Panel sessions

MONDAY: The Future of Local Government

As the role of local government continues to change, anticipating the challenges of the next 20 years and determining how councils are best placed to respond is critical. As the level of government closest to Australians, local government must continue to provide high quality services and respond to the myriad of challenges faced by local communities. External factors such as rate capping,amalgamation processes, reductions in grant funding and changing expectations of local government’s role are placing increasing pressure on councils’ ability
to perform. However, it is often under these conditions that innovation thrives as councils look to deliver more with less. How are councils responding to these challenges?


Surfing the wave of Disruption
Traditional service delivery and business models are changing – recently we’ve seen the rapid growth of AirBnB and Uber which are challenging how the hotel and the taxi industries operate. The capacity for organisations to accommodate change is increasingly becoming an important determinant of their success. As the pace of change increases and the length of time strategic planning activities can cover reduces, councils are being forced re-examine their planning processes, regulatory frameworks and their basic assumptions as well as their ability to respond to changes within the community.


TUESDAY: Digital transformation at the Local Government level
Local government has a long history of being an early-adopter of new technologies and of using its own resources to drive innovation based on local knowledge and expertise.
Technology can improve collaboration between the public, private and the not-for profit sectors to drive innovation, solve complex problems, and enhance community engagement. How can
technology be used to transform council businesses and enable innovation in your community?


WEDNESDAY: Local Government’s role in facilitating prosperity
Strong leadership and the ability to access social and economic capital are crucial preconditions for prosperity. Local government strives, wherever possible, to assist communities to enhance their capacity to respond to challenges and identify opportunities to build resilience and increase overall prosperity. Being able to grow social capital, support entrepreneurs and attract investment are fundamental to the growth in local and regional productivity. What strategies can councils employ to foster prosperity in their community and region?


Concurrent sessions

New approaches to improve your business
Smart councils are required to use information and communication technologies to enhance quality services and infrastructure. The application of new information, data and knowledge
generated through the application of new technologies will improve performance, interactivity with community and reduce costs. As our cities become smarter, councils need more careful consideration of three main areas: technologies; infrastructure and planning; and regulation and markets. In this session delegates will have the opportunity to explore the content covered in the Digital Transformation at the Local Government Level panel session and interact further with our highly experienced international colleagues from Boston.


The infrastructure challenge

Local government community infrastructure underpins and binds many communities. For many Australians, council managed facilities are where their club meets, their kids play and their
families learn to swim. In addition to this it is well recognised that every journey starts and ends on a local road. In February Infrastructure Australia published the Australian Infrastructure Plan which sets out a blueprint for infrastructure development and priorities for the next 15 years. This session will provide the opportunity for delegates to explore the role of community infrastructure in supporting productivity, community development and in enhancing social cohesion. It will also examine the challenge we face in maintaining infrastructure at the local and national level.


Innovative approaches to the environment

Managing climate change and the environment are some of the most significant issues many councils are facing. Developing appropriate strategies to reduce emissions at a local government level will be critical if Australia is to meet the global commitments reached in Paris in 2015. Reduction of emissions from council and community activities, improved design of cities and towns, buildings and facilities, transport systems, and the management of water resources and municipal waste are important considerations in reducing carbon emissions.
In this session delegates will have access to key leaders in the field to explore innovative approaches to addressing climate change and improving environmental management.


Northern Australia

Advancing sustainable economic outcomes for communities in Northern Australia through existing programs and services, knowledge sharing and new business development opportunities is important not only for Northern Australia but for all of Australia. The session will address some of the many issues regarding economic development and opportunity in Northern Australia. It will also draw on the recent report of the Council of Australian Government’s investigation into issues of importance to Indigenous communities, especially land administration. The report, among other things, addresses how the Indigenous land administration systems could effectively support Indigenous land owners and native title holders to
leverage their land assets for economic development. This session will provide delegates with the opportunity to discuss and explore key issues facing Northern Australian and Indigenous communities.