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Chapter 3 : Improving the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Local Government

This chapter provides a brief overview of several inter-related aspect of performance management in Australian local government:

  • performance measurement and benchmarking
  • national competition policy implementation
  • structural reform of local government
  • corporate planning and management practice.

It draws heavily on State reports in Appendix G and some recent research papers to provide an assessment of Australian local government performance.

Performance measures

Australia has closely followed an increased international interest in local government performance since the 1990s. For instance, a recent survey in the United States suggested that as many as half of all city and county governments in the United States have developed performance measures for use in all of their administrative and service departments (Bracegirdle 2003). In Canada, local governments began developing their own performance measurement systems in the late 1990s to improve their focus and administration. In the United Kingdom, the work of the United Kingdom Audit Commission in measuring the performance of councils was also an important development, while in New Zealand the local government reform processes and management changes were also strong influences in the development performance indicators for decision makers (Sansom 2000).

The Australian Government strongly promoted local government performance measurement in the mid 1990s. The Australian Government's interest in developing a set of national indicators is related to (a) the significant funding provided to local government through the financial assistance grants legislation and (b) microeconomic reforms mainly through the National Competition Policy to enhance economic performance. This interest was reflected in a requirement for the Australian Government Minister under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 to report to Parliament the Minister's assessment, using comparable national data, of the performance of local government including its efficiency.

In 1997 the Australian Government engaged the Industry Commission (now the Productivity Commission) under a legislative requirement to examine the feasibility of producing a nationally consistent approach to performance measurement in local government in order to assess local government efficiency. The Industry Commission found that:

  • a nationally consistent approach to performance measurement of local government was not currently warranted
  • current State and Territory approaches to performance measurement have significant shortcomings
  • there would be considerable net benefit to the community from improving the current State and Territory approaches to performance measurement in local government.

The Industry Commission also concluded that although national performance indicators would facilitate reporting by the Australian Government on local government's performance in the National Report, this requirement could be met by providing information on and analysis of:

  • the application of the National Competition Policy to local government
  • developments in areas such as competitive tendering and contracting, increased use of service charters and measures of customer satisfaction, and changes in the structure of local government
  • progress, by the States, on improving the use of performance indicators.

All States have a direct interest in ensuring the overall performance of their local government systems as they are a legislative responsibility of the States. The use of benchmarking and performance indicators was on the Local Government Ministers' Conference agenda from 1995. To that end all States have worked collaboratively with their local government associations to develop a performance improvement culture and, in support of this, to develop either State-wide indicators or a range of indicators that can be used in assessing the overall performance of local government.

Appendix G reports, by State, on progress in implementing performance improvement measures for local government and other activities undertaken during 2003-04 that aim to improve local government performance.

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Application of the National Competition Policy to local government

In April 1995, the Australian and State and Territory governments agreed to a far-reaching program of competition policy reforms known as the National Competition Policy (NCP). NCP is a coordinated and systematic set of measures aimed at encouraging greater competition across large parts of the economy over (originally) a six-year timeframe. NCP brought together many elements of a broader program of economic reform that began in the early 1980s. Other features of this broader program included dismantling trade barriers, deregulating the financial system, changing labour market regulations, reforming taxation and, more recently, widespread changes to funding and delivery arrangements for various government services. Increased competition is expected to promote these aims through the incentives it provides to raise productivity, lower costs (and prices), improve quality and deliver new (and innovative) products and services.

A central feature of the National Competition Policy agreement has been its focus on reform that is in the public interest. In this context, explicit recognition needed to be given to social, environmental, equity and regional objectives when assessing particular reform options.

Although local government was not formally a party to the National Competition Policy agreement, local government activities were specifically referred to in the agreement.

The Australian Government makes National Competition Policy payments to the States for implementing the policy and related reforms. These payments are subject to the States making satisfactory progress in implementing reform commitments. Before payments are made, the National Competition Council assesses whether each State has met the specified conditions and provides a report for government consideration. Implicit in this assessment of each State, is an assessment of compliance by local government. Payments the Australian Government has made between 1997 and 2004 (and estimates of payments it will make in 2005-06) to the States and Territories are given in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1 National Competition Policy Payments, 1997-98 to 2005-06 ($m )

 

1997
-98

1998
-99

1999
-2000

2000
-01

2001
-02

2002
-03

2003
-04

2004
-05

2005
-06

NSW

127

139

210

156

243

252

257

262

269

Vic.

