Weekly Speak CEO Column
Mother Nature comes calling
Good old mother nature was front and centre in Queensland over the last week with 10 councils disaster declared and 30 activated under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, chiefly in the north of the state. It was a good old-fashioned March Monsoon, thankfully without the cyclonic winds.
Large swathes of the state received drought-breaking rain. But big tracts of Queensland are still in the grip of drought. My approaching seniority and grey hair allows me to say I’m smart enough to know that it takes many months if not years for those communities who have received good rain to recover from years of drought. If it doesn’t happen then it takes those communities a long time to climb back to prosperity. But the last week’s big rain was greatly welcomed and hopefully a turning point. Our heart goes out to those communities who missed out again.
As it has in response to all natural disasters, the LGAQ played its part with our Advisory Services Manager and disaster management expert Mike Lollback ensconced out at emergency services HQ at Kedron talking daily to affected councils. As per usual I took part in the daily early morning briefings of the Disaster Sub Committee of State Cabinet. Of course, councils do the real disaster response, clean up and rebuild work on the ground. As we have said many times, councils are there for their communities before, during and after the cyclones, flood and fires hit. Good on you folks, true community champions.
Elsewhere this week, the LGAQ hosted the annual Regional Organisations of Councils (ROC) Assembly. It was a high-powered affair, with Federal Regional Development, Local Government and Territories Minister John McVeigh and State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick both addressing the meeting. The Assembly agreed to take a united approach in driving significant policy issues affecting local communities in Queensland. You can read the Assembly’s communique here.
I also met the Federal Opposition’s local government spokesman Steven Jones at Local Government House to discuss the ALP’s urban, regional and local government platforms for the next federal election. Mayors Karen Williams and Matt Burnett and I travelled to Canberra for the bi-monthly ALGA Board meeting.
Finally, read my open letter to the PM on National Close the Gap Day, 15 March.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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