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North's women lead the way

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

I saw the future along the Flinders Highway this week as I joined three of my LGAQ colleagues, senior executives Sarah Buckler, Lou Boyle and Chris Krosch (our LG Online guru and trainer) driving for three days along the 1000 kilometres between Townsville and Mt Isa, and visiting six councils along the way. That vision was women, five of them to be precise, all leading their councils in pushing for economic development, technology and innovation.

Let’s not dismiss the great job the two male mayors in this region are doing. Queensland's longest serving mayor, Cr John Wharton from Richmond Shire Council, was elected mayor 20 years ago and is the wisest of heads and new Cloncurry Mayor Greg Campbell is leaving no stone unturned revitalising his Council.

But it was instructive to see the different focus the women were taking, putting a high price on jobs, growth, innovation and community engagement.

They are all having a red hot go, indeed prepared to fail if need be rather than sit on the proverbial fence. Tradition and past performance are not high on their agenda, nor is blame.

I reckon they are distinguished by their networking efforts trying to link up with whomever they could help them achieving their targeted community outcomes. They also have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, most of our meetings ran well over time.

There was great enthusiasm for the future and lots of 'let me at them' attitude.

For the newbie mayors, one year in to their terms, there was not the slightest hint of being daunted.

Most interestingly, the thing we all talked most about was technology - how to access it and how to use it. All the Flinders Highway mayors are keen to embrace a digital future to benefit their communities.

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It was really good to be in the presence of such positive people, glass half full mayors.

As always it was a chance for us to test out new ideas and discover what councils really want from their peak body.

This road trip confirmed that the LGAQ’s mission of CONNECT INNOVATE ACHIEVE is still spot on.

This is the third time in five years I've done this trip and this time my team banned me from driving...every morning we got up one of them had magically landed in the driver’s seat. Come on guys, I'm really not that bad a driver!

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