93

102

152

115

180

182

190

194

199

Qld

74

82

119

73

148

139

146

151

156

WA

38

42

62

46

71

72

75

77

79

SA

34

38

54

36

56

57

59

59

61

Tas.

13

14

19

11

17

18

18

18

19

NT

11

13

14

5

8

8

8

8

8

ACT

6

7

11

8

12

12

13

13

13

Total

396

437

640

448

733

740

765

782

802

Note: Figures for 1997-98 to 2002-03 are final budget outcomes. Figures for 2003-04 to 2005-06 are estimates.
Source: National Competition Commission 2003.

The Hawker Report, released in November 2003, found that NCP was a significant and costly exercise for local government. These costs related to corporatising significant business activities, reviewing by-laws that unnecessarily restrict competition, and implementing structural reform of public monopolies, such as water and sewerage authorities. Evidence to the Hawker Inquiry indicated that, while NCP had added to council's costs, some States - New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory - have not passed on NCP payments to local government despite local government's role in achieving NCP goals and requirements. The inquiry reported that Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia passed on a portion of their payments to local government.

In the State reports at Appendix G, only Victoria and Tasmania reported on National Competition Policy processes during 2003-04.

Victoria reported that, as part of the Local Government Improvement Incentive Program (LGIIP) introduced in November 2002 and replacing the system of National Competition Policy payments to councils, new LGIIP Agreements were signed by the Victorian Government and individual Victoria councils, effective from 1 July 2004 until 30 June 2006.

Tasmania reported that a review of the 1996 application statement began during 2002. Following consultation with the Local Government Association of Tasmania, the review was completed in April 2004 with the publication of a new application statement - National Competition Policy - Applying the
Principles to Local Government in Tasmania.

Under the 2004 Application Statement, in applying competitive neutrality principles, local government is required to:

  • identify relevant business activities which are considered to be significant business activities
  • undertake public benefit assessments of the corporatisation of those business activities as outlined in the 2004 Application Statement
  • undertake corporate activities where a public benefit assessment indicates the benefits outweigh the costs of doing so and apply full cost attribution to all other significant business activities.

The Productivity Commission is currently undertaking a review of NCP arrangements (see 'NCP reforms and local government - Productivity Commission Discussion Draft').

NCP reforms and local government - Productivity Commission Discussion Draft

In November 2000, COAG agreed to a further review of NCP arrangements by September 2005. On 23 April 2004, the Treasurer commissioned the Productivity Commission to undertake an independent review of the NCP arrangements. The Commission is to consider the extent of benefits the reform program has delivered to date and inform an assessment of the most worthwhile competition related reforms that could be achieved in the future, including competition related reforms which could apply beyond current NCP arrangements. On 27 October 2004, the Commission released a discussion draft for its review of NCP reforms.

The draft report says there still appeared to be scope for local government to 'improve significantly' the cost-effectiveness of local government's service provision through governance and other reforms. Specifically, it calls on local governments to 'market test' the efficiency of services provided in-house and further investigate council amalgamations and/or shared service provision arrangements. It also notes the cost of duplication and poor coordination associated with overlapping Australian, State and Territory government responsibilities for service provision to spill into the local government area. While unable to comment on the continuation of competition payments after 2005, the Commission noted that these payments, in facilitating reform, 'would ostensibly be no less at the local government level than at the state level'. The Commission will hold public consultations and will report to COAG by September 2005.

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The structural reform debate in local government

A key feature of Australian local government reform has been the use of council amalgamations as the primary policy tool in the search for more cost effective local services. For example, in recent years, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania have all undergone periods of municipal consolidation of differing degrees and intensity. Over the 80 years from Federation to 1991, the number of councils in Australia fell by over 20 per cent (Sproats 1996, p. 5). In the 13 years since 1991, council numbers have fallen by a further 27 per cent (see Table 3.2).

Table 3.2 Local government 1910-2004, by State

State

Councils

Councils

Councils

Councils

% change

1910a

1991a

Sept. 2001b

Sept. 2004 c

1991-2004

NSW

324

176

172

152

-13.6

Vic.

206

210

79

80

-61.9

Qld

164

134

125

125

-6.7

WA

147

138

142

142

2.9

SA

175

122

68

68

-44.3

Tas.

