The Federal Government will be doing a whole range of things that will affect us. One of those is taking steps to challenge the equal representational model on superannuation boards (that’s where, like Local Government Super, there are equal numbers from the employee and the employer side) and to require that at least a third of directors be “independent” which, in the language of the Coalition Government really means mates of theirs.

Superannuation funds operate under the Superannuation Industry Supervision Act, and that legislation obliges directors, whether they be employer or employee representatives to act independently.

This has nothing to do with the competence of the equal representational model, or trustees representing employees, but everything to do with the historic resentment, antagonism and hostility by the Coalition to the introduction of compulsory superannuation, the proliferation and success of industry superannuation funds and all that money being managed by people other than their Tory mates in the banks and insurance companies.

If this story interest you, check out Robbo’s Pearls.

In 2012 LGS was rated AAA and the leading fund internationally with its investment strategies in anticipation of a low carbon future pressure for the reduction of emissions and proper pricing mechanisms on both emissions and carbon assets like coal.

The 2013 Asset Owners Disclosure Project index has just been released in New York. In its second year internationally it includes a significant number of huge international pension and superannuation funds, some of which believe themselves to be at the forefront of low-carbon investing. Investment strategies are all about future risks, the science is in, everyone acknowledges that emissions have to be reduced and that companies need to be valued properly based on their emissions and how they price carbon assets like coal, for example, which may never, ever be dug up. 

The AODP ranked the world’s 1000 largest asset owners as part of The Climate Institute report. Here is how it was reported today in InvestorDaily.

LGS remains AAA rated and ranked number one in Australia but was pipped for the top-rated fund in the world by fund in the UK with a special focus on the environment.

Superannuation is full of pretenders and poseurs about what funds are doing on sustainable investment and the risks of carbon, but LGS has the evidence that it is number one in Australia.

We name the worst councils

It’s one of depa’s core values that people should get what they deserve.

Nothing exemplifies this more than our annual HR Awards. Described last year as allowing members and others to screen prospective employers and intended to identify bullying, boofheadedness, infamy, incompetence, duplicity, opacity, hypocrisy and general nastiness, we should really stop beating around the bush and say what we mean.

Like the boring bit in the Academy Awards when someone has to read out how the voting and the auditing of the voting process operates, everything needs good governance and we need to be as transparent as anyone else. Sometimes, more so.

Our diversified Panel judges folly and infamy across the industry without fear or favour, in a reasoned, disciplined, rational, debated and almost scientific way.

Bankstown won it in 2009 and, very slow to learn, also won it in 2010. They have made some changes (including one big one) and have learned from the experience. Greater (sic) Taree won it in 2011 but hasn’t been a contender since even though too many good employees voted with their feet and went elsewhere. Lismore won in 2012 and the GM at Lismore bit the bullet, immediately fixed the then current dispute (and was properly recognised by us for doing so in the January depanews) and then made structural changes in HR and resolved the problem. Well done and good riddance, respectively.

There are some councils knocking on the door of nomination who don’t get nominated in the 2013 awards but have good prospects for the future. Warringah doesn’t understand its Award obligations on how the consultative committee operates and thinks the consultative committee operates just like other Council committees - which, of course, it doesn’t. Council committees are established and get their authority by delegation from the Council under the Local Government Act and the Consultative Committee doesn’t. The Consultative Committee is established under the Local Government State Award and gets its authority from the Award, and the Industrial Relations Act under which the Award is made. So, it’s not appropriate to throw a union delegate out of the consultative committee if an issue is to be debated affecting that employee. We’ll fix that next year.

And Eurobodalla really needs to have someone read the Award and understand it. The GM and the HR Manager for a start. Next year, perhaps.

2013 has thrown up a whole range of new contenders. Thrown up, both metaphorically and literally and a review of depaNews over the year presents our worthy candidates in chronological order.

Ooooooh, the developers aren’t happy now, are they.

In August 2012 depaNews we criticised the possibilities illustrated on page 57 of the Green Paper for letting developers file applications that fell well, well outside the boundaries of any planning instrument. Nearly everyone else in the world was doing similarly.

In June 2013 (effectively our White Paper submission) we argued that certainty for developers meant uncertainty for everyone else, as protection and checks and balances are removed. The only people who weren’t saying that were the developers and their lobby groups - clearly because they preferred to sit quietly and smugly for fear of revealing their excitement.

The risks of code assessment and the fundamentally hazardous planning system that the inappropriately named Brad Hazzard (and we were not fooled by the two zeds) was pressing was met with overwhelming community opposition - as well as from Local Government NSW and planners in the industry who understand that certainty for developers means trouble for everyone else.

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