state government appointed members and just
confusion surrounding the introduction of the NSW                two council appointed members, the Panels put the local
Housing Code shows that further consideration needs to go        community in a minority position.
into the introduction of new changes.
                                                                 The Associations reject DoP claims that the JRPPs will
                                                                 ‘depoliticise the development process (and) increase the
Code confusion could have                                        transparency and accountability of the NSW planning
been prevented                                                   system.’
With the Department receiving in excess of 1300 inquiries
on the Housing Codes during its first month of operation,        The state appointed members will be as open to political
it’s clear that many issues still need to be clarified.          pressures as council representatives, but will never face an
                                                                 election and be held accountable to the local community.
With repeated calls from councils to trial the code before
implementation dismissed, their frustration is palpable.
                                                                 Certification timetable extended
The Associations recently launched a web blog to allow           On a more positive note, the timetable for accrediting
councils to compare their experiences in implementing            council officers has been pushed back, allowing time for
the code and suggest improvements. Nearly two thirds of          further discussion on alternative options.
councils in NSW have joined the site.
                                                                 The current proposal will be expensive and provide no real
                                                                 benefit to communities.
Councils exposed to liability?
Amid widespread confusion about how the Code should              The Associations support a system of corporate
be interpreted and administered, councils are still trying       accreditation, which will provide the necessary level of
to interpret what information must supplied on new S149          oversight to ensure council certifiers have the necessary
Certificates, let alone modify their software.                   skills and experience.

A key concern for many is that due to this uncertainty they      There is still a large question mark over funding for these
may be exposed to potential liability – which has led to         reforms in a tight financial environment. While the
them seeking independent legal advice on their duty of care      Minister has acknowledged this and amended aspects of
to their communities.                                            the timetable, these cost implications must be considered.

Feedback from one council indicates that as many as 300
additional applications now classify as non complying and        Council input crucial
will have to go through the longer DA process.                   If council staff are interested in contributing to the
                                                                 discussion surrounding the housing code, they can register
In this case the code is too restrictive and, unlike their own   to take part in council-only discussions at
local codes, does not target small residential developments      http://housingcodemonitor.lgsa.org.au/.
that are common to the local area.
                                                                 Feedback from this site is helping the LGSA to work with
In contrast councils on the other end of the spectrum have       the DoP to clean up the Code as soon as possible and
found the complying development too lax, with the new            develop a more constructive relationship between Local
Code allowing more floor space than their existing LEP.          and State Government.


                                                                                                                                17
     OuT & ABOuT




     oUt&
     ABoUt
18
                                                                                                     OuT & ABOuT




   WILLoUGhBy                                  BoWRAL
   Genevieve Caudery   ,                       Australian author and Southern Highlands resident
   Debbie McKinnon, Kate                       Bryce Courtenay feigns a heart attack at the
   Orme, and Sydney                            launch of Tulip Time 2009 in Bowral. With him
   Pemberton experimenting                     are Southern Highlands Tourism Manager Steve
   to create their bush                        Rosa and event coordinator Harriet Goodall.
   inspired artwork.




                                               RhodES
                                               The ‘tea-themed’ Bay Day celebrations inspired
   WILLoUGhBy                                  Alice in Wonderland style events, with a Mad
                                               Hatter’s tea party being a main attraction.
   Renowned local artist
   Debbie Mackinnon was
   joined by artists of all
   abilities for an enjoyable,
   creative and peaceful
   afternoon in the bush at
   Willoughby City Council’s
   bush landscape painting
   outdoor workshop,
   Sunday 3 May.




   RhodES                                                                         RhodES
   Local residents enjoy a cup and saucer ride at Bay                             Bay Day patrons sample
   Day. Bay Day was held at McIlwaine Park in Rhodes                              some of the many teas on
   on Sunday, 29 March, and had a ‘Tea’ theme.                                    offer at the celebrations.




oUt&
ABoUt
If you have an event you would like featured in out & About please email Lisa kinahan at lisa@tmte.com.au titled out & About.

                                                                                                                                19
        TRENDSETTERS




     Ending the reign
       bottled
         of
     water through
     water bubblers
     By Jon Dee, Bottled Water Alliance

     For many decades water bubblers have been an everyday feature of Australian
     life. Many of us remember taking a welcome drink on a hot summer’s day, or
     slaking our thirst after sport in the park. However, in recent years, usage has
     declined, as have numbers of this once ubiquitous community facility.