51

46

29

29

-37.0

NT

n/a

n/a

7

7

n/a

Total

1067

826

622

603

-27.1

Sources:
a Sproats, K 1996 Comparisons of agendas and processes in Australian local government. Paper presented to the Local Government in Queensland Centenary Conference, August 1996, p. 5.
b National Office of Local Government, from information provided by State local government associations and individual councils.
c Totals exclude Indigenous and other local governing bodies receiving Federal Government financial assistance grants.

Typically, economic approaches to local government performance improvements take one of two forms. In the 'conventional' view, large, hierarchical, multipurpose organisations are seen as the best way to organise local public services. This approach argues that in a 'consolidated' structure, all services are provided by a single unit that covers a wide geographical area. Economic arguments usually advanced in support of this view include economies of scale, economies of scope, administration and compliance costs (Dollery & Crase 2004).

The 'public choice' perspective that has gained prominence in the last 40 years provides a sharply contrasting view. Proponents argue that efficiency and responsiveness are enhanced by local government structures that are based on markets and competition rather than on structural and administrative consolidation.

The public choice perspective is now firmly evident in the debate on council amalgamation in Australia. It challenges the conventional view that municipal service delivery is characterised by economies of scale and scope associated with greater population size (Byrnes & Dollery 2002). Byrnes and Dollery (2002) also argue that the paucity of empirical evidence on the existence of significant economies of scale in municipal service provision casts considerable doubt on the widespread policy of local government restructuring in Australia and question the widespread use of amalgamation by State governments as a key policy instrument for more cost effective local services. Regardless of the empirical validity of such arguments, the public choice perspective broadens the debate on council reorganisation and amalgamation.

While amalgamation has been the dominant form of structural change undertaken in Australia in the 1990s, a wide range of other structural reforms have also been implemented involving resource sharing, joint purchasing and joint service delivery.

Structural reform in New South Wales

In September 2003, the New South Wales Government began a Local Government Reform Program to achieve an appropriate structure for local government and deliver more efficient and effective services. All 172 councils responded to a request from the Minister to submit proposals on reform options to best meet the needs of their communities.

Two main approaches to reform have been adopted. In some parts of the State, regional reviews have or will be undertaken to develop a suitable reform proposal for referral to the Local Government Boundaries Commission for examination and report, while in others the Minister has referred proposals direct to the Boundaries Commission. The approach taken is dependent on the level of viability and consensus on the proposals that have been lodged.

The New South Wales Government has committed over $2 million to the Local Government Reform Program over 2003-04 and 2004-05, and given in-principle approval to a third year of funding in 2005-06.

Regional reviews involve the appointment of an independent facilitator who consults with communities widely, suggests options and develops a proposal for change for referral to the Boundaries Commission. Six regional reviews have been conducted covering areas around the ACT region, Clarence Valley region, Peel region, Albury region and Macquarie region.

The concerns cited by the New South Wales Government to justify the reviews included the failure of many councils to adequately fund infrastructure maintenance, financial strains, financial mismanagement, a lack of community consultation and alleged conflict of interest and inappropriate conduct in some councils.

The reform program aimed to achieve a range of changes including:

  • fewer administrative units
  • greater community participation
  • higher standard of elected representatives/ more professional staff
  • councillor focus on policy determination and planning instead of administrative detail
  • better corporate services and more accountability/transparency
  • enhanced financial capacity
  • clear definition of core and non-core services
  • greater emphasis on core activities, particularly in relation to maintenance and replacement of essential infrastructure
  • better plant management
  • streamlined land use planning and development application processing
  • a regional or catchment focus
  • increased resource sharing between councils.

Table 3.3 lists the changes to council structure that occurred in 2004.

