Local government skills strategy launched at LGMA congress

By Adam Coleman

A National Skills Shortage Strategy was launched at the Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) 2007 National Congress in Hobart today, offering leaders in local government a range of measures to deal with the crisis.

Delegates heard that employment in the local government sector has risen 18 per cent in the five years from 2000 – 2005, which is undermining its capacity to provide essential services and aversely impacting on the economic development of local communities.

Local Government Skills Shortage Steering Committee Chairperson, Ms Lyn Russell told delegates a substantive proportion of the local government workforce includes five occupations with the highest projected workforce reductions.

“Intermediate and elementary clerical/service workers, professionals, tradespeople and associate professionals all encompass key local government occupations, including planners, environmental health officers, engineers and building surveyors and inspectors.”

The National Skills Shortage Strategy outlines a number of proposed local government initiatives, including developing Local Government Career Pathways, promoting local government as an Employer of Choice and building and promoting a positive image of the sector to the public.

Ms Russell said the LGMA had facilitated a skills shortage forum last year to explore and define skills shortage issues in local government.

“An outcome of the forum was the formation of a National Local Government Skills Shortage Steering Committee, which among other things has helped develop the National Skills Shortage Strategy.”

Ms Russell said local government in Australia was continuously developing initiatives that took into account the different aspects of regional, rural and urban locations.

“These workforce initiatives include new ways of working with each other, with local businesses and communities as well as with its current workforce.”

The Strategy was developed to:

• present an overview of the complexity of issues confronting Local Government
• deliver suggested responses
• demonstrate examples of good practices adopted to address the complex issues relating to skills shortages and
• propose a number of strategic approaches to tackle the issue ofskills shortage

The main aim of the strategy is to maintain a strategic alliance between local government professional peak bodies and Australian local governments in order to promote workforce planning that meets the future labour needs of local government across Australia.

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