Pigs Will Fly is about grassroots collaboration and getting results for grassroots effort – you’ve heard it all before! Back in Bulletin 6, I passed on what, to me, are 6 essential ingredients for collaboration and this last week success stories based on these elements and /or the need for this approach seemed to keep jumping out at me. For those who have joined our email list recently, these essentials are repeated at the end of this Bulletin. Please read on:
(i) A ‘pram walker’ job opportunity with an inner Melbourne Council leads journalist Xavier Duff into an article he calls ‘Rising council costs no walk in the park’ (Weekly Times ‘Opinion’ – 28.7.04). I should explain that the pram walker job is to lead a regular baby walking group to get young first-time mums out of the house and socialising?.sounds like a good idea.
Duff goes on to say that this type of job is not a city phenomenon – rural councils now also have their share of ‘plum’ jobs in the arts, health, leisure services, social work and recreation and – don’t get him wrong – they are really worthwhile.
But, he asks, are these roles for local government and should ratepayers (possibly farmers dealing with drought) pay for them? Councils themselves are frustrated knowing they must still provide basic services and could face rate rebellion, but feel locked into the trend says Duff.
When you consider Victoria has 79 councils all employing several people in the above areas on a professional salary package – there is a lot of money involved but it employs people, keeps the economy ticking over and probably does a lot of good! Duff recommends a complete overhaul of the roles and responsibilities of local government, or, bringing on the pram walkers but letting Spring Street or Canberra pay for them. The collaborative approach would probably involve getting ratepayers to state what they want from local government and rank the services. Council could assess this data, crunch some numbers and give feedback, possibly with different models of council services, including a broad idea of costs, and what this would mean in terms of rates. With this information, plus some professional community/economic development guidance that is covered by local media, people could then make a realistic assessment of what they can ask of their council. Xavier Duff’s article appeared in the Weekly Times ‘Opinion’ – 28.7.04
Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation has a different approach: (ii) Indigenous land and sea managers are meeting to set priorities in Lakefield National Park on Cape York for Stage 2 of their National Heritage Fund grant. Facilitator Jim Davis says that managing issues such as tourism into Cape York and its impact are complex, so it’s vital that they coordinate the various levels of government with the local interest groups, and make sure everyone can have their say. The best way to achieve this is to increase the communications and coordination between the sub-regions so the good ideas and lessons of one part of the Cape can benefit everyone. Www.tourism-talk.com.au July 2004
(So long as they include all stakeholders early on and have some sort of review process – this is seems to be the classic collaborative approach.)
(iii) TAFE students contribute to Living Desert Flora & Fauna Park near Broken Hill Just outside Broken Hill in western NSW, the fauna and flora part of the ‘Living Desert Park’ was recently opened to the public. Interpretive signage is being put in place and twelve Aboriginal story-line poles are also being added. Aboriginal TAFE students made the decision to adopt a contemporary approach to this traditional art form. The poles still reflect the cultural past of the Living Desert and Council parks and gardens recreation manager Jeff Brayshaw says Aboriginal people relate to that story-line. The poles are similar to ones in town, on Argent Street.
(ABC Message Stick July 2004)
(It seems stakeholders – the traditional landowners – are being included early on in this project and not with a ‘top down’ preconceived idea. The students have chosen, and been allowed, to give their own contemporary expression of the story-line tradition.)
(iv) Tasmania has the highest tourism employment intensity of any State or Territory (share of total jobs), according to research by peak lobby group, TTF Australia (Tourism & Transport Forum). It has 7% of its workforce directly employed in tourism – average tourism employment intensity across the whole of Australia is 5.7%. Addressing the Independent Tourism Operators Tasmania Conference in Launceston today, TFF Managing Director Christopher Brown said the results reflect the hard work by the Bacon & Lennon Governments to boost tourism marketing, job training, access and infrastructure.
(www.tourism-talk.com.au July 2004)
(Government has clearly connected with people to achieve good results for Tassie. People always seems to collaborate better when there is a real need, when we face a crisis.)
Drawing these thoughts together, I suppose what cries out is that if we are inclusive in our planning, it becomes clear what communities want, then from this base, priorities can be set so goals can be achieved over time, possibly in conjunction with other agencies or other councils. No-one really expects all the frills – especially when they know who’s paying!
Successful Community-based Collaboration (from Bulletin 6)
1. Everyone involved must recognise that one group on its own is unlikely to succeed in a community-based project – the interdependence of groups in a community is a fact of life. 2. ALL key people must be involved right from the start. 3. Everyone involved must be able to see personal benefits as well as benefits for others. 4. The leader must be seen to have the authority and resources to successfully complete the project. 5. The collaborative process (coming from the inclusion of ALL key people) itself must be seen as having the power to influence decisions made eg by council or government. 6. The community’s goals for the collaborative project must be clearly stated and monitored by a reference group that helps with ongoing reviews and adjustment.