Table 3.3 Changes to council structure in 2004

Name of new council

Former councils

Date proclaimed and commenced
operations

City of Sydney

City of Sydney, South Sydney

06 February 2004

Cooma-Monaro

Cooma-Monaro and part of Yarrowlumla

11 February 2004

Eastern Capital City Regional

Tallaganda and part of Yarrowlumla, Gunning and Mulwaree

11 February 2004

Greater Argyle Council

Goulburn and part of Mulwaree

11 February 2004

Greater Queanbeyan City

Queanbeyan and part of Yarrowlumla

11 February 2004

Tumut

Tumut and part of Yarrowlumla

11 February 2004

Upper Lachlan

Crookwell and part of Yass, Gunning and Mulwaree

11 February 2004

Yass Valley

Part of Yass, Gunning and Yarrowlumla

11 February 2004

Clarence Valley

Copmanhurst, Grafton, Maclean and Pristine Waters

25 February 2004

Tamworth Regional

Tamworth, Manilla, part of Barraba and Parry and boundary alteration with Gunnedah

17 March 2004

Gwydir Shire

Bingara, Yallaroi and part of Barraba

17 March 2004

Liverpool Plains Shire

Quirindi, part of Murrurundi, Parry and Nundle and boundary alteration with Gunnedah

17 March 2004

Upper Hunter Shire

Scone and part of Murrurundi and Merriwa

26 May 2004

Greater Hume Shire

Culcairn, Holbrook (apart from 19 sq km) and part of Hume

26 May 2004

Albury City

Albury and part of Hume

26 May 2004

Corowa Shire

Corowa and part of Hume

26 May 2004

Bathurst Regional

Bathurst and part of Evans

26 May 2004

Mid-Western Regional

Mudgee and part of Merriwa and Rylstone

26 May 2004

Oberon

Oberon and part of Evans

26 May 2004

Lithgow City

Lithgow and part of Rylstone

26 May 2004

Warrumbungle Shire

Coolah and Coonabarabran

25 August 2004

Glen Innes Severn Shire

Glen Innes and Severn

15 September 2004

Dollery and Johnson (2004) argue that numerous viable alternatives exist to the policy instrument of municipal amalgamation in the quest for greater local government efficiency in Australia. They argue that promising alternative options can be identified that may be able to effectively combine more efficient service delivery with vibrant local democracy. Some of the alternative models suggested are Regional Organisations of Councils (ROCs), Area Integration and Joint Board Models and Agency Models.

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State and local government performance measurement

With contributions from the States and Territories, the Australian Government has reported on local government performance measurement in its National Reports tabled in Parliament since 1996. This year's reporting draws heavily on State and Territory contributions to the 2003-04 National Report and is complimented by other recent research papers.

New South Wales released the 2001-02 Comparative Information on New South Wales Local Government Councils in May 2003. The New South Wales Department of Local Government produces three data collections relating to rates, finances and general information. The information collected has also been used to calculate financial assistance grants, analyse financial health and check compliance of rates collected. To promote use, transparency and accountability the department continues to make the publication and the 'raw' data freely available and accessible through the Internet.

Victoria reports that Best Value principles will be applied to all local government services by 2005. Best Value principles include quality and cost standards, improving responsiveness, accessibility, consultation, establishing continuous improvement and community reporting. In 2002-03, all 79 councils provided a report to the Minister on the progress of the Best Value program. There has been a significant improvement by all councils in the timelines and compliance of annual reporting and in the overall quality and number of service reviews completed indicating that councils are making steady progress.

Queensland released its sixth comparative performance report titled Queensland Local Government Comparative Information 2002-03. The report contains information on key local government functions such as road maintenance, water, sewerage, waste management, library services, local government rating and financial management.

The Western Australian government has reported that it is continuing to address the issues of comparable performance indicators relating to data quality, timeliness and cost effectiveness. However, obtaining reasonably reliable data from local governments is still proving difficult. The concept of using Internet technology to facilitate data collections is still being explored.

In South Australia, the reports from the Local Government Association project on Comparative Performance Measurement were released to all councils in October 2003. The sector has adopted four measures and a series of indicators as the basis of its individual, sector-wide and regional reports. Each council receives its own and that of the various groupings adopted by the sector for reporting purposes. Regional workshops have been undertaken to disseminate the results and discuss regional analysis and are proving to be effective in understanding and improving performance.

The Tasmanian Government's Measuring Council Performance Project provides a comprehensive framework of key performance indicators for councils. The key performance indicators provide an industry-wide framework for measuring and comparing councils' performance. Forty-nine key performance indicators were used to measure council performance for the 2000-01 report. All 29 Tasmanian councils voluntarily provided their data for 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2002-03 reports. The 2002-03 report was released on 28 May 2004. With four years data, the committee has presented some of the information graphically in the 2002-03 reports and, for the first time, trends are discussed (see Figure 3.1).

