Helicopter View

Helicopter View

25.9.2015 Volunteers changing the world: Weekender Column 90

World renowned cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead, once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Seth Godin, marketer extraordinaire, once tweeted, “Fire the committee. No great Web site in history has ever been conceived of by more than three people. Not one. This is a deal breaker.” For individuals in our society who think they can’t make a dif ..

11.9.2015 State of the City Report 2014/2015: Weekender Column 89

As part of a process that started at the beginning of this Council term, the State Government made it mandatory for every Council to create a long-term strategic plan for their LGA. This ‘Community Strategic Plan’ had to look forward at least ten years and it is compulsory to report back to the community at the end of every (four year) term of Council. This is an excellent concept from the State Government and one designed to further involve the community in the Council process.  ..

29.8.2015 Can the NBN save regional Australia? Weekender Column 88

Can the NBN save regional Australia? Does regional Australia even need saving? Is the lack of the NBN rollout in regional Australia just one of the symptoms of the general malaise in relation to regional infrastructure that governments have demonstrated for many years? I can’t guarantee that I will answer any of these questions - but at the very least I would like to start a discussion around these points and let you come to your own conclusions. Firstly, let me jump back a little  ..

15.8.2015 How do people make decisions? Weekender Column 87

We all make decisions every day. Do I get out of bed? Do I have toast or cereal? Do I bother to watch the last Ashes Test after the embarrassing defeat in the fourth Test? These are all decisions which don’t require a lot of thought and the consequences are essentially individual. Toast or cereal probably just has an impact on me – or maybe a few people in my household if I use up all the milk on my cereal. Decision-making therefore may not sound like that big a deal. There  ..

01.8.2015 Evocities is the saviour of regional Australia: Weekender Column 86

Evocities is the saviour of regional Australia! It might seem like an extraordinary statement but I firmly believe that Evocities – and other programs that perform similar roles in other States – are required to see long-term growth in regional areas. Those of us intelligent enough to live in a regional city know that the simple facts show that there is no compelling reason to live in a major metropolitan area – like Sydney. Look at the raw data: The median house price  ..

18.7.2015 Investing in regional areas will deliver a return: Weekender Column 85

Maybe it is just because I am more attuned to it or maybe it is reality – but there seems to have been a significant amount of discussion lately in relation to regional areas and the focus for more people and investment to go to regional areas. Surprisingly enough, I have an opinion on this. If we go way back to a population density map from 1911, NSW is smattered with a significant number of small population centres with the population spread amongst many small towns and villa ..

04.7.2015 Do numbers or people indicate future sustainability: Weekender Column 84

Councils across the state had to submit their Fit for the Future submissions this week. With our submission alone consisting of 111 pages, and with 152 Councils across the State preparing documents of a similar size, the State Government would have received close to 17,000 pages from Local Government this week. This is all at an incredible cost to Local Government. There is no doubt that the Fit for the Future reform process is the most significant change since 1993 when our former State ..

20.6.2015 Modern democracy and the Magna Carta: Weekender Column 83

Having just returned from Canberra, where all 565 Councils from across the nation gather each year at the National General Assembly, the helicopter view of Councils is firmly in my mind. When you sit down and speak with Mayors from every part of Australia, it is essential to sit back with a broad view of the role that Councils play in our nation. As we shared experiences with each other, it was amazing to hear how similar the view is that communities across the country see Mayors and Council ..

05.6.2015 What value marketing? Weekender Column 82

Marketing. Just the word conjures up images of people with pointy shoes that spell their names in strange ways. Conjures is probably a good word there – marketing can sometimes seem like dark magic with money disappearing into a black hole with sometimes nothing to show for it. Having said that, if it wasn’t working, I don’t think companies would be spending the amounts of money on marketing that they do. In Australia, Wesfarmers (mainly Coles) spent a staggering $237.2 ..

01.6.2015 Listen to the data not the emotion: Weekender Column 81

At the moment the National Ice Taskforce is consulting around the country with Senator Fiona Nash in Dubbo this week. We hear that the nation is in the grip of an ice epidemic or perhaps even worse – a pandemic. I have two thoughts on this. Firstly, does the data support calling the ice problem an epidemic or pandemic? An epidemic typically spreads to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time. An epidemic may be restricted to one location; however ..