Nov 17, 2008

National recognition for Australia’s best local councils

National recognition for Australia’s best local councils

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

November 17 2008

Tonight at a function to welcome over 400 of the nation’s mayors and shire presidents to Canberra for the inaugural meeting of the Australian Council of Local Government, the winners of the prestigious National Awards for Local Government were announced.

The Awards – now in their twenty-second year – have helped drive improvements and resourcefulness among the nation’s 565 councils and shires, with the winners becoming important examples to those aspiring to change.

I congratulate the national winners. They are among the best in their field, setting the benchmark for innovation and excellence in the delivery of services people rely on everyday.

The winners have shown leadership across a diverse range of activities including environmental management, youth services, local action on climate change and support for the tourism industry. They are:

  • NATIONAL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: The Cities of Armadale & Gosnells and Serpentine-Jarrahdale Shire, WA;
  • NATIONAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE: Clarence Valley Council, NSW;
  • NATIONAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE (for a small council with fewer than 15,000 ratepayers): Murray Shire Council, NSW;
  • NATIONAL AWARD FOR INNOVATION: Brisbane City Council, QLD;
  • NATIONAL AWARD FOR INNOVATION (for a small council with fewer than 15,000 ratepayers): The Rural City of Murray Bridge, SA;
  • NATIONAL AWARD FOR MERIT: Clarence Valley Council, NSW.

I would also like to congratulate the 15 Commendation and the 13 Category winners.

Strong communities need good local government and the projects recognised tonight are models which other councils and shires should consider adapting to their local circumstances.

Over 114 entries were received across the Awards 10 categories. For more information about the Awards go to: www.infrastructure.gov.au/local/awards.

Details of the winners are attached.

NATIONAL AWARDS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT

2008 National Award winners

NATIONAL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: The Cities of Armadale & Gosnells and Serpentine-Jarrahdale Shire, WA

Project: Switch your thinking! Program

The Cities of Armadale and Gosnells and the Serpentine Jarrahdale Shire are working together as the South East Regional Energy Group (SEREG) to develop partnerships with business, industry and residents, to encourage energy efficient, waterwise and wastewise behaviour, with the goal of reducing regional greenhouse gas emissions.

The switch your thinking! (syt!) brand was developed to deliver ‘sustainability’ initiatives to their communities under a recognisable and consistent brand.

The syt! program was launched in June 2002 and aimed to reduce regional greenhouse emissions by 15% by the year 2010.

Since the program’s inception it has helped to reduce greenhouse emissions by over 250,000 tonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide – the equivalent of taking some 50,000 cars of the road for an entire year.

NATIONAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE: Clarence Valley Council, NSW

Project: The Clarence Floodplain project- Reviving Floodplain Watercourses and Wetlands

The Clarence Floodplain Project (CFP) is a model project under the Clarence Valley Sustainability Initiative.

Over many years extensive drainage systems were dug to protect communities from the impact of floods. Whilst bringing many benefits, a combination of drainage and blockage of natural creek systems has resulted in poor water quality, fish kills, acid problems and the complete loss or over-drainage of extensive wetlands.

A CFP committee was established by Council and includes state agencies responsible for natural resource management, representatives from Clarence sugar, fishing and grazing industries and aboriginal, conservation and Landcare representatives.

Under the CFP more than 70 floodplain watercourses and wetlands have been ‘revived’ and has resulted in the revival of important wetlands and around 200km of floodgated waterways.

NATIONAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE (FOR A SMALL COUNCIL WITH FEWER THAN 15,000 RATEPAYERS): Murray Shire Council, NSW

Project: The Long Paddock Cobb Highway Touring Route

The Long Paddock Cobb Highway Touring Route covers 610km of the Cobb Highway, stretching between Moama and Wilcannia, telling the story of its drovers, its history and its people. It incorporates many different elements such as tourism, culture and heritage.

In 1999, the five local governments of Murray, Deniliquin, Conargo, Hay and Central Darling formed the Long Paddock Committee. With the region facing challenges such as drought, economic hardship and a decline in population it was decided to develop a robust tourism industry through the Long Paddock Cobb Highway route.

A broader working group including local indigenous groups, community organisations, and local schools supports the Long Paddock Committee and provides expertise in the development of the project.

The Long Paddock is now a nationally recognised touring route and is the first themed touring route recognised by the Road Transport Authority in NSW.

NATIONAL AWARD FOR INNOVATION: Brisbane City Council, QLD

Project: Stylin Up- Brisbane City Council 2026 Youth Visionary Project

Stylin’ Up is an Indigenous owned cultural program, an initiative of Brisbane City Council (BCC) and the Indigenous community of Inala which has been nurtured and developed by the Stylin’Up Community Crew consisting of elders, community leaders and government representatives.

Stylin’Up organises music and dance skills development workshops and an event to showcase contemporary music. The focus of Stylin’Up is on youth wellness through an active and participatory program with an emphasis on increasing skills in music, dance, writing, event staging, production or sport.

Over the past 8 years Stylin’Up has grown to become Australia’s largest Indigenous Hip-Hop and R&B music and dance event and a nationally significant contemporary Indigenous creative arts development program.

NATIONAL AWARD FOR INNOVATION (FOR A SMALL COUNCIL WITH FEWER THAN 15,000 RATEPAYERS)

First joint winner: The Rural City of Murray Bridge, SA (Joint winner)

Project: Youth led Rescue

The Youth Led Rescue project showcased council’s commitment to work with the youth in the community. The project actively engaged them while providing valuable and accredited skills.

The rescue and restoration of the heritage listed and iconic Murray Bridge Railway Station Refreshment Rooms were used to establish a ‘youth hub’ which encouraged active participation of youth in their communities, fostered leadership, helped young people achieve their potential, improved the profile of and access to services for youth and recognised their contribution to the community.

This youth-led project has changed the landscape of youth services in the region through engaging, enabling and empowering youth to be part of the local solution.

Second joint winner: The Rural City of Murray Bridge, SA

Project: Murraylands Community of Youth Services

The Murraylands Community of Youth Services project was developed and implemented to help address the needs of youth in the area dealing with issues such as primary and mental health, drug and alcohol dependency and social recovery.

The Murraylands Community of Youth Services was developed as a coordinated, collaborative and holistic service by more than 20 service providers in the Murraylands to provide services through centralised management, co-location, common client management systems and outreach services with the establishment of a youth centre that acts as a centralised hub.

The sustainability of the project is supported by community awareness campaigns and community education programs that focus on early identification and intervention in youth health and wellbeing issues.

NATIONAL AWARD FOR MERIT: Clarence Valley Council, NSW

Project: Clarence Valley Youth Summer Events Program

The Program was designed by young people to provide low cost or no cost activities over the summer school holiday period.

Young people plan, organise and run the program and performances such as; Spaghetti Circus workshops; music production, and surf clinics.

The Youth Committee’s adopt the principles of social inclusion and accessibility to underpin the program. Indigenous youth and those with a disability are also encouraged to participate, transport is free and activities cater for broad interests.

The Program enables local businesses to engage with young people. The activities have resulted in a greater respect for youth initiative and show that the young people within the community can participate without anti-social behaviour, promotes volunteering, welcomes visitors and provides social networks for new residents.