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Local govt workforce survey now underway – why is it important to both employers and employees?

12 December 2012 By ASU

The Australian Center for Excellence in Local Government (ACELG) has released the most comprehensive industry survey of any industry in Australia for local government. The survey has the support of the most state jurisdictions and the Federal Government, plus local government ministers, but all local councils in all states can participate.

The ASU has been pursuing a survey of all local government employment classifications across the industry and country for a few years now, with the first approach to the Federal Government who asked the ASU to work with ACELG to achieve this outcome.

We have pursued a survey covering all employees, classifications, ages, etc, a survey which will cover all trades, truck drivers, outdoor workers, office staff, para professionals and professionals, librarians, sport and recreation, planners, building surveyors, librarians, child care workers, technical officers, engineers and more classifications. After all local government workforce is around 45,000 to 50,000 larger than the federal government public service. Local government is also much larger than the mining industry.

"Whilst the survey will not cover the full 110 local government employee work classifications, it will cover the main classifications and include the main classifications of both indoor, depot, library, sport and recreation as well as the para professionals, professionals and more," said ASU Assistant National Secretary Greg McLean.

"It will be the very first time we have an understanding of the makeup of the local government workforce, where the skills shortages are and the expected areas of shortages in the future, and where training and skilling up is necessary, and recognition of existing skills.

"Armed with this knowledge, the industry, unions and skills councils can plan for training needs in the local government industry. It can also allow for local government to argue for industry wide funding for the first time and so much more. It will benefit employees, employers and help save waste on contracting out and councils wasting money on not directly employing apprentices and trainees for the future local government workforce.

"I also believe the survey results will help in maintaining long term employees - the longer an employee remains in an industry, the cheaper the original investment in training and recruitment expenses become as they are averaged over the total workforce employment time," concluded Greg McLean.

Greg McLean holds an OAM for services to industrial relations, which includes support for the skills and training of the Australian local government workforce, also mentioned the ASU was the key driver along with LGMA National and ACELG.

Please note the survey will be completed by local government human resources managers - ASU delegates can encourage HR managers to take part in this very important survey.

More about the census

Excerpted from the ACELG website: 

The Australian Local Government Workforce and Employment Census (formerly the National Minimum Dataset) is part of a national initiative by federal, state and territory local government ministers to improve local government workforce development. The census is funded by the Australian Government. The Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) is co-ordinating the initiative.

A national local government workforce strategy is also being prepared and will be submitted to state, federal and territory governments for consideration. State local government associations (LGAs), Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) and the Australian Services Union (ASU) have been involved in this project throughout its development.

The workforce census has been designed to collect standardised workforce data from all 565 councils across Australia, to allow workforce analysis by region, council classification and by state. The census will enable councils to benchmark themselves against aggregated groupings of councils (national, state, and regional).

The information will be used to improve workforce planning capacity within individual councils and to support sector-wide and jurisdictional efforts to address skill shortages, enhance the professionalism of local government and facilitate greater workforce diversity. The census will also develop and maintain a nationally consistent dataset on women's participation in the local government sector, including both elected representatives and senior management positions.

Contact Details
Name: Greg McLean, ASU Assistant National Secretary
Telephone: 0419 796 801