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Convention Wrap Up

Thank you to everyone who attended the WALGA Local Government Convention in 2023.

The Convention saw over 500 Elected Members and Local Government staff travel from across Western Australia and come together with our speakers, presenters, WALGA staff exhibitors, suppliers and sponsors over the four days of 17-20 September.

Supporting our theme of “Local Futures” we enjoyed some inspiration, provocative presentations, professional development and the all-important personal and commercial networking.

Here you will find a comprehensive wrap of the Convention of all the sessions, the social events, the awards winners, and the exhibitor showcases.

We would like to acknowledge and thank our major sponsors, LGIS, Civic Legal, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and

WALGA Local Government Convention 2023

Want to find out more about the WALGA Local Government Convention 2023? Simply click on each image to read the session wrap up.

Image for Gihan Perera – Mayors and Presidents Forum Keynote

Gihan Perera – Mayors and Presidents Forum Keynote

Gihan Perera – Mayors and Presidents Forum Keynote

Image for Gihan Perera – Mayors and Presidents Forum Keynote

To open the WALGA Local Government Convention, Local Government Mayors and Presidents from across Western Australia came together for the Mayors and Presidents forum. 

Attendees heard from futurist Gihan Perera who discussed some of the key topics Local Government leaders should be considering and shared his insights on how to prepare for the future in a fast-changing world. 

For more than 25 years, Perera has worked with business leaders, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and other change agents, helping them with their strategy for thriving in a fast-changing world. 

He focused on how Australia, and particularly WA, is well-placed to take advantage of the change in global economic power, in a post pandemic world.  

He also stressed the need to engage and re-engage with our communities, to focus on solving our customers’ problems, and the potential for AI to assist in almost every area of work and life. 

The session provided notable insights relevant to the theme of this year’s conference ‘Local Futures’ positioning attendees to discuss and examine important issues and trends facing the sector, both now and into the future. 

For more information, visit Gihan website
Image for Troy Pickard Young Achievers Award- Mayor Rhys Williams, City of Mandurah

Troy Pickard Young Achievers Award- Mayor Rhys Williams, City of Mandurah

Troy Pickard Young Achievers Award- Mayor Rhys Williams, City of Mandurah

Image for Troy Pickard Young Achievers Award- Mayor Rhys Williams, City of Mandurah

Mandurah Mayor Rhys Williams was awarded the Troy Pickard Young Achievers Award at the WALGA Local Government Convention 2023.

Named in honour of former Local Government President Troy Pickard for his dedication, leadership and work ethic, the award encourages and celebrates young people doing great things in the Local Government sector.

Cr Williams said, “I feel very humbled by this recognition, and grateful to WALGA for the honour.”

“Troy Pickard was an outstanding leader in local government here in WA, and his service has inspired the contribution of many to the Local Government sector, including my own.”

In its second year, the Award recognises notable contributions and commitment to Local Government and demonstrated potential for professional success by Elected Members or employees in the sector who are aged 35 or under.

Image for WALGA Local Government Honours Recipients

WALGA Local Government Honours Recipients

WALGA Local Government Honours Recipients

Image for WALGA Local Government Honours Recipients

This year, WALGA received one of the largest numbers of nominations ever seen in the Honours program. This is reflective of the outstanding people involved in Local Governments right across the State and the real, tangible impact they make on individual lives.

Eminent Service Award

Recognising eminent service and distinguished contributions to the Association as a WALGA President, State Councillor, Elected Member, Local Government officer or WALGA employee.

Merit Award

The Merit Award recognises notable contributions to WALGA, the Local Government sector and the community by Elected Members, Local Government officers and WALGA employees.

Local Government Distinguished Officers Award

This award recognizes outstanding contributions made by serving officers of Member Local Governments and WALGA employees to the Association, the Local Government sector, and local communities.

To read more about all awards recipients, visit WALGA’s website.