     Research commissioned by Do Something! shows that 85%              indicates that bottled water sales have already fallen by 9% in
     of Australians no longer trust the drinking water from old-        the UK, so this is an achievable target.
     fashioned bubblers.
                                                                        A key facet of the BWA campaign is to partner with
     This concern over bubbler water quality and a reduction            councils and help them switch from the old water bubbler
     in bubbler numbers have led to a significant increase in           to water fountains that are wheelchair friendly and
     Australia’s usage of bottled water. This increase in bottled       vandal-resistant. A recent partnership with Manly Council
     water use has had a significant impact on the environment.         exemplifies the possibilities for installing free filtered
                                                                        drinking water.
     However, bottled water is simply unsustainable. According
     to statistics from DECC, at least 50 million litres of oil is
     used every year to manufacture, distribute, refrigerate and
     dispose of Australia’s bottled water. Annually, the industry
                                                                            The Bottled Water Alliance,
     is also responsible for generating tens of thousands of
     tonnes of greenhouse gases. In its production processes,
                                                                            through Founding Sponsor
     the Australian bottled water industry also uses over a                 Culligan Water, is currently
     billion litres of water every year.                                    offering councils, schools
                                                                            and community groups a
     Globally, billions of plastic water bottles end up as litter or
     landfill. These discarded bottles are a major component
                                                                            special Community Grant:
     of litter, adding significantly to waste stream management             free water filter equipment
     costs for councils.                                                    for every water fountain
                                                                            installed or upgraded, with
     Additionally, bottled water does not make economic sense. A
     litre often costs more than a litre of petrol. Australians spend
                                                                            replacement filters provided
     half a billion dollars a year on the bottled stuff. It’s ironic        at half price (this reduces
     when Australia has some of the best tap water in the world.            their cost to about $60 per
                                                                            bubbler per quarter).
     We as a community can do something to counter the bottled
     water phenomenon. The Bottled Water Alliance (BWA)                     For information e-mail
     aims to work with councils and the community to reduce the             info@BottledWaterAlliance.com
     usage of single-use bottled water by 20% by 2011. Research



20
                                                                                                   TRENDSETTERS




the Manly Council experience
Manly Council on Sydney’s northern beaches has led the
way by working with the BWA to install filtered water
drinking fountains on Manly Corso and Beach. To date, six
have been installed, with at least 14 more to be added.

These filtered water stations are an ingenious update on
the bubbler concept, with new features designed to address
contemporary lifestyles. They are vandal-resistant and
hygienic, and include prominent signage that makes them
highly visible. They do not accumulate twigs and litter like
the old-style bubblers, and the water spouts horizontally,
making them easier to drink from.

The fountains also contain an easy to replace the filter that
removes chlorine (the chlorine smell of bubbler water on
warm days is a major reason for the public aversion to old-
style bubblers). Taps on the signage also allow bottles to be
refilled with free, high quality filtered water.

Manly’s results have been outstanding. Council estimates
that the six water fountains have so far prevented the
purchase of 150,000 litres of bottled water, removing up
to 250,000 plastic water bottles from the waste stream.
Garbage collection volumes in the relevant areas have
decreased 30-40% (an estimated 50% of this is plastic
bottles). People have been lining up to refill their reusable
bottles and to drink from the fountains.

The Manly approach is reinforced by Do Something’s
national research, where two-thirds of those questioned
said they’d drink less bottled water if there were better
community water fountains. This poll of 1,000 Australians
also showed that 80% of people want more water fountains
in community locations.

The Bottled Water Alliance is inviting councils around
Australia to join the Alliance. Your council just has
to formally decide that it will work to reduce bottled
water usage in your community. Changes to practices
may include stopping the purchase of bottled water for
council office, promoting the use of reusable bottles in
the community and of course upgrading your drinking
bubblers. To join the Alliance simply email your intent to
info@BottledWaterAlliance.com.

Giving the community access to free high quality drinking
water is something that councils are uniquely positioned
to deliver. The old-fashioned water bubblers deliver water
that people don’t trust. Water fountains with filters gives
people the chlorine free water that they want to drink.
Manly Council has shown the way for other councils to
reinvent the water bubbler for the 21st Century. Why not
join them and make a real difference for the environment

                                                                                                    «old-style bubblers
and your community?


For more information visit BottledWaterAlliance.com.au or email info@BottledWaterAlliance.com.au
Photography by: Street Furniture Australia

                                                                                                                      21
                     CONFERENCE WATCH
Conferences
                                                                WhAt’S
                                                                CoMInG
              Shires Association of NSW Annual Conference                         Country and Regional
              1 to 3 June                                                         Living Expo 2009
                                                                                  7 to 9 August
              Challenges - Bring them On! is the theme for the 2009 Shires
              Conference, to be held at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney. 2009     The Country Week Expo has undergone major a makeover, and has
              will see over 450 delegates gather to elect a new Executive and     been transformed into the Country & Regional Living Expo. The
              discuss the many challenges facing Local Government. For more       new name and logo is matched only by an exciting new program.
              information, please visit www.shiresconference.lgsa.org.au.
                                                                                  Still the only major event and regional promotional program of its
                                                                                  kind in NSW, the Expo continues to show city residents the work,
                                                                                  lifestyle and investment opportunities in country and regional NSW.
              Local Government Week 2009
                                                                                  The 2009 Country & Regional Living Expo will be the biggest yet,
              3 to 9 August
                                                                                  providing participating communities with tremendous exposure in
              Local Government Week provides a focus for councils to promote      the Sydney marketplace. The LGSA has been a long-time supporter
              the importance of Local Government to the community. This           of the Country and Regional Living Expo, and encourages councils
              year’s theme is Keeping it Local. Councils have an opportunity to   to consider promoting their community at the event.
              showcase their services, projects and programs to their community
              through events, activities and open days. To find out how to get    To be involved in this year’s exciting Country & Regional Living
              involved and some ideas for your Local Government Week, visit       Expo, contact Peter Bailey on 0428 724 790, 02 6771 5633 or via
              www.LGweek.lgsa.org.au.                                             e-mail peter.bailey@countryweek.com.au.



