Engaging the workforce crucial to success

Cleve District Council mayor Roger Nield.

Cleve District Council mayor Roger Nield.

I recently attended the Local Government Association conference, which was held in Adelaide over Wednesday and Thursday, November 15 and 16.

The conference theme was Relevance, Resilience and Reputation.

The mayor of Adelaide City Council, Martin Haese welcomed us to the city and spoke of local government preceding state government by 16 years in South Australia.

In 1840, he said we need to know where we have been to know where we are going.

He spoke of the role of local government in economic development in our state.

Tourism is up by 30 per cent since 2013, it adds $18.5 billion to the economy of the City of Adelaide.

There are 300,000 people who visit the City of Adelaide every day, whether it is for work, education or tourism.

We have some of the fastest and latest technology in the nation, 90 per cent of our space technology is in South Australia.

The keynote speaker of the conference, Impossible Institute chief executive officer Dan Gregory spoke on becoming more relevant, people are becoming less trusting and more than half the workforce are not engaged.

There is a 22 per cent productivity gain if the workforce are engaged and enjoy their work, we don't lack information, we lack engagement.

Change can be seen as threatening.

So it needs to be seen as relevant, we need creative leadership, collaboration and trust.

Local government across Australia receive $2.3 billion from the federal government at present.

If we received 1 per cent of the federal tax, local government would receive $3.8 billion, which would be a considerable improvement for our roads and infrastructure.

Rate capping has been a hot topic by some, it has been tried in Victoria.

It is showing reduced services to their communities, in particular to the more vulnerable members of their communities and the burden is falling on volunteer organisations to try and cover the gap.

We need intergenerational equity.

We must not load future generations with costs that are excessive and restrict ongoing improvement within our communities.

Local government is the government that anyone in a community can take part in and contribute to.

Roger Nield

Cleve District Council mayor