by Mark Evans, Director, Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis
Donald Trump’s presidential victory has given rise to a global democratic paradox. For the growing number of citizens worldwide who feel increasingly disconnected from their democracy and are victims of the hard edges of globalisation, the Trump victory demonstrates that it is possible to challenge the established political order through democratic politics and win. For democrats committed to social, economic and political participation, Trump himself symbolises the very anti-thesis of democratic politics. Trump is a divisive figure – an authoritarian populist who draws his support by creating a politics based on fear and hate for fellow Americans. The lessons from history are clear; if we allow the politics of fear and hate to catch fire it will not end well.
by Associate Professor Roberta Ryan (photo on the right), Director & SallyAnn Hunting (photo on the left), Associate Director, UTS Centre for Local Government, UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance.
What’s the best way forward for councils when they are expected to do more with less? With pressure to drive efficiencies and economies, often with constrained income levels, councils need to be creative about how to simultaneously achieve savings and improved service levels. State government policies across Australia have been focusing on council amalgamations, however two sets of councils in North West Tasmania have been able to demonstrate efficiencies and increased strategic capacity through resource sharing.
Yesterday we held our first Showcase at Old Parliament House in Canberra, to talk about the City Deal policy, how local government can collaborate with other levels of government to maximise outcomes for communities. Members of the LG Professionals Australia Board, other local government professionals, respected academics and representatives of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet all attended to discuss the City Deals policy, get a better understanding of the transferable learning from the UK and the Australian deals currently in negotiation, and discuss frameworks that can make City Deals successful.
Many aspects of the policy, such as deal negotiation, the social aspects and impacts, the decision-making nexus within Australia's federated system of government, how to engage the community, and how to translate the policy vision into procedures and processes that live up to that potential were covered. Over the next few weeks, we will deciminate as much of the thinking, content and subsequent analysis as possible. Keep an eye on the Resource Hub for more.
Lastly, let me say what a great opportunity this was to come together to make the most of the expertise within our sector so that local government can participate in the rollout of City Deals effectively. Thanks also to Professors Gerry Stoker, Mark Evans and Graham Sansom, who offered insightful analysis of the UK experience and a way forward, while still managing to be both witty and realistic.
Lauren Oakey, CEO LG Professionals Australia, Ricki Bruhn, CEO City of Palmerton NT, and Deputy President of LG Professionals Australia, Professor Gerry Stoker, Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis and University of Southampton, and Professor Mark Evans, Director of the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis.
by M Mizanur Rahman, International Programs Manager, LG Professionals Australia
LG Professionals Australia runs its International Mentor Program (IMP) in Nepal and in two different locations in Cambodia, with the aim of building leadership skills in these countries’ young people. With the economy changing so quickly, this generation needs education and learning opportunities more than any other before it – and the young people are particularly cognisant of this reality.
Photo: LG Professionals Australia's International Programs Manager, Mizan Rahman, Hirikaji Maharjan, the International Mentor Program Manager in Nepal, and Jay Ram, who was the previous International Program Manager outside the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu, November, 2016.
This month, a delegation from LG Professionals Australia visited Kathmandu in Nepal to run the final review and evaluation workshop with the participants of the 2016 International Mentor Program. They also took the opportunity to meet with staff at the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu, as well as with MuAN, the Municipal Association of Nepal in efforts to ensure LG Professionals Australia is working in unison with other arms of Australian government and with our local government counterparts in Nepal.
New program director, Dr Shayne Silcox said "The meeting went very well and we opened the door to Australian Embassy in Nepal understanding what LG Professionals Australia can offer and are doing with the international mentoring program (IMP) where Australian mentors volunteer their time in support of Nepally mentees undertaking projects within their communities. The program has been led by the retiring program director Mr Ken Wallis who was instrumental in its development. The program is currently in its fifth year.
Have you been thinking about the people of North Canterbury and how to help in the wake of the devastating earthquake? Here's a local government response to be proud of – Lismore City Council, in the Northern Rivers Region of NSW, raised $554.90 to help out by joining the NZ Red and Black Staff Mufti day. That's Gary Murphy, Lismore's GM in the cap.
This great initiative is thanks to Barbara McKerrow, President of SOLGM and Chief Executive of New Plymouth District Council. Councils around New Zealand held a Red and Black Staff Mufti day today to raise money for the earthquake recovery effort.. Staff dressed up in Red and Black and made donations to the Kaikoura District Council EarthQuake Relief Fund.
Recently our partner, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) conducted a survey in the US together with the Smart Cities Council to learn more about the priorities and activities of U.S. local governments related to smart-city technologies.
