The Pulse e-newsletter - LGAT


Issue no. 07 21 April 2016

In this Issue...

 President's Message
 News Items

              New Code of Conduct Rules in Place for Local Government

              2016 Local Government Awards for Excellence Now Open!

              The Cost of Disasters

              New Councillor Elected to Central Highlands Council

              2016 Community Heritage Grants

              Appointment to State Fire Management Council

              Glyphosate - APVMA Clarifies the Facts                             

 Surveys & Discussion Papers
 Conferences, Seminars and Workshops
 Local Government Events

LGAT Annual Conference Sponsor



In the Spotlight


From the Twittersphere... twitter icon

Nominations are invited for the 2016 Local Government Awards for Excellence.  Grab a copy of the Entry Guidelines and Entry Form from the LGAT website.
The new Code of Conduct provisions for councillors are now in effect.  See http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/lgd for more information.

 President's Message

As I write this piece for our fortnightly newsletter, three things are happening.  Firstly, the Nation is gearing up for a Federal Election, with the Prime Minister confirming his intention to call a double dissolution election for 2 July.  LGAT is currently finalising our election advocacy document which we intend to distribute in the next week or so to members and candidates, along with the Australian Local Government Association’s advocacy document.  While there will be more detail in the next newsletter, it will likely be no surprise that restoring the indexation of the Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) and recognising the need for growth in FAGs funding are the highest priorities, not only for Tasmanian councils, but nationally.

Secondly, I am preparing for this week's Mayors’ Workshop and LGAT General Meeting.  The Mayors’ workshop is a twice-yearly professional development opportunity for mayors and, amongst other things, at this session we will be looking at strategic communications, the soon to be released Good Governance Guide for Councillors and the changes to Code of Conduct legislation.  At the General Meeting, a key agenda item will to be consider possible changes to LGAT’s rules ahead of finalising them at the Annual General Meeting and topical discussions on the future role of Local Government, housing for itinerant workers and abandoned vehicles.

Finally, I am advised that all the speakers have been locked in for our Annual Conference and that the finishing touches are being put in place so that the Conference Program and Registration Form can be distributed in early May. In the meantime, I encourage you to put the date (20-22 July) in your diary.  The conference, themed Metamorphosis: A Time of Change and Transformation, is being held at the C3 Convention Centre in South Hobart and I know that, as usual, it will bring plenty of opportunities to learn, both from speakers and peers.

Mayor Doug Chipman
LGAT President

News Items

New Code of Conduct Rules in Place for Local Government

A new Code of Conduct framework for Local Government came into effect last week with amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 to introduce a streamlined, practical and enforceable framework for Tasmanian councillors.  Under the new framework, anyone can now lodge a code of conduct complaint against a councillor within six months of the alleged contravention.  A new Local Government Code of Conduct Panel has been appointed which has the power to suspend a councillor for up to three months, without allowances, for a serious breach of the Code of Conduct.  The Code of Conduct Panel will also have the ability to dismiss frivolous and vexatious complaints.

The new framework is underpinned by a Model Code of Conduct which prescribes a clear standard of behaviour that all Tasmanian councillors are required to meet when performing their duties.  Councils must adopt the Model Code of Conduct by 12 July 2016.  Multiple serious breaches of the Code of Conduct may result in the Local Government Minister removing a councillor from office if he or she has received a suspension sanction for three Code of Conduct breaches during one term of office, or two consecutive terms of office.    If a councillor fails to comply with a sanction imposed by the Panel, that councillor may be penalised with a fine not exceeding 50 penalty units, which is currently valued at $7, 700.  Further information regarding the new Code of Conduct framework can be found on the Local Government Division website.

