By TONY FOSTER OAM
THIS issue of Brighton Community News includes news of two important events that occurred in our municipality over the past month. One, an opportunity to provide our unique computer software to Asian councils has the potential to create valuable economic benefit and the second the raising of the Aboriginal flag at Brighton Primary School marking the important contribution indigenous people make to our community.
The visit to Brighton by Dr James Alin, an adviser to local government in East Malaysia and the Philippines, is expected to open up valuable opportunities for Council to sell our unique computer software as well as management services to councils in Asian countries. As many readers will know, Brighton Council developed the computer software through its wholly-owned business Microwise Australia, because suitable and reasonable priced off-the-shelf software simply didn’t exist. Our people in Microwise had the skills and importantly, they understood the needs of local government, so they developed the right software needed to manage local government software.
This is now being used by other councils and local government authorities in Tasmania, throughout Australia, and by the Suva City Council in Fiji. As well as councils in East Malaysia and the Philippines, we are also looking at exporting our technology to local government in Papua New Guinea and a number of South Pacific nations. But the East Malaysia Philippines’ opportunity also includes the provision of management services to assist in their local government modernisation process. They have looked at the way Brighton operates and are keen to employ our experience and expertise to assist them to upgrade their services and governance.
This is a great opportunity for Brighton. It gives our people a chance to work in a different environment and share their skills and expertise with our Asian neighbours. For Council, it can bring in valuable revenue that assists us in keeping down rate increases and improving services for our community. So in every sense, it is a win-win initiative and I look forward to advising you as it progresses.
Turning to the Aboriginal flag raising at Brighton Primary School, I was delighted to participate in this ceremony, particularly to mark the valuable contribution of our indigenous community members. Students of Aboriginal descent comprise some 12 percent of the Brighton Primary School population and this is probably reflective of our general community. Our Aboriginal heritage is important and the school has established a cultural connection program that is being embraced by all the students.
I believe that understanding Aboriginal culture is an important step in the reconciliation process and I was honoured to be asked to speak at the school assembly where the Aboriginal flag was raised.