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Appendix K : National Awards for Innovation in Local Government

The National Awards for Innovation in Local Government foster and acknowledge innovation and leading practice in local government. The awards identify and reward local government bodies, associations and other collaborating organisations who are developing and implementing innovative, resourceful practices that improve local government outcomes and help build sustainable Australian communities. The Department of Transport and Regional Services administers the National Awards for Innovation in Local Government.

The Department also disseminates information about the award winners and their innovative practices throughout local government in Australia to demonstrate new ways of doing business and facilitate adoption of leading practice.

The 2001 awards attracted 294 entries, including 60 rural entries, from 160 local government organisations around Australia.

2001 award categories and sponsors included:

  • Business and regional development - sponsored by Rural Transaction Centre Programme, Federal Department of Transport and Regional Services;
  • Community services - sponsored by the Federal Department of Family and Community Services;
  • Engineering and infrastructure - sponsored by Ansett Australia;
  • Health services and aged care - sponsored by the Federal Department of Health and Aged Care;
  • Information technology - sponsored by Business Entry Point;
  • Organisational practices - sponsored by the Federal Department of Transport and Regional Services;
  • Planning and urban design - sponsored by the Federal Department of Transport and Regional Services;
  • Sustaining local communities - Local Agenda 21 (LA21) - sponsored by Environment Australia;
  • Youth services - sponsored by the Youth Bureau, Federal Department of Education Training and Youth Affairs;
  • International Year of Volunteers - sponsored by Federal Department of Family and Community Services; and
  • Strengthening rural/remote communities - sponsored by Federal Department of Family and Community Services.

The International Year of Volunteers, Strengthening rural/remote communities and Sustaining local communities - LA21 are new categories, introduced in 2001.

A panel with representatives from the category sponsors, the Department of Transport and Regional Services, the Institute of Municipal Management, the Australian Local Government Association, and an industry expert, judges each category. Each Federal Department that sponsors an award receives a copy of all relevant entries to ensure they consider local government leading practice and new ways of doing business. The panels then forward the best entries and best rural entries to the national judging panel, which decides the national and rural awards. The national judging panel comprises representatives of local government, industry and the Federal Government.

Winners are announced at a national awards presentation ceremony. The national award recognises the entry judged the most innovative overall. The rural award recognises the special challenges facing rural councils and is awarded to the entry judged most innovative of all rural entries received.

Applications are sought each year in May and close in July. In 2000-01, a series of seminars was organised to enable 1999 and 2000 award winners to present their innovative projects to local councils throughout Australia.

Information on the 2000 category award winners and commended entries follows. Contact details for each winning council are also provided.

The National Award winner in 2001 is the City of Casey in Victoria with its project 'Skills for the Future - a Partnership Between the City of Casey Council, Motorola, the Victorian Department of Education and Employment and Training, and local schools'. The Rural winner for 2001 is Coorong District Council with its 'Coorong Communication Project'.

Business and regional development

Category sponsor

Rural Transaction Centre Programme, Federal Department of Transport and Regional Services

Category winner and National Award Winner

Skills for the Future - A partnership between the City of Casey, Motorola, the Victorian Department of Education and Employment and Training and local schools

Organisation City of Casey, Victoria
Contact Mr Halvard Dalheim
Telephone (03) 9705 5200
Fax (03) 9704 9544
Email hdalheim@casey.vic.gov.au

To create long-term employment opportunities, the City of Casey is pioneering a programme to develop information technology and telecommunications skills among the young. The Information, Communications and Electronics (ICE) initiative is the result of a partnership between Casey Council, Motorola, the Victorian Department of Education and Employment Training and local schools. ICE is designed to increase the number of students with information technology and telecommunications skills, and so improve their career choices and long-term employment prospects. The City of Casey has supported Motorola in developing and implemented three ICE courses. ICE benefits will be obvious in three to five years, when tertiary graduates who have passed through the programmes enter the information technology and telecommunications industry with solid job prospects.

