It is fair to say that 2019-2020 was not quite the year that LGAT, or any of us, had planned! Like many organisations, LGAT was forced to quickly shift our focus and priorities as we supported our Members in response to Covid-19.
During Covid-19 LGAT worked quickly to assist councils to adjust their processes, providing advice on how to respond to public health directions and business requirements. We supported the prompt development of Pandemic and Business Continuity plans and distributed critical information, including updates from the State Covid-19 Public Information Unit and daily updates from the Premier. We produced and distributed guidelines about remote meetings and resuming face to face meetings, developed a model hardship policy, an application form and commercial addendum, and collected data to support advocacy including to the Federal and State Governments and the Premiers Economic and Social Advisory Council. LGAT’s Covid-19 webpage provided a central hub about not only what LGAT was doing but a regularly updated overview of council relief measures.
In addition to navigating the increased workload and a shift to working at home as a result of the pandemic, the LGAT team continued to lead a strong advocacy and policy agenda during 2019-2020. The Tasmanian Government’s Draft Waste Action Plan was released after years of LGAT advocacy and included the commitment to establish a state-wide waste levy and introduce a container refund scheme.
Persistent advocacy on emergency management saw the appointment of three regional planners by the State Emergency Service to support Local Government Municipal Committees. Additionally, LGAT developed the Municipal Emergency Management Guidelines and supporting videos.
The success of the LGAT Community Health and Wellbeing Project which was due to conclude in June, led to the Department of Health offering funding for a further two years. This Project has provided opportunities to share examples of the outstanding work of council officers across Tasmania.
LGAT Procurement continued to expand offerings and to work closely with councils and suppliers. The total estimated savings for Members for the 12 months to end March 2020 was over $2.5 million - a 125% increase in savings compared to last year, and more than double what Members paid in subscriptions for LGAT. Councils also saved approximately $819,000 on public lighting following LGAT’s contract renewal coordination.
While we sadly had to cancel our 2020 LGAT Annual Conference due to the pandemic, up until March 2020 LGAT delivered a range of successful face-to-face events. This included our 2019 Annual Conference; Elected Member Weekend, Mayors’ and General Managers’ Workshops, a stakeholder thank you event and our International Women’s Day awards lunch. LGAT pivoted in response to Covid-19, moving to delivering events online, finishing the financial year with a webinar titled “Leading in the time of a Pandemic”, which included a special address by the Premier.
To support elected members and council officers in managing their social media presence, LGAT developed a new series of online resources and delivered a series of regional training workshops. The last 12 months also saw the updating of the Tasmanian Municipal Standard Drawings and the addition of a complementary written specification as well as further development of other tools and templates such the Workplace Behaviours Toolkit and model employment contracts.
LGAT continues to keep Members updated and build understanding of councils’ roles and their great work through our in-house publications such as Pulse and LGTas, our website and social media and through our interactions with the broader media including through media releases, opinion pieces and interviews.
As a numeric snapshot of the day-today work the LGAT team has delivered over 2019-2020; LGAT staff advocated through meetings, submissions and letters 172 times; delivered 70 events and training opportunities; issued 110 publications, media releases, letters to the editor and opinion pieces; had over 2000 social media impressions; and participated in over 400 stakeholder engagement activities!
I would like to thank all LGAT staff and our General Management Committee for delivering an extraordinary amount of work for our sector during challenging times and giving our Members excellent value for their subscriptions. I also want to acknowledge and thank all the hard working elected members and officers across the Local Government sector for your support and collaboration with LGAT during a challenging year.
Mayor Christina Holmdahl