July, 2019

Facing asset challenges

Dr Ian Tiley: There is still some way to go in attaining optimum asset management.This is the first of a regular series of articles giving my perspective on several pressing issues being faced by NSW Local Government and by your Armidale Regional Council.
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Local government reform in NSW has accelerated since 2011.A key driver for this reform is issues pertaining to the financial sustainability of councils.

The financial sustainability of a council is closely linked to the management of infrastructure.A large majority of council services are provided by infrastructure, which typically represents the majority of a council’s assets.

NSW Treasury Corporation offers the following definition of financial sustainability: “A local government will be financially sustainable over the long term when it is able to generate sufficient funds to provide the levels of service and infrastructure agreed with its community.”

This definition recognises the need for a long-term view and one that considers the relationships between revenue, infrastructure and service levels.

The Charter under the Local Government Act, 1993 requires councils

• Provide directly or on behalf of other levels of government, after due consultation, adequate, equitable and appropriate services and facilities for the community and to ensure that those services and facilities are managed efficiently and effectively;

• Have regard to the long-term and cumulative effects of its decisions;

• Bear in mind that it is the custodian and trustee of public assets and to effectively plan for, account for and manage the assets for which it is responsible;

• Engage in long-term strategic planning on behalf of the local community.

For at least the first decade after the 1993 Act was proclaimed, only a small number of councils prepared strategic asset management plans. From 1993, most councils adequately developed asset registers to comply with the accounting standard AAS27. However, attention was generally not directed to the wider purpose of the Charter.

The requirements in the AAS27 general purpose financial reporting arrangements include the preparation of a Special Schedule Seven report, which reviews the status of a council’s assets.

The Local Government Act was amended in 2009 to include the Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework (IP&R) which will soon be strengthened under an amendment to the Act, and requiring all councils in NSW to establish a long-term financial plan, informed by an asset management plan. IP&R mandates improved reporting, benchmarking, collaboration and industry capacity building in respect of the sector’s asset management practices and ultimately the services delivered to the community.

A key aspect of the IP&R framework is that asset management should have a service delivery focus and the assets provided should be appropriate to meet the needs of the community, as set out in the community strategic plan.

However, at the time of implementation of IP&R, the asset management plans developed by most councils modelled existing levels of service and used age-based, not condition-rated, deterioration models. Therefore the full benefits of the framework are yet to be achieved.

Your council has made good progress with asset management but still faces many challenges.

Dr Ian Tiley, administrator,Armidale Regional Council. To read the full column, visit 梧桐夜网armidaleexpress南京夜网419论坛

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Lots on in the week for seniors

Forbes Senior Singers. There’s something for everyone during the Forbes Seniors’ Festival from March 3 to March 12.
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If you are over 60, the Forbes Seniors’ Festival will give you the chance to make new friends or get together with old ones with a number of events planned.

The festival will start with a community barbecue at 12pm on Friday, March 3 at Jemalong Residential Village. The event will feature entertainment by Paddy Molloy and Ray Lassere as well as a barbecue lunch.

From 2pm on Sunday, March 5 a Seniors Variety Concert will be held at the Forbes Town Hall with performances from the Parkes Orchestra, Trish Maxwell, Barbara Bruce, Lyn Sharp, James Janetski, John Smith, Richard Morgan, the Gilmours and the Forbes College for Seniors Singers. This event is a gold coin donation.

A morning tea with the residents at Mater Aged Care is at 10.30am on Monday, March 6.

Entry is $6 and there will be lucky door prizes, raffles, a trading table and morning tea.

On Wednesday, March 8 students will be supporting seniors to help them learn more about computers and the seniors kiosk. This event will be held from 9.30am to 11am at Forbes High School with bookings essential.

Later that afternoon from 2pm, Mater Aged Care is hosting Big Bingo. Families and community members are welcome to attend with great prizes on offer.

For the final event of the festival, the Forbes Men’s Shed at the Forbes Showground will open its doors from 10am to 12pm. Sample the activities on offer and find out more about the Men’s Shed. For moreinformation or to RSVP contact Community Relations Officer Blake Nicholson on 6850 2355 or [email protected]论坛

Now in its 59th year, NSW Seniors’ Festival is the largest festival for seniors in the Southern Hemisphere, reaching up to 500,000 seniors each year.

