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NSW local government projects recognised for excellence in innovation and collaboration

Last week, while local government practitioners, planners, policymakers and professors gathered in Sydney for LGC18 — they found a moment to recognise the innovative projects that have achieved success in the last year.

The NSW Local Government Excellence Awards are hosted by LG Professionals, NSW and state government minister Gabrielle Upton was on hand to congratulate those who stood out for their work.

A few councils took out multiple awards. These included Wollongong City Council, which won for its landfill-reducing Waste and Resource Recovery Park, and its implementation of an innovative approach to workforce management in preparing for the turnover due to ageing workforce retirements forecast in the next decade.

Another multiple winner was Cumberland Council in Sydney’s west, which won the award for local economic contribution for its Cherry Blossom Festival — generating an estimated $8.4 million in economic output, and also its visionary youth strategy to identify clear actions for council across employment, education, health and wellbeing, community connection and safety.

Rural councils stood out too. Narrabri Shire Council was recognised for giving the small village of Baan Baa a secure supply of high quality water for the first time in its history. This project increased the liveability of the town, improved safety during bushfires and dry times  — all using an advanced, fully automated system capable of running off the grid using solar power and capable of feeding back into the grid.

Bland Shire Council in the central west won for dreaming big and creating the Weethalle Silo Art Project. The project, that is now being used as a model for another of other potential Silo Art projects across Australia, was acclaimed for its initiative to create a new identity for Weethalle while delivering cultural, social, community and economic benefits.

This year there were a record number of nominations for the NSW Local Government Excellence Awards spanning 12 categories, reflecting the hard work of the professionals working in local government across the state.

President of Local Government Professionals Australia, NSW Barry Smith was impressed by the record number of nominations this year and the high quality of the submissions.

“The local government sector is at the front line supporting communities across New South Wales, and we are thrilled to see a record number of nominations and attendees acknowledging the sector’s professionalism and dedication,” Smith said.

Here is the full list of winning councils and projects:


Asset Management and Infrastructure Initiatives Projects

Recognising initiatives that maximise benefits to the community and showcase projects that develop and manage community assets.

Projects Over $1.5 million

Winner: Ku-ring-gai Council | North Turramurra Recreation Area

Highly Commended: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council | The New Stingray Creek Bridge

Projects Under $1.5 million

Winner: Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council | Apex Park Redevelopment

Community Development and Services

Recognising leadership in community services as evidenced by way of corporate process improvements, a particular project initiative, innovation in management and leadership practices.

Winner: Campbelltown City Council | Campbelltown City Library’s IT & Biscuits Program

Highly Commended: Shoalhaven City Council |Gen Connect Program

Community Partnerships and Collaboration

Recognising genuine and effective partnerships and collaborations that have resulted in better outcomes for council, as well as initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to working with and/or in the community to achieve positive outcomes.

Population over 60,000

Winner: Northern Beaches Council | The PCYC Project

Highly Commended: City of Canada Bay |Rising Tide; and Penrith City Council | Penrith Health Action Plan (HAP)

Population under 60,000

Winner: Lismore City Council | The Lismore Community Solar (LCS) Initiative

Highly Commended: Blayney Shire Council |The Healthy and Happy Wellness Challenge (HHWC); and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council | Queanbeyan’s Music by the River

Creative Communities

Recognising excellence in bring together communities through art and cultural creative projects.

Winner: Bland Shire Council | Silo Art Project

Highly Commended: Central Coast Council | Maliga – Regional Indigenous Arts and Culture Development; and Randwick City Council | NOX Sculpture Exhibition

Environmental Leadership and Sustainability

Recognising dedication to sustainability as evidenced by the implementation of corporate process improvements, projects or initiatives that demonstrate significant real or potential benefit to the environment.

Winner: Central Coast Council | Tuggerah Lakes Digital Resource and Communication Program

Highly Commended: Ku-ring-gai Council | The Wild Things Program; and Riverina Water County Council | Reducing Plastic Waste in Wagga

Innovative Leadership and Management

Recognising innovative projects that demonstrate new ways of leadership, and where positive changes to leadership and management of councils is made.

Winner: Cumberland Council | Youth Participation & Programs Team

Highly Commended: City of Canterbury-Bankstown | Integrated Change Management Program

Local Economic Contribution

Recognising innovation in leadership and management for a project/initiative that has enhanced the economic wellbeing of their local government area and increased the value proposition to ratepayers and residents

Population over 60,000

Winner: Cumberland Council | The Sydney Cherry Blossom Festival

Population under 60,000

Winner: Temora Shire Council | Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre (TAIC)

Operational Performance Enhancement

Recognising the initiatives in performance excellence and enhancement of those councils participating in the Australasian Local Government Performance Excellence Program with regards to taking an evidence-based approach to prioritise change to achieve overall business improvement.

Winner: Wollongong City Council | City Works Division

Organisational Diversity and Inclusion

Recognising achievements that acknowledge, support and celebrate diversity and inclusion in relation to internal practices and/or within the broader community context.

Winner: City of Sydney | Pay and Gender Gap Program

Risk Management

Recognising the community and/or Council benefits (strategic, operational or financial) delivered through the identification, control and mitigation of risks within a council’s unique risk profile.

Winner: Lake Macquarie City Council | Lake Macquarie City Council’s Risk Initiative Program

Service Delivery Initiative

Recognising initiatives that demonstrate best practice, or reflect excellence in the delivery of services to the community or a specified target market that is able to be continued on an ongoing basis.

Population over 60,000

Winner: Campbelltown City Council | Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) Workshops

Highly Commended: City of Sydney | Development Contributions Calculator

Population under 60,000

Winner: Narrabri Shire Council | The Baan Baa Project

Highly Commended: Snowy Monaro Regional Council | Extensive Service Review Analysis Projects

Special Project Initiative

Recognising leadership where an individual, team or council has developed a concept or practice that significantly improves the business in which they work, development of processes or practices that has had a major impact on the organisation or its customers.

Population over 60,000

Winner: Wollongong City Council | Wollongong Waste and Resource Recovery Park

Highly Commended: Georges River Council | The Georgie the Dragon Mascot; and Tweed Shire Council | Tweed Shire Council’s Critical Response Group

Population under 60,000

Winner: Lachlan Shire Council | The Showground Pavilion

Highly commended: Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council | Summer Activation Community Event

Author Bio

The Mandarin

The Mandarin staff journalists.