              Local Government Association of NSW Annual
              Conference 2009
              24 to 28 October

              Tamworth Regional Council will co-host the 2009 LGA Conference
              at the Tamworth Entertainment Centre. With the theme Tough
              Times, Smart Solutions, the 2009 conference will see over 600
              delegates from member councils as well as representatives of
              county councils. The LGA Conference is the annual policy-making
              event for the 74 member councils of the Local Government
              Association of NSW. For more information, please visit
              www.LGAconference.lgsa.org.au.




  22
                                                                                                       AWARDS WATCH




                                                                                                                                             Awards
                                                 WhAt’S
                                                 CoMInG
Local Government Week Awards Evening 2009                             AR Bluett Memorial Award 2009
5 August                                                              For 64 years the AR Bluett Memorial Award has each year
                                                                      recognised two councils that have achieved the greatest relative
Local Government Week will be launched at the Local
                                                                      progress in the State.
Government Week Awards Evening at Kirribilli Club, hosted
by North Sydney Council. This is a signature event in the             The AR Bluett Memorial Award was established in 1944 by the
Associations’ calendar with prestigious awards such as the            local government councils of New South Wales as a memorial to
RH Dougherty Awards for excellence in communication, Heart            Albert Robert Bluett who died in April of that year.
Foundation Local Government Awards, Youth Week Local
Government Awards and The Cancer Council NSW Local                    The coveted bronze plaques, suitably inscribed, are presented
Government Awards. 2009 Local Government Week and the                 each year to the councils that were considered to have made the
awards evening are proudly sponsored by Country Energy.               greatest relative progress during the previous year. One award is
                                                                      made to a council from the Local Government Association, and one
                                                                      to a council from the Shires Association

                                                                      The AR Bluett Memorial Award is recognised as the greatest
                                                                      accolade a council can achieve and the plaque is a source of pride
                                                                      not only to the members of the council and its officers, but also to
                                                                      the people of the area.

                                                                      Entries close on 31 July 2009. The AR Bluett Memorial Award 2009
Heart Foundation Local Government Awards 2009
                                                                      entry form is available to download from the LGSA website
These awards provide an opportunity for councils to celebrate their   www.lgsa.org.au.
achievements in improving heart health in Australian communities
and receive recognition for their commitment to creating healthier    For more information on the AR Bluett Memorial Award please
communities.                                                          contact the Chairman, John Flannery, on phone/fax 02 6573 3256,
                                                                      or email jflannery@hunterlink.net.au.
Initiatives that build a sense of community and encourage
people to be active, smoke free and make healthy food choices
are encouraged to enter. Community groups, schools, health and
community organisations and private industries that work with         RH Dougherty Awards 2009
councils are also encouraged to enter.
                                                                      The RH Dougherty Communication Awards recognise leading
Applications must either be from a council or have their approval.    practice in communication management in councils and encourage
Entries must be received by Friday 5 June. Check the Heart            greater understanding and accountability by councils to their local
Foundation website for more details, www.heartfoundation.org.au       communities.
or call 1300 36 27 87.
                                                                      Consultation and two-way communication between councils and
                                                                      their communities is a vital part of building a partnership between
                                                                      community and council, which Local Government recognises as
                                                                      highly important.

                                                                      The Awards have two sections: Reporting to your Community
                                                                      and Excellence in Communication and four categories within
                                                                      each ranging from populations of more than 100,000 to less than
                                                                      30,000, with a separate category for ROCs and county councils.

                                                                      Managed by the LGSA, the Awards are judged by leading experts in
                                                                      the communications field. Entries close Tuesday 9 June 2009.




                                                                                                                                               23
        PROFILE




     VAL SouTHAM:
     WASTE NoT, WANT NoT


     By Rowena Fairclough


     Having held the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Waste Management
     Association of Australia (WMAA) since 2001, and with 20 years’ total
     experience in the recycling and environmental industry, few are better placed
     than Val Southam to weigh in on the issue of Local Government and waste
     management.

     The NSW State Government’s recently released Waste                be able to service Local Government needs in this area and
     Avoidance and Resource Recovery Progress Report                   would have a level playing field in which to invest.”
     optimistically stated that NSW Municipal Recycling Targets,
     having increased from 30% in 2002-03 to 38% in 2006-07 are        Of course the global financial crisis is not helping, although
     “tracking well” towards 2014’s target of 66%; a claim which       Southam points out that while the impact is being felt on
     has been met with a certain amount of scepticism from a           the recycling side, it hasn’t had much of an effect on waste
     variety of interested parties, including WMAA.                    management.