Rural winner

Ophir Gold 2000 - Our Olympic Dream

Organisation Cabonne, Orange and Blayney Councils, New South Wales
Contact Mr Graeme Fleming
Telephone (02) 6392 3200
Fax (02) 6392 3260
Email graeme.fleming@cabonne.nsw.gov.au

Using the fact that Australia's first payable gold discovery took place at Summer Hill Creek, Ophir (near Orange), in 1851, the Orange, Cabonne and Blayney group of councils decided to provide gold for the Olympic medals and to capitalise on this to promote the area. A detailed marketing plan was adopted which involved the community, councils, small business and the corporate sector. Leveraging off support from such key agencies as the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, the Australian Olympic Committee and New South Wales Tourism, this promotion should provide continuing opportunities for promotion, tourism and economic development.

Community services

Category sponsor

Federal Department of Family and Community Services

Category winner

Wyndham Household Panel

Organisation Windham City Council, Victoria
Contact Ms Emma Williams
Telephone (03) 9742 0776
Fax (03) 9742 0742
Email Emma.Williams@wyndham.vic.gov.au

Wyndham City Council developed a Household Panel of more than 400 households matched to the municipality, both demographically and in their attitudes. Participants were initially recruited through random selection and asked questions on a variety of key issues. Targeted recruiting supplemented this process. Only those who wanted to participate further were invited to join the panel, which is surveyed every four to six weeks. This gives richer and more reliable results than conventional consultations and/or surveys. Information from each subsequent consultation is added to a growing database, allowing council to track changes from year to year, both in attitudes and in lifestyle, and incorporate them into organisational planning.

Rural winner

Native Title Audit and Officer

Organisation Shire of Broome, Western Australia
Contact Mr Greg Powell
Telephone (08) 9191 3456
Fax (08) 9191 3455
Email ceo@broome.wa.gov.au

The Shire of Broome is the first local government authority in Australia to conduct native title training and develop and adopt a Native Title Audit. The audit recommended that council appoint a Native Title Officer to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Native Title Act, address Aboriginal heritage, implement the recommendations of the Native Title Audit and address other Aboriginal issues. The position is fully funded by the Shire and provides an effective use of resources towards reconciliation in Broome. The officer's role incorporates a wide range of effective strategies to ensure native title issues are addressed in a culturally appropriate manner.


FARM (Fatalities and Accidents on Rural Main roads)

Organisation Penrith City Council, New South Wales
Contact Ms Cathy Edwards
Telephone (02) 4732 7735
Fax (02) 4732 7879
Email pencit@penrithcity.nsw.gov.au

The FARM One Hit, That's It road safety programme aims to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injury accidents on rural main roads in the area. The confronting storybook roadside signs, heavy vehicle billboards, community displays, competitions, forums, police enforcement and local media coverage which have saturated the driving community with location-based road safety messages have resulted in reduced speeds and fewer fatalities.

Engineering and infrastructure

Category sponsor

Ansett Australia

Category and rural winner

Krata Shaka Road Rehabilitation Innovation

Organisation Towong Shire Council, Victoria
Contact Mr David Parker
Telephone (02) 6071 2999
Fax (02) 6071 2747
Email davidp@towong.vic.gov.au

The new process, which was developed by local staff and small businesses at a minimal cost, uses the principle of shaking road patching material to be distributed. Krata Shaka eliminates the manual handling of binder materials creating a more cost-effective method for small road repairs. The technique uses a towable unit controlled from a towing vehicle, which can transport up to one tonne of materials. Accurate delivery of material to a depth of 10mm at a pre-determined speed is attractive to work crews, construction groups and plant hirers. The innovation has potential for local and international commercial development.


Ground-penetrating radar measurement of gravel road pavement depths

Organisation Shire of Campaspe, Victoria
Contact Mr Ralph Kop
Telephone (03) 5481 2242
Fax (03) 5481 2290
Email rkop.shire@campaspe.vic.gov.au

The Shire of Campaspe, in conjunction with the Australia Road Research Board, has used ground-penetrating radar to determine the depths of its gravel road pavements. The results over a test 100 kilometres were accurate to plus or minus 15 per cent. This data will enable Campaspe Shire to accurately determine the rate of loss of gravel due to traffic maintenance practices and environmental factors and the level of funds that should be expended to maintain the road network.