2016 Local Government Awards for Excellence Now Open!

The 2016 Local Government Awards for Excellence are now open!  All Tasmanian councils are encouraged to submit one or more nominations for projects that have, or are delivering a positive result for Tasmanian communities.  Initiatives may be linked to social and community services, infrastructure services, environmental services, or operational aspects of Council.  Projects might include community collaborations, education and cultural change projects, risk management and climate change initiatives, sustainable developments, best practice infrastructure projects, or the protection or improved management of built heritage.  There are two award categories:  Delivering Excellence - Smaller Councils (populations up to 15,000), and Delivering Excellence - Larger Councils (populations over 15,000).  Category winners will each receive a trophy and $1,000 prize money for staff development activities.  The winners will be announced at the Local Government Conference on 22 July.  Entries close on 6 June.  The Local Government Awards for Excellence are coordinated by the Local Government Association of Tasmania and are proudly sponsored by MAV Insurance.  For a copy of the Entry Guidelines and Entry Form, please visit  the LGAT website.  For enquiries, email LGAT, or phone 6233 5966.

The Cost of Disasters

In Australia, natural disasters have incurred billions of dollars in tangible costs to individuals,businesses and governments.  In March, the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities released The Economic Cost of the Social Impact of Natural Disasters.  This report looks at the costs and long-term social impacts of natural disasters in Australia and finds the social costs of natural disasters in 2015 were at least equal to the physical costs.  The report makes four key recommendations including: pre and post disaster funding should better reflect the long-term nature of social impacts; a collaborative approach involving government, business, not-for-profits and community is needed to address the economic costs of the social impacts of natural disasters; governments, businesses and communities need to further invest in community resilience programs that drive learning and sustained behaviour change; and further research must be done into ways of quantifying the medium and long-term costs of the social impacts of natural disasters.  Read more here.

New Councillor Elected to Central Highlands Council

Following the resignation of Councillor Evan Evans from Central Highlands Council on 7 March, the Tasmanian Electoral Commission conducted a by-election in accordance with section 308 of the Local Government Act 1993.  As a result, Lana Walker-Benson has been elected to fill the vacancy and will serve until the 2018 ordinary elections of the Council.

2016 Community Heritage Grants

The National Library of Australia is calling for applications for the 2016 Community Heritage Grants.  The grants of up to $15,000 are available to councils, community groups, museums, libraries and historical societies around the country to help preserve and manage locally-held, nationally-significant cultural heritage collections of documents and objects for future generations.  Eligible projects include significance assessments, preservation needs assessments, conservation activities and collection management.  The program, which began in 1994, has provided more than $5.7 million for a total of 1,192 projects around Australia.  First-time recipients are invited to Canberra to receive their grant and enhance their skills through the expertise of institutions like the National Library, and take that knowledge back to their communities.  Applications close on 9 May and should be submitted online.

Appointment to State Fire Management Council

Belinda Loxley of Kingborough Council has been appointed as a member of the State Fire Management Council for a period of three years.  As the Local Government representative on the Council, Ms Loxley brings knowledge and experience in town planning, emergency management and risk-based land use planning to the role.  LGAT would like to thank all those who nominated for the position for their interest.

Glyphosate - APVMA Clarifies the Facts

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has recently updated website information about using the herbicide glyphosate.  This update provides councils, chemical users, growers and home gardeners with more information about the safe use of products containing glyphosate.  It also explains the processes currently underway, both in Australia and internationally, to assess the findings made by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015.  Results of these assessments are expected in mid 2016.  The report released last year by IARC, an agency of the World Health Organisation, classified glyphosate as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’.  As Australia’s agricultural and veterinary chemical regulator, it is the role of the APVMA to consider all relevant scientific material when determining the likely impacts on human health and worker safety before registering a product - including long and short-term exposure to users, and residues in food.  The current assessment by the APVMA is that provided products containing glyphosate are used as per the label instructions, they are safe to use.  This assessment and more information is now available on the APVMA website.


LG Professionals Management Excellence Award Winners Announced 

The winners of the LG Professionals Management Excellence Awards were announced on 14 April, in Launceston.  Michelle Neasey of Burnie City Council took out the Management Excellence Award.  Garry Thorp of Waratah-Wynyard and Circular Head Councils received the Excellence in Risk Management Award for a number of key initiatives as Work Health and Safety officer.  Cory Robson, Malcolm Prior and Jo Devine of the City of Launceston were recognised with the Innovative Management Initiative Award for their Works and Assets Reactive Maintenance project, and Burnie City Council's Management Challenge team emerged as the State finalists.  The team will go on to represent Tasmania in the national finals, to be held in Melbourne in June.  Congratulations to all the winners and finalists including LGAT Senior Policy Officers, Kate Hiscock and Melanie Brown, who were nominated for the Innovation and Risk Management categories respectively, and emerged as finalists for their work in relation to sectoral electricity contracts and heavy vehicle regulation. 