     “The report would indicate to me that more investment into        “The recycling – especially metal recycling – where the focus
     resource recovery is needed and that focus on commercial          is specifically on materials and where the market prices have
     and industrial waste is also required to help meet future         dropped is surely being hurt, there’s no doubt.”
     targets,” said Val Southam, WMAA’s CEO.
                                                                       A further obstacle is the fact that a cohesive federal waste
     In Southam’s opinion, the key to meeting waste reduction
                                                                       management policy has even not existed until recently, and
     and recycling targets lies in infrastructure investment.
                                                                       in fact is still ensconced in the development process.
     “As it seems targets will not be met with current practices
                                                                       “Not having a standardised policy for waste management
     and infrastructure, then more AWT facilities that can extract
                                                                       makes it very difficult for multi-state members to deal with
     more recyclables from the residual waste stream are in the
     minds of many councils,” said Val Southam.                        it when everything’s done differently in each state. In terms
                                                                       of product stewardship, it has to be dealt with on a national
     “The high waste levies that are charged in NSW badly need         level. There’s no use in having state or local-based policies for
     to be hypothecated back to the industry. If, for example, these   things like that – it doesn’t work.”
     funds could be used to set up these facilities, purchase the
     required land and get the required approvals, industry would


24
                                                                                                                      PROFILE




On the subject of national policies, the Local Government             With a significant proportion of the WMAA’s membership
and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA) is currently                    comprised of Local Government representatives, Southam
lobbying for a national approach to container deposit                 says that encouraging their participation is a priority.
legislation, similar to that which currently exists in South
                                                                      “At the moment more than half of our members are Local
Australia. Surprisingly, Southam says that the WMAA has
                                                                      Government. We keep them up to date with our newsletters.
never discussed the prospect.
                                                                      They come to events, seminars, workshops and conferences
“I think among our members there would probably be a                  but they don’t tend to get as involved as the private sector.”
mixed view, so I don’t see it as something that we really need
                                                                      One way in which WMAA hopes to encourage more
to take a position on.”
                                                                      interaction with Local Government is through inviting a
Although the WMAA did not have any direct involvement                 representative onto the board.
in formulating the National Waste Policy: Managing Waste
                                                                      “This will ensure they can have their voice more closely
to 2020 which was released by Environment Minister Peter
                                                                      heard,” said Val Southam.
Garrett on April 7th, Southam is quietly optimistic about its
future impact on the industry.                                        With the recent election of a new President and Vice
                                                                      President, the issue of WMAA’s leadership and management
“I certainly think now that the Federal Government is going
                                                                      is front and centre for the Association. Prior to the
to have a national waste strategy, that it’s a positive step in the
                                                                      announcement of WMAA’s new executives, some speculated
right direction.”
                                                                      that the WMAA would soon take a more active leadership
The WMAA is also working on a feasibility study                       role in the waste management industry.
commissioned by the Department of the Environment,
Water, Heritage and the Arts which, explained Southam, will           “I certainly think now that
look into establishing a national mechanism for collecting,           the Federal Government is going
storing, collating and accessing data.
                                                                      to have a national waste strategy,
“In addition, WMAA conducts national annual surveys of
organics processors and landfills, the aggregated data from           that it’s a positive step in the
which will be made available to DEWHA to assist with policy           right direction.”
development.”
                                                                      While neither confirming nor denying conjectures about
The development of an official WMAA response to the                   the future of WMAA’s strategic direction, Southam said, “As
National Waste Policy will be a more lengthy process                  long as it’s carefully managed and everyone’s views are taken
however, given the organisation’s broad membership.                   into consideration, then we should be involved in the debate.
On occasion detractors have cited this somewhat unwieldy              There are things that we can agree on and those are the
membership as a weakness; while acknowledging the                     things that we should be looking for.”
criticism, Southam points out that the organisation has               Southam herself was quite surprised when in February
successfully developed policies and processes to deal with            WMAA moved to advertise her position as CEO,
the issue.                                                            but downplays it as a bureaucratic issue rather than a
“Any position we take as an organisation has to be at a very          management ‘clash’.
high level. But what we have tended to do is let the special          “I understand it arose from some directors having the view
interest areas themselves have a view of their own. If we don’t       that it was a requirement of good governance that CEO
have a collective view, we can give varying different views           contracts are not rolled over when they come to the end
based on the different sectors.”                                      of their term, but should be readvertised. I can say that
Writing for Inside Waste Weekly in October 2008, Southam              this issue has now been deferred, and my contract will be
touched on one of these policies. In the past some members            extended until the end of 2010.
had issued press releases or statements purporting to express         “With a 50 percent change in the make-up of the board this
the opinion of WMAA as a whole without prior approval                 year, my future with WMAA beyond then will depend on the
from the organisation.                                                views held by the majority of the new board members.”
“We’ve addressed that now so that all statements made in              Ultimately Southam believes that the most crucial factor is
the name of the Association come through myself or the                to maintain the financial viability of the Association so that it
President,” said Val Southam. “And then there’s a process             can offer value to members.
to go through to come to a position that they might then
espouse as ours.”                                                     “Because without members, we don’t have an Association.”


