For so many of us, summer in Australia is all about the beach, but for anyone who's a bit unstable on their feet, pushing a stroller, or reliant on a wheelchair, soft sand represents a very real barrier. But in true local government style, Hobson Bay City Council has a solution that serves the needs of the community. Blue matting has been laid at Williamstown and Altona beaches to make it easier for people to reach the water's edge, and a 'mobi-chair' that floats in the water can be booked on weekends.
Local government exists to support local communities.
Call it social cohesion, social inclusiveness, community engagement, fund raising, advertising or pure celebration, this video, created in Taranaki, New Zealand, is a fabulous affirmation of the region's communities, industries, cultures and natural wonders.
If you're quick, you'll see ex PM John Key and SOLGM President Barbara McKerrow in the mix. And to top it all off, Lonely Planet has just voted Taranaki the 2nd best place in the world to visit.
Given the long-running finacial pressure on the UK LG sector, Mark also has some hard-won insights for us on managing funding system changes: as money begins to tighten, right at the outset, it is essential to track the impact on service delivery and different segments of the community, particularly on the most vulnerable members. 'That way you will better understand where to target subsequent cuts in services.'
'Especially in times of shrinking budgets and heightened expectations, leaders need to focus on what we’re trying to achieve, what the organisation is for, what the priorities are, and what outcomes are important.'
According to Mark, the biggest practical challenges facing the UK in the post-Brexit era are housing shortages – with the question of whether, and, or how, local governments should be getting involved – and community engagement.
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. Those who start with ambition and purpose can often work their way to the top of an organisation, however, single-minded focus is not the only path to success. 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 about – 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.
While the echoed verse coming from many media outlets across the country suggests Australians are getting more and more uneasy with Muslim immigration, the Scanlon Foundation Report – launched on November 21 – shows Australian attitudes on immigration have remained stable over the last six years. What is changing – for the worse – is belief in our political system, our trust in politicions and our sense of personal safety.
Professor Andrew Markus discussed the unusual first-term election losses – in Victoria and Queensland –, the rise of independents, and an inability to legislate on matters that have high levels of community support, as well as respondents increasing belief that major change was needed in our political system.
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