2016 Resilient Australia Awards

Nominations for the 2016 Resilient Australia Awards are now open.  The awards are a national program to recognise and promote initiatives that strengthen community disaster resilience.  Disaster resilience is about making our communities safer, stronger and better prepared to manage natural disasters by celebrating innovation and best practice.  For further information, visit the Resilient Australia Awards portal.

Enter the 2016 WorkSafe Tasmania Awards

If you’re committed to making your workplace safer and healthier for everyone, then you could be eligible for a WorkSafe Award!  Whether it’s an everyday achievement, or a large-scale initiative, it could be worthy of being celebrated in the 2016 WorkSafe Tasmania Awards.  The WorkSafe Awards are open to any Tasmanian business, organisation, or individual with an initiative that fits one of the seven categories.  To find out more and to enter, head to www.worksafe.tas.gov.au and search for ‘awards’.  Entries must be submitted online by 10 July.

Surveys & Discussion Papers

Survey on Dog Attacks on Livestock

Have you had livestock attacked by dogs in the past ten years?  A University of Tasmania researcher is seeking information regarding dog attacks upon farm livestock.  Mr Bob Holderness-Roddam, a University Associate with the School of Land and Food, says that whilst there is anecdotal evidence of dogs attacking livestock in Tasmania, there appears to be little research into such attacks.  In order to guide policy development and procedures by State and Local Government, Mr Holderness-Roddam would like to hear from any farmer or grazier who has suffered attacks upon their livestock by dogs in the last ten years.  Survey participants will be sent further information and a short survey form to record dog attacks upon their livestock between 2006 and 2015.  Feedback can be provided anonymously.  Mr Holderness-Roddam may be contacted by email at rholdern@utas.edu.au, or on 6249 1579.

Beyond Zero Emissions Survey for Councils

Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is an independent climate solutions think tank best known for its Zero Carbon Australia plan and is ranked in the top ten think tanks to watch in 2016.  Around the world and in Australia, cities and towns are committing to achieve zero emissions in rapid timeframes.  BZE is conducting a review into commitments and actions to reduce emissions to uncover 'high ambition' initiatives and needs your help answering ten quick questions.  The information provided via the survey will be de-identified, published in an aggregated form and will supplement research by BZE volunteers.  For more information, email zerocarboncommunities@bze.org.au.  

Towards Zero Strategy Discussion Paper

The Road Safety Advisory Council has released the Towards Zero Strategy discussion paper and is seeking feedback. The Towards Zero Strategy, effective from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2026, will replace the current strategy that expires at the end of next year.  The new strategy will be based on the safe system approach to road safety – safer drivers, safer speeds, safer vehicles and safer roads – and will include initiatives to reduce the number and severity of crashes.   Feedback can be provided through attendance at drop-in sessions in Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and at Agfest.  You can also respond to the paper by completing the online survey.  For more information, email towardszero@stategrowth.tas.gov.au.

Conferences, Seminars and Workshops

Free Networking Sessions

Better Work Tasmania (WorkSafe Tasmania) in partnership with the Safety Institute of Australia is providing an information and networking opportunity for members and anybody interested in hearing the latest information on asbestos, global harmonised system, workplace carcinogens and associated information.  Speakers include Safe Work Australia, Curtain University, Queensland Health and Safety, the University of Tasmania and WorkSafe Tasmania.  The session will run from 10.00am - 12.30pm at the C3 Convention Centre in South Hobart on 27 April.  There is also a free health and well-being breakfast from 7.00am.  Click here for more information, or register for the Better Work Tasmania information session or free breakfast. 

