December 2019 | A message from the Chairman

Seasons Greetings one and all! 🎅

How quickly the year has gone! We can’t change anything that has affected Local Government or our personal contribution to the administration of the third tier of Government.

However, we can learn from the year, the challenges, and our responses good and bad.

But it is the future that should excite us all.

For Victorian councils the Government’s changes to the Local Government Bill, which will be debated in the Upper House in February next year, will require front and centre attention if passed as is, as it contains some profound changes to the administrative requirements for local government.

Other issues that are priorities for local governments particularly in Queensland and New South Wales will be the response of those two governments and those councils that were subject to scathing comment in the Auditor General’s Reports in both those two states.

Too many councils have allowed their administration to fall well below satisfactory levels. This decline in professionalism cannot and should not be tolerated by elected councillors and the CEO and leadership administrators of councils.

If easily identifiable rectification programs are not initiated, do not be surprised if state governments do not intervene as they should, to challenge those councils that are consistent offenders to the delivery of good governance.

My third issue is that of councils being able to attract and retain good professional staff members. This has been an issue for some years now and sadly there has been a massive turnover of CEO’s and senior staff at councils over the last few years. Of course, there will always be some turnover and that is understandable and natural, but not at the levels we are currently experiencing.

We need to build up the value and reputation of careers in local government.

Finally, for those councils that are deemed to be regional and rural, there will be the increasing challenge of attracting professionals and construction firms to undertake maintenance and infrastructure works at competitive prices, when so much of our human resources and major projects are being undertaken on the east coast in the larger cities.

This has been a major issue this year and I am sure will only continue into 2020. It is an issue that those who sit in judgement of local government will have to consider next year.

Financial sustainability has to be a high priority for all councils. Service Planning and Long Term Financial Planning will challenge councils to engage with their communities on affordable service choices.

Of course, all the above are just challenges, and challenges are what make life interesting, and are there to be addressed and overcome.

That said I wish all readers of this note, a very happy and safe break. The opportunity to have a few days where one can refresh mind and body and return next year appreciative of the gift of life and invigorated by the challenge of 2020.


Jeff Kennett
CT Management Group

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