If you are over 60, NSW Seniors’ Festival gives you the chance to make new friends or get together with old ones at an array of local community events, many which are free or heavily discounted.

Presented by the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), NSW Seniors’ Festival is designed to celebrate the role seniors play and the contributions they make to the NSW community, aligning to the policy objective of inclusive communities.

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St Pat’s, Loreto favourites

St Patrick’s College and Loreto College are the overwhelming favourites heading into Sunday’s Head of the Lake.
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Both crews have beendominant in lead-up regattas and will take some catching on race day.

St Pat’s is hoping to register its first Head of the Lake triumph since 2010 and return to the glory days of St Pat’s rowing that saw it claim the crown from 2007-10.

However, it has been keeping its cards close to its chest.

St Patrick’s College’s boys’ firsts crew has only raced in one regatta against fellow Ballarat schools, but has shone in a number of regattas in Geelong and won the Head of the Schoolboys.

President of the Wendouree-Ballarat Rowing Club John King said the St Pat’s crew had been extremely impressive in the lead-up to the event and would certainly take some beating. But he felt Ballarat Clarendon Collegeposedas the main threat to St Patrick’s College’shopes.

“They’ve been hiding their cards a little bit, they’ve only raced in one regatta against the other schools,” King said.

“I think College are the next best crew, they seem to be challenging very well.”

Meanwhile in the girls’ firsts race, Loreto College are equallyfancied boasting an undefeated record in the lead-up regattas.

If Loreto can produce the goods it will be the first time it has triumphed in its 10-year involvement.

The crew is led by Laura Foley who is involved with the WestVic academy. But King said the crew was far from a one-girl show and will be very hard to beat on Sunday.

King felt Ballarat Grammar offered the main competition to Loreto given the impressive record of coach Bill Gribble.

“It’s hard to see who is going to challenge them at the moment.

SUCCESS: Ballarat Clarendon College’s boys’ firsts celebrate victory at last year’s Head of the Lake. It poses as the biggest threat to St Patrick’s College. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

“The whole crew’s fitted together really well, all very strong and fit, they’re travelling beautifully.

“Bill Gribble always coaches crews up to the Head of the Lake very well and he’s girls did a fantastic job last year.”

The weather is promising to deliver a brilliant day, pushing into the late-20s and sunny. But more importantly, the wind will play a minimal role.

King expected a slight tailwind, similar to that of 2005 that saw Ballarat High School break the Head of the Lake record.

Races start at 9am with the firsts’ races beginning at 11.35.

Meanwhile, St Patrick’s College paid tribute to Olympian Christian Ryan by naming a boat after him in the lead-up to the Head of the Lake.

Ryan was a silver medalist in the 2000 Olympics as a member of the men’s eight and is a former college captain of St Patrick’s College.

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Victorious start for Great Lakes Canoe Club

The complete NSW schools team with the National small competitors’ Schools Trophy won by Great Lakes Colleges.This year has begun with great results for the Great Lakes Canoe Club with a number of competitions held over the summer locally, in Sydney and in Auckland (NZ).
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The first of these was held in January at the Australian Schools Championships on the Barrington River, Barrington.

Five paddlers, Miah Kellett, Jock Sweeney, Alexander Fiebig, Tristan Yule and Kristian Fiebig, represented Great Lakes College in canoe and kayak slalom and sprints, with sensational results, culminating with a win in the national small competitors’ schools trophy.

Each paddler contested a number of individual and team events and came away with a swag of medals, with brilliant performances, especially from Miah and Jock, for who were competing for the first time at national level.

Great Lakes was part of the NSW team which played host state to the national event.

Under the leadership of Paddle NSW and Great Lakes College teacher, Phil Koch, they worked very hard to prepare the course at Barrington in the lead-up to the event.

The site was a last minute change, announced only three weeks before the event, due to a problem of water release at a different river course at Glenbawn Dam, which the team with their families had been helping to prepare over the last eightmonths.