                                                                                                                                          25
     $
     LOCAL GOvERNMENT SuPER




     The
     markets
         and
        you

26
                                                                                     LOCAL GOvERNMENT SuPER




What’s
happened in
investment
markets?                                                               So what should
As you would already know, we are in the midst of a severe             investors in
                                                                       superannuation
downturn in domestic and international share markets.
This market downturn was triggered by the sub-prime

                                                                       do?
mortgage crisis in the US and has had massive flow-on
effects causing problems in the global banking and business
sectors and for many governments around the world. As a
result we now see many economies falling into recession.               Superannuation, for most investors, is a long-term
                                                                       investment and sticking to a well-diversified, quality
An important point to make is that the extent of the                   portfolio in line with your goals and risk profile remains
economic meltdown, which is now commonly referred                      the soundest long-term strategy. Whilst it may be tempting
to as the global financial crisis, was not foreseen by most            to become more defensive in these times and to reduce
financial commentators and analysts. It is fair to say                 exposure to growth assets (e.g. by moving investments to
that even when the economy and investment markets                      cash), such a strategy is unlikely to meet most investors’
are relatively stable it is difficult to forecast the returns          long-term targets.
that members will receive in superannuation. With the
unprecedented events that have occurred it has become                  History has also shown that investors who change asset
impossible to predict when an economic recovery might                  allocation based on guesswork about whether the market
take place and therefore when investment returns                       is rising or falling (i.e. timing the market) rarely succeed.
might improve.                                                         That’s because they often crystallise losses by selling when
                                                                       asset prices are low and rejoin the market after asset prices
It should be noted, however, that Governments and                      have already begun their recovery.
regulators here and abroad are engaging in substantial
stimulus measures. The Australian Government some time                 If you are concerned about your super investments or
ago announced a further stimulus package which may assist              believe that they don’t meet your long-term goals it is
investment and employment. On the same day the Reserve                 important to consult a financial planner. Members of Local
Bank of Australia announced a 1% reduction in the cash                 Government Super have access to a financial planning
rate to 3.25% and it is hoped that this will also stimulate the        service at no additional cost through FuturePlus Financial
economy. The Reserve Bank has since reduced the cash rate              Services Pty Limited.
even further to 3%.
                                                                       If you would like to speak to a FuturePlus financial planner


                                                                                    1300 883 788
While investment performance was better in the March                   please call
quarter than in many previous quarters no one can be sure
that this represents a sustained turning in the market’s
fortunes. There are some promising signs, one example
being the degree of international unity and cooperation
displayed at the recent G20 conference in London, but the
basic causes of the global financial crisis remain very much
alive and no one can predict when they might be resolved.


Please note that the information contained in this document is of a general nature only and is not for personal advice and has not taken
into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Any advice in this document is provided by FuturePlus Financial
Services Pty Limited (ABN 90 080 972 630) as an Australian Financial Services Licensee (AFSL 238445) on behalf of the Trustee of
the Local Government Superannuation Scheme, LGSS Pty Limited (ABN 68 078 003 497). LGSS Pty Limited is an APRA Registrable
Superannuation Entity Licensee (RSEL: L0001243). Local Government Superannuation Scheme is a Registered Superannuation Entity
(Pool A - ABN 74 925 979 278 and Pool B - ABN 28 901 371 321). Members should not rely solely on this information and should
consider their own personal objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on this information. Prior to making any decision you
should obtain and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) pertaining to your Scheme membership.


                                                                                                                                            27
       COuNCIL IN PROFILE




     upSkillinG in
                                                                   of school-aged people through to the ageing workforce,
                                                                   addressing key skills shortage areas and relying on the




     the buSh
                                                                   collaboration of numerous local partners. The GLP
                                                                   partners – Gwydir Shire Council, TAFE New England,
                                                                   Warialda High School, Bingara Central School, University
                                                                   of New England, Bingara Community College and
                                                                   Community College Northern Inland – provide a wide
     helpinG rural CommunitieS thrive                              variety of training opportunities to the residents of Gwydir
                                                                   Shire which may not otherwise be available to residents of a
     By Meredith Downes                                            small rural area.

