About the Challenge

The Australasian Management Challenge has been at the forefront of professional development in local government in Australia and New Zealand for over 20 years.

In that time, many thousands of local government professionals have been given the opportunity to participate, grow, be challenged and learn alongside their team members and peers. Many have subsequently gone on to senior management roles.

Management Challenge Day

The Management Challenge is a simulation-based team building, learning and networking program using real local government themes – the types of issues that a senior management team in a council would most likely face.

The teams are challenged to respond to a series of tasks in a unique one-day, fast paced, “pressure cooker” environment. Some tasks will require written responses (such as a council report or recommendation document), some will take the form of role plays or presentations and the teams are also scored on observations of how well they display energy, synergy, effectiveness and creative thinking.

It provides an opportunity for team members to develop their skills and become more effective in the way they:
















Tasks are scored by experienced markers and observers and the winner earns the coveted title of Regional Challenge winner - and goes on to participate in the National Final held in conjunction with the LG Professionals National Congress.

Before the Challenge Day

With the aid of an in-house mentor and detailed preparation kit, teams spend time together in the weeks preceding the Management Challenge to develop their skills, get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and develop processes and strategies for the Challenge Day.

There is a real-world based “Pre-Challenge Task” that encourages teams to work together on a meaningful project prior to the Challenge Day. In previous years, a large percentage of these “Pre-Challenge Task Projects” actually received council support and funding and went on to be delivered as real community projects.


Detailed debriefs and feedback on overall performance and achievement on specific tasks, from professional facilitators, provide the basis for application of learning outcomes to the workplace.


Benefits of participation

BENEFITS TO THE ORGANISATION – as described by CEO’s of participating councils:


Assist with growth


Boost pride & reputation


Build corporate knowledge


Build Networks


Create strong teams


Develop leaders


Increase staff skills


Show commitment to development

BENEFITS TO PARTICIPANTS – as described by recent participants:


Accelerate learning


Build confidence


Career advancement


Create team spirit


Develop and strengthen relationships


Develop networks with other councils


Increase knowledge


Increase pride, sense of achievement & prestige

BENEFITS TO MENTORS – as described by recent mentors:


Build confidence

Enhance Leadership skills

Enhance Leadership skills


Increase pride, sense of achievement & prestige


Raise profile

The best performing team in each region go on to compete in the Australasian final which will be held in conjunction with the Local Government Professionals Australia National Congress in 2020. The winner of the Australasian final will be announced at the National Congress Gala Awards dinner.

For more information, visit the Promoting the Challenge page and download the brochure.



Who should be part of your team?

Anyone! You don’t have to be a manager to enter – the Management Challenge is about developing people, including future leaders! The many thousands of local government employees who have participated in the Management Challenge have demonstrated that almost any local government officer with the right attitude will take away enduring benefits from the experience.

Past participants have included staff members from all council disciplines and levels including librarians, works team leaders, IT specialists, community service professionals, marketing professionals, HR managers, arborists and experienced managers.

If you don’t think you have the right staff to enter a competitive team, you may be surprised. We’ve recently interviewed many CEO’s and they agree on one thing – it’s a fantastic professional development program for their staff, and while a win is a great thing for the council, it’s certainly not the main focus.

And remember, a champion team usually beats a team of champions!



Too small? Too far away? Probably not!

Sometimes councils feel they are too small to field a competitive team. However, this can also be an advantage because you may already have a highly functioning, close-knit team! You could also consider entering a composite team - made up of members of your own council plus one or more other councils. In 2018, a composite team from Tasmania won the Regional Event and went on to compete in the National Final.

There is also a Smaller Council Subsidy available for Councils or Groups of Councils in a composite team that have less than 20,000 residents. The Subsidy is a $1,500 discount on the entry fee.


Information for Composite Teams.
Smaller Council Subsidy Scheme guidelines and application (not applicable in New Zealand).



Key Dates

Key dates for the 2020 Management Challenge are:

  • Registrations open November 2019
  • UPDATE: Early bird pricing extension: valid until 13th December 2019
  • Registrations close 14the February 2020
  • Pre Challenge Task released 17th February 2020
  • Pre Challenge Task due 30th March 2020

All regional events are one-day events held during April and May 2020. The dates for each region will be listed on your region's website. The Australasian final will be held at the LG Professionals National Congress in August 2020.


The early bird team fee is: $A5,350 (ex GST)

The regular team fee is: $A5,750 (ex GST)

UPDATE: To be eligible for the early bird fee, payment must be made by 13th December 2019.

Please note that NZ teams will be invoiced in $A.


Cancellation fees apply as follows

  • Before 14th February 2020: 25% of fee
  • Between 15th February and 15th March 2020: 50% of fee
  • After 16th March 2020: 100% of fee




2020 Australasian Final

The best performing team in each region go on to compete in the Australasian final which will be held in conjunction with the Local Government Professionals Australia National Congress in 2020. The winner of the Australasian final will be announced at the National Congress Gala Dinner & Awards night.

Local Government Professionals Local Government Professionals Australia will provide reimbursements of up to $500 to individual team members for their travel to the final (conditions apply). Participants will also receive complimentary event entry and complimentary Congress registration including attendance at the Gala Dinner & Awards Night.

Teams will be required to cover their own accommodation expenses. Information relating to accommodation including location and costs will be made available prior to the Australasian final.



Getting started

Some simple steps to get you started.


Download the Getting Started guide.

This will give you a good understanding of how the Management Challenge works and what it delivers, plus some good tips on forming a team and choosing a mentor.

Choose a team and a mentor

Choose five to six team members. The team also needs a mentor – someone who can, with material supplied, guide the team through the preparation phase. Early appointment of your mentor will assist with team formation and Pre-Challenge task preparation.


Register here.

The learnings begin

Once you have registered, your team can download further resources from the website and the fun can begin.

Pre-Challenge task

The Pre-Challenge task will be made available to Mentors in March 2020. This will be assessed as part of the team's overall performance, so teams should plan to allow sufficient time to complete this task.