Continual Improvement - the Pathway to Success

IPAA Tasmania is pleased to present 5th IPAA Connections event with guest speaker, Donna Adams, Deputy Secretary Business and Executive Services, Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management.  Donna is widely known as: Assistant Commissioner and highest ranked woman in the 114 year history of Tasmania Police; 2014 Tasmanian Telstra Business Woman of the Year; and National joint winner of the Telstra Business Women Innovation Award.  Recently she left her uniform and badge behind to join the State Service, where she will lead the process to build a more united workforce and enhance support of the four operations arms of the Department.  Donna will share her experience of success through continual improvement.  The event will be held from 5.00pm – 6.45pm, on 5 May, at The Lower House, Corner Murray and Despard Streets, Hobart.  Attendance is free to IPAA members.  Click here for full details and registration, or call IPAA on 6232 7122.

Conflict Resolution Made Easy

Most people don’t like conflict.  They would prefer to avoid it wherever possible but the longer a conflict continues, the worse it tends to become.  So the sooner you can take helpful actions, the better.  Whether you help others to sort out difficulties, or are in the middle of a conflict yourself, this program is all about actions you can take to move through this process much more easily.  Managers, team leaders and supervisors are invited to register for a one-day conflict management workshop to learn how to: build trust and goodwill; stay calm when others are upset; quickly defuse the frustration or anger of others; identify and address the key factors contributing to conflict; and communicate more confidently and positively.  The workshop, conducted by Ken Warren BA, M Soc Sc, CSP, Director of Positive People Solutions, will be held in Launceston on 19 May, and in Hobart on 20 May.  Early-bird registration costs $299 (if paid one week prior) and normal registration costs $359.  Group discounts are available.  Download full details here.

Health and Wellbeing Forum for Local Government

You are invited to a free information forum specifically tailored for Local Government and interested community organisations to promote health and wellbeing from 10.00am – 3.00pm on 26 May, at the Portland Hall, St Helens. The forum will showcase a range of health and wellbeing initiatives and services to encourage and support Local Government representatives and community organisations to get involved with physical activity in their community.  RSVP by 23 May to Matthew Abey, or phone 6270 5451.

Budget Breakfast and Lunch

The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and major sponsor Tasplan Super, are pleased to announce the economic event of the year - the Budget Breakfast - where Treasurer Peter Gutwein MP will deliver a briefing on the 2016/2017 State Budget followed by a Q&A session.  Deloitte Access Economics partner, David Rumbens, will also provide a Tasmanian Economic Update with a review of the Tasmanian economy over the last 12 months and commentary on the outlook for next year.  The Budget Breakfast will be held at Wrest Point, Hobart, on 27 May and a  Budget Luncheon will follow at the Country Club in Launceston.  Early bird discounts and table bookings are available.  RSVP by 17 May.  For enquiries, call 6331 9364.

Investigation Skills

Do you enforce laws, ensure compliance, or administer legislation?  Does your role require you to conduct an investigation as a regulatory officer?  A two-day Investigation Skills course, coordinated by The Training Consortium, will address investigative principles, investigation planning, record keeping and information collection techniques.  This skills-based course is designed to provide you with practical tools for use in the workplace and to ensure investigative best practice.  Key content areas include: legislation, powers and responsibilities; developing effective investigation plans; taking statements from complainants and witnesses; conducting respondent interviews; gathering and managing evidence; maintaining and keeping sound investigation records; and preparing investigation reports.  The course, to be held in Hobart from 1-2 June, is for authorised compliance officers from State, Federal and Local Government organisations seeking to develop their investigation skills.  Register here.

Local Government Events

General Meeting, Launceston 22 April 
General Management Committee Meeting, Launceston 19 May
National General Assembly of Local Government, Canberra 19-22 June
Annual General Meeting, Hobart 20 July
General Meeting, Hobart 20 July
LGAT Annual Conference, Hobart 21-22 July


Postal Address

GPO Box 1521
Hobart, TAS 7001

Street Address

326 Macquarie Street
Hobart, TAS 7000

Contact Us

Tel: 03 6233 5966
Email: reception@lgat.tas.gov.au

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