Brighton continues to punch above its weight

By TONY FOSTER

Mayor of Brighton

RECOGNITION of Brighton Council’s resource-sharing initiatives by the Local Government Association in the recent awards for excellence demonstrate how our Council continues to lead the way.

It was pleasing to see the recognition given to Brighton’s unique business model of resource sharing built around our talented staff, which is providing significant economies of scale for other councils while at the same time benefiting Brighton ratepayers through increased revenue.

This outstanding common service provision model allows us to share our staff and resources with other councils both in Tasmania and more recently in its partnerships with interstate councils and with Suva in Fiji where we have established a sister city partnership.

Our model enables us to manage our resources in a way that not only provides assistance to other councils, but also brings in revenue for the benefit of Brighton’s ratepayers. The Brighton community benefits through enhanced services and minimal rates increases.

It is an example of how entrepreneurship and resource sharing can help local government achieve sustainability in the long-term. In addition to outsourcing resources in Tasmania, through our wholly owned business Microwise Australia Pty Ltd, we have also developed operational software that is now used by nine Tasmanian councils, three councils in Western Australia, two in New South Wales and the Suva City Council in Fiji.

Indeed, the establishment of sister city links between Brighton is the culmination of the strong business links we have established over the past few years and I am confident it will generate real business and significant benefits for our ratepayers and community.

But it is all built on Brighton’s innovative approach to resource-sharing and the provision of professional and technology services to other councils.

Recent years have seen a dramatic change in emphasis on how local government services are delivered. While communities demand increased and improved services and service delivery, there is an ever-increasing requirement for cost competitiveness and efficiency. With this in mind, it is vital that local government thinks smarter and is better at its business.

Pressures on local government in service delivery, increasing regulatory roles and the challenges of obtaining and maintaining high quality staff, ensure that councils must work together to draw on their collective knowledge and skills. Regional and rural councils in particular have quite distinct challenges and operational issues compared to metropolitan councils.  This has reinforced the importance of working with and engaging staff and organisations that truly understand the collective core business of local government.

This is where Brighton comes into its own.

We provide a range of important and vital ongoing services to other councils, ranging from the provision of senior management personnel, engineering and technical services and other advice and support, to unique information technology and software development and implementation that facilitates the business of local government.

Brighton has been able to successfully transfer into a range of local government environments in Tasmania, Australia and internationally because our people know the business from the inside.

The benefits for Council and ratepayers include the further development of our talented staff, the efficiencies and economies of scale we achieve, as well as the income Brighton earns that helps fund services for the community and keep rate rises at a minimum.

Good progress on early years education aims

By ANDY BENNETT*

A MAJOR focus of the Learning Federation is to increase and enhance the range of quality early years education and care for very young children and their families.

We are doing so because there is a lot of evidence that the first few years of life are vital to helping children to achieve their potential

Our main strategies are to develop our three primary schools as birth to grade four education centres, to build a children and family centre locally, and work collaboratively with other early childhood service providers to develop a broader and more cohesive model for supporting the families of young children. We have made a lot of progress in that area in recent weeks.

A major emphasis for the new Learning Federation is on early years education.
A major emphasis for the new Learning Federation is on early years education.

Continue reading “Good progress on early years education aims”

Fairies and farmers put fun back into education

MORE than to 80 parents and children came together as guests of children’s charity The Smith Family to experience an interactive educational theatre performance at the Brighton Civic Centre in April.

Initially the event was planned to take place at the Riverside Community Garden and Nursery, but due to bad weather, was transferred to the Civic Centre which was transformed into a beautiful make-believe garden setting using garden materials.

The Grow and Learn program encourages parents and children to play together, to learn how to grow fruit and vegetables as well as prepare healthy meals.
The Grow and Learn program encourages parents and children to play together, to learn how to grow fruit and vegetables as well as prepare healthy meals.

Continue reading “Fairies and farmers put fun back into education”

Streetscape project launched for the community

THE BRIGHTON community recently celebrated the launch of the first phase of the municipality’s main street project.

The project was funded through the Rudd Labor Government’s Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program (RLCIP and the Brighton Council, and has created 12 jobs during the construction phase of the project. Continue reading “Streetscape project launched for the community”

Our children grow and learn

EACH Friday morning, the Riverside Community Garden and Nursery, plays host to an early years program called ‘Grow and Learn’.  It is a great program where parents, grandparents, carers and their young children meet to grow and maintain communal fruit and vegetable gardens while learning about gardening and healthy food.

Grow and Learn is an initiative of The Smith Family in partnership with Campbell Paige and the Education Department.  Recently, the children and parents experienced the ‘full lifecycle’ of growing and eating fresh corn and even making popcorn!

The children work with Chelsea to prepare for planting.
The children work with Chelsea to prepare for planting.

Continue reading “Our children grow and learn”

Brighton leads the way in its resource-sharing business model

BRIGHTON Council’s successful resource-sharing initiatives have been recognised by its local government peers.

Council’s unique business model has been rewarded for demonstrating operational excellence with an award presented at this year’s Local Government Association (LGAT) awards for excellence.  The award is for Council’s outstanding common service provision model that allows it to share its staff and resources with other councils both in Tasmania and more recently in its partnerships with interstate councils as well as the development of a sister city relationship with Suva in Fiji.

At the awards event, Mayor of Brighton Council Tony Foster with Brighton’s business development manager Robert Higgins.
At the awards event, Mayor of Brighton Council Tony Foster with Brighton’s business development manager Robert Higgins.

Continue reading “Brighton leads the way in its resource-sharing business model”

Campbell Gunn was one of of nature’s true gentlemen

CAMPBELL Gunn, who died last month, was one of the senior statesmen of the Brighton community – a former municipal councillor, Rotarian, bowls enthusiast and farmer.

Mr Gunn was, as he would have said with a whimsical smile, “in active retirement”.  The patriarch of Tea Tree’s well-known family of farmers passed away suddenly on Friday March 12.  The funeral was held one week later, on what would have been Mr Gunn’s 82nd birthday. Continue reading “Campbell Gunn was one of of nature’s true gentlemen”

Federation will lead to range of outcomes

By ANDY BENNETT*

MOST often my columns are about progress with the building program at our schools and I have included a quick update at the end of this piece. However this time I wanted to write about why we are undertaking such a major building construction program in light of what we are aiming to achieve. Continue reading “Federation will lead to range of outcomes”