Local Government Professionals Australia closes National Office

A special general meeting of LG Professionals Australia held on 14 June 2023 has decided to wind up the operations of the National Office and place the company into voluntary liquidation.

According to National President, Jonathan Throssell, members at the meeting decided to appoint Stephen Wesley Hathway as Liquidator of the Company.

Mr Throssell reassured members that the closure would not affect individual member activities which would continue to be delivered by the Member Associations in each State and Territory which made up the LG Professionals Australia Federation. Any new and future ways of operating will be decided by the Member Associations together.

"The National Board made the difficult decision to recommend winding up LG Professionals Australia National principally due to its lack of financial sustainability, significantly impacted by the effects of COVID-19. For example face to face events were not possible and were a key source of income," said Mr Throssell.

"While the Board worked hard to trim down its operations in response, there was a noticeable move away from members attending interstate and national activities, and ultimately the organisation could not recover from these impacts.' he said.

Mr Throssell noted that LG Professionals Australia has fostered connections between local government professionals across the country and internationally, providing platforms for engagement across borders to share best practice and expand professional networks.

"For example, our Federation Awards exposed professionals to a wealth of best practice knowledge from across the country, providing real-world, practical case studies, while fostering a deeper connection to the sector at-large. Awards programs like this will be continued with distinct, specialised offerings tailored to the sector of each state," Mr Throssell said.

Another key achievement, which will continue to be run by the Member Associations, is the Australasian Management Challenge which has seen thousands of local government professionals develop important management skills. Through an international competition, these professionals were connected to peers who shared their challenges in diverse circumstances.

"Coupled with the annual National Congress, programs and events were held nationally and internationally, delivering professional development experiences that benefited from broader activities in terms of content and scope. Today, local government professionals are directly saved by the respective Member Associations who have appreciation of their particular State and Territory circumstances," Mr Throssell said.

LG Professionals Australia's name came about in 2014, but originated in October 1936 as The Municipal Clerk's Institute founded by Raymond West, the then Town Clerk of the City of Shepparton, Victoria. After 1 January 2001, the name was changed to Local Government Managers Australia and a new logo produced, using linked rings to represent strength, unity, co-operation and inclusiveness. It changed to its current name to better reflect its broader membership base.

The national office also acted as a conduit to Federal Government and when it moved to Canberra gave Australian local government professionals access to national-level decision-makers affecting Local Government policy, from Ministers to senior bureaucrats. National office programs also brought council officers to the ACT to understand and influence policy that impacted their operations and professions in their home states.

The development of a nationally geared advocacy agenda further gave these professionals a voice in Canberra, seeing federal funding secured across multiple years of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, for example, stewarding policy adjustments under federally coordinated sector feedback. Individual Member Association's ongoing and growing advocacy agendas are now seeing tangible, positive change in more closely linked State and Territory Government relations.

"While I am personally very sad that the decision to wind up the national body had to be made, ultimately, we are leaving our mission to facilitate unique opportunities and attract the best and brightest to the local government sector in safe hands. The Member Associations in the States and NT are reallocating resources to better serve their members while maintaining the interstate links that have strengthened the local government professional community," Mr Throssell concluded.
For more information and to organise interviews call Jonathan Throssell 0409 991 868 or Sharon Kelly, Writing & Publicity on 0414 780 077