I have just returned from the 2007 Local Government Manager’s National Congress in Hobart. This year’s conference was themed the Power to make a difference and the Passion to lead, reinforced through the focal points of People, Process and Place, to reflect the foundations of local government.
Case studies identified a number of best practice examples that have responded to the increasing pressures of cost shifting, expectations and emerging skills shortages. The issues of skills shortages are particularly pressing and there is a need for younger people, whether as staff or elected councillors, to become involved within local government to inject new perspectives and ideas to ensure that councils remain able to meet future challenges.
The challenges facing local government, such as genuine triple bottom sustainability, through measuring environmental, social and economic impacts are matters largely new to councils and require a different approach. A new perspective on such challenges will ensure the future viability of local government within Australia.