Cotton onto this!

Organisation Shire of Narrabri, New South Wales
Contact Mr Peter Hain
Telephone (02) 6799 6877
Fax (02) 6799 6888
Email peterh@narrabri.nsw.gov.au

Narrabri Shire Council has recently completed the $9.6 million Narrabri Sewerage System Augmentation Project, which upgrades existing sewerage transportation, treatment, and effluent disposal processes. The project includes a beneficial re-use scheme, purpose-designed to end effluent discharges into the upper reaches of the Murray-Darling river system. The beneficial re-use scheme is a commercial 300 hectare irrigated cotton farm, named Federation Farm, which is operated by the Narrabri Community Education Fund Ltd. The fund is a conglomerate of all public and independent Narrabri schools formed to be a self-funded sharefarmer that provides an interactive educational facility.

Health services and aged care

Category sponsor

Federal Department of Health and Aged Care

Joint category winner

Lane Cove Community Men's Shed

Organisation Lane Cove Council, New South Wales
Contact Mr Peter Brown
Telephone (02) 9911 3590
Fax (02) 9911 3600
Email pbrown@lanecove.nsw.gov.au

The Lane Cove Community Men's Shed was set up with the aim of enhancing the wellbeing, health and quality of life of older men by providing them with activities to do with people who have common interests. The shed operates on a peer-support model, where men with more ability help others to learn handicraft skills. By working together they are able to produce items of a high standard. Some of the items produced are donated to toy libraries and hospitals, while others are sold on street stalls to enable the shed to operate at no cost to participants.

Joint category winner

Mental Health Project

Organisation City of Prospect, South Australia
Contact Mr Kevin Sharp
Telephone (08) 8344 5454
Fax (08) 8342 2171
Email kevin@prospect.sa.gov.au

The City of Prospect employed a part-time Mental Health Project Officer to coordinate this project. It targeted both mental health sufferers and the wider community, to provide opportunities to develop and maintain community networks, to increase the sense of belonging to the community for those with mental health issues, and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. Local government is well placed to conduct such a project, because councils have the infrastructure and networks on which to build, and lack the stigma often associated with mental health services and organisations. In a 12-month period, 414 people took part in a wide range of programmes for local residents, providing positive outcomes for the community.

Rural winner

Integrated Aged Care Services for the Clarence Valley

Organisation Maclean Shire Council, NewSouth Wales
Contact Ms Ashley Lindsay
Telephone (02) 6645 2266
Fax (02) 6645 3552
Email alindsay@msc.nsw.com.au

Maclean Shire Council's Community Services Project brings together a number of aged-care services within one organisation - Aged Care Packages, Community Options services and Meals on Wheels are all under council auspices. Funding is provided by State and Federal sources, with council contributing specialist services and staff. Having these services in one organisation has several advantages. First, it reduces overheads and gives an opportunity for savings to be channelled into additional client services. Second, it has made the services available to all clients in the Clarence Valley, urban and rural alike. Third, it gives access to such specialist council services as information technology, human resources, insurance, property, document preparation and financial services at minimal cost. The project also provides direct and indirect employment for more than 80 residents.


Aboriginal Environmental Health Strategy

Organisation Shire of Ashburton
Contact Ms Kerry Kapel
Telephone (08) 9189 1029
Fax (08) 9189 2252
Email kerry.kapel@ashburton.wa.gov.au

The Shire of Ashburton's Aboriginal Environmental Health Strategy was developed as a unique document. It records up-to-date community statistics and identifies service providers in order to identify deficiencies and avoid duplicating services. In addition, it outlines specific programmes and intentions, providing a vital blueprint for council to work from now, and to build on and react to dynamically in the future.