See 2023 WALGA Awards Gallery
Image for Dominic Thurbon – Business Disruption, Behavioural Change and Transformation Keynote

Dominic Thurbon – Business Disruption, Behavioural Change and Transformation Keynote

Dominic Thurbon – Business Disruption, Behavioural Change and Transformation Keynote

Image for Dominic Thurbon – Business Disruption, Behavioural Change and Transformation Keynote

Dominic was the opening keynote speaker.

For more than 13 years Dom has partnered with global clients including De Beers, Apple, Warner Bros., Commonwealth Bank and Microsoft to design and implement large-scale change programs. He has also delivered powerful keynote presentation to companies and communities around Australia and the world that have helped them crack the code for driving innovation, future-proofing their workforce and developing brands that really matter.

Thurbon presented delegates with the information that the world we live in is now exponential, and thus, we have a community that is more diverse than it has ever been before.

As he pointed out, “Companies and organisations don’t change; people do,” and the people who can ask those questions, and not just assume, are the ones who will drive the organisational change that’s needed to thrive in the future.

Thurbon believes the key to successful planning is the ability to make “quality assumptions about the present.”

He urged people to question the status quo and challenge the “it’s just the way things are done around here” model. He said we need to ask why things are done in a certain way and challenge those assumptions. Doing something in the opposite way to which it has always been done – the assumed way – might result in a better outcome.

According to Thorburn, telling the truth is another key to being future ready. He said organisations and individuals that excel at transparency and honesty tend to achieve better outcomes.

The message was clear: to drive change effectively, local governments must be willing to confront uncomfortable truths about their operations or services.

A further key point centred on humility. The better we are at something the harder the process of challenging assumptions becomes. You need to admit you have imperfections before you can embrace the changes that will help individuals and organisations become better versions of themselves.

As Thurbon pointed out, the only difference between experience and baggage is whether we had a positive or negative experience.

Finally, Thurbon addressed the notion of being the ‘third tier,’ as Local Governments are often referred. He emphasised and reminded that the third tier is the closest to the foundation, the closest to the people, and the tier that holds up the two above it – a crucial and important tier.

It was a fitting message to round off the keynote and leave delegates to take a look inward as well as outward, as to how they can foster positive behaviour change and continual growth within the sector from their position.

See Dominic Thurbons Presentation
Image for Ruth Callaghan – The Role of AI in Local Government

Ruth Callaghan – The Role of AI in Local Government

Ruth Callaghan – The Role of AI in Local Government

Image for Ruth Callaghan – The Role of AI in Local Government

Ruth Callaghan discussed with delegates the role of AI in Local Government.

Ruth uses two decades of experience as a media strategist, communications adviser, and journalist to develop, deliver and distribute messages that cut through.

She specialises in providing strategic digital and content services for clients, using the principles of newsworthy and engaging content to tell compelling stories. Ruth’s work in this field has included developing digital and inbound marketing strategies for clients, including use of lead generation software, content marketing and social media.

In the six months since ChatGPT stormed onto the stage, Ruth has worked with businesses, ASX listed companies, professional services groups and government authorities on the use cases, opportunities, risks and challenges of adopting generative AI.

Callaghan believes Generative AI (algorithms that create new content such as text, images, and videos) is a disruptive force, but it’s one that can enhance engagement, streamline processes, and provide “just-in-time” access to information.

Generative AI and Ruth Callaghan shed some light on how it presents a whole new set of challenges for local government, whilst providing a new world of opportunities; highlighted be the writing of a grant submission in under 15 minutes!

As Callaghan pointed out, local governments can benefit from AI by automating routine tasks, such as capturing notes, summarising information, and assisting with marketing and social media. A job that would take a human a couple of hours can be done by AI in a matter of seconds. This frees up time to allow the human resources to focus on complex or emotionally sensitive tasks.

Callaghan suggested thinking of AI and Local Government working together like a centaur, the top half is human doing all the strategic thinking and planning, and the bottom half – the AI – does the leg work, leaving more time for strategy and lateral thinking.

