A West Australian council that unleased its community’s entrepreneurial spirit to tackle unemployment has won Australia’s top award for local government.
The City of Mandurah initiated a series of programs for budding entrepreneurs about six years ago to help create jobs and build local skills in a region marked by rising unemployment.
These programs – beginning with Mumpreneur 101 for mothers wanting to operate a home-based business – have led to more than 80 full-time local jobs being created in the Peel Region and the addition of $6.51 million to gross regional product (GRP).
For its success in growing small business, stimulating local job creation, and contributing to regional growth, the City was awarded the overall 2020 National Award for Local Government at ALGA’s National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Wagga this week.
Federal Local Government Minister Mark Coulton, who announced the award, congratulated the City of Mandurah and the other category winners for their hard work in delivering targeted, quality services to communities across the nation.
“As a former mayor, I know how hard our local governments work to build stronger and more sustainable communities to meet the growing needs of their residents – especially this year having experienced drought, bushfires, floods and now a pandemic.
“These long-running awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of local government in providing Australian communities with services that foster inclusiveness, diversity, vibrancy and cohesiveness,” he said.
City of Mandurah Mayor Rhys Williams said the national recognition was a credit to the local people that have participated in the city’s popular programs.
“These programs have allowed people to find and develop their passions, hone their business skills and become really successful at what they do,” he said.
“These are people who have a great business idea, or want to start their own small business, but need practical advice on how to go about it – and that’s where these programs, and the commitment and drive of the participants, have helped immensely.”
Another WA council, the Shire of Manjimup, received the Minister Coulton Award for Progressive Community Leadership for overcoming serious economic challenges caused by population decline and an over-dependence on the timber industry, particularly in the town of Manjimup.
As a result of the shire’s Manjimup Transformed strategy, population decline has been arrested, school student numbers are up, businesses start-ups are increasing, and agriculture and tourism now define the area’s future.
The City of Busselton, in WA, and the City of Greater Dandenong in Victoria were highly commended for their efforts at boosting productivity through infrastructure and for addressing violence against women and their children, respectively.
Click here for more information on this year’s NALG winners.