                                                                   At the core of the GLP are school-based traineeships
     Skills shortages in remote areas                              which Rod Smith, Gwydir Shire Council’s Training and
                                                                   Development Manager, believes is backbone to reducing
     are a key issue councils must                                 the problem of the skills shortages in the local area.
     overcome to ensure the ongoing
                                                                   “We see school-based traineeships as a way of giving
     growth of local business and trade.
                                                                   students more career choices and a meaningful experience
     With many councils in such areas                              in the workplace while they are still full time students,”
     faced with difficulties caused by                             he says.
     little or no access to educational                            “The school-based aspect of the GLP encourages local
     institutions, alternate methods                               young people, who would probably have left school at
     of skill development and training                             or before year 10, to complete their HSC, because their
     must be established. Traineeships                             enjoyment of the practical work they are involved in
                                                                   motivates them to continue school.”
     and apprenticeships are a practical
     and financially viable method of                              Gwydir Shire Council has overseen a variety of traineeship
     developing skills amongst local                               certificates ranging from children’s services to commercial
                                                                   cookery, and has even designed the program so it can be
     community members of all ages. Here                           used to fill specific needs in the community.
     we profile Moree and Gwydir Shire
     Councils, two rural councils who have                         “There was a substantial need to improve the number
                                                                   of aged care nurses in the community so, through
     developed ways to overcome their                              collaboration with Warialda High School, a provider of
     increasing skills shortages.                                  aged care nursing training was sourced,” says Smith. “There
                                                                   were a number of full-time students who enrolled in the
     Gwydir Shire CounCil                                          course, as well as some people who were a little older. With
                                                                   around 45-50 graduates from this program, all completing
     FoSTERING oNGoING LEARNING                                    a Certificate 3 in Aged Care Nursing, we were able to fill
     When Gwydir Shire Council was formed through the              the gap in aged care providers in the local area.”
     amalgamation of Yallaroi Shire and Bingara Shire and parts    The program, of course, has had to overcome several
     of Barraba Shire in March 2004, 71 percent of the council     issues, mainly based around participants opting-out and
     employees had no formal qualifications at all. This high      integrating young people into an older workforce. To
     proportion of unskilled employees was a direct reflection     overcome these, Gwydir Council ensures it maintains a
     of the skills shortage throughout the entire Gwydir Shire.    close relationship with local schools, meeting regularly with
     Through a well-designed training program, this statistic      traineeship coordinators to identify and establish methods
     has been lowered to 7 percent and, in August 2008,            to sort out any problems.
     Gwydir Shire Council signed up its 100th trainee since the
     amalgamation.                                                 “With any program of this kind there will always be
                                                                   challenges to overcome,” says Smith. “However, the
     The driving force behind this massive increase in skilled     commitment and enthusiasm of the people who want
     workers throughout the Shire is the Gwydir Learning           to make the program work helps to overcome these
     Program (GLP). Formed to tackle the skills shortages,         challenges. The achievements of the program are testament
     the GLP commenced in 2000 and is a training program           to the hard work of those involved and we are already
     developed specifically for the needs of the local area. The   reaping the benefits to the local community.”.”
     GLP encompasses the training and development needs


28
                                                                                             COuNCIL IN PROFILE




moree plainS Shire CounCil                                        their qualifications. Council increasingly requires more
                                                                  qualifications for higher positions which further drives
ATTRACTING THE BEST                                               the demand for upskilling amongst staff in order to gain
                                                                  promotions.
Despite recession-related job shortages, Moree Shire Council
is in an unusual position of having quality jobs available,       “In addition this has had positive intergeneration effects
but an inability to attract and employ skilled people. This       where for example outdoor employees have gained computer
problem is causing council, and many other local businesses       literacy via their studies and now welcome technology into
that would otherwise flourish, to limit their growth potential.   their own homes where once they feared it.”
However, the problem is gradually being overcome through
a major drive for Moree residents of all ages to participate in   “Aside from raising the standard of skills levels and
traineeship or apprenticeship programs.                           qualifications within Moree Council, there are also more
                                                                  and more people interested in working for council, because
Using government funded traineeship grants, Moree                 they know that they will be trained and develop their
Council has become a success story for local businesses and       skills further when working for us. In addition, use of
other councils facing skills shortage problems. At no cost        traineeships has been a great way to enable the engagement
to local ratepayers, over 50% of the council workforce have       of early school leavers. Aboriginal youth for example
completed a level of traineeship since 2002; establishing a       are over-represented in this group. Internal training and
quality control mechanism and requiring the majority of           development provides upward movement throughout
staff members to hold at least a Certificate 3 qualification.     Council ranks. Income wise Moree Council has been able
                                                                  to secure income from sources such large RTA contracts”.
Moree Council’s Human Resource Manager, Debby Baxter-
Tomkins believes the benefits to Moree Council as an              President of the Shires Association Cr Bruce Miller said
employer are endless. “By using the government funded             that building the quantity and quality of skills in rural and
programs, we have developed people to a Certificate 3             isolated communities was a vital step in helping to build
or 4 level and we have opened the doors for more skilled          their local economy.
employees to be working for council,” she says.
                                                                  “Both Moree and Gwydir Shire Councils have gone onto
“In addition to our new entry and existing work                   the front foot to make sure that they have identified areas
traineeships we also run school-based traineeships in areas       of skills shortages and put training programs in place to
where we predict there will be needs for skilled workers          prevent long term shortages of skilled workers,” he said.
in the future. For example the Moree day care centre was
previously operating at a loss, and struggling to provide         “The benefits of these programs will be seen for many years
skilled child care workers. However, thanks to the council        to come.”
run traineeship and develop programs to increase the              For more information about apprenticeships, traineeships
number of skilled child care workers, the centre is now           and incentives that councils and businesses may attract,
profitable and has a waiting list!”                               contact Australian Business Limited Apprenticeships
To drive interest amongst the Moree youth about careers           Centre on 1300 652 236, info@ablac.com.au or visit
in Local Government, Moree Council work closely with              www.ablac.com.au.
local schools, creating interest and knowledge about the          You could also investigate the Australian Government
types of careers available. Initiatives such as linking the       apprenticeships program at
council’s online careers information details with school          www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au or the DET NSW
homepages, operating a ‘youth council’ and inviting year          Guide to Apprenticeships and Traineeships in NSW at
8 students to visit council for a day annually, have fuelled      www.apprenticeship.det.nsw.edu.au.
the transition of younger Moree residents from school into
council-based careers.                                            The LGSA works with rural councils to help them
                                                                  with their recruitment and employment needs. LGSA
A constant witness to the traineeship success stories,            Employment Solutions provides expert advice and services
Baxter-Tomkins has seen many people strive to increase            to help councils recruit and performance manage their
their skills and qualifications even further after completing     senior staff. The service, which is designed with Local
their first traineeship.                                          Government specifically in mind, also provides products to
“Many people who thought they would never hold any                help councils with remuneration surveys, climate surveys
qualifications are so impressed with the training and their       and organisation reviews.”
new qualifications that they don’t want to stop at just
one. There are clear reasons for council staff to add to

