Australia’s big cities often rate well on international ‘liveability’ indexes. But all is not as it seems. Life for many residents in Australia’s cities isn’t nearly as good as we would like to believe, a new report from RMIT University has found. The new ‘Creating Liveable Cities in Australia’ study is the culmination of five […]
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RMIT University[/caption] Australia’s big cities often rate well on international ‘liveability’ indexes. But all is not as it seems. Life for many residents in Australia’s cities isn’t nearly as good as we would like to believe, a new report from RMIT University has found. The new ‘Creating Liveable Cities in Australia’ study is the culmination of five years of research, intended to create a baseline measure of liveability in Australia’s state and territory capitals. The report examines seven aspects of a city’s liveability: walkability, public transport, public open spaces, housing affordability, employment and the food and alcohol environments. “No Australian capital city performs well across all the liveability indicators,” says Professor Billie Giles-Corti, who led the research and is Director of RMIT’s Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform. “Many also failing to meet policy targets aimed at ensuring liveability. “There is widespread evidence of geographical inequities in the delivery of liveability policies within and between cities, with outer suburban areas less well served than inner-city suburbs. Measurable policies and targets to deliver liveable communities are often not in place, and often those that are in place are not strong enough. “Many policies aren’t making best use of the available evidence. There are no spatial measurable policy standards or targets in any capital city for local employment, housing affordability, promoting access to healthy food choices, or limiting access to alcohol outlets.” Professor Giles-Corti said the report is the first of its kind, and shows that better policies are urgently needed to maintain and enhance liveability and ensure the wellbeing of residents, particularly as Australia faces a doubling of its population by 2050. “One significant way to create liveable cities and to improve people’s health and wellbeing is through urban design and planning that create walkable, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods,” she said. “But Australian cities are still being designed for cars. “Our study shows that only a minority of residents in Australian cities live in walkable communities, and most of our city’s density targets for new areas are still too low. This means walkable communities will never be achieved in outer suburbs. “Higher residential densities and street connectivity, mixed land-uses, and high-quality footpaths are all desperately needed to achieve walkable cities. But we don’t have the policy frameworks in place in Australia to create vibrant walkable communities,” she said. Public transport also rates poorly. “While many residents might live nearby a public transport stop, most dwellings in state capitals lack close access to stops serviced at least twice an hour. This creates a risk of increasing inequity in our cities, with some residents doubly disadvantaged. “Given that outer suburbs have poorer access to public transport, household expenditure on cars is likely to be higher there than in other areas, meaning these residents are losing out twice over.” Professor Giles-Corti said the report is a useful diagnostic tool for understanding the current state of liveability in Australian cities, and that could it should be repeated regularly. “What’s even more important is what governments should do about it,” she said. :We’ve made seven recommendations in the report which we’ll be pushing to see adopted at local, state and federal level.” The report was produced by RMIT University in collaboration with researchers from the Australian Catholic University and the University of Western Australia. The research team received funding from the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program, the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, and the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities. The report is available here. 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How can local government continue to meet the needs of residents and provide excellence in services, and still stay on budget? Do services need to be point scored to be considered as core essentials? What are the best ways to drive efficiency? The pressures on local government to get key investment, resource allocation and delivery model decisions right have never been greater. Increasing demand for services, rapid technology change and the constant requirement to invest in asset construction and renewal are forcing councils to reconsider traditional business models. In responding to these pressures and re-examining the way the business of local government is run, leadership is contending with three key factors:
Pressures on local government have been further compounded by the Commonwealth decision in the 2014-15 Budget to pause the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants to local government. The Productivity Commission recognizes that local government is near its maximum capacity to generate its own revenue. Victoria has also seen the introduction of ‘Fair Go rate capping’.
- Limitations on traditional revenue sources
The arrival of social media and other new technologies has meant that constituents are not afraid to express themselves vocally if they believe that issues are not being addressed or council services fall short. This is aligned to the growing perception of residents as customers, rather than merely ratepayers. Customers expect the same levels of service from government as from commercial transactions.
- The change in residents’ expectations and the move to customer-centricity
The landscape of available technologies is changing at an increasing rate. Council officers delivering customer-facing services and those in the back office both need to drive efficiency and providing value for money while stretching the dollar further. KPMG also sees a number of other factors that individual councils must address: Ageing technology and under-investment Many councils currently support a large number of outdated IT systems, set within a complex and inefficient infrastructure that is not keeping pace with current practices. This limits their ability to grow. In addition, the capability and operating models within internal IT departments have not evolved and can no longer meet local government demands. Historical planning methods Most councils’ approach to planning has not adapted to the changing environment.It has not caught up with ongoing development and is largely still run on a functional or organisational level, rather than being service-led. But it is service-led planning that will enable strategic direction setting, realistic cost assessments, individual staff KPIs, and appropriate funding for technology or outsourcing. To deal with this new landscape, we suggest considering the following key actions: Place the customer at the centre As the most granular tier of government, councils have the greatest capacity to identify and respond to emerging community needs. Across Australia, local governments are striving to move towards customer-centric models of service delivery that anticipate and respond to community needs in a sustainable and agile manner. Re-think business as usual Changing community expectations requires a continual process of self-reflection and evaluation by councils on the way they do business. This requires fresh thinking, of challenging the way things have always been done. This involves:
- New and rapidly advancing technologies
- redesigning operating models and organisational structures
- adopting best practice processes
- driving cultural change
- adopting different and innovative methods for engaging key stakeholders
- considering alternative approaches and models for service delivery
- critically examining every component of the organisation.
