In early 2014 the MACROC Board endorsed the formation of a Task Force made up of senior staff from each member Council to investigate models for regional collaboration and resource sharing.
A major objective of the Macarthur Regional Collaboration and Regional Resource Sharing Task Force (the Task Force) was to improve Councils’ sustainability and capacity, build on collaborative projects already in place and improve service to the Macarthur community.
Representatives on the Task Force are: the Deputy General Manager, Wollondilly Shire Council, the Director of Planning and Environment, Campbelltown City Council, the Manager, Finance and Planning, Camden Council and the Executive Officer, MACROC.
At the first meeting of the Task Force it was decided, with the approval of the General Managers to focus on:
• Revaluation of Assets;
• Affirmative Apprenticeship Action;
• A Regional Training Calender and
Sub Committees were formed with relevant officers from each off the Councils as members and a member of the Task Force as convenor.
Below are the reports from the various Sub Commttees on the work that has been done to date and the planned actions to progress the projects.
REVALUATION OF ASSETS: SUB COMMITTEE REPORT
The Assets – Regional Collaboration Sub Committee met Monday 11 August 2014 at Camden and discussed the following:
The condition assessment of assets is a labour and time intensive process. The Sub Committee agreed that a co-ordinated approach to this process would be a good starting point. There are a number of inconsistencies between the Councils to be worked through in order to realise this outcome.
Task 1 – each Council to agree on a standard condition rating scale for each class of asset.
The purpose of this is to ensure that the scale of condition rating for each asset class is the same for each Council. This scale is not the condition level assets are to be maintained at, this is a decision for each Council as part of adopting an asset management policy and plan and will be dependant on funding. A standard condition rating scale makes data collection easier and provides for a consistent scale of measurement across the 3 LGA’s. It will also assist with asset modelling and benchmarking in the future.
Task 2 – to investigate a joint regional tender for external valuation services.
There are some asset classes that require qualified valuers in order for Council to meet the definition of fair value and pass external audit. The group believe that through economies of scale that savings can be realised through a joint regional tender.
Issues relating to resourcing, funding required (who pays what), the logistics and differences in policy are all issues to be worked through at future meetings.
The Sub Committee met again on Monday 21 August and on the 1st September. Campbelltown provided a presentation on their Conquest Asset Management System and asset condition assessment process.
Campbelltown will be providing Wollondilly and Camden with their asset condition rating scales for each asset class which needs to be endorsed by each Council. Each Council is also to provide an estimate on the number of assets to be inspected each year and total inspection hours to assist in understanding the resourcing required to collect data across 3 LGA’s.
This meeting also identified an opportunity for group training for engineers and data collectors to further promote consistency across the 3 LGA’s.
It was also agreed that 1 July 2015 was the most logical starting point for the implementation of regional collaboration.
The next meeting will be held at Wollondilly Shire Council with the date to be announced (subject to the required information from each Council being endorsed/completed).
AFFIRMATIVE APPRENTICESHIP ACTION: REPORT
The Deputy General Manager of Wollondilly Shire Council put in a proposal for grant funding from the Department for Women to enable twelve women to complete a series of training workshops that will provide them with the skills and certification necessary to be employed in the Local Government sector.
It was suggested if the grant was successful that MACROC Councils should adopt a model of hosting apprentices and trainees. In mid-September Wollondilly Shire Council was notified that the application for funding was successful and the Deputy General Manager of Wollondilly Shire Council will discuss the project with the MACROC General Managers to map out a course of action.
The grant application Local Government: Real Opportunities for Women is Attachment A (included in document available for download below).
REGIONAL TRAINING CALENDAR: SUB COMMITTEE REPORT
The Sub Committee held its first meeting on Tuesday 5th August at Campbelltown City Council. The Sub Committee discussed and detailed each Council’s individual approaches to training and agreed to complete a review of the training programs each Council has conducted over the previous 6 months. SeeAttachment B (included in document available for download below). This list will be reviewed and options for collaboration to be determined.
Each Council is currently in the process of completing their annual training needs analysis. Once the TNAs are completed an opportunity to coordinate needs can be identified.
Opportunities to be considered in relation to a regional approach to training may include:
• Training Needs – A collective review
• Compulsory/Mandatory Training
• Corporate Training
• Soft Skills Development
• Leadership Skills
• Technology/Computer Training
• eLearning programs
• Sharing trainers and improved price negotiation with trainers
• Forming of special interest groups
The Sub Committee will further investigate which options lend themselves to collaboration and formulate an agreed action plan.
The Sub Committee met on Wednesday 27th August 2014 at Wollondilly Shire Council and noted at that meeting that sharing of training programmes has been in place for some time. The meeting also discussed performance appraisal systems across the Councils, reward and recognition systems, cyber safety and conflict resolution. Resources have been shared among the group on these topics. The next meeting will be in December and will focus on the outcomes of the training needs analysis done by each Council and begin to identify training that can be shared on a regional basis.
SPOIL: SUB COMMITTEE REPORT
The Spoil issues Sub Committee convened on 11 August 2014.
It was acknowledged that the disposal of spoil was a regional concern for Councils particularly the increasing amounts being generated with limited use and unsustainable costs with its disposal.
It was agreed the issue was not confined to Local Government but was impacting upon other government agencies and private enterprise.