Of course, it’s not a perfect system. Generative AI programs like Chat GPT tend to make things up, and all work generated needs to be checked for bias, misrepresentation, copyright, data leakage and so forth.

But it’s here to stay so local governments will need to work out their own rules, determine what levels of transparency they require and what risks they are prepared to absorb.

Callaghan delivered a workshop that provide immediate insights and actionable steps, encouraging Local Governments to work together begin to embed generative AI in their operations, with appropriate guardrails, protocols, and training with a sound reminder that the AI we know today is the worst version we will ever use – so to get on board!

See Ruth Callaghans Presentation
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State of Play Political Session

State of Play Political Session

Image for State of Play Political Session

In a return of a Convention favourite session, The West Australian’s Chief Reporter Ben Harvey moderated the State of Play discussion with State Members of Parliament, Minister David Michael and Opposition Leader, Shane Love, on the future of the Local Government sector.

This fascinating session revealed what our political leaders (both drawing on their extensive experience as former Local Government Councillors) think about the opportunities and challenges for the sector.

The session engaged delegates to lead the session by submitting their questions and guided discussions surrounding skills shortages, demographic changes, disaster management, voting reforms, the politicisation of councils, and how to attract a better quality of elected members that reflect the demographics of the area they represent.

The State of Play session provided an opportunity for delegates to voice their concerns and sentiments as a sector to the newly appointed Minister for Local Government and Leader of the Opposition, with the key takeaway being that the tiers of Government need to work together to facilitate positive change in Western Australia, noting that the Mission Statement for Local Government is bigger than it has ever been before.

As always, Ben Harvey was a skillful, informed, direct and occasionally irreverent moderator.

Image for Life Membership Presentation - Cr Stephen Strange, Shire of Bruce Rock

Life Membership Presentation - Cr Stephen Strange, Shire of Bruce Rock

Life Membership Presentation - Cr Stephen Strange, Shire of Bruce Rock

Image for Life Membership Presentation - Cr Stephen Strange, Shire of Bruce Rock

A new WALGA Life Member was inducted at the Local Government Convention Gala Cocktail event on Monday, 18 September.

Life Membership to WALGA is awarded in recognition of long and outstanding service to the Local Government sector and the Association.

Our recipient for this year – Councillor Stephen Strange – has dedicated over half his life to elected service and demonstrates all the attributes that make an effective community leader.

First elected to Council in 1989, he has served for a remarkable 29 years as President of the Shire of Bruce Rock – the longest serving President for the Shire.

A passionate and active member of the community, he has spearheaded many exciting and innovative community projects such as:

  • the redevelopment of the Bruce Rock Recreation Centre
  • the construction of both Acacia House and the Bruce Rock Medical Centre
  • the upgrades to the Bruce Rock Aquatic Centre
  • the development of the Bruce Rock Amphitheatre and Remembrance Park
  • and the construction of factory units in the town.

Stephen’s tenacity and commitment is probably best illustrated by his tireless work to establish a temporary grocery store in the Town Hall after the Bruce Rock grocery store was destroyed by fire.

Stephen is leading the Council’s efforts to build a new supermarket, which is due to be opened at the end of this year.

Stephen is currently a State Councillor, and he has previously served as Chair of the WALGA Infrastructure Policy Team and Freight Policy Forum, as well as a member of the CEO Performance Review Committee.

He has exceptional connections and relationships across the Local Government sector and regularly mentors new Shire Presidents. He is always available for public speaking engagements and media enquiries, promoting the interests of regional Western Australia and strengthening the Local Government sector.

Stephen is a highly respected leader, dedicated community representative and worthy recipient of the WALGA Life Membership Award.