Figure 3.1 Performance indicator - rates outstanding, Tasmanian Councils, 1999-2000 to 2002-03

Figure 3.1 Performance indicator - rates outstanding, Tasmanian Councils, 1999-2000 to 2002-03

Source: Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Tasmania

The Northern Territory Government has been collecting comparable performance indicators since 1997-98. While reporting of performance information is well within the capacity of the municipal and larger councils, it is recognised that the capacity to provide this information is more difficult for the smaller and remote councils. Consequently, the performance indicators program consists of two streams. The first stream - the municipal and larger councils - collected a full set of quantitative performance information on the three identified core services - roads, waste management and community management. The second stream - the smaller and remote councils - is less advanced.

In November 2003, in recognition of the difficulties experienced by the smaller councils, the Department of Development, Sport and Cultural Affairs in conjunction with the Northern Territory Grants Commission mandated a requirement for all councils to submit an annual return of local government data. This return combined the requirements of both agencies and simplified the reporting process requiring councils to provide financial and performance measurement data relating to 2002-03.

The Australian Capital Territory's report focused on benchmarking and reporting on environmental management of waste, roads and urban parks and places. Roads ACT and Canberra Urban Parks and Places have also initiated improved asset management systems. There are also additional benchmarking activities under consideration for ACT Nowaste.

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Performance assessment

This section highlights some of the recent research by Australian academics and private companies on local government performance and assesses performance improvements.

From the early 1990s, strategic and corporate planning techniques were progressively incorporated as legal requirements in new or amended local government Acts. For example, the New South Wales 1993 Local Government Act requires councils to prepare management plans and annual statements of revenue policy. These controls and strong financial reporting have paved the way for better financial management in the local government sector in Australia (see 'Corporate Performance Assessment - Parramatta City Council').

Corporate Performance Assessment - Parramatta City Council

The Parramatta City Council in New South Wales recently undertook a Corporate Performance Assessment that sought answers to four fundamental questions:

  • What is council trying to achieve in terms of ambition, focus and prioritisation?
  • How has council set about delivering its priorities in terms of capacity and performance management?
  • What has council achieved/not achieved to date on its investment?
  • What does council plan to do in the future?

These questions challenged local councils to investigate the way they operate and focus on delivering the best possible services to citizens. The Parramatta City Council Performance Assessment Model closely follows the model developed by the United Kingdom Audit Commission (Parramatta City Council 2003).

In 2001, Standard & Poor's survey of Australian local governments (Standard & Poor's 2002), based on 91 major local governments across Australia, used financial data publicly available with accounting adjustments that were considered appropriate to assess their credit ratings. The financial management of most councils, as defined by Standard & Poor's credit rating, indicated that the local government sector in Australia has a strong credit quality.

A credit rating is Standard & Poor's opinion of the ability of a local or regional government to meet its financial obligations in a timely manner. All the publicly rated local governments in Australia have a rating of AA- or higher compared with a median rating of A- for the corporate and infrastructure entities in Australia and New Zealand. Local governments in Australia have generally adhered to the principle of fiscal conservatism. Although an increase in property rates is seen as politically sensitive, councils have usually shown good control of expenditure.

Standard & Poor's reported that the overall median rating for the local government sector was higher than the corporate and infrastructure entities in Australia and New Zealand.

Nevertheless, within an overall pattern of strong finances, a diversity of financial profile was observed (see 'Credit Ratings of Selected Councils').

Credit Ratings of Selected Councils

Credit ratings of four local governments - Maroochy Shire Council, City of Sydney, City of Melbourne and Brisbane City Council - show a moderate span from AA- to AAA. In 2003, the Latrobe City Council obtained a rating of AA/Stable/ A-1+. In 2004 Penrith City Council took the innovative step of acquiring rating from Standard & Poor's to help it attract additional business investment in the municipality as well as aid its investigation of the potential use of infrastructure bonds. The council received a strong rating of AA. According to the council, the strong credit rating reflected aspects of the council's financial position such as creditworthiness and its debt burden, which has declined over the past five years as a result of Penrith's debt reduction strategy (Standard & Poor's 2002).

Standard & Poor's reports that the credit profile of local governments will remain fairly stable in the medium-term given their adequate level of infrastructure, strong financial position and good budgetary performance.