Information technology

Category sponsor

Business Entry Point

Category winner

Video Property Mapping: A new national benchmark for property data collection

Organisation City of Whittlesea, Victoria
Contact Ms Tracey Willmott
Telephone (03) 9217 2366
Fax (03) 9217 2399
Email tzw@whittlesea.vic.gov.au

The City of Whittlesea has implemented a Video Property Mapping system to provide higher quality, accurate property data at a fraction of current cost. The system effectively uses the synergy between advanced mobile video technology, a street sweeper and the global positioning system to record and locate multiple video images of properties in the municipality. The system has produced records for 95 per cent of residential properties in the municipality (compared with the previous sample of 20 per cent) and provides updated information every 52 days. This data has led to more accurate property valuations and rate assessments.

Organisational practices

Category sponsor

Federal Department of Transport and Regional Services

Category winner

Community Connections

Organisation City of Joondalup, Western Australia
Contact Ms Kim Low
Telephone (08) 9400 4951
Fax (08) 9400 4950
Email kim.low@joondalup.wa.gov.au

Community Connections is a community-awareness and education initiative through which the City of Joondalup aims to unite communities by sharing resources and fostering respect for shared social, civic and environmental rights and responsibilities. The three main objectives of the project are to increase awareness of issues affecting community lifestyle, to increase awareness of the role and functions of local government, and to encourage greater participation in Community Connections so as to promote awareness of shared rights and responsibilities.

Rural winner

Tractor/Mill Stabilising Unit

Organisation Wellington Council, New South Wales
Contact Mr Andrew Bruggy
Telephone (02) 6845 2099
Fax (02) 6845 3354
Email andrew.bruggy@wellington.nsw.gov.au

Wellington Council historically carried out heavy patching by replacing the failed section of roadway with select natural gravel, but this imposes financial and - considering the impact of quarrying for natural gravel - environmental costs on the industry. Challenged to reduce both the costs of heavy patching and the amount of gravel being used, the project team took an innovative approach to using plant for in situ stabilisation technology by purchasing a tractor/mill combination. Council not only has reduced the costs of heavy patching by some 50 per cent but has hired the machine out to surrounding councils.


Making the Difference to Worker Wellbeing - Implementing a Proactive Health and Safety System in a Difficult Work Environment

Organisation Manningham City Council, Victoria
Contact Ms Keri Kennealy
Telephone (03) 9841 5044
Fax (03) 9841 5012
Email keri.kennealy@manningham.vic.gov.au

The Community Consultation Framework aims to ensure that the people of Warringah are consulted appropriately about all issues, plans or strategies that might affect them, directly or indirectly, and also to ensure that suitable, consistent consultation is identified and undertaken on all projects. The framework has four components:

  • Community Consultation Policy - guides the principles to be adopted in all consultations;
  • Community Consultation Strategy - includes an action plan to improve council's approach to consultation;
  • Community Consultation Matrix - provides a framework for staff to determine the likely impact of a situation or issue, and gives guidance to the most appropriate means of consultation;
  • Community Consultation Toolkit - offers staff a resource that outlines key methods of consultation.

The extensive involvement of staff in developing the framework has ensured its components are not only relevant to council but allow staff the flexibility to use innovative methods in community consultations.


Partnership in Waste Reduction - Johnstone Shire Council's Community Composting Programme

Organisation Johnstone Shire Council, Queensland
Contact Mr John Dearlove
Telephone (07) 4030 2264
Fax (07) 4030 2269
Email dearlovej@jsc.qld.gov.au

As one of several Waste Management Strategy initiatives, Johnstone Shire Council has embarked on a composting programme that aims to achieve 40 per cent community participation.

Council began by calling for 150 volunteers for a trial using a variety of commercially available compost bins and assessing the results for waste reduction and bin suitability. Council then had a bin designed locally, using recycled materials, for a large-scale composting programme covering a range of premises, from households and commercial premises to institutions.

Community support is evident - 1,000 households are involved after the first year and some 400 are on the waiting list for the coming year. The target is to have 3,000 households involved after four years, from a total of some 7,500 premises.