Image for Convention Breakfast with Michelle Payne

Convention Breakfast with Michelle Payne

Convention Breakfast with Michelle Payne

Image for Convention Breakfast with Michelle Payne

Michelle Payne is one of Australia’s most sought-after media and racing personalities who became a national icon when she captured the hearts of a nation after winning the 2015 Melbourne Cup on the 100 to 1 priced Prince of Penzance. The first and only female to win the event, Michelle’s triumph catapulted her into stardom where she is now a highly successful trainer, jockey, and author.

In 2017, Michelle received The International Longines Ladies Awards in Washington celebrating women who have consistently achieved at the highest level within the equestrian world.

In 2019, Michelle’s inspiring story made its way to the big screen as the major motion picture “Ride Like A Girl.” It was the highest-grossing Australian film that year. In 2021 her victory was voted by the public as the most significant Sport Australia Hall of Fame moment from a shortlist of 20 outstanding sporting moments over the past 60 years, and in 2022 was awarded the Order of Australia medal (OAM) for services to horse racing.

The convention breakfast became the backdrop for an ‘In Conversation’ with Di Darmody where Payne highlighted the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of her incredible journey.

Hearing her story in her own words and the power of overcoming the odds to succeed brought many in attendance to tears.

Michelle was gracious enough to also take the time for attendees to have their photo taken with her after the breakfast, highlighting the kind nature that allowed her to achieve so much.

The breakfast was a great way to commence a full day of the convention, reminding those in attendance the importance of perseverance, a positive outlook, resilience, and ambition.

Di Darmody’s research and skillful questioning made the session a mesmerising experience for those in the room.

Image for Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Hon Kristy McBain

Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Hon Kristy McBain

Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Hon Kristy McBain

Image for Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Hon Kristy McBain

More information coming soon!

Image for ALGA President Linda Scott

ALGA President Linda Scott

ALGA President Linda Scott

Image for ALGA President Linda Scott

Australian Local Government Association President Linda Scott delivered an address to WALGA Convention delegates on Tuesday 19 September.

President Scott outlined how ALGA has been working alongside WALGA to advocate for the Local Government sector, with achievements in the areas of housing affordability, financial sustainability, natural disasters and resilience, roads and community infrastructure and emissions reduction.

Scott also highlighted how ALGA are once again working with the Institute of Public Works Engineers Australasia to deliver an update to the 2021 National State of the Assets report, calling on Councils to provide their 2022-23 financial and performance data to aid in further advocacy.

From affordable housing, emissions reduction, and disaster mitigation, to building a stronger and more productive workforce, Scott highlighted how Local Government can deliver local solutions to our national challenges and reminded delegates that our voice is always stronger when we collaborate to achieve advocacy outcomes and ‘wins’ together.

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Diversity Panel Session

Diversity Panel Session

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Facilitated by Ballardong Noongar woman and ABC broadcaster, Roanna Edwards, the diversity panel investigated how Local Governments might encourage a broader range of Elected Members.

Cr Melissa Northcott from the City of Armadale made an impassioned plea for councils to put equity, access and inclusion at the core of their operations. “What does Access and Inclusion mean to you? Do you think your Local Government Authority is doing enough? Or do you feel it is just tick box? Do you want to see more and if the answer is yes; then what and how and where and why?! And not just because it is in the DAIP?!” she said.

Sara Saberi, former Councillor at the City of Canning, spoke about the benefits of attracting Elected Members from different cultural backgrounds. Arriving from Iran as a child, Ms Saberi highlighted the proportion of people who live in Western Australia who don’t speak English at home. Almost a third of people in WA were born abroad, and that experience could bring a huge diversity to decision making by Local Governments.

Cr Shaneane Weldon, Deputy President of the Shire of Laverton, explained how her experience coming from, and working with, Indigenous communities, has informed and benefitted local people.

And Cr Peter Rogers from the City of Mandurah, one of the youngest Councillors in the state when he was first elected in 2014, spoke about the need to engage younger people with the functions and outcomes of Local Government.

Each speaker brough their unique perspective and insights, thus highlighting the importance of Councils that accurately reflect the diverse and multifaceted communities they represent.

