A word from Brent, our Managing Director - March/April 2022
It is April already and I don’t know about you but this year is moving incredibly fast. It is devastating to see the impacts of the recent flood disaster unfold across our communities, but equally incredible to see the generosity and spirit that really highlights how much of a family local government is.
I was out at the Western Queensland Alliance of Councils Assembly in Charleville in March, a great event really focused on some key advocacy issues of our western council communities. To witness firsthand the leaders from those communities stand up and say ‘how can we help’ and the subsequent donation of $105,000 to the appeal, along with sending equipment and resources to SEQ was truly humbling.
On the whole we have well and truly shifted into gear with a great deal of engagement across the state underway. Alongside recent events, Jess travelled out west with LGAQ President Mark Jamieson, CEO Alison Smith and Director of External Relations Sarah Vogler to engage with some of our more remote councils to listen firsthand to the current issues impacting the region.
As a result of this and following on from feedback across the board to our team, we have shaped our upcoming HR Masterclass Series to be solutions focused on the number one key challenge with our workforce, being attraction and retention and how we address the skills shortage crisis. A robust agenda has been put together and we are pleased to announce that along with our partner LGIA Super, we have also partnered this year with Country Universities Centre (CUC).
CUC, led by CEO Duncan Taylor, has built a model in NSW, that is starting to get traction in Southwest Queensland, with Balonne Shire Council, Mayor Sam O’Toole, leading the charge with the St George and Dirranbandi centres. This model was initiated in 2013 with Snowy Hydro to address recruitment challenges in a remote area of NSW. The success of this program resulted in support to grow and expand from NSW Government, in partnership with Regional Development Australia and with further support from the Commonwealth there is now 10 regional hubs across the state with a view to expand further.
This is a key part of finding fit for purpose solutions, and highlights the need for council, community and partner organisations to work together to grow our own talent, reduce the impact of declining populations, improve liveability in our communities and ultimately create a bigger pool of skilled people in our remote communities – for not only local government to tap into but more broadly, our communities.
Another item I wanted to mention which is also about supporting communities, is where we are at with Local Buy Nex Gen. The efforts by Peter, Glen and the team to rollout this platform across the entirety of Queensland local government is by no means a small feat. Councils are at various stages with this implementation and below is a snapshot of what has been achieved to date:
- 58 councils signed up! We recently welcomed Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council and Tablelands Regional Council to the party. That means that 75% of all Queensland councils are onboard with Nex Gen with more to come over the coming months.
- 35 are already using the delivery of procurement platform (VendorPanel) to engage with their supplier network, including Local Buy’s thousands of actively managed pre-qualified suppliers.
- 17 are already using Nex Gen reporting and analytics dashboards, delivering previously unattainable reports and insights in the procurement context.
- 17 also leveraging local economic development modelling toolset and insights, proving a unique opportunity for councils to position procurement to drive stronger local economic outcomes.
- Councils are well supported, including no cost access to a large variety of Nex Gen training webinars. The Nex Gen team and partners are conducting on-site sessions and training within the regions over the coming months. They will be in touch soon (if not already).
Collaboration – that is the key here. I don’t know how many times over the years I have heard from many a council officer ‘if only councils all used the same ERP system’ and whilst we don’t have the magic bullet for that one, this is a fundamentally great starting point – enabling all suppliers across the state to interact with local government on the same platform – it can only open up new opportunities and this is the exciting thing about technology as an enabler in connecting our communities.
In wrapping up, I wanted to give a big shoutout to our crew at Peak 247. Their efforts during the recent disaster were outstanding and I am truly proud of the team and what they managed to overcome. Julian, Vernetta, Bec and all the team – a big pat on the back – so well deserved! To give you an idea they fielded literally thousands of calls, day and night, throughout the entire event and in reality, it is still going on for some of our communities.
Not many would know this, but long-standing Peak 247 customer, Livingstone Shire Council’s Manager of Customer Service Trish Weir, actually organised to staff up during the critical days of the event and take their own calls back. For once they weren’t the ones being smashed by a weather event and being the great community champions they are, supported us to further support those in need.
We really are a family in local government, supporting each other every step of the way!
Have a wonderful break over the Easter long weekend and stay safe on the roads if you’re getting out and about.
See you out there