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Presentation on theme: "LEADERS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT RESOURCE SHARING ROGER STEPHAN, CEO."— Presentation transcript:


2 Eleven councils representing a community approaching 700,000 in number. Member councils: Dungog, Cessnock, Gloucester, Great Lakes, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Muswellbrook, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Singleton, Upper Hunter and Mid-Western Regional. Our region is diverse. Some LGAs are amongst the fastest growing in New South Wales with Maitland’s population, for example, growing 23.3% in the 10 years to 2011. Others are predominantly rural with small populations and constrained resourcing. Who we are


4 Our Origins Hunter Councils was originally established in 1955 as a means by which local government in the Hunter could strategically respond to the devastation of the 1955 Flood. In the 1990s the members of what was then called the Hunter Regional Organisation of Councils reviewed their approach and adopted the ILAC (Integrated Local Area Council) model as their approach to regional cooperation. Context The change environment of the 1990s Significant structural change in Victoria and other states Voluntary structural reform in NSW Imperative to demonstrate efficiency and effectiveness

5 ILAC essentially relates to there being a natural catchment for almost all activities that a Council undertakes. Examples….. One of the attractions: Economies of scale in production become irrelevant if it is possible for a Local Government to purchase a public good from a specialised provider that is producing on a scale large enough to reap all the economies of scale and scope. In other words, if the act of production is separated from the act of provision of the public good, the economies of scale argument ceases to be central to determining the optimal size (in either population or geographic scale terms) of a Local Government unit.

6 Our initial core focus areas: Environmental programs Training Procurement Records Management Our Approach

7 Two entities formed the basis of the “new” organisation: Hunter Councils Inc – a long established association primarily focused in its early years on inter-council communication and soft advocacy Hunter Councils Ltd – a company limited by guarantee to manage the commercial operations of the wider entity Our Approach

8 Why a commercial entity? The initial focus was on records management – specifically the operation of a Records Repository. It was not considered that a Records Repository was a traditional “local government” role and that it would benefit by being run on “business lines” It was considered that the commercial operation(s) would ultimately fund Hunter Councils and, in the longer term, subsidise the operations of member councils through payment of a dividend The optional nature of member council take up of services required a wider spectrum of customers than existed within the region and in the local government sector itself. Our Approach

9 Rapid growth of training and procurement “business” activities within the structure of the Association – in part facilitated by office space rented out by the new company Development of new activities enabled by cross subsidisation by profitable units Elimination in 2009 of any member council subsidisation of the organisation. How our Approach Evolved

10 Eleven LGA “asset owners” Twelve core program LGA members Fourteen LGA members in relation to environmental programs Eleven LGA members in relation to film and television Forty eight members in regard to Procurement Over 100 LGA customers in regard to training programs (in three States) Twenty LGA clients in regard to records management (many more private sector clients) Consultancy advice provided in four states and six overseas countries. We are a “beyond region” business

11 The Environment Division

12 Focus areas for the Environment Division include climate change, sustainability, coastal and marine issues, biodiversity conservation, urban water cycle, catchment management and weeds management. The Division delivers tailored services to meet the individual and collective needs of councils - examples include staff training, specialist mapping products, council systems audits, community education materials and campaigns. In-house design of innovative environmental assessment, planning and management tools to promote best practice by councils e.g. Electronic REF template & and Roadside Marker Scheme – award winning projects with the potential to be rolled out Australia wide. The Division has also resourced the completion of regional and local climate change risk assessment and adaptation strategies for all Hunter LGAs. Councils of the region are now recognised as Australian leaders in this area The Environment Division

13 The LGTI

14 The Local Government Training Institute is a Registered Training Organisation. Located in purpose built facilities completed in 2008 the Institute is one of Australia’s most prominent, if not the most prominent, providers of training to local government and is rapidly growing its training base in the private sector. It has also recently expanded into international training. In 2013/2014 over 15,000 individuals participated in training conducted by the Institute. Focus areas include: Statutory compliance training (WorkCover, RTA, OH&S, etc) Nationally accredited traineeships and professional qualifications in local government, the public sector, management, health and business Specialty town planning, rating, regulatory services, records administration and other training Professional development activities (short courses) on leadership, code of conduct, report writing, meeting management, performance management and much more. The LGTI