For more information on Local Government Employment Solutions go to www.lgsa.org.au/employment.

                                                                                                                                  29
        LGSA CuLTuRAL AWARDS




     Creative council PRoJECtS shine
      Seventeen councils were recognised for their commitment to
      arts and culture at the 2009 Local Government Cultural Awards ceremony.

      Winning projects this year included a stained glass window      Further winners are as follows:
      mural capturing Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, a book
                                                                      Accessible Arts
      detailing the personal experiences of migrants, a series of
                                                                      In partnership with Accessible Arts NSW this award
      tapestry panels, and a theatrical performance dealing with
                                                                      recognises cultural activity for people with a disability.
      the 2005 Cronulla Riots.
                                                                      WINNER Great Lakes Council:
      The annual awards, organised by LGSA and sponsored by           Can Do Performance Group: Peregrine
      Country Energy, promote and showcase cultural activities        Peregrine, a contemporary piece of theatre exploring
      and projects developed by councils during the year.             notions of individuality, group mentality and personal
                                                                      treasures was performed to celebrate International Day of
      Most award categories are divided into three divisions based
                                                                      People with Disability. Set in a 1946 train station this non-
      on a council’s population: Division A (less than 20,000);
                                                                      narrative play tightly follows a sound score consisting of a
      B (between 20,000 and 60,000); and C (over 60,000).
                                                                      mix of 1940s, contemporary music and sound effects.
      This year the People’s Choice Award increased in
                                                                      The Brendan Hartnett Award
      popularity, with Urana Shire Council taking out the award
                                                                      Recognising distinguished efforts fostering and furthering
      for a Madame Butterfly in Morundah.
                                                                      community cultural development by an employee of Local
      The performance by Oz Opera of “Puccini’s” Madame               Government.
      Butterfly at the Paradise Palladium Theatre was incredibly      WINNER Parramatta City Council: Andrew Overton
      popular with their local community, who flooded the             Andrew is a longstanding arts and cultural advocate for
      cultural awards web site with votes in the lead up to the       Parramatta and has been responsible for the development
      Awards night.                                                   and implementation of major policy, using a whole-of-
                                                                      council approach. His influential work has encompassed a
                                                                      variety of roles across arts programming and management,
                                                                      including strategy development, direct facility
                                                                      management, community cultural development initiatives
                                                                      and cultural planning.

                                                                      Aboriginal Cultural Development
                                                                      Recognising cultural planning processes and initiatives
                                                                      demonstrating Aboriginal control and participation and
                                                                      resulting in long term benefits for Aboriginal arts.
                                                                      WINNER Division A – Cootamundra Shire Council:
                                                                      Wiradjuri Windows The project involved various artists
                                                                      who designed stained glass windows based on Ngarradan,
                                                                      the original dreamtime creation story of Cootamundra. The
                                                                      windows have been installed in the Cootamundra Town Hall
                                                                      and were officially launched in November 2008.
                                                                      WINNER Division B – Wollondilly Shire Council:
                                                                      Wollondilly Australia Day 2009: Aboriginal Welcome
                                                                      to Our Land For their 2009 Australia Day celebrations,
                                                                      the Wollondilly Aboriginal Advisory Committee held a
                                                                      traditional ceremonial performance, and created a traditional
      Held over two nights in the pupose built Paradise               ceremonial meeting circle from the natural resources of the
      Palladium Theatre, with over 700 people attending, the          land – sand and ochres.
      opera brought high class arts and culture to rural NSW.         WINNER Division C – Newcastle City Council: Past
      The project involved community members ranging from 5           Present Future 5 This Aboriginal youth arts program was
      years old to 75. Evolving over the past three years the event   held in partnership with the local Aboriginal community and
      has brought economic and social changes to the village of       featured Aboriginal heritage site visits and cultural camps,
      Morundah, ensuring its sustainability and even effecting        as well as a strong workshop and presentation program in
      improvements to village infrastructure.                         music, visual arts and traditional Aboriginal art forms.


