With an advanced unified communications platform, video conferencing, live streaming and more exciting opportunities on the way, council was recently rated at a level five – the maximum possible rating.
Telstra’s Senior Business Development Specialist Local Government Russell Paten said this placed Central Highlands in the top three councils in Queensland.
‘We understand that local government has separate needs from the rest of other businesses,’ Mr Paten said.
‘So a few years ago we developed a technology strategy for councils – one that was aimed at future needs. Central Highlands adopted that business model, along with other councils across the state and has achieved creditable results for its operations and efficiencies.
‘While all of the councils have made use of certain technologies, there were a small number ahead of the pack, and Central Highlands was one of them.’
Mr Paten said the Information Services Team at Central Highlands Regional Council is implementing clever solutions to maximise the benefits of technology to the organisation.
‘As our network has evolved we’ve seen the same services in cities implemented in rural areas,’ he said.
‘It’s not about where you live, it’s about how you choose to live and Central Highlands have decided how they choose to live.
‘Not only has this council made good use of technology to provide services, they’ve also provided a launching pad to move forward into the next generation of solutions.’
Central Highlands Regional Council’s Manager Information Services Aaron Jurd said it was very rewarding to hear that a small rural council was leading the way in technology application.
‘Our council is such a spread out organisation, so we started using Skype for Business as our unified communication platform to close those gaps and boundaries,’ he said.
‘Now we’ve rolled out live streaming of our council meetings using the same platform, which has also enabled video and teleconferencing and improved training opportunities.’
Mr Jurd said his team were always looking for new technologies, software and equipment to implement.
‘As a rural council it is important that we build strong partnerships with technology providers, such as Telstra and Microsoft, to ensure we’re able to facilitate the best outcomes possible,’ he said.
‘We’re really excited about what the future holds, not only for the way we do business but also for the way our communities can interact with us and each other.’
Mr Paten and a team from Telstra met with councillors and management in Emerald last month to discuss new strategies, including Telstra’s Smart Communities project.