17 Regional Procurement was formed to assist local government achieve economies of scale benefits and reduced administration costs for its members. Regional Procurement currently has 38 members from seven regional organisations of councils based throughout metropolitan and country New South Wales. Tenders managed through the initiative are diverse, and have included electricity, signage, bulk chemicals, small plant, tyres, bulk fuel, bitumen emulsion and much more. 2013/2014 saw approximately $98,000,000 in goods and services purchased through contracts directly managed by Regional Procurement. Regional Procurement has achieved quality assurance accreditation and provides its services – including staff time, research, advertising and training – at no cost to member Councils of Hunter Councils. Regional Procurement

18 Hunter Records Storage

19 Hunter Records Storage operates a state of the art records repository that provides its with 24 hour, 7 days per week access to their records details via the internet, customised billing, invoicing, reporting and direct delivery. Hunter Records Storage currently manages over 170,000 file boxes containing approximately 4,000,000 client files. Its services include: Records boxing, storage and retrieval Cataloguing, indexing and scanning Photocopying Secure disposal Acting as a Council’s “Post Office”. Such is the growth of the business that additional sites (Central Coast of New South Wales and the north west of the State) are being investigated for the construction of new facilities. Additional services will also be rolled out including dedicated archival storage. Non-local government clients represent 70% of the revenue of the business with major growth occurring in the private sector and in health facilities (principally hospitals). Hunter Records Storage

20 Stage 2 of the Thornton storage facility has now been completed and will see our local storage needs met until the beginning of 2017 Hunter Records Storage


22 Screen Hunter markets our regions as filming destinations and is a one-stop- shop for filming approvals, location scouting assistance, sourcing of local crew, services and support. The Screen Office provides these services at no cost to member councils – saving those councils tens of thousands of dollars in administration costs. In the last 12 months Screen Hunter Central Coast has approved more stills, television and movie productions than most of the other regional screen offices in New South Wales combined. The local spend involved in screen related activity in the same 12 months is estimated at over $15 million. Hunter Councils – through Screen Hunter Central Coast – is now guiding the development of a number of film festivals and creative industries training programs in the Lower Hunter including the Real Film Festival in Newcastle. Screen Hunter

23 The Real Film Festival An initiative of Screen Hunter, the Real Film Festival (RFF) is a three-day festival created to foster and develop the art of story telling real events through film and comprising industry development workshops, short films competitions and a collection of short, independent and documentary films. The festival was designed to educate and inspire film production across all levels of proficiency, create stronger industry networks, link like-minded people and provide a film festival where film lovers and artists can view independent films and share messages and stories of the world. We aim to raise awareness of International cinema and the importance of independent films.

24 This is one of the newest business activity of Hunter Councils, and comprises the provision of strategic consultancy services such as business planning, community engagement strategy, media strategy and training, general meeting facilitation and economic and tourism development initiatives. Services are provided free to Hunter Councils members, at a discount to other local government entities and at cost to the private sector.. Past work has included: Strategic Planning and Organisational Review Economic Development Strategy Review Tourism strategy and structure review Performance Management Development of business plans / organisational reviews for private sector entities. A significant number of overseas consultancies have also been provided Consultancy Services

25 Local Government Legal Local Government Legal is the trading name for Hunter Councils Legal Services Limited, the legal services entity developed by Hunter Councils to provide cost effective legal services to local councils in New South Wales. Local Government Legal is an incorporated legal practice which provides a range of legal services to local councils in the areas of local government, planning, environmental, administrative and property law. Local Government Legal has been created by local government for local government. We only act for local government and specialise in law as it applies to local government. Beginning operation in February 2012 Local Government Legal has quickly built a client base within and beyond the Hunter and it is one of the fastest growing public sector focused legal firms in New South Wales.

