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  • 31 Jan 2019 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A Victoria local government council has been found by the Commonwealth Fair Work Commission to be a ‘constitutional corporation’ for the purposes of the (Federal) Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). That status exposed it to a federal bullying claim.

    No South Australian Local Government Council is a ‘national system employer’ pursuant to the FW Act. That status insulates South Australian Councils in many helpful ways. For example, the federal unfair dismissal jurisdiction and the National Employment Standards do not apply.

    However, whether South Australian Councils are ‘constitutional corporations’ for FW Act purposes, remains a critical legal issue, possibly exposing South Australian Councils to potential litigation and disputes under the FW Act.

    There is no ‘one size fits all test’ to determine whether your council is a constitutional corporation, however, an analysis of the councils trading activities must be taken into account.

    In the recent case of Matina Bastakos [2018] FWC 7650, the City of Port Phillip has been found by the Commonwealth Fair Work Commission (Commission) to be a ‘constitutional corporation’ for the purposes of the (Federal) Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). That status exposed it to a federal bullying claim.

    The FW Act exposes employers which are ‘constitutional corporations’ to further employment obligations and further risks of litigation.

    No South Australian Local Government Council is a ‘national system employer’ per the FW Act. That status insulates South Australian Councils in many helpful ways. For example, the federal unfair dismissal jurisdiction and the National Employment Standards do not apply to South Australian Councils.

    However, whether South Australian Councils are ‘constitutional corporations’ for FW Act purposes, remains a critical legal issue, possibly exposing South Australian Councils to potential litigation and disputes under the FW Act. For example, FW Act bullying claims and General Protections applications.

    Notwithstanding that, a ‘constitutional corporation’ includes:

    1. an incorporated entity (which all SA Councils are); which also
    1. engages in ‘substantial’ (i.e.: non-peripheral) ‘trading activity’.

    The general rule is that trading activities are akin to normal for-profit commercial activities. For example, trading activities could include: car parks, golf courses, swimming pools, cafes, leasing Council buildings, rental activities, use of parklands for commercial reward, childcare centres, aged care facilities and even festivals, just to name a few.

    If such trading activities are ‘substantial’, a Council risks being deemed a constitutional corporation. If so, the above areas of the FW Act would apply to the Council. These risks are therefore significant regarding strategic planning for all Council stakeholders.

    There is no single ‘one size fits all’ test of this constitutional corporation status. In the City of Port Philip case, 25% income derivation from trading activities was enough for the Commission to deem it a constitutional corporation, and thus prone to those liabilities and litigation.

    However, in the matter of Mr Martin Cooper [2017] FWC 5974, which involved two applications for an order to stop bullying, the employer, the City of Burnside, was found not to be a constitutional corporation for the purposes of the FW Act. Although the City of Burnside no doubt engaged in trading activities, the Commission deemed them to be peripheral, rather than substantial or sufficiently significant.

    Councils can consider their respective position with regards to their trading activities. We are able to assist you in considering your position and have a list of council activities that are considered trading activities for the purposes of the activities test, to assist you in this process.

    Please contact Sathish Dasan on +61 8 8210 1253 or by email on to discuss the matter

  • 20 Sep 2018 4:35 PM | Anonymous

    Don’t stand on the sidelines!  Get involved!

    There are only three types of people – those that hope things will happen, those that makes things happen, and those that wonder what happened!

    So, in life – family, career, hobbies, sport – you can either hang back and watch what’s going on, or get involved and be a part of the action. 

    Studies show that much greater satisfaction is gained by getting involved.  Parents are advised to get involved with their children’s development and activities.  Community members are encourages to get involved with community issues and have a say in making decisions that will affect them.

    And of course, workers are advised to get involved with activities that can increase job satisfaction and help to further their career.

    LG Professionals offers a range of opportunities to get involved and get the best value from your membership  - from our award-winning professional development programs, to a wide range of focused networks that meet regularly to learn and engage, and also mentoring and coaching.

    There are 7 main benefits of “getting involved”

    1. Make new contacts who are outside of your normal circle
    LG Professionals strives to bring people in our sector together. Whether you’re just starting out, or are already an experienced manager, LG Professionals creates  opportunities to make friends and contacts in similar organisations with no strings attached. Who doesn’t need a sounding board for ideas?

    2. Be connected to the pulse of what’s happening
    Networking groups give you an inside track into what’s happening in your part of local government.  You can access people and information from experts who influence your field, discuss solutions to common issues, and keep up to date with latest trends and information.

