From a deadly pandemic to a global movement for racial justice, (and everything else in between), the year 2020 has already experienced its fair share of world-shifting events — and it is still a few more days away from being over.
When we stepped into 2020, no one expected a black Summer to descend upon us.
Seems like a memory from a bad dream now, how throughout the summer, hundreds of fires burnt across Australia’s South East.
By March, 46 Million Acres had burned down, 5,900 buildings (including 2,779 homes) destroyed. At least 34 human lives lost.
Nearly three billion terrestrial vertebrates alone – the vast majority being reptiles – were affected and some endangered species were believed to be driven to extinction.
A grim way to begin the year, no doubt!
At the time, no one was fully aware of a strange new virus, incubating away in the recesses of the other side of the world, that had already made it’s way to our shores, and would begin to spread like tea from a teabag into our lives and communities. (Even our most private moments).
And somewhere in between the Bushfire season, and the first major lockdowns from the spread of COVID 19, I found myself venturing through the doors of Global Vision for the first time.
Appointed as Global’s new Sales Director and also acting as our dedicated Local Government Liaison, a sizeable chunk of my role involved familiarising myself with the internal workings and traits of Australian Local Government. I got to know each and every one of our Council Partners across the country intimately.
Through the course of the last 8 months, I would say that I had an estimated 5000 individual conversations (meetings/mentoring calls/training sessions/consultations) with various Council partners and countless prospective Government clients and participated in various large scale ICT project implementations.
When one individual clocks in that kind of volume of meaningful regular contact across that many diverse Local Councils across the continent, I like to think one gains perspective.
A host of patterns emerged.
I began to truly appreciate how diverse Australian Local Government really is.
Ranging from the shores of the Torres Strait Islands to the regional communities of Tasmania, each Council boasted truly unique personality traits, local communities, values and mission statements, all the way down to organisational brass tacks.
No two, in my experience, are ever the same.
They could be less than 30km apart and still be a completely different species.
It fascinated me!
There were however, powerful similarities, across the board, despite their differences and unique demographics.
One of the most important similarities (which humbled me): When faced with adversity, they did not succumb. Indeed, the opposite. They rallied.
From a Learning & Development point of view, I know the length to which some of you have gone this year to deliver vital training under the most difficult of circumstances.
I know that it has not been easy, adjusting to new legislative changes and incorporating that into your mandatory training when the most ambitious and comprehensive reform of local government in the last 30 years passed parliament earlier this year.
Despite all these challenges, there is not a Council I have spoken to, that hasn’t only persevered, but thrived even whilst juggling tremendous challenges.
The truth is, before my role here at Global, I never truly appreciated how Australian Local Government embodies the true spirit of frontline work.
Local Governments provide vital services and secure quality of life for their communities.
Councils provide frontline services and when people want action in their community, local government is often the first door they knock on.
To all Local Government Professionals (no matter what your role) reading these words right now, I want to give you a huge shoutout for a year well delivered on, despite the challenges you have all faced.
You are unsung heroes.
And I wanted to take a moment out of my day to say: “You’re all appreciated”. For the sacrifices you have all made this year. (Both at work and at home, especially when the two merged together).
And I hope you have the most light-filled Holiday Period surrounded by loved ones as you all gear up to log off for the final time in 2020. You’ve earned it!!
Now, Let’s Celebrate Some Local Government wins in 2020:
The Minister for Local Government, the Hon Mark Coulton MP, announced the top tier awards of the 2020 National Awards for Local Government on 17 November 2020 at the ALGA Special Recovery Conference. We were very excited to see some beloved GVM Clients making it to this list.
I wanted to give a huge shoutout to all the winners!
The 2020 National Award for Local Government Excellence
Winner: City of Mandurah, WA
The 2020 National Award for Local Government Excellence—Highly Commended
Winner: City of Busselton, WA
Project: Busselton Margaret River Airport Development Project
2020 Minister’s Award for Progressive Community Leadership
Winner: Shire of Manjimup, WA
2020 Category Winners:
Arts Animates – creating vibrant and cohesive communities through the Arts
Winner: City of Wanneroo, WA
Boosting Productivity through Infrastructure
Winner: City of Busselton, WA
Contributing to Regional Growth
Winner: City of Mandurah, WA
Disability Access and Inclusion
Winner: City of Sydney, NSW
Excellence in Road Safety
Winner: Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, NSW
Multicultural Australia – Cohesive Communities
Winner: Sunshine Coast Regional Council, QLD
Addressing Violence Against Women and their Children
Winner: City of Greater Dandenong, VIC
Project: Youth United Against Family Violence
Promoting Indigenous Recognition
Winner: Glenelg Shire Council, VIC
The Susan Grace Benny Award
Winner: Brimbank City Council, VIC
Project: Women’s Leadership Programs
Congratulations to you all and once again, I want to thank you all for playing your part in elevating our communities; for your help in bringing us all closer together, at a time we needed it the most.
My best regards and warm wishes,