Bernard Salt. Demographer … social commentator … columnist …the man responsible for adding ‘smashed avo on toast’ to our daily lexicon.

If there was one event that excites Bernard more than anything, it’s the release of Australian Census data every five years.
Bernard told the audience his prediction that data out later this month will show COVID has led, more than 15% of Australians to migrate from the traditional workplace to working from home. 

“Australians are motivated by the relentless pursuit of lifestyle. Give an Australian half a chance and they’ll take the lifestyle option every time. We will embrace working from home with both hands. And it will be the defibrillator into middle and outer suburbs, shifting the daytime demographic weight into your municipalities.” – Bernard Salt

For Local Governments, that means more people spending more time working, studying, and shopping where they live, changing demand for services into local areas.

Another prod for Local Government leaders from Bernard was for them to think about how they engage with their rate payers.

“Apps are the future. They give customers control and instant information allowing them to interact with businesses and government services, while conversely, call centres, could be a thing of the past”.

In answering a question from the audience about Australia’s declining faith in institutions like church and government, Bernard said that humans wanted to feel connected and belong to something, be it an institution or a community. The opportunity is there for Local Governments to build those relationships and restore that lost trust by supporting a connected community.
 
The second speaker in the session was Perth-based director of global market research firm IPSOS Australia and New Zealand, Brad Hyde.

Brad spoke about the challenges Local Governments face with limited budgets and staff retention.

But he offered some sage advice and a road map for Local Governments to understand the community’s needs and expectations, and therefore define their relationship with them, building on Bernard’s points about creating connectedness.

He called it a science of strong relationships, a practical and simple six-pronged approach to understanding customers, or in the case of Local Government, rate payers.

Customers want fair treatment – they don’t want to feel cheated, patronised, or disrespected.

They want to be in control – they hate to be surprised.

Status is important - make people feel valued.

People want to belong - show people you care about the greater good.

And last but not least, people want enjoyment. That can mean Local Governments providing services that bring enjoyment, or, as simple as making services pain-free.

It’s an equation for all Local Governments to apply.
 
Download Brad Hyde's Presentation
Download Bernard Salt's Presentation