As discussed earlier, local government in Australia has been subject to considerable reforms in recent years. Kloot and Martin's (2002) national survey of local councils reveals that innovation and learning occur largely on an ad hoc basis in local government, with few formal performance indicators or attempts at performance management. They also found that managers in urban councils place significantly higher levels of importance on a wider range of contemporary management practices than do their counterparts in rural and remote councils. They also argue that geographic isolation of rural and remote councils is a further encumbrance contributing to the lower levels of importance managers place on new management practices.

Community satisfaction surveys

The growing emphasis on performance management has also highlighted the need to measure not just the scope, cost, efficiency and other attributes of activities (inputs and outputs), but also what is actually being achieved for the community (outcomes). This involves measuring customer satisfaction and real benefits to the community, as perceived by that community.

The Department for Victorian Communities coordinates a Community Satisfaction Survey to measure how Victorian residents of 76 participating municipalities rate the performance of their local governments. The survey involves about 90 000 contacts and almost 30 000 resident interviews. The survey has been run annually since 1998. The overall performance of local governments has stabilised since the survey began in 1998. This year, 80 per cent of respondents reported 'excellent, good and adequate' for Overall Council Performance compared with 79 per cent in 2003 (see Figure 3.2).

Figure 3.2 Key performance indicators of community satisfaction for Victorian councils, 1998 to 2004

Figure 3.2 Key performance indicators of community satisfaction for Victorian councils, 1998 to 2004

Source: Department of Victorian Communities

The 2004 survey adds to the bank of data that has been collected from previous Community Satisfaction surveys. This enables councils to monitor their performance.

New Financial Reporting Standards for Local Government

States and Territories have the authority to set accounting arrangements for the general purpose grant financial statements for the local authorities under their control. A significant component of the annual report is the annual audited general purpose grant financial statements.

The primary accounting standard that is applicable to Australian local governments is AAS 27 Financial Reporting by Local Governments (issued in June 1996). During 2004, the more generally applicable accounting standards have been substantially superseded by a new suite of standards as a result of the Australian Accounting Standard Board implementing the Financial Reporting Council's Directive to adopt the requirements in International Accounting Standards Board standards for Australian reporting entities (including local governments). The new standards are referred to as Australian equivalents to International Financial Reporting Standards. The Australian Accounting Standard Board made this new suite of 40 standards on 15 July 2004, applicable from 1 January 2005 (effectively, for local governments with 30 June reporting dates, first applicable to financial year ending 30 June 2006).

For further information contact the Australian Accounting Standard Board on (03) 9617 7637 or www.aasb.com.au.

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Local government best practice

National Awards for Local Government

The Australian Government's National Awards for Local Government (the Awards) are the peak national awards that reward and highlight outstanding achievements in local government. The Awards and associated Leading Practice Seminar series are elements of the capacity- building role the Australian Government plays in local government.

The Awards were established in 1986. They aim to identify and promote innovation and excellence in local government which respond to current and emerging issues relating to councils' core business and to reflect an issue or subject that is topical to better reflect changes in both Federal and Local Government priorities and address the Government's broad policy initiatives.

The Australian Government Department of Transport and Regional Services manages the Awards program. It is funded by sponsorship from a number of Australian Government agencies. In 2004, sponsors were the Departments of Environment and Heritage and their Australian Greenhouse Office; Family and Community Services; Health and Ageing; Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs; Industry, Tourism and Resources; and Transport and Regional Services.

The 2004 Awards were launched at the Local Government Managers Australia, National Congress in Melbourne on 24 May 2004 and were presented in conjunction with the Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly in Canberra on 7 November 2004.

In 2004, 250 entries were received from local government bodies across Australia. Full details of the awards, winning projects and category award winners are at Appendix I.

Leading Practice Seminars

The Leading Practice Seminar Series is a Department of Transport and Regional Services initiative started in 2000. Since that time entrants in the Awards have shared their experiences, lessons learnt and had the opportunity to discuss their experiences firstĀ­ hand with well over 200 other local government bodies across Australia. The Seminars provide an excellent opportunity for councils to come together to hear from their colleagues and to discuss how particular project case studies might apply in their specific situations.

The seminar series is run as a partnership between the Department of Transport and Regional Services, Award Sponsors, host councils, regional organisations of councils or local government associations.

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