Planning and urban design

Category sponsor

Federal Department of Transport and Regional Services

Category winner

Protecting and enhancing vegetation in an urban municipality

Organisation Banyule City Council, Victoria
Contact Ms Vivien Williamson
Telephone (03) 9457 9827
Fax (03) 9457 4690
Email vivien.williamson@banyule.vic.gov.au

Banyule municipality has developed a comprehensive approach to protecting vegetation through the Banyule Planning Scheme. It is encouraging the planting of appropriate vegetation through its Wildlife Corridor Programme, and advising members of the community, based on vegetation community mapping.


Growth Strategy 2030 - An integrated approach to sustainable urban growth

Organisation Griffith City Council
Contact Mr Satwinder Sandhu
Telephone (02) 6962 8149
Fax (02) 6964 4368
Email Satwinder.Sandhu@griffith.nsw.gov.au

Griffith City's Growth Strategy 2030 combines long-term land use, infrastructure and financial plans in a single project aimed at ensuring that urban growth is sustainable in the long term. The project was initiated at a time when Griffith was faced with rapid growth but there were few long-term plans.

The project aimed to answer three fundamental questions: where should the city grow? what infrastructure is required to support that growth? and who would pay for these services? Three project outputs corresponding to these questions were: a 30-year land use/zoning strategy, a long-term infrastructure plan, and a long-term financial model. A 30-year time horizon was chosen because it was needed to cover the life cycle of major infrastructure items, such as sewerage treatment works.


Telecommunications Network Strategy (high impact facilities)

Organisation City of Melville, Western Australia
Contact Mr Craig McClure
Telephone (08) 9364 0677
Fax (08) 9364 0285
Email cmclure@Melville.wa.gov.au

The City of Melville has developed an innovative strategy aimed at overcoming problems associated with the ad hoc approach to assessing applications for telecommunications infrastructure facilities, and assures residents that design, location and perceived health issues are considered by the city.

A planning process was established by a team that included telecommunication company representatives, an independent town planning consultant and design, health and technical advisers. The process means that carriers will co-locate equipment in a single facility, so reducing the number of towers.

Telephone towers can also provide the community with such infrastructure benefits as viewing platforms in elevated locations, street lighting and sign-posting, while their design will reflect the surrounding location, perhaps including heritage styles near historic buildings. The use of new locations will see existing unsatisfactory towers removed and provide residents with 300 metre to 500 metre buffers.

Sustaining local communities - LA21

Category sponsor

Environment Australia

Category winner

Strategic Indicators Project

Organisation City of Onkaparinga, South Australia
Contact Ms Lisa Florian
Telephone (08) 8384 0562
Fax (08) 8384 0713
Email lisflo@onkaparinga.sa.gov.au

The Strategic Indicators Project, sponsored and hosted by the City of Onkaparinga on behalf of South Australian councils addresses ways of tracking progress towards strategic directions or community-wide goals. The project's outcomes were guided by a 'sharing the journey' strategy which involved a network of 32 participating councils and 17 other agencies. It aimed to provide policy- and decision-makers with information on monitoring trends associated with strategic directions for a locality or region.

The indicators were designed to provide a systematic means of monitoring, reviewing and communicating progress towards community-wide goals, promote sustainability indicators and, in particular, prompt the development of measures and identify data sources for these goals. The indicators were also designed to add value to the strategic planning process by improving reporting, which in turn enables communities to align projects with larger objectives, and to strengthen links between long-term goals and operational planning, services and programmes.

Rural winner

Environmental Management in the Coorong District Council Area

Organisation Coorong District Council, South Australia
Contact Mr Graham Gates
Telephone (08) 8575 1008
Fax (08) 8575 1516
Email ggates@coorong.sa.gov.au

Coorong District Council was one of the first councils in Australia to fully incorporate the environment into its Strategic and Development Plans, as well as implementing a Local Action Plan to address the area's natural resource management issues. The council considers natural resource management as core business because council's rate base depends on land values. Council assets, such as public buildings, roads, parks and roadside vegetation, are directly threatened by environmental degradation.

