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Cinco de Mayo

Weekly column from Council Courier e-newsletter by Acting CEO Sarah Buckler, Friday 5, May 2017.

Today in Mexico and across many parts of the US, Cinco de Mayo or May the 5th, is a day of celebration. It remembers and recognises the David and Goliath Battle of Puebla, which on this day in 1862 realised the unlikely victory of the much smaller, less resourced Mexican forces over the highly successful French army. It was a win for local pride and strength of community in the face of some major global forces and oppression. 

It is an interesting reflection as we look at the challenges for communities today.

How do communities maintain identity, relevance and position themselves to meet local needs when facing the powerful influences and trends of the global environment?

This theme of being aware of global so we can remain agile and strong at the local level has been central to the LGAQ’s Elected Member Update (EMU) program that continues to wind its way around the state this month. 

At last count, we have delivered 28 sessions to 62 councils, involving 421 elected members and council staff, with more sessions to come. This is such an important part of the LGAQ calendar and it has been a genuine privilege to see firsthand how progressive local governments are in stepping up to this challenge and how innovation is not simply some aerosol word sprayed around by politicians but genuinely within the DNA of the sector. 

While financial sustainability and asset management conversations look to the core business needs for councils engendering better organisations, it is the innovative approaches taken in meeting predicted requirements, unarticulated needs, or yet-to-exist market needs that has filled the news space this week.

Across the state councils continue to push boundaries and challenge the status quo with new and exciting ventures aimed at building better communities for all Queenslanders. This week we have cause to celebrate some exemplary solutions shining a bright light on the leadership qualities of Queensland councils.

Gladstone, Brisbane and Logan councils have all taken out Winners awards at the recent National Awards for Local Government for their respective projects in the Infrastructure, Disability Access and Road Safety categories. Logan and Mackay councils also received Highly Commended awards for their work in the Infrastructure and Regional Growth categories. 

This entrepreneurial spirit at the local level is at the heart of what will be delivered for our communities as we seek to balance the ever-increasing challenges of remaining locally relevant, while taking advantage of being globally connected.

Making sure the benefits of global connectivity are delivered for all communities and that no one is left behind, remains central to LGAQ’s Advocacy Plan. So, it was especially pleasing for me that this morning I participated in the commissioning of the $4m Doomadgee to Burketown optic fibre project. This project is set to provide robust and reliable rural telecommunications vital for councils in communicating and transacting with their towns, business and government. It is a great example of three levels of government working together to drive local outcomes and the social and commercial benefits that result.

Extension of the optic fibre from Burketown to Normanton is the next step in this campaign to significantly increase the robustness of telecommunications for a large part of North West Queensland. Further improvements are expected with the delivery of base stations under the Commonwealth Government’s mobile black spots program.

These announcements indeed give us reason to celebrate, so as we head into the weekend, on this Cinco de Mayo in 2017 may I wish you all ….

Image:, pesetas y amor y tiempo para gozarlos!  or Health, love, money and the time to enjoy them!

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