By Paul Hemsley
The Local Government and Shires Association of New South Wales (LGSA) has become the latest local government peak body to launch a Twitter account as part of its website redesign and relaunch.
The LGSA has joined the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) and the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) as Twitter users.
Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have become attractive platforms for governments and associated bodies to send out information about emergencies and alerts because of the ease of communicating with constituents.
The LGSA expects to announce policy initiatives, grants, submissions, awards, conferences, and its own training courses through the Twitter account.
The first order of business for the LGSA’s Twitter has been to get the word out about its submission to the Parliamentary Committee on the Constitutional Recognition of Local Government.
The Committee hearing for this key issue that the LGSA has been backing took place at NSW Parliament house today.
The LGSA claims that it will use Twitter as an “additional communication tool”, which will complement the more “traditional ways” that the Association presently engages with journalists, councillors, council staff, Members of Parliament and other stakeholders.
Local Government Association of NSW President Keith Rhoades said Twitter will be another way to make it easier to engage, interact and obtain information about NSW Local Government initiatives.
Mr Rhoades said the improvements made to the LGSA website and the “foray” into social media signals its commitment to using a variety of modern communication tools to make it as easy as possible to connect with member councils and other key stakeholders.
“We still encourage our members and any interested parties to call the LGSA, visit our new website at any time, and subscribe to our Local Government Weekly newsletter, as well as starting to follow @lgsa on Twitter,” Mr Rhoades said.
Shires Association of NSW President, Ray Donald said many of the LGSA’s member councils, their representatives and staff are already on Twitter.
"Over the past ten years, social media has changed the way people communicate with each other and interact with different spheres of government,” Mr Donald said.
He said many government agencies are using Twitter to communicate “very successfully” and the “LGSA wants to tap into this medium”.
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