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Wheels in motion

Weekly column from Council Courier e-newsletter by CEO Greg Hallam, Friday 19, May 2017.

I love it when a plan works. Believe it or not, it's almost eight years since the LGAQ adopted its customer franchise operating model that created five council segments: SEQ, Coastal, Indigenous, Rural & Remote and Resource. These regions were created so the LGAQ could better tailor our advocacy, support and partnering efforts to meet individual council needs and aspirations.

During this week, I saw that model operating beautifully. Yesterday I spent the day in Cairns at our second QCoast2100 Forum with 16 coastal councils, senior academics, consultants and state government officers. On the table for discussion was the 12 projects already launched that address coastal hazard adaptation strategies. We are so incredibly fortunate to have Subathra Ramachandram - an internationally recognised hydrologist - running this $12 million program from Local Government House for us. She is a treasure.

Today we also launched a Q & A on the State Government’s Stock Route Bill in an attempt to demystify the topic and put to bed some of the furphies doing the rounds.

Rest assured, the LGAQ will NEVER sign up to a dud deal for councils. Never have, never will.

I accept there will never be 100% agreement on something with as many variables as stock route reform, but we have consulted on this for over a decade and it's a case of majority view rules. The LGAQ want this bill (or one close to it) passed by the current parliament. It’s a crying shame that the last two parliaments couldn't. As a result, two bills have lapsed. Every year that passes without reform on this bill, councils become financially worse off. It’s that simple. I will jump off the roof of Local Government House if we must go around the mulberry bush yet again with this bill.

Meanwhile, later this afternoon we will bring together a group of SEQ councillors to spend a few hours chatting about their work and lives. At LGAQ we see plenty of their mayors and CEOs but not councillors. Such is the crazy life of elected members in that neck of the woods. I’ve personally visited all bar one of those councils in the first five months of the year, along with 18 others around the state. Across the way LGAQ staff were in the Bowen Basin this week talking all matters roads and the future of freight tasks for resource councils in that region.

Another important event - the Indigenous Leaders Forum will be taking place in in Cairns in June.

The LGAQ celebrates the continuing planning efforts around this event and likewise celebrates the sign off by the Local Buy Telstra Industry Development Fund to sponsor a $35,000 touring Technology Road Show for Indigenous councils. Furthermore, the LGAQ is in the process of finalising an LGAQ submission to the Productivity Commission on the provision of services to Indigenous Communities (watch this space). Finally - next week we have the second meeting of the LGAQ auspiced Horticultural Councils group in our boardroom.

As always, it’s a busy time in the local government space. The LGAQ is not all things to all councils, but we provide different things to different councils - every week we strive to help councils meet their communities' needs and get closer to reaching their goals.


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