30
                                                                                           LGSA CuLTuRAL AWARDS




atj    CULtURAL
      Cultural Infrastructure
                                      AWARdS night                     HIGHLy COMMENDED Division C – Hurstville City
      For a cultural facility that meets community cultural needs      Council: Hurstville City Library, Museum and Gallery:
      and represents local cultural identity in design elements.       Celebrating Diversity Hurstville City Library, Museum
      WINNER Division A – Cootamundra Shire Council:                   and Gallery collaborated on a strategic program of
      Artist Playing Field – An Exhibition and Performing              inspiring events, innovative exhibitions, and technological
      Arts Rehearsal Space – Cootamundra Arts Centre                   tools to engage their diverse communities.
      From derelict to fully functional, the Cootamundra Arts
                                                                       Programs Projects and Partnerships
      Centre has added an Exhibition and Performing Arts
                                                                       For councils who show Leadership in developing,
      Rehearsal Space, associated reception, office and catering
                                                                       undertaking or commissioning cultural programs, projects
      facilities.
                                                                       and partnerships addressing community needs and helping
      WINNER Division B – Queanbeyan City Council: ‘The
                                                                       express community identity.
      Q’: Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre
                                                                       WINNER Division A – Oberon Council: Oberon
      The Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre boasts a
                                                                       Terazzo Tapestries This project captured the imagination
      magnificent foyer, comfortably holding over 350 people and
                                                                       of both young and older members of the Oberon
      leads into ‘The Q’ Theatre and Exhibition Spaces, bar, cafe
                                                                       community as they came together and created the eight
      and lounge areas.
                                                                       Terrazzo panels to lay in the rotunda at the Oberon
      WINNER Division C – Hawkesbury City Council:
                                                                       Common.
      Hawkesbury Regional Museum The Museum is situated
                                                                       WINNER Division B – Ashfield Municipal Council:
      on one of the oldest land grants in Australia, and its
                                                                       Ashfield youth Centre The Ashfield Youth Theatre is for
      completion this year is the continuation of a process
                                                                       young people to get involved in productions, develop new
      which began in 1956, with the formation of Hawkesbury
                                                                       skills and enjoy hanging with other like-minded creative
      Historical Society.
                                                                       young people.
      Integrated Cultural Policy Implementation                        WINNER Division C – Bankstown City Council:
      Awarded to councils for developing, implementing and             Stories of Love and Hate This theatrical production
      evaluating strategic cultural planning.                          reveals the lives and loves of people directly affected by the
      WINNER Division B – Camden Council: Camden’s                     2005 Cronulla riots and was created in partnership with
      Cultural Plan 2008-2013: ‘Cultivating Creativity in              Bankstown City Council, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and
      Camden’ This comprehensive yet straightforward plan              Arts Centre and Sutherland Shire Council.
      was prepared in consultation with the community for the          WINNER Division C – Hurstville City Council: Lost
      cultural wellbeing and growth of the Camden Community.           Toy Story This multi-media interactive arts festival was
      WINNER Division C – Penrith City Council: Creative               held in the Hurstville CBD and explored real stories of
      Community Engagement in Kingswood Park                           lost toys, hopes, friends and fears across generations and
      Penrith has collaborated with local residents, artists and       cultures.
      local service providers in the renewal of Kingswood Park,        HIGHLy COMMENDED Division C – Blacktown City
      an established neighbourhood identified as experiencing          Council: Bent Western This exhibition surveyed the work
      relative social disadvantage.                                    of homosexual Australian artists who made important
                                                                       contributions to gay cultures in the Western Sydney region
      Library and Information Services
                                                                       and beyond. It acknowledged how Western Sydney is
      Leadership by a local or regional public library in any of the
                                                                       marked by broader notions of multicultural difference
      following areas: exemplary co-operation and networking,
                                                                       and change.
      strategic planning, management or cultural programming.
      HIGHLy COMMENDED Division B – Kogarah
                                                                       For full details about council projects, please visit the 2009
      Shire Council: Connecting Community and Culture:
                                                                       Cultural Awards website, www.2009culturalawards.lgsa.org.au
      Libraries in Action The project connected people
      from different age groups, socio-economic and cultural
      backgrounds through planned community and cultural
      events, workshops and exhibitions.
      WINNER Division C – Randwick City Council:
      A Migrant’s Story This project provided a unique
      opportunity for children and older migrants to interact,
      form lasting relationships and experience life from
      another’s point of view.


                                                                                                                                        31
Derrick Hines (left) with Bruce Miller,
President of the Shires Association of NSW.




Both these locals
help power the community.
Like all Country Energy people, our Account Manager in Cowra, Derrick Hines, understands the energy it takes
to run a business. Like many of our people, Derrick has been with us for decades – 42 years in fact, gaining a
wealth of technical expertise and practical knowledge that helps him offer tailored, valuable energy management
solutions. Our people put all their energy into meeting our customers’ needs, which is why we have a higher
proportion of very satisfied customers than any other energy retailer
(Utility Market Intelligence 2009). To call on our years of experience,
simply call 13 23 57 or email us at business@countryenergy.com.au