The Local Action Plan was initiated in 1997, backed by Natural Heritage Trust funding. Some 50,000 ha of works, particularly on dryland salinity, have been completed in the first five years. The community has embraced the plan, with more than two-thirds of landholders playing an active part in the programme. The council has been a pioneer in developing inland aquaculture using saline groundwater, demonstrating the potential of a viable aquaculture industry as well as improving the environment by alleviating rising water tables.


Strategy for sustainability: Manly's LA21 Programme

Organisation Manly City Council, New South Wales
Contact Mr Jim Hunter
Telephone (02) 9976 1556
Fax (02) 9976 1400
Email jim.hunter@manlycouncil.nsw.gov.au

The Manly Conservation Strategy 1998 is a 10-year plan developed with the community to integrate the Ecologically Sustainable Development requirements of the New South Wales Local Government Act and to address the international agreement of Local Agenda 21 (LA21). Of the 334 actions to be implemented over 10 years, staff have begun 132 and completed 85 - a total of 217 actions implemented by April 2001.

The programme's success is attributed to several key elements, integration, accountability, expert knowledge and continuing community involvement, education of council staff and the community, creating continual cultural change, and funding through council's environment levy. A comprehensive monitoring and reporting system is important and the LA21 Strategy is under review by the community during 2001.


Destination Subiaco - Driving the Change: strategic solutions for sustainable local transport

Organisation City of Subiaco, Western Australia
Contact Mr Geoff Glass
Telephone (08) 9237 9230
Fax (08) 9237 9200
Email geoffg@subiaco.wa.gov.au

In inner-city Subiaco, 91 per cent of residents are very concerned about the traffic impact likely to be caused by escalating development and the proximity of large-scale public facilities. Subiaco City Council has responded by implementing an ambitious, innovative strategy to change the travel behaviour of its community by promoting public transport and other safe alternatives. The Subiaco solution has brought together a range of stakeholders to tackle the problem with infrastructure, planning and policy initiatives designed to realise its vision for a cleaner, safer community. Project highlights include establishing Perth's first intra-suburban bus service and an outstandingly successful campaign to reduce traffic and parking congestion during sporting events at Subiaco Oval.

Youth services

Category sponsor

Youth Bureau, Federal Department of Education and Youth Affairs

Category winner

SPINACH - City of Adelaide website for young people

Organisation City of Adelaide
Contact Ms Mandy Smith
Telephone (08) 8203 7713
Fax (08) 8203 7554
Email m.smith@adelaide.sa.gov.au

SPINACH is believed to be the first stand-alone youth website produced by any local government authority in Australia. The site has proved to be an exciting and successful way to provide information to young people on facilities, services, activities and programmes in the city and to involve young people in council activities.

Young people are involved in developing and promoting the SPINACH website to ensure it remains dynamic and interesting. Special features have been incorporated to ensure the site is relevant to the young, among them a web cam that allows the young people to view the conditions of the City Skate Park and a virtual gallery where people can display their artwork, poems and stories. New features are constantly being developed and added.


From Vision to Reality: Youth participation in Delatite

Organisation Delatite Shire Council, Victoria
Contact Ms Kaylene Conrick
Telephone (03) 5760 2600
Fax (03) 5762 5537
Email delatite_shire@dsc.mav.asn.au

Young people in Delatite articulated their needs and vision at a Youth Forum in May 1999. Almost all of the 80 young people attending said they could not see themselves living in the Delatite Shire in five years. In response, the council established two E-cafe which are essentially Internet businesses. Their purpose is to meet an identified rural need for better access to information technology managed by young people for the broader community, placing them at the centre of economic activity.

The E-cafe concept - E stands for enterprise, endeavour, employment and empowerment - was developed by young people with council and the broader community. It is underpinned by the basic principle that young people are valued citizens who are essential to the long-term viability of regional and rural communities. The two cafes, one in Mansfield and one in Benalla have developed into a framework which is guiding council's approach to ensuring that the young are at the centre of decision-making.