The Smart Cities Council defines smart cities as communities that use information and communication technology to enhance liveability, workability, and sustainability. Here are some of the findings:
According to Cameron Parsell, from the University of Queensland, over a 12-month period, people who were chronically homeless used state government funded services that cost approximately A$48,217 each . . . Compared to the cost of providing emergency health and criminal services to people without housing, investing in permanent supportive housing constitutes a cost offset. (The Conversation, 26/10/2016)
Central Coast Council has a homelessness problem. According to Council spokesperson, Kylie Frazer, the three main drivers of homelessness or risk of homelessness are:
Now, the council is leasing land to the Tiny Homes Foundation to create a pilot providing homes to the homeless. The Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing socially, environmentally and economically sustainable housing solutions with a focus on housing for people experiencing homelessness.
Could similar projects offer alternative housing and education/employment solutions to Australia’s housing affordability and homelessness crisis in other LGAs? Providing people with a sense of purpose, a place of security and an opportunity to help themselves and others could make a big difference in many of our communities, and also boost local government's contribution in saving state funds!
The pilot program, to be constructed next to Gosford Hospital, will be made up of 4 very small homes, a common lounge, laundry and workshop and community vegetable gardens. Each 14 square metre home costs less than $30,000 to assemble and includes a bathroom and kitchen, and has a solar efficient design.
Local governments – in Australia and around the world – are facing budget restraints at exactly the same time expectations and need are ratcheting skywards. With the Turnbull Government focusing on digital services and smart cities, and attaching much new funding to technology, innovative and collaborative projects, it is essential for leaders across our sector to find new ways and platforms to deliver the important programs our communities are calling out for.
Congress 2017 will be a great opportunity to find out more about LG innovators, as well as cross sector and cross discipline collaborations incorporating tech and small cutting edge companies doing things differently, and focusing on outcomes rather than processes.
In preparation, the following article on collaborations between startups and the public service, says 'process is what is stifling the creative process which is messy and uncharted but leads to new ways of tackling problems'.
Dennis Hovenden, CEO, Frankston City Council, LG Professionals Australia Director, and ICMA Executive Board member was recently interviewed at the ICMA Conference in Kansas City by online engagement specialists, OurSay.
Presenting is not my favourite thing to do. Really. But if you want to get something done, you usually need to get other people on board, and almost always, that means standing up and telling your story. Which brings me back to how to tackle something that doesn't come naturally . . .
Good Practice in Local Government – and great insights from the Australian recipient of the LG Professionals Australia International Exchange
by Anneka Ferguson, Dorset Council, Tasmania
Transparency… For some reason this is not something local government has been very good at in the past. But transparency in local government is critical for building trust in our communities, for facilitating well-informed decision-making, and for providing accountability amongst both our elected members and employed operational staff. Coconino County in Arizona, USA, have been actively working towards improved communications and more open practices that allow their community to actively participate and engage with local government.
This video shows some fantastic examples of the ethos of this local government organisation, demonstrating their passion to create better communities, and to support and change lives.
The Corkman Irish Hotel was demolished by a developer without a permit.
Photo credit: ABC News – Gloria Kalache
In October a developer demolished the Corkman Irish Pub in Carlton without the appropriate planning permits. Suddenly Melbourne sat up and took notice. Within hours the story was front page news in the media – both traditional and social – with reactions from the Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne, the Minister for Planning, the Opposition planning spokesperson, a heritage experts, the president of Melbourne Heritage Action, two local government candidates, and Melbourne University students who frequented the pub, while an online petition was created on Change.org.
When waste materials containing asbestos from the site were found dumped in Cairnlea, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. A large fine was issued, and calls were made to have the developer restore the building, and for the planning laws to be changed to allow penalties that act as a clear deterrence. That's the thing! Several town planners have told me that the property boom has embedded such huge profits into many developments that the fines for acting outside the planning regulations are simply factored into the cost of doing business. As an example of this, an expert quoted in The Age said that the site's value doubled by removing the existing structure. In that case, a fine alone is not much deterrent for an unethical developer. With the focus the Corkman has brought to planning, it will be fascinating to see what policy changes will be implemented.
Cale Dendle is Director of Corporate and Community Services at Gladstone Regional Council. He has also served as a Director for LG Professionals Australia for the last three and a half years. I spoke to him at our recent Canberra Showcase where our Board met with representatives of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, other local government CEOs, and academics from the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis to discuss the Federal Government's City Deals policy.
What’s the saying? Something along the lines of, some people are born leaders, and others have leadership thrust upon them…. Okay, so I’ve taken some liberties with the wording, but the message holds true. Ambition, purpose and drive can bring an individual to the top of an organisation, however, that is not the only path to success and a senior position. And the message to be gleaned from Cale Dendle’s story, for both young professionals and senior mentors in local government is that with an open mind and a willingness to move forward – coupled with guidance and the right support – it is very possible to turn an entry level job at a local council into a long-term contribution, a fulfilling career, and a position of leadership.
CEO, LG Professionals Australia.