By Michael Giles
IT’S a no-brainer. Technology has changed just about everything about the private sector so why shouldn’t Local Government take advantage of these advances to deliver more, if not for less, at least for the same money.
And that’s what four Gippsland councils have opted to do by committing to a shared model of services. It should have happened ages ago.
They’ve talked about combining back-office/corporate services and IT functions into the future, but they shouldn’t put constraints on what might be possible.
Technology has greatly increased admin capacity and it’s quite possible that many of the functions of those councils, and others across the state, could be combined to achieve huge savings.
And it’s complete rot for opponents of this type of reform to suggest that we’ll lose the “local” from Local Government if some of these functions aren’t carried out in the local area.
Many of the top exec at Bass Coast, for example, don’t even live here.
When it came the time to appoint a shire CEO for example, the excellent local candidate Steve Piasente was overlooked in favour of someone from outside the area. So how well do we really value local knowledge?
You can’t decide to play the “local” card now to try and hold back reform.
No one wants anyone to lose their job but if it’s a choice between delivering much-needed community services, including a place for kids to learn to swim, play basketball, enjoy family time in a park or shared pathway, learn to dance, sing and act or have access to housing and family services; then we have to drive and support these changes as a priority and a matter of urgency.
The Bass Coast Shire Council has not been able to deliver many of the basics that a growing community like this one needs, partially because its rates got stuck in a low-range relative to other councils at the time of rate capping, so all the more reason for us to participate.
Not being able to provide the necessary social infrastructure and failing to keep up with housing demand can have disastrous consequences for a growing community.
If you want to have the fallout from failing to act on your conscience, you’re on your own there.
And given our strong rate of growth, there’ll be more than enough replacement jobs to go around.