A Visit to Canberra

Mayor's Diary 30 June 2016
June has been an incredibly busy and productive month. The City’s CEO Geoff Glass and myself attended the Australian Local Government Association’s (ALGA) National General Assembly held in Canberra from 19h – 22 June. The theme of this year’s conference highlighted the importance of the partnership between local government and the Australian Government in achieving innovation and productivity for the prosperity of our country. 

The event provided a valuable opportunity for Geoff and me to meet with representatives from local governments around the country. The keynote speaker on the first day, George Megalogenis, who has been described as “Australia’s best explainer”, believes in facts and figures. Several facts he identified I share with you, our migration intake has doubled since the gold rush in the last 15 years, infrastructure is the biggest debate we will have for the next 10 years, and with our population increase infrastructure is the best way we can respond. In his view a bipartisan response is needed. 

We had the pleasure of meeting Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial, followed by a tour of the Memorial. It was both an honour and a moving experience to lay a wreath at this national memorial to our fallen soldiers.

One of the panel discussions “Digital Transformation at the Local Government Level” included speakers from Boston in the USA. The take home messages for me were the value of collaboration across different sectors both within and outside local government; how you build is as important as what you build; use technology to build trust.  Speakers highlighted the importance of place making – planning, designing, building cities as laboratories for innovation and advancement, and the continuity and continuous nature of consultation in the public participation process, providing regular feedback and updates. The website GoBoston2030 focuses on how Boston is planning for their future, an interesting read. 

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending the City’s annual Pioneers and Elder’s Luncheon at our Community Hall. It’s always a special event and provides the opportunity for me to meet and catch up with the City’s long term residents, those who have lived here for more than 50 years. The theme of this year’s Luncheon was transportation. Guests took the opportunity to share their own personal stories and memories of the City and how it had shaped their lives. As a community, we can be proud of how we work together to connect people and places, and build relationships. This is an ongoing role of the Councillors, City staff and the community – it’s what we are all about and this celebratory event continues to reinforce that. You can view a photo gallery of the lunch on the City’s Flickr account. 

June also marked the 20th anniversary of the City’s Speak with Confidence Awards. Held at the City of South Perth Library, these Awards provide valuable opportunities for students from primary schools within the City to develop their public speaking skills and self-confidence. I was amazed by the level of talent of all the students, who choose their own topics, write their own speeches and deliver them with such poise and confidence. Congratulations to all the participants and the winners. 

Finally I visited the ABC studio, in Fielding Street, East Perth and signed the condolence book for the late Eoin Cameron on behalf of all in the City of South Perth.  Eoin was a long-term South Perth resident. His sense of humour, incredible selection of music and songs (especially his love for Dusty Springfield) and special voice will be sadly missed. Sympathy to his family.

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