- There is a strong understanding of what is expected from them of in terms of their role (86%) and respondents are highly enthusiastic when it comes to look for ways to perform their job better (95%). Employees who responded have a strong appreciation (87%) of how their position contributes to positive outcomes for their council and community.
- While wellbeing is mostly perceived positively, unacceptable workloads (19%) and detrimental work stress (15%) is reported. A third of the respondents rate work-life balance as less than good.
- There are positive perceptions of how their immediate workgroup or team works together (70%). There are some negative perceptions (14%) when it comes to rating ‘team spirit’.
- In terms of performance and development, employees who responded are able to have open and honest conversation with their supervisors about the quality of work required (70%), although a proportion (39%) do not have a current performance plan that sets out objectives. There is a strong desire for career advancement (65%); however, there is dissatisfaction with opportunities for career progression or the merit system within their organisation (30%). Managing underperformance was one area that a significant proportion of respondents perceived in a negative light (27%).
- There are mostly positive perceptions of managers with many managers being seen to encourage employee input (73%). However, a smaller number of managers are seen to consider this input when making decisions in the organisation (58%). Less than half of the respondents have positive perceptions of council senior managers. Demonstrating collaboration and leading change are perceived as being areas for improvement for senior executive teams.
- Council organisations are rated well when it comes to understanding and building relationships with communities (79%). Whilst a large proportion of the respondents agree that councils are making the necessary improvements to meet challenges of the future (65%), a quarter perceives that change is not handled well. Most of the employees who responded (67%) would recommend their organisation as a great place to work.
- The majority of respondents (85%) can see how diversity and inclusion in the workplace contributes to better business outcomes and feel able to voice different views to their managers and colleagues (70%). Gender and age are seen as a barrier to success within some of the respondents’ council organisations (8%-12%).
- Change the fuel injection settings, the number, timing and fuel quantity of injections used.
- Increase the production of particulate matter (soot), which likely will lead to more frequent regeneration of the diesel particulate filter.
- Increase the fuel injection pressure.
- Increase the extent of exhaust gas recirculation into the engine.
- In the case of Audi Q5 vehicles equipped with an SCR system, change its operation resulting in the use of a larger amount of AdBlue.
- Having the recall work done is not compulsory. Your consent is required before any recall work is done. Contrary to what we know some VW customers have been told, people are still entitled to access servicing, repairs or spare parts for their vehicle whether or not they’ve chosen to have the recall work done.
- In addition, there is no impact on existing warranties for those that have decided not to have the recall work performed on their vehicles and not getting the recall work is not a waiver of any of your rights in our class action or otherwise.
- Funding new child care and early learning reforms, which are estimated to encourage more than 230,000 families increase their workforce participation.
- Expanding the ParentsNext pre-employment program, which helps parents of young children plan and prepare for work by connecting them with services in their local community.
- Implementing the Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy, which requires every agency to set targets for gender equality in leadership positions and boost gender equality more broadly.
- Investing $13 million over five years in getting more women into science, technology, engineering and maths under the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
- Setting a target of women holding 50 per cent of government board positions overall and strengthening the BoardLink program.
- Partnering with businesses to support women into leadership positions through scholarships provided by the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
- Continuing funding the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
- For every $1 invested in the project, it returns $1.41 to the people of Queensland.
- The project will generate an average of 1,500 jobs each year over the construction period, with a peak of 3,000 in the most intensive year.
- CRR will provide capacity for ‘turn-up-and-go’ services.
- CRR will help reduce pressure on the region’s roads, freeing them up for commercial vehicles and commuter buses.
- It will enable greater integration of bus and rail services, which will help to maximise the state government’s rail network investments and Brisbane City Council’s investment in Brisbane Metro and improved bus services.
- Total daily public transport trips (bus & rail) will climb from around 510,000 to more than 880,000 in 2026 and to more than 1.1 million by 2036.
How can local government continue to meet the needs of residents and provide excellence in services, and still stay on budget? Do services need to be point scored to be considered as core essentials? What are the best ways to drive efficiency? The pressures on local government to get key investment, resource allocation and delivery […]
Service NSW, the NSW Government’s ‘one stop shop’ program, is proving popular with the public. But it has been expensive, and will take more than three years longer to recoup its investment than what the Government said. Both the NSW Opposition and Fairfax Media have obtained copies of an unreleased KPMG report into Service NSW’s costs. […]
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