    3. Be proactive. Share your voice and opinions
    Want to help shape the future? Then let your voice be heard. People who are active in their networks can have a big impact on the conversations that inform that space. If you have something worth contributing, take ownership of it and the whole sector (and the communities we serve) will benefit.

    4. Build your career
    Networking and engaging with others in the industry will raise your profile.  Others will recognise your contribution, colleagues will hear and utilise your great ideas, and your career will develop faster as a result.

    5. Get advice
    Being part of a large, diverse group gives you many opportunities to get advice from people who’ve gone through it all. What to do. What not to do. Their experiences can point you in the right direction and help you avoid many costly pitfalls. Reach out through LG Professionals Network Groups to meet others who share your passions and can help you build your career.

    6. Seek professional development opportunities
    In addition to being a great resource for job seekers and employers, LG Professionals networks and programs can help you gain professional contacts, find a mentor/coach and expand your industry knowledge.  You’ll be surprised how quickly you can build long-lasting relationships and potential career opportunities.

    7. Fuel your passion
    There is no better way to stay motivated than to be passionate about your role. Getting involved fuels that passion – and helps you to stay focused on what’s important, and avoid falling into the trap of doing the “same old thing” every day.

    LG Professionals offers a wide range of opportunities to get involved, from Leadership Development programs to a wide range of short courses, events and networking functions.

    Check out the full program here.

  • 20 Jun 2018 8:27 AM | Anonymous

    Do your Council have a strong staff development policy – and are you promoting it?

    Organisations are becoming more aware that a positive (and well-promoted) staff development policy – including ensuing development plans and actions are reviewed in line with staff reviews -- is a necessary part of rewarding, attracting and retaining staff.

    The most recent Seek ‘laws of attraction’ survey found that staff development is a very strong attractor - especially for Millennials.

    Almost every form of career development was significantly more likely to be a ‘must have’ for Millennials than other generations as they looked for ways to propel their career forward.

    Almost half (47 per cent) considered opportunities for promotion a must when considering an employer, while 44 per cent said the same for on-the-job skill development.

    Work-life balance, although ranking the third most important factor for Millennials behind money and development, was less important for the younger demographic than for Generation X and Baby Boomers.

    The increased use and sophistication of the internet also enables candidates to become more aware of factors such as employer reputation, additional benefits and colleagues and co-workers. This may be having an impact on how a candidate perceives their importance, so employers would be wise to look at the bigger picture when it comes to attracting talent.

    Read more about the results of the Seek survey for government and defence, here.

    An organisational focus on learning and development (from AHRI)

    It is critical for organisations to establish an organisational focus when setting goals for its learning and development activities. The learning and development objectives and strategies should link with the broader organisational objectives.

    Organisations should ensure that appropriate needs analyses are undertaken to identify the learning and development needs of the organisation, the business units/departments and individuals. These needs should be prioritised in terms of their potential impact on organisational effectiveness and profitability.

    For an organisation's learning and development strategy and policies to be successful, they should be focussed on helping the business to meet its objectives, and they should also reflect its mission, values and culture.


  • 20 Jun 2018 8:23 AM | Anonymous

    "Ultimately, there's one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. Nobody can take away what you've got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven't used yet.”  Warren Buffett

    What’s the definition of an investment?

    In this context, to invest is to put money, effort, time, etc. into something to make a profit or get an advantage:  (expectation of an advantage or greater return in the future)

    “A stitch in time saves nine” is a well-known saying that suggests investing a little time today can save lots of time in the future.

    So, to invest in oneself is to put effort in today, on a personal level, that will return more tomorrow, in terms of, for example:

    • ·         Work or life skills
    • ·         Relationships/networks
    • ·         Learning experiences
    • ·         Health/Wellbeing
    • ·         Lifestyle

    A good example is attending University (to get a degree, to get a better job, to earn more, to have more job satisfaction) or taking the time to regularly go to the gym (to get more healthy so you can enjoy life to the fullest – or even to live for longer)

    A large part of investing in self is to build your knowledge and skills, and form strong and lasting relationships. 

    These investments usually take the form of reading often and widely, making the effort to attending courses, training and programs, attending conferences and accessing a mentor and/or coach. 

