Looking for some wins
Weekly column from Council Courier e-newsletter by CEO Greg Hallam on Friday, 2 December 2016.
You lose some and, hopefully, win some. I've written enough in recent years on the Palaszczuk Government’s shameful dismembering of industrial relations reforms to fill several books.
This week, the Government succeeded with their legislative agenda to get rid of the single local government award. To that, I say, (and to quote my dear departed Mum) “poo, bloody, bugger, bum”.
No doubt it stinks. However, the LGAQ is in this fight for the long haul and we continue to protect both councils and the continued employment of their workforces (didn't that used to be the unions’ job?). We are not for turning and the LGAQ will see this thing through to a decent proper outcome no matter how long it takes.
Now let me dwell on what could be some wins. Over the past six months, we have beavered away behind closed doors to try and improve Queensland’s existing council grants system. Specifically, we want to secure substantial additional capital works grants for councils, especially those with pressing infrastructure backlogs and/or high unemployment in their community.
The Government’s mid-year fiscal review is close and I am mildly optimistic that, provided the State’s revenue position improves, there might be a goody or two for councils in Santa’s sleigh this year.
Most of the lobbying that the LGAQ does never sees the light of day, and that is how it should be. Our intergovernmental relations team, senior advocacy managers, your past and current presidents and yours truly have collectively had more than a hundred meetings with political power brokers in Canberra and George St over the course of 2016. There’s an old saying - never let light in on magic. We strictly adhere to that nostrum. It’s only the result of those efforts on your behalf that matters.
A big year of visiting rural and remote councils began in Cloncurry 11 months ago and wound up in St George this week where President Mark Jamieson and I met Balonne Shire and South West Local Government Association councils for a productive round of talking, listening and quiet one-to-one chats.
This year was not quite as hectic for me as 2015 as I only spent 58 nights away from home. But with no council or LGAQ elections in 2017, watch out for next year.