Councils doing ‘business as un-usual’

By Angela Dorizas

The financial sustainability of local government will be closely examined at an investment conference in Sydney next week.

In his keynote address to the Local Government Investment Conference, Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) chief executive, John Ravlic, will explore the significant challenges councils will face over the next decade.

Mr Ravlic said emerging from the global financial crisis it will be business as “un-usual” as councils seek to adjust their operations to cope with same or lower government grants; an increase service demands; growing infrastructure needs; climate change; a skills shortage; and fiscal responsibilities.

He said local government was at the “bottom of the food chain” and would struggle to maintain a skilled workforce.

“We’re going to find it very difficult to attract skilled staff,” he said.

Mr Ravlic said councils will face the dual challenge of an ageing workforce and an ageing local community demanding increased services.

“Doing more with less – that’s the challenge,” he said.

“We fundamentally need to change the way we do business if we’re going to survive in the future.”

He said councils should be attending the Local Government Investment Conference to learn how they can become more financially sustainable into the future.

The inaugural Local Government Investment Conference will also include presentations from the author of the 2008 Cole Inquiry into council investments, Michael Cole; NSW Department of Local Government deputy-director general, Ross Woodward; TCorp general manager, Michael Allen; and University of NSW associate professor of actuarial studies, John Evans.

The one-day conference will be held on Tuesday March 9 at Doltone House, Pyrmont, Sydney.

For full details, and to register, visit or call 1300 789 845.

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