    Read more about how to invest in yourself here‘the top 10 ways to invest in yourself – and why it’s so powerful’


  • 24 May 2018 9:13 AM | Anonymous

    Alison Ledgerwood, a Professor of Psychology at UC Davis, presented a thought-provoking TED talk about ‘getting stuck in the negatives - and how to get unstuck’.  Essentially, it’s about the power of positive language.

    Do you ever wonder why we remember our failures very clearly, but are more likely to ‘gloss-over’ or forget our successes? 

    Alison speaks about getting stuck in the ‘loss frame’.  It’s the way we look at things.  ‘Glass half empty’ is the loss frame, while ‘glass half full’ is the gain frame.

    While we are all pretty familiar with the glass half full or half empty analogy, we tend to put it down to simple optimism or pessimism.  However, Alison’s research shows it’s much more than that. 

    It seems that if we think in the gain frame – glass half full, we can be convinced to change our thoughts to the negative, loss frame, if presented with an alternative view. 

    However, if we start in the loss frame, it’s almost impossible to change our thinking to the positive.  She calls this getting stuck in the loss frame

    Accordingly, she advises to always think positively, work to see the upside and also explains why expressing gratitude, works so well as it focuses us on the positives.

    Invest a very worthwhile 10 minutes of your time and watch this video, it might just change the way you think.

  • 24 May 2018 9:06 AM | Anonymous

    Regardless of what side of the table or desk you are on performance reviews can be nerve-wracking.  There are many articles about how to conduct a performance review.  This is not one of them.  Rather, this is about what questions to ask your manager in your own performance review.

    Should you just respond to the questions being asked?  Should you spend ages preparing your succinct, to the point, and impressive responses?  No!  (well, yes you should, but you should also think about what you should ask your manager in the review).

    Use the power of language in your performance reviews.  For example, asking “what are your most important goals for the coming year?” lets your manager know you are interested in the overall team performance and how you can help. 

    You’ll be seen as a helpful resource, someone who can help solve issues – not add to them.

    Or asking “Is there anything I could do to make your job easier?” is always going to be well received.

    Asking “How do you think local government (or our organisation) is going to change in the future? What challenges do we face?” will show that you are interested in the big picture, and will help you, and your manager, identify opportunities and frame your responsibilities and activities in the future.

    Read more for a summary of the best questions to ask during performance reviews – it’s great preparation for your next review.

  • 28 Apr 2018 12:31 PM | Anonymous

    You may not know it yet, but – you are a brand.  Just like Coca-Cola, or Holden, or any corporation.

    A brand is really just defined by a whole series of attributes, that the person (or corporation – or product) is KNOWN for – and stands for.

    For example,

    Mercedes-Benz – quality, dependability, luxury

    Volvo – safety, luxury

    Aldi – small range, cheap prices

    Tesla, Apple – innovation, style

    You get the idea.

    So what’s your personal brand?  How would you describe yourself in a few words, as brand attributes?  Are you smart, quick-thinking, with a can-do attitude?

    Or maybe you are reliable, dependable and trustworthy.

    The interesting thing is, just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, your brand is not only defined by what YOU think you are, but what OTHERS think you are.

    What if you think you are dependable, trustworthy and reliable, but others see you as dodgy and dishonest? Then, I’m afraid, your BRAND attributes will reflect just that.

    How do you find out if your own perceived brand attributes match others perceptions of you? 

    You need to ask them. Ask your manager, your CEO, or your peers what they believe and perceive your brand to be, by coming up with three to four descriptors.  What are you known for? And what messages are you sending out?

    Corporations make sure that they align their brand attributes with all that they do. Their advertising, products, services and more.  A high-value brand attribute like “quality” can soon be dashed if your customer service department gives poor service.

    So, personally, if you want to be seen as ambitious or a potential future leader, you need to start taking the right actions and live by those values so that others will start to see it, and recognise it as part of your BRAND.  And be very careful to avoid doing anything that will damage your brand.

    So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start understanding and building your brand.
  • 24 Apr 2018 11:35 AM | Anonymous
    Like it or not, we are always competing. As cities and regions, we compete for investment, for population, for workers, for businesses and much more. As councils, we compete for the best employees, the highest community satisfaction ratings and for recognition.

    That’s why it’s so important to understand the two branding forces at play in a local government environment –

    1.      the Place brand (City or Region brand) and
    2.      The Organisational or Council brand.

    With Placemaking becoming much more prominent in recent years, most people are very familiar with Place branding. It’s those things that people think about when they think about a Place.