International Year of Volunteers

Category sponsor

Federal Department of Family and Community Services

Category winner

Mosman Volunteers

Organisation Mosman Municipal Council, Mosman Volunteers, New South Wales
Contact Ms Liz Nagel
Telephone (02) 9978 4089
Fax (02) 9978 4137
Email l.nagel@mosman.nsw.gov.au

The objectives of council's Volunteer Programme are to ensure that its volunteers are supported, trained, recognised and valued as an indispensable community asset; to provide opportunities for roles that use a volunteer's skills and talents; and to promote volunteering as an enriching experience for all ages. The purpose is to have enthusiastic, reliable, competent and flexible volunteers with a range of skills and abilities and from a range of age groups who are able to help meet community needs.

Council's Management Plan, MOSPLAN, has a range of strategies, referred to as 'Statements of Means', that are designed to achieve the objectives. Council's two volunteer coordinating staff manage the Volunteer Programme and liaise with the council officers responsible for volunteer teams in such areas as bush care, meals on wheels and the home library service. This ensures that policies and procedures to recruit, select, place, train, support and recognise volunteers are implemented consistently. Monitoring the programme, evaluating its performance and identifying possible improvements occur as part of council's annual management plan reviews.


Volunteering Across Casey

Organisation Casey City Council, Victoria
Contact Ms Jennie Lee
Telephone (03) 9705 5200
Fax (03) 9704 9544
Email jlee@casey.vic.gov.au

Volunteering Across Casey is a programme launched by the City of Casey to celebrate the 2001 International Year of Volunteers. It is the first local government programme of its kind in Australia, and brings together four key initiatives with the common objective to 'promote and maximise volunteering in our developing community and, with this, help foster a greater sense of community spirit'.

The four key initiatives of Volunteering Across Casey are: the Corporate Volunteering Programme; the Community Training and Development Programme; the Volunteer Matching Programme; and the Community Volunteer Award Programme and Community Volunteer Thankyou Function. The initiatives complement each other by raising awareness of the valuable work volunteers do, by encouraging people to volunteer, and by addressing such social issues as isolation, residents' sense of belonging and personal growth within the community.

Strengthening rural/ remote communities

Category sponsor

Federal Department of Family and Community Services

Category award and National Rural Award Winner

Coorong Communication Project

Organisation Coorong District Council, South Australia
Contact Mrs Rhona Parker-Benton
Telephone (08) 8575 1008
Fax (08) 8575 1516
Email rhona@coorong.sa.gov.au

The Coorong Communication Project has led to development of the first reported community-based alternative regional telecommunications network. This pilot project for rural and regional Australia involved building alternative telecommunications infrastructure, including microwave towers, and using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to deliver the project outcomes. This has been achieved through a collaborative partnership with Agile Communications.

The project has achieved telecommunications savings of 35-58 per cent for community and business customers, a reduction of council's telecommunications costs by almost 50 per cent, and improved customer service through the capacity to offer local call access to council offices for the community via a new PABX. It has also enhanced access to bandwidth for data services at a wholesale level, thus supporting the local Internet service provider and other large data users. It has increased affordability and accessibility of data bandwidth for all customers in an area which extends from Keith, in south-east South Australia, to Gawler, north of Adelaide.


Cobb & Co Changing Station Complex

Organisation Warroo Shire, Queensland
Contact Ms Marlyn McInnerney
Telephone (07) 4626 5642
Fax (07) 4626 5630
Email marlynm@growzone.com.au

In 1996, the town of Surat was dying. Today, it is busy, attractive and thriving. There are new businesses, existing businesses are growing and the population has increased by 20 per cent. The council's decision to work in partnership with the local development association to create a major cultural tourism complex including a museum, art gallery, library, and 25,000 litre inland fish aquarium, was the catalyst for renewed community pride and economic interest in Surat. This project was a joint venture between council, the Surat and District Development Association and the community of Surat and surrounding region.

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