Download Cr Melissa Northcotts Speech
Image for Plenary Session – Active Mobility

Plenary Session – Active Mobility

Plenary Session – Active Mobility

Image for Plenary Session – Active Mobility

There are many challenges facing metropolitan and regional Councils in encouraging people out of their cars to walk, wheel, or ride to work and play instead.

This Active Mobility plenary session looked at successful case studies where Local and State Governments have built active mobility infrastructure and run behaviour-change programs to get their communities moving.

Session attendees heard from Department of Transport Director of Active Transport Safety Michelle Prior, Tim Judd, and Phil Jones from PJA Consulting, Mayor Mark Irwin from the City of Stirling, and Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas from the City of Perth.

Prior commenced the session by highlighting the key strategies in place to encourage and facilitate active mobility across the State, and the funding available to Local Governments who had ideas to increase active mobility they were looking to develop.

See Michelle Prior’s Presentation

Tim Judd and Phil Jones then showed examples with case studies from the United Kingdom, showing the process from overarching strategy, implementation, and the reality of creating communities that are built to encourage and facilitate active mobility – joining towns together through accessible and connected paths, trails, and networks.

They also showed an example of a planning structure that would assist with those utilising footpaths and how road design can impact how people use paths. They highlighted how small changes in planning stages can encourage active mobility in an area.

See Phil Jones’ Presentation

Mayor Mark Irwin from the City of Stirling brought the examples of active mobility in action closer to home with examples from the City of Stirling.

This included the trial scooter program and the learnings that came from that, road networks where bikes, pedestrians and their safety take precedence over cars.  Some stand out advice from Mark was “If you put the word trial after something, you can do anything..”

The Mayor also revealed Stirling’s plan for a trackless tram. This concept that is intended to provide an alternative to commuters that minimises the number of cars on the road and uses its own path dissimilar to roads, and thus does not get stuck in traffic or behind traffic lights. The tram has been sourced from China and will be trialled at a new car park opposite the Council offices.

See Mayor Mark Irwin’s Presentation

Lord Mayor of the City of Perth Basil Zempilas rounded out the speakers by advocating on behalf of active mobility and confirming that when residents are given no other option than to be actively mobile, they will find a way. In his charismatic style, Basil noted ethe example of Optus Stadium and the ability of WA to utilise, trains, buses, and other available services to get to and from the footy, concerts, and any other events hosted at the Stadium.

These examples showed firsthand, Western Australian-based applications of active mobility to delegates.

The session was finalised with a panel discussion with all speakers, where the common message was the best way to get started – is to get started!

Work with local business and in early stages of planning to ensure active mobility is at the front of mind when designing new areas, provide incentives to using car alternatives and put the time into trialling different methods and seeing what works best for your community.

Attendees were encouraged to look towards their own Cities, Towns, and Shires to highlight small and achievable ways they could implement active mobility to their area, doing their bit to join the active and mobile revolution.

All the presenters were in accord, that the changing the behaviour of active mobility users and providers, is as important as the building of the infrastructure.

Image for Plenary Session – Regional Housing

Plenary Session – Regional Housing

Plenary Session – Regional Housing

Image for Plenary Session – Regional Housing

Every regional Council in WA knows there is a shortage of housing for workforce, residents and business owners. Housing is expensive to build, building labour and product supply is scarce, Air BnB takes out rental opportunities. Housing shortages is one of the major issues for Local (and State) Government.

This session was packed to the rafters with regional delegates looking for recent, contemporary examples and case studies from WA so Councils can mitigate and address the issue.

Michael McGowan from the Housing Industry Association stressed we need a full commitment from State Government policy to find 20,000 housing workers to build 100,000 homes in the next 2-5 years.

See Michael McGowan’s Presentation

Patrick Smit from Development WA detailed the current State approach through policy and resourcing, to enabling land release and development. Patrick described the land stocks available now, and on future plans, in regional WA.

