Indigenous councils tackle asset management

By Angela Dorizas

Finance managers and chief executive officers from Queensland’s Indigenous councils met in Cairns today for an asset management masterclass.

Local Government Minister Desley Boyle said the workshop was organised following consultations with the Indigenous Councils Finance Managers Network.

She said the Government was providing support for all councils in Queensland to help them manage their long-term financial sustainability, with Indigenous councils receiving specific training to meet their particular needs.

“To assist Indigenous councils step up to the mark, we are working closely with them and tailoring training and support to meet their particular skills needs,” Ms Boyle told Government News.

“We are using business coaches and mentors to work intensively with individual councils.

“We have also put together a module so that Indigenous council staff can obtain qualifications for a career in local government, like obtaining their Certificate IV in Local Government Administration.”

Ms Boyle said asset management was a crucial component of local government operations, but it had not always been a top priority for Indigenous councils.

The workshop covered a number of subjects including best practice asset management and calculating whole-of-life costs of assets. It included presentations from the Office of Local Government and the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia.

Ms Boyle said the training sessions offered councils direct access to the experts and strengthened industry networking, leading to better sharing of information, skills and resources.

“We have put significant effort into developing the most modern legislative framework for local governments in the country so it makes good business sense to invest in the people who will work under it,” she added.

Ms Boyle said the Government was already seeing results from its long-term strategy to support councils in financial sustainability.

“For example, the number of Indigenous councils to receive unqualified audits rose from three in 2009 to six in 2010 and I expect the figures to continue rising.”

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