    So, for example, New York – what first comes to mind when you think of New York? Vibrant, hectic, “city that never sleeps”, stylish, exciting.

    Tasmania – Unspoilt environment, natural beauty, quality food bowl, safe, compact

    Adelaide - Vibrant, cultured, artistic, refined, plentiful open spaces

    So it’s fairly easy to think about a place and what it’s like. The things that define it, essentially, create the Place brand. What it’s known for, how it’s perceived by others.  

    The Place brand is what people will think of when they consider living there, working there, taking their leisure time there, investing there or setting up a business in the area.

    So, a Place brand is the core basis for competition between cities and regions. It encompasses what the region offers, WHY it’s a great place to live and so on.

    What about your city? What is its Place brand? Do you know? It would be a good idea to run some research if not, with local residents and non-residents from other council areas to see if your Place brand is really what you think it is….

    But there’s another side to the story - the Council brand. Just because Adelaide is vibrant, cultural, refined and compact – are these the brand attributes of the council too? No – they are not. Place brand attributes and council brand attributes are different. They will always be different, but they should be aligned.

    The City of Adelaide is doing a great job of aligning their City and Council brands.

    A quick look at their website shows not only what the council offers but also what events and activities are scheduled in the city. This is just one example of how a city can support a Place brand.

    In doing so they are immediately seen as supportive but also facilitative – they are aligned with the vibrancy of the city – it’s not just something happening on its own without council involvement or direction.

    Unfortunately, there are many examples of cities and regions with a very powerful and positive brands where the council does not enjoy such a strong positive association. You’ve probably heard it before – “love the place, but the council is terrible” – poor service, hard to deal with and so on. Make sure you are not one of those!

    So, just as you work hard to promote the Place brand, you need to also distil and promote positive brand associations with your Council brand.

    The Council brand will have a large impact on ratepayer satisfaction, employee pride and also attraction of high calibre candidates.

    If a city is vibrant and exciting, and a great place to work and play, what sort of council is needed to facilitate that? Probably forward-thinking, easy to work with, innovative, service-oriented.

    If a city or region is known for its natural beauty and unspoilt environment, the council had better have pretty strong brand attributes of environmental awareness and environmental responsibility, in order to benefit from the association of the Place brand.

    What’s your Council brand? Do you know?  

    Do some research, find out if your Place brand and your Council brand is aligned to ensure that your brand attributes are seen as supporting the Place brand.

    That way, you will be more likely to be seen to be contributing to the creation of a successful and desirable place to live, work and play.


  • 20 Apr 2018 12:58 PM | Deleted user
    Sue Miller

    We spoke to LG Professionals, SA member and Executive Assistant to CEO & Mayor at Mount Barker District Council, Sue Miller on building, managing and protecting her personal brand.

    What is your brand and how have you come to establish it to what it is today?

    My brand is my reputation and my ability to influence. Protecting it is incredibly important to me. I’ve established it by being informed, consistent, ethical and kind. My brand gives me confidence to act with purpose and be self-directed, especially when I’m under pressure. I believe my brand is built upon value adding for my community and helping my colleagues achieve that outcome, too. I don’t just show up, I show up joyful.

    What were the benefits of doing the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) and what has that led to?

    The ELP reinforced for me the value of reflection, as it has a strong focus on emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and understanding how underlying assumptions impact on decision making and team processes. I enjoyed working through my Team Management Profile, and articulating my story, including future planning. My CEO supporting my participation, and including me in our Leadership Group (third level managers) despite my not having any direct reports, has given me professional courage, which gives me a more strategic outlook, and in turn strengthens my ability to deliver and execute ideas.

    I encourage conversations around the potential EAs have, to influence within council and be agents for change. Having done the ELP in 2015, I recognise EAs are strong in the areas of emotional intelligence and relationship management, and recommend managers give thought to what could be achieved by exposing EAs to leadership training.

    I am fortunate to work with managers and colleagues who trust my judgement and give me opportunities to be involved in projects and expand my influence without delegated or positional authority.

    Personal brand and the influence it has had on people, the workplace and council

    My preferred working style is one of being in the background, but I now appreciate I have a responsibility to my colleagues, community and self to share my experience and knowledge, because I have learnt the most, and developed professionally the most, from others who have done just that with me. In 2014 I established our Administrative Excellence Group (AEG), comprised of PAs to GMs and administrative officers at Mount Barker District Council, to share knowledge and experience. I try to promote via AEG a collaborative, rather than competitive, mindset.