26 From 1 July 2013 Hunter Councils took over as the regional tourism organisation for the Hunter Region. Tourism in the Hunter is enormously important. It directly employs over 12,000 people and injects $1.2 billion into our regional economy annually. The role of Visitor Economy Hunter is to draw together all the stakeholders who directly provide tourism services, provide infrastructure that enables it and provide mechanisms to promote and market tourism opportunities. Visitor Economy Hunter

27 Port StephensNewcastle Lake Macquarie MaitlandDungogGloucesterCessnockSingletonMuswellbrookUpper Hunter Major Events Strategy Cruise Ships Business Tourism and MICE Access – aviation, roads, rail Industry development – research, products International Marketing Information Provision Digital distribution and marketing Infrastructure – conference and exhibition, cycle ways, place making, marine facilities Sports Tourism Arts and Cultural Tourism Benchmarking Education and training

28 Local Government Engineering Design and Asset Management Services Town Planning / Statutory Planning Services Local Council integrated planning (10 year plan) and reporting advisory services New business services: Key areas capacity building

29 The professional teams bring together specialists from Councils throughout our region to share professional insights, support and resources and to encourage region wide high professional standards. Teams include, but are not limited to: LEP Group GIS Group and Asset Managers Group Customer Service Team Internal Audit Group Risk Management Team Community Development Network Human Resources Managers WH&S Training and Development Team Hunter Records Team Hunter Councils provided a wide range of resources and training at no cost to the professional teams or their councils. Professional Teams

30 Last, but not least......

31 The Board of Hunter Councils comprises the Mayors of each of the Local Government Areas of the Hunter. Supported by their General Managers, the Board meet seven times a year to oversee development and implementation of Hunter Councils strategic directions and priorities agenda as well as to form and articulate policy responses to issues impacting on our local communities, economy and environment. Each of the Board members has one vote and is treated with complete equality no matter the size of their organisation or council area. The Board acts by consensus with a vote having been required only three times in the last five years of our operation. Our Board and Regional Advocacy

32 Hunter Councils in Summary From small beginnings its growth has been exponential and there is no indication that this will stop The organisation is self-funding with no risk attaching to the member councils There is an expectation that services to member councils will be at cost / at cost with a small margin / entirely free Member councils represent approximately 30% of the business The private sector is providing the greatest business growth The Board of the entity contains the principal income generating activities comprises the Mayors of the Region The General Managers of the Region are the Board of the trading company

33 Refining our structure: 2014

34 Council of Mayors Membership set Ten year Plan based on Council CSPs and referenced to State Plan and Regional Plan Whole of region advocacy and intergovernmental relations Strategic regional and sub regional land use planning Regional and sub regional infrastructure and transport planning Regional economic development strategy Regional environmental and waste strategy Regional Social and Cultural Strategy, etc. Regional approach to high end corporate services provision Hunter Councils Ltd Opt in Opt out basis Annual Business Plan formally endorsed by Council of Mayors Local Government Training Institute Environmental Consultancy Local Government Legal Engineering, Asset Management and Land Use Planning Services Regional Procurement Strategic Consultancy Services Visitor Economy Hunter (incorporating Screen Hunter) Hunter Records Storage Council capacity building and support services including IP&R services Accountability of operational entity and feedback to Council of Mayors generated through Annual Business Plan endorsed by Council of Mayors. Business Plan developed in the context of agreed regional priorities  

35 Fit for the Future: Wholesale reform of local government

36 “The Fit for the Future reform package responds to the final recommendations of the Independent Local Government Review Panel and the Local Government Acts Taskforce and reflects the priorities identified by the sector during the past three years of consultation. The package includes: $258 million to assist councils who decide to merge and make the changes needed to provide better services to our communities ($153m for Sydney councils and $105m for regional councils) $13 million to support Councillors that lead the transition to a new council $5.3 million to get newly formed regional Joint Organisations up and running in regional areas $4 million innovation fund to help small rural councils develop innovative ways of working Access to a State borrowing facility to help fund local infrastructure, with potential savings to NSW councils of up to $600 million in interest payments.”




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