Despite the low water level on the Barrington River it worked out very well, with more than 70 paddlers competing from Victoria,Tasmania, Western Australia and other regions of NSW.

Following this school’scompetition Kristian Fiebig joined his older brother Kaspar in the C2 (double canoe) for the Australian Nationals Canoe Slalom, held at Penrith in January, where they came away as national open C2 champions.

They put in a good performance at the Oceania Championships in Auckland at the end of January and followed it up earlier this month at the Australian Open, where they paddled their fastest ever and qualified for the U23 Australian Team.

This means they will compete in the world championships in canoe slalom in Bratislava, Slovakiathis coming July.

So now the hard work in preparation begins!

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Always pay attention to the soothsayer as Ides of March approach

Beware the Ides of March.
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World soccer’s governing body FIFA has ordered Australia’s peak soccer body, Football Federation Australia, to hold an emergency general meeting by the end of March to bring about wholesale change to the way its board and governing statutes are constituted.

Steven Lowy, the under-pressure chairman of the FFA, would do well to heed the advice of the soothsayer in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, who warned the emperor to beware that March date as it could prove catastrophic. It ultimately did when Caesar was assassinated by his former colleagues and supporters.

If he can’t bring about the necessary change to the game’s governance structure, satisfy the increasingly impatient A-League clubs who want a greater share of the cash from the new TV deal and convince all of the game’s stakeholders that he has a credible plan for the future Lowy too could find himself under a real challenge.

There will be a growing number of dissidents who will be keen to press for revolutionary change if the Lowy-led FFA board does not bring about the kind of change they deem vital.

So, in the parlance of the game, has the head coach lost the dressing room?

Put it this way, if this was a relegation dogfight, Lowy’s team would certainly be battling for survival.

While he clearly has the support of his board – many of whom have close links through social or business connections – the full extent of disaffection with the way the FFA runs the game is now emerging with daily disclosures from disgruntled parties about the need for change in the face of alleged management inertia.

In many ways Lowy’s is a thankless task given his background.

His father Frank was an extraordinary, if at times controversial, force in the game and his predecessor for a decade: if the son blows up the governance model put in place by the family patriarch – as he is being urged to do by his critics – he may feel disloyal to the legacy of his father.

But if he doesn’t make significant change he will simply be accused of being a puppet of his predecessor, in thrall to his memory and solely concerned with maintaining the family’s grip on power in the game.

The mark of his leadership now will chiefly be determined by how he will satisfy the demands of the clubs.

They want far more autonomy and say in the running of the A-League, which they argue is the game’s major cash cow, as well as far more of the broadcast rights cash so they can plan for a bigger future and invest in developing local talent and signing better marquee and foreign players.

This has already become something of a dirty war, with both sides briefing against the other and heavy-handed threats and counter-threats having been made.

In some cases attitudes have hardened and the fear is that there is now little room for negotiation and compromise.

But for the centre to hold, some compromise is what has to happen, particularly on the composition of the new FFA board. Currently that comprises nine members, mainly all business people with little connection to the clubs. All may be characterised as supportive of the chairman.

In talks earlier in February, Lowy and his team floated the idea of a 17-person board (including representatives from the women’s game, referees and other areas of soccer) of which the clubs could nominate three.

It does not look as though this will mollify the clubs.

As one critic said this week: “The clubs are only valued at 18 per cent in that arrangement. It’s not workable and we won’t stand for it. They will have to give us more say. The clubs really need to be financially, operationally and in a governance sense independent of the FFA. But they want to control us so they can retain control of the money.”

So will civil war ensue at the extraordinary general meeting in March?

Several names have been floated as potential replacements for the incumbent if things fall apart, with Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro, who has built his club into a domestic powerhouse, often touted as the sort of candidate who might be desirable. But Di Pietro, who made a critical speech against the FFA earlier this month, has always ruled himself out and has recently distanced himself from such speculation.

The statutes, in any case, make it almost impossible for a club official such as Di Pietro to run for chairman anyway as the rules state that no one who has been involved with a club can stand until they have been away from their club involvement for two years.

Expect that to be challenged strongly if the critics do not get satisfaction next month. There is much hard talking to be done in the interim.

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