This was seen as an opportunity to explore and the following strategies discussed:
1. Processing jointly to develop a product
2. Coordinating works programs to optimise the disposal and usage of spoil
3. Working together to source a location for disposal -possible regional facility
4. Partnership approach with State government or private industry to explore policy and systems that
constrain and work toward an enabling system
The following were identified as actions to progress:
Action One – Quantify the type and volume of spoil and a spreadsheet developed for the collection of regional data
Action Two – Research regional, state and international initiatives and models of spoil disposal and usage and analyse if initiatives could be implemented at a local level
Action Three – Joint position paper to address issues, bring all stakeholders together to work in the interest of the public good – develop a holistic approach
Action Four – Clarify interpretation of government policy and procedure relating to spoil usage and disposal – share this information to develop a joint understanding and creative enabling solutions
Since the meeting a series of emails have exchanged with a spreadsheet having been developed and advice being received from the NSW EPA regarding no restrictions on the movement of spoil along road corridors and across Local Government boundaries.
The next face to face Sub Committee meeting is to take place early October to further progress identified strategies and analyse data that has been collected. The Manager Infrastructure Services, Camden Council has been invited to join the Sub Committee.
At its’ initial meeting the Task Force also identified the need to establish a Regional Strategic Planning Group that would meet quarterly (or as important issues emerged) to focus on strategic direction on a regional basis. The Director of Planning and Environment, Campbelltown City Council is in the process of liaising with the General Managers and the Directors of Planning and has prepared the following report that outlines the role for the Regional Strategic Planning Group.
PROPOSED STRATEGIC REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING: REPORT
The future of the Macarthur region will be shaped by a range of factors including but not limited to:
• the extent and location of significant metropolitan scale urban development and consequent population
• demographic change, including in particular the ageing of the community, and changes to household
formation rates and household occupancy;
• responses to the employment creation challenges that address the region’s population/job mismatch;
• the capacity of transport and other strategic infrastructure to accommodate the needs of a growing
population, and other higher order needs such as for instance the second Sydney airport;
• environmental conditions and the management of impacts on key environmental and natural resource
• the sustainability of agricultural lands and production in the face of encroaching urban growth.
Policy decisions by all levels of government will influence each of these factors and how they will affect each of the three Local Government Areas – Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly.
Some of the more significant government policy directions are likely to be articulated in documents such as:
• The Metropolitan Strategy
• Proposed Sub-regional Delivery Plans
• Regional Action Plans
• Transport Master Plans and Corridor Strategies
• Government Agency Servicing Plans
• Council Development/Land Use Strategies and Local Environmental Plans
• Economic Development Strategies
• Industry Action Plans
In many instances, the best interests of the wider Macarthur regional community can be served well by a collaboration of ideas and responses to government policies (including draft policies) which respect local area issues and specific circumstances, but that advocate a unified regional perspective.
Previously, the Planning Directors of each of the MACROC Councils met on a semi – regular basis to discuss issues of concern and to develop integrated responses to regional land use, development, transport, environment and other issues as the need arose. In some instances, the Regional Director of the Department of Planning participated in this group.
There was an agreed level (amongst the participants) of value to the Macarthur region generated by collaboration and often the group helped to inform the preparation of draft submissions to government by MACROC on key strategic planning related issues.
A range of important challenges currently confront the Macarthur region including:
• Badgery’s Creek Airport
• Western Sydney Roads Package
• Proposed Extension to the South-West Rail Link
• Greater Western Sydney Economic Development Strategy
• Broader Western Sydney Employment Area
• Increasing government investment in service infrastructure such as hospitals and education
• Major urban development proposals throughout Camden at Emerald Hills and in the South West
Growth Centre, Wollondilly Shire at Wilton and Appin, in addition to Menangle Park, Mt Gilead and
Accordingly, it is believed that there is merit in reinstating and bringing additional formality to the previously operating MACROC Councils Strategic Planning Group and providing it with a brief to identify, report and make recommendations to MACROC on significant strategic planning and infrastructure issues, including proposed government policy, that has or can be identified to have an effect on the Macarthur region.
There is support amongst the representatives of the MACROC Regional Collaboration and Regional Resource Sharing Task Force for such a Group to consist of the senior planning staff of each of the Councils in addition to senior representatives with transport infrastructure expertise. Other Council staff members could potentially be co-opted onto the Group on an as needs basis. The MACROC Executive Officer would also participate as part of the Group.
It is recommended that the Strategic Regional Development and Infrastructure Planning Group be endorsed by MACROC and be tasked with the responsibility of preparing an action plan for the Board’s consideration, as a matter of priority.
At the next meeting of the Task Force scheduled for November 2014 the formation of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) will be discussed and a proposal drafted and sent to the General Managers for their approval. Potential SIGs include Transport (Working Group already established); Planning; Finance; and Integrated Planning and Reporting. These Groups would allow staff across the region working in areas of specific expertise to share experience and information to the benefit of all.
It is proposed that the Task Force meet quarterly and that Task Force representatives of each Sub Committee established follow up on the goals and time frames identified in their reports. The Task Force will also look at other opportunities for establishing a collaborative long term strategic view that can be adopted by MACROC Councils to encourage the sharing of resources where possible.