    I have in the past done an intervention to the CEO with a PA colleague when we saw that a project had the potential to seriously impact on one of council’s external communication tools. This was risky, but because of my brand, my presence in his office suggested I would not have been there asking for this course of action if it wasn’t important. This reinforced my brand, my capacity for problem solving, the extent of my influence, and the quality of my relationships. I have been able to preserve relationships across council because my brand reinforces that my motivation is to provide a direct community benefit.

    In July last year Mount Barker District Council jointly hosted with Adelaide Hills Council a meeting of the Local Government Chief Officers’ Group (comprised of CEOs/GMs in LG from across Australia and New Zealand). Our CEO, Andrew Stuart, asked me to be part of the meeting and share my experience navigating the Mayor/CEO relationship – the duality of the role and the political mindset. Addressing 83 CEOs from across the country was very high risk in terms of reputational damage if I fluffed it, but I took courage from Andrew’s faith in my brand. I figured if I’m going to fail, fail spectacularly! I proposed the LG COG establish a national Executive Assistants group, which was supported. I was honoured and humbled that Mount Barker hosted 53 Executive Assistants from Australia and New Zealand at the inaugural Local Government Chief Officers’ Group Executive Assistants’ Alliance (LG COG EAA) meeting on 12 April, and it will be an annual event.

    “My brand is my reputation and my ability to influence. Protecting it is incredibly important to me.”

    My legacy. What is yours?

    A member of my immediate family has been undergoing treatment for a serious illness, which has generated many discussions around what kind of legacy this person will leave (personally and professionally).

    Our AEG is my professional legacy, as is the inaugural LG COG EAA.

    Having leaders in our organisation who are willing to educate and coach, guide and encourage EAs and PAs to be involved to a greater level in delivering on their objectives is another. Without this, the level of effective support to colleagues to enable them to deliver measurable community benefit is perhaps diminished, and the real potential of EAs/PAs may not be realised.

    Changing mind models around administrative roles I hope will be another legacy. EA networks and administrative roles have the potential to be levers in mitigating silos in councils. Perhaps the unrecognised power of EA networks lies in keeping the boundaries of teams flexible, particularly as our council grows. I hope EAs and managers recognise EAs are well placed to move between silos, translating messages in non-technical language up, down and sideways. You do need specialist areas, but as EAs we are well-positioned to see overlaps, underlaps and issues falling between the cracks.

    Inspire and encourage others to think more about their brand

    Trust, delegation and communication flows from management, and is often facilitated by EAs/PAs. Working relationships don’t just happen – they take time and investment. Please consider investing in your administrative personnel’s professional development and building their brand. Hopefully they also recognize it’s critical to remaining relevant and building their reputation. In our council, pressure from growth means a higher degree of flexibility and professionalism is required from our AEG.

    As EAs we have advisory rather than operational responsibilities; we provide a valuable service to others; it’s difficult to measure our performance in productivity terms and justify expenditure associated with training – generally we are facilitating the productivity of others!

    If you have an assistant who you think value-adds, please acknowledge their contribution by being their champion and supporting their professional development, and encouraging involvement in projects – it will ensure credibility and build capacity in council.

    If you are inspired by Sue’s story, her commitment and passion towards her role, we encourage you to connect with Sue on LinkedIn.

  • 27 Mar 2018 1:25 PM | Anonymous

    There are many initiatives that city planners introduce to attract people to use public transport.

    Free transport within certain zones, restricting car access, air-conditioned buses and trams, extensive public transport routes, new light rail lines and more.

    But with all this in place – why are some major cities declining in public transport use?

    The City of Perth has just recorded a drop in public transport use for the fifth year in a row.

    And Perth is not alone.  While capital cities (not surprisingly) see the largest share of public transport use, many are also seeing consistent declines across the world as well as in Australia.

    New York City’s subway system has posted its first dip in ridership since 2009, according to data from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The news follows a news week full of reported transit passenger declines in Los Angeles and San Francisco. And, for years, nearly every city in the U.S. (with a few notable exceptions) has posted negative percent changes, too. (Citylab, 2017)

    It seems many people still prefer the relative privacy and personal space afforded by private vehicles.

    Many predict the fast-approaching option of self-driving vehicles may be another solution – offering the convenience of a taxi or bus with the privacy of a private vehicle.  Will this trend also take away from the existing public transport pool?
    Read more about the decline of public transport in Perth (and the likely reasons) here.

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