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Flood of ideas in the outback

Weekly column from Council Courier e-newsletter by CEO Greg Hallam, Friday 17, February 2017.

Winton was the destination this week as the LGAQ Policy Executive and senior staff descended on the proud, historic and innovative Western Queensland town for two full days.

A big thanks to Mayor Butch Lenton and his councillors and senior management team for hosting us and showing what's possible with a great attitude. We were all blown away by the Winton Council staff, whose have-a-go attitude was the highlight of the trip.

The folks at Winton embody our mantra of 'it's not where you live but how you live'. This small town thinks big: the Age of Dinosaurs attraction, geothermal power, a new $22m Waltzing Matilda Centre and tourist wifi networks are but a few initiatives. You can see what wit, drive and tenacity this Council posesses and how much this community achieves.

Your Policy Executive got to meet with all the shire council team, including councillors and staff, and councils from the region who attended two evening functions. A big pat on the back to the Diamantina Deputy Mayor Steve Cramer and CEO Leon Love who drove a leisurely eight-hour round trip to meet with us.

Of course, there was a full day of solid discussion at the Policy Executive meeting and some big decisions came out of those deliberations. In lots of ways the issues that came out of this meeting set the scene not just for the next state election but the balance of the 2020 council term. You can read about those issues elsewhere in Council Courier.

I can honestly say these meetings are a delight for an old local government stager like me. Every member of the executive contributes on many occasions across the day. As I've said before it's a really bright, diverse and energetic crew that you elected to represent, including four women, three members aged 40 or under, and two indigenous representatives.

Winton won't be our last visit to remote Queensland, the Policy Executive is off to Palm Island next year and Thursday Island in 2019. Another big regional event this year is the Bush Councils Convention in Charters Towers in August.

The LGAQ represents all councils and, most importantly, the people that work for them.


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