The study tour covered a range of areas such as geothermal power stations, big data, smart and connected streets and the central role that smart lighting provides; the concept of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning and how it is being applied to the local government sector; the operation and support for start-ups, incubators and accelerators to ensure that next generation jobs are created and, finally, how digital disruption is changing the nature of councils in terms of interaction with the community, business and other levels of government.
The rapid development in technology combined with the challenges of urbanisation is creating a situation where civic leaders are seeking to balance demographic changes with sustainable growth and to ensure that lifestyle are maintained and jobs opportunities created.
Councils are looking at technology to improve their operational efficiency – doing “more with less” is still a common theme. But the introduction of technology is resulting in new opportunities involving closer interactions with citizens, which is creating value in new and different ways.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), commonly known as Drones or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), could soon be the essential tool within each Local Government’s toolkit with the assistance of a local government-wide service. The opportunities are clear and this innovative technology has the potential to significantly enhance council service capabilities across a number of operational areas in the long-term and immediate future. Assisting councils to transition quickly and effortlessly to this new technology will provide far-reaching benefits. Plus, build local government capacity to effectively respond to increasing resource demands and environmental challenges.
The LGAQ conducts a biennial Digital Productivity Survey to determine current practices related to the use of technology and digital platforms.The survey and subsequent report provide useful insights regarding productivity gains from technology investments and adoption of digital engagement platforms within local councils in Queensland.
In August of 2012, the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) approached SGS Economics and Planning (SGS) to prepare an update to the Queensland component of the 2011 National Economic Development Survey. The survey has been developed to assess key issues facing economic development agents at the local government level.
LGAQ undertook this project in partnership with the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) to develop better ways to understand and measure local community wellbeing, build a robust and consistent statistics base, improve community planning, and strengthen citizen involvement. Councils are encouraged to consider using the survey template contained in this report as a key tool to source data for their long term planning.
This seminal, 18-month research report prepared for LGAQ by AEC/Orion Consulting goes where no previous research has in that it bundles like groups of Queensland councils together in assessing both their financial problems and the relevant solutions and paths forward. Councils are encouraged to consider the strategic and policy actions recommended for local government generally and specific council segments.
Aimed at identifying issues impacting on non-amalgamated councils in Queensland, this research conducted by Morton Consulting Ltd for the LGAQ includes actions and initiatives that could address councils' capacity needs to provide sustainable local governance for their communities. The target for the project was the 18 non-amalgamated councils with a population of less than 5,000.
Key themes identified included:
- recruitment and retention of human resources and skill development needs;
- resource and service sharing opportunities;
- general governance issues including councillor capacity;
- the impact of legislative requirements or compliance on resources and capacity;
- financial sustainability and revenue capacity and stability;
- business systems and technology;
- the local community building role; and
- government agency roles, expectations and interaction.
Building on this work, LGAQ has participated in the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government's (ACELG's) research and work program on identifying and addressing specific governance and capacity building issues facing rural-remote and Indigenous local governments.