Embracing change – learnings from the 2023 Local Government Association of Tasmania conference (LGAT)
by Brighton Council
I was fortunate to be able to attend the annual LGAT conference
in Devonport in November.
I look forward to this opportunity each year to network with others who work in local government, share experiences, knowledge and learn from a range of speakers, including those who work in the local government sector interstate. Local government is a very collaborative sector.
This year’s theme was ‘embracing change’. It was a reminder of how much change we’re experiencing in all aspects of our lives, impacting on our sector and our communities, and of how much change has happened during my time in local government as an elected member.
Speakers touched on the history of local government in Tasmania, demonstrated how plain English can help us more effectively engage with our communities, and how we might utilise artificial intelligence (AI) to shape the future of our councils. There are exciting opportunities with AI, but coupled with the need to understand and manage the risks and responsibilities associated with it.
However, despite the theme of ‘embracing change’, interestingly the presentation about the entire history of local government in Tasmania showed that many core issues have been the same since 1804! Public health, animal management, planning, infrastructure, community input, fairness, risk, emergency management and of course the desire for councils to not amalgamate but maintain their regional uniqueness and autonomy.
We heard about the impact local government can have on wellbeing, how to recruit the right people for the right roles and how to leverage the knowledge within communities to solve problems and implement change.
The local government sector was united over issues regarding fire levy reform and everyone was very surprised that the government released their proposals seemingly without modelling them and certainly without consulting the sector.
There were common issues across councils of managing increasing costs related to construction, waste management and insurance, whilst trying to keep rates as low as possible.
The conference was also a time for celebration of great initiatives and recognition of service to the sector.
- Brighton Council’s Youth Action Group (BYAG) won a LGAT Award for Excellence for the Big Bangin Youth Night. Congratulations to all involved in bringing this together. I was so proud to be able to accept this award on behalf of Brighton Council and the BYAG.
- Congratulations to our Brighton Council elected members who received awards of recognition for many years of service to local government in Tasmania including myself, Deputy Mayor Barbara Curran, Councillor Phil Owen and Councillor Peter Geard. What an honour this was to be recognised in front of our peers.
You can read more about our Excellence Award and recognition of service awards in this edition.
As I write this, I find it hard to believe Brighton has missed out on being on the final list of six new locations for public ferries as part of the Draft River Derwent Ferry Service Masterplan. To say I am frustrated and disappointed is really an understatement. Council will continue to lobby for a Brighton Municipality location to be included in the masterplan. We will not let this important transport issue rest. I would encourage everyone to have their say on this so we can be heard. Head to www.engage. stategrowth.tas.gov.au and click on ‘River Derwent Ferry Service Masterplan Consultation’ to share your thoughts. Feedback is open until Monday 8 January 2024.
Lastly, on behalf of Council, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope we can all find some peace and solace with our family and friends this festive season. Please stay safe and I look forward to continuing to lobby hard on issues that are important for our community in 2024.
Brighton Mayor Leigh Gray