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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 78

(Question No. 4838)


Mr Moore asked the Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services, upon notice, on 22 October 1986:

(1) What are the current staffing levels of the Office of Local Government (OLG).

(2) What has been the growth rate of the OLG staff since its establishment in March 1983.

(3) What advantages does the present staffing level of the OLG offer to Local Government.


Mr Uren —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) and (2)-Following is a table showing the number of Office of Local Government Staff at March 1983 and at six monthly intervals from December 1983.

Staff

March 1983...

4

December 1983...

19

June 1984...

36

December 1984...

36

June 1985...

30

December 1985...

30

June 1986...

28

December 1986...

17

Note-In November 1986 the Local Government and Regional Development Division, of which the Office of Local government is part, was reorganised and a number of positions responsible for management functions and information support services were allocated to another part of the Division.

(3) The staff of the Office of Local Government is playing an important role in the development of policy and the administration of programs of benefit to Local Government. Notable achievements have been:

(a) the continuation of a program of general purpose financial assistance to Local Government, with funding in 1986-87 of $586 million;

(b) the implementation of the Local Government Development Program, which encourages innovation, improvement and co-operation in Local Government and under which $13.3m has so far been allocated;

(c) the implementation of the Natural Areas Enhancement Scheme which funds waterway beautification by Councils in capital cities and under which $18.1m has so far been allocated;

(d) the introduction of the National Awards for Innovation in Local Government under which the best ideas in Local Government are spread throughout the industry;

(e) the upgrading of the role of the Local Government Ministers' Conference and concentration on important work on Local Government's role in community and economic development;

(f) the continuation of the Local Government Scholarship Scheme under which representatives of smaller, remote Councils are assisted to attend courses at the Australian Centre for Local Government Studies in Canberra;

(g) assistance in the development of the case for constitutional recognition of Local Government;

(h) the introduction of a regular newsletter to keep Councils informed of happenings at the Federal level;

(i) the continuation of publications of interest to Local Government such as the `Digest of Local Government Statistics' and `Commonwealth Assistance for Local Projects';

(j) significant assistance to Local Government in providing advice to it on a range of issues relevant to its relationship with the Commonwealth; and

(k) an upgrading of the advocacy for Local Government within the Commonwealth bureaucracy.