See Patrick Smit’s Presentation

Chris Adams from the Catalina Regional Council in the northern suburbs of Perth, vastly experienced in Local Government property acquisition through regional WA, pushed hard on changing Council mindsets on treating land and development as a legitimate investment for workforce and community development. Chris believes Councils have land and is some cases cash reserves, that can see Councils entering partnerships and collaborations to invest in housing.

See Chris Adams’s Presentation.

Roy Greive from the Shire of Esperance outlined the actual practical examples they are using to address housing shortages.  These include actively cultivate staff development from within the existing staff, so no new housing is needed, reducing red tape for developers, build Tiny Houses on Wheels, and develop land in community and commercial partnerships.

See Roy Greive’s Presentation.

Session Moderator Nadia Mitsopoulos led the Q and A, it remains clear this is one of the most prominent and contemporary issues for regional Councils.

Image for 2023 Showcase in Pixels Competition

2023 Showcase in Pixels Competition

2023 Showcase in Pixels Competition

Image for 2023 Showcase in Pixels Competition

WALGA’s Showcase in Pixels initiative (formerly known as Banners on the Terrace) is one of the State’s largest exhibitions of artwork from WA Local Governments.

Each year, councils, schools, community groups, and artists submit an artwork representing their local community.

This year’s theme Local Futures explores how local governments and communities can enact and drive change for the benefit of future generations.

Opening in May this year, the program drew expressions of interest from 18 regional and 5 metropolitan councils submitting their artwork across the five award categories of Junior Primary, Upper Primary, Secondary, Community Groups/Non-professional, and Professional/Digital.

This year’s winners were announced at the WALGA Local Government Convention:

Junior Category – The Shire of Tammin

For Tammin’s Tomorrow: Embracing Change, by students from Tammin Primary School. This artwork is also a tribute to the town’s dedicated community members, highlighting their vital contribution to keeping Tammin thriving.

Upper Junior Category – The Shire of Chapman Valley

For Capturing the Magic of Chapman Valley, by students from Chapman Valley Primary School and Yuna Primary School.  This is one of many collaborations between the two schools.  The drawing depicts the vibrant and varied lenses of Chapman Valley, with each element highlighting different strengths of the community.

Secondary Category – The City of Joondalup

For Open the Box and Celebrate 25 years of The City of Joondalup, by Taj Eaton from Prendiville Catholic College.  Taj’s drawing embodies the rich history and promising future of the City, while capturing the essence of Joondalup’s community and progress over the past 25 years.

Community / Non-Professional Category – The City of Wanneroo

For Turning Pages to a Future Bright, by local artist Merisa Bickerstaff. In line with this year’s convention theme Local Futures, Merisa’s drawing depicts a book to represent a bright future with prosperous new chapters ahead.

The binding features the word Wanneroo (the place of the digging stick) and displays two digging sticks to acknowledge the custodians of the land, past, present and future.

Professional / digital category – The City of Bayswater

For Place of the Future, by local artist Oscar Knorr.  Many aspects of Oscar’s work references Bayswater and its growth toward future endeavours, from the old Bayswater bridge to the kayak representing the Avon Descent river race.

All the finalists were displayed on the tower at Yagan Square in the week leading up to the Convention.

Thank you to all staff, community groups, and artists involved in the 2023 Showcase in Pixels event this year.

Image for Jacqui Dodd Diploma of Local Government (Elected Member) Scholarships

Jacqui Dodd Diploma of Local Government (Elected Member) Scholarships

Jacqui Dodd Diploma of Local Government (Elected Member) Scholarships

Image for Jacqui Dodd Diploma of Local Government (Elected Member) Scholarships

The Jacqui Dodd Diploma of Local Government (Elected Member) Scholarships enable Elected Members to increase their skills and knowledge, and ultimately, better serve their community.

The scholarships are named in honour of Jacqueline Dodd, a former long-serving Training Services Manager at WALGA.

WALGA received nine scholarship nominations applications, all of a very high standard, with four scholarships awarded at this year’s WALGA Local Government Convention, two metropolitan and two regional.

The winners of the Jacqui Dodd Diploma of Local Government (Elected Member) Scholarships were:

  • Councillor Joanne Cicchini from the Shire of Mundaring
  • Councillor Rebecca Coghlan from the City of Nedlands
  • Councillor Darlene Aston from the Shire of Exmouth
  • Councillor Alana Sullivan from the Shire of Ashburton

The LGA50220 Diploma of Local Government – Elected Member program is the highest level of qualification that an Elected Member can obtain through WALGA Training. This specialised training program enables Elected Members to increase their skills and knowledge to confidently fulfill their role and responsibility on Council and better serve their community.

The Diploma is the highest level of qualification available in Australia and covers 10 specialised Units of Competency across a wide range of important topics including community leadership and advocacy, strategic decision making, policy development, asset management, urban and regional planning schemes, financial reports and budgets and dealing with conflict.

Elected Members learn the skills and tools to be a strong effective leader for their local community and to confidently contribute to informed decision making to better serve their community. At the Convention, eleven graduates were recognised:

  • Cr Ronald Chambers – Shire of Esperance
  • Cr Leonie de Haas – Shire of Esperance
  • Cr Dawn Jecks – City of Rockingham
  • Cr Amber Kearns – City of Mandurah
  • Cr Paige McNeil – Shire of Mundaring
  • Cr Wendy McWhirter-Brooks – Shire of East Pilbara
  • Cr Melissa Northcott – City of Armadale
  • Cr Robert Schmidt – City of Rockingham
  • Cr Peter Smith – Shire of Quairading
  • Cr Sudhir Sudhir – Shire of Menzies
  • Cr Georgia Carey – Town of Mosman Park

Congratulations to all graduates and scholarship recipients.

Image for 2023 Local Government Road Safety Awards

2023 Local Government Road Safety Awards

2023 Local Government Road Safety Awards

Image for 2023 Local Government Road Safety Awards

The Local Government Road Safety Awards are a joint initiative of WALGA’s RoadWise and the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia – Western Australia (IPWEA).

The Awards acknowledge achievements by Local Governments in the area of road safety and recognise contributions to safe system implementation including innovation in engineering countermeasures, policy and local road safety partnerships.

A record number of submissions were received in 2023 for the judging panel to review.

The judging panel, consisting of Brad Harris, representing IPWEA, Doug Morgan from Main Roads WA, Theo Hazebroek, an independent road safety specialist, and Terri-Anne Pettet and Max Bushell from WALGA selected six winners across three categories, recognising an urban and a rural or remote Local Government for each category.

For more information and to view past recipients, visit

Image for Dr Gill Hicks – Closing Keynote Speaker

Dr Gill Hicks – Closing Keynote Speaker

Dr Gill Hicks – Closing Keynote Speaker

Image for Dr Gill Hicks – Closing Keynote Speaker

“What we have in common, is far greater than what divides us will ever be.”

On July 7, 2005, Gill Hicks was on a Piccadilly line underground train between Kings Cross and Russell Square stations. She didn’t know it at the time, but she was standing just one person away from a suicide bomber.

She describes the moment that changed her life forever as ‘like a breath’. She said she watched what seemed like a film of key moments in her life flash before her eyes and thought she must be dead. But she wanted to come back. So, she punched her hand through what felt like thick tar.

Another hand grabbed it.

Hicks was the last living victim rescued. Her injuries were so severe, doctors couldn’t work out if she was a man or a woman. She was admitted to hospital as “One unknown estimated female.” She’d already flatlined in the ambulance. On top of all her other injuries, both her legs were amputated below the knee.

So, it was hard to believe the bright, vibrant woman, standing on stage in a pair of Doc Martins to close the 2023 convention, was the same woman who’d lived through such unimaginable horror.

But it was.

Hicks’ story is one of forgiveness, inspiration, and compassion.

She spoke about the lessons she learned as she recovered, like being pushed over by her physio while she was getting used to walking with prosthetics – not so she’d know how to fall, but so she’d have the confidence to get back up again.

She spoke about looking at life through a difference lens and seeing opportunities in the face of adversity – like the time she asked the doctors if they could make her new legs longer than her old ones. She now stands a full 8 inches taller.

And she spoke about the importance of our jobs. How what we do makes a difference. That we might not always get thanked for it, but what we do, matters to people.

Most of all, she spoke about the power of humanity and emphasised that what we have in common is far greater than what divides us. She said we’re all in this life together, and we need to look at our own attributes to create a future that works for us all.

Dr Hicks is a brilliant speaker, using her voice and message to great effect retelling a traumatic story that continues to define and illuminate an evolving approach to corporate and personal life.

Gill embraced and addressed the Convention theme of “Local Futures” by reminding all in attendance that our collective humanity will always prevail and navigate and plan for the future.

It was an amazing way to finish what had been a great 2023 convention.

Image for WALGA Planning Showcase

WALGA Planning Showcase

WALGA Planning Showcase

Image for WALGA Planning Showcase

Held alongside the WALGA Convention, the Local Government Planning Showcase is the State’s premier event for Local Government Planners and provided a platform for the sharing of leading practice and innovation, and networking and knowledge sharing across the sector.

The format of the Planning Showcase attracted an aspiring group of planners from across the sector.

This year over 140 participants heard from a range of speakers from across the state on a range of exciting planning projects and their outcomes.

The City of Stirling’s presentation on the approach to reviewing the Child Care Local Planning Policy highlighted the use of best practice research and analysis to appropriate policy outcomes while balancing the interests of industry and community.

The Shire of Esperance outlined their innovative and country leading approach to supporting Tiny Homes on Wheels to address their regional housing crisis.

The Showcase was closed with a Panel Discussion featuring a robust and open debate reflecting on the State Government’s Planning Reform Agenda from a Local Government perspective. Participants heard from panellists from the Cities of South, Cockburn, and Mandurah as they reflected on past reforms and missed opportunities, the State’s current planning reform agenda, and whether Local Government planners are well positions for future challenges.

The Planning Showcase will return bigger and better in 2024.

2023 WALGA WALGA Planning Showcase Gallery
Image for WALGA Supplier Showcase- Powered by Synergy

WALGA Supplier Showcase- Powered by Synergy

WALGA Supplier Showcase- Powered by Synergy

Image for WALGA Supplier Showcase- Powered by Synergy

For the very first time, this year’s WALGA Convention featured an outdoor Supplier Showcase as part of the supporting program, hosted outside at Crown from 19-20 September.

The inaugural Showcase event was a huge success. Across the two days Elected Members and Local Government staff interacted with the 24 WALGA preferred suppliers displaying a range of specialist products such as vehicle charging station infrastructure, heavy-duty machinery, technology and tools of the trade.

The Showcase was also the perfect professional development opportunity for Local Government staff, with four complimentary forums featuring expert speakers and informative Q&A sessions taking place alongside the outdoor supplier exhibits.

Image for WALGA Convention Exhibition

WALGA Convention Exhibition

WALGA Convention Exhibition

Image for WALGA Convention Exhibition

Running alongside the WALGA Local Futures Convention in 2023 was the ever-popular Convention Exhibition.

The Exhibition provided a unique opportunity for over 100 Preferred Supplier Panel Members to meet Council representatives and showcase the latest innovations and technologies across the sector.

In 2023, we saw exhibitors from industries including information technology, finance, office supplies and solutions, recruitment, consulting, marketing, development, and more utilise the opportunity to exhibit their products or service to delegates from across the State.

With product demonstrations, giveaways, and plenty of dynamic information, the exhibition was a key component of the Convention experience.

Thank you to all exhibitors who took part in the 2023 WALGA Convention Exhibition.