What’s ours is yours
It’s a good time to gently remind our members of what a tight ship the LGAQ runs despite the occasional rubbish attacks in social media from some of the fruit loops who like to attack local government from the fringes.
For starters, our members choose the 15-person LGAQ Policy Executive according to geographical districts (ie, the entire state is represented) and their President off the floor of the annual conference. The Policy Executive meets every two months to set the direction and steer the LGAQ ship. Like all corporate entities, we table our audited financial states and annual report at each annual general meeting - the latest being a fortnight ago in Gladstone.
Then there’s the reassurance of having the Queensland Auditor-General conduct the annual audit of the LGAQ, its subsidiaries and trusts, not to forget the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission’s oversight of our electoral processes.
Moreover, the entire governance architecture of the LGAQ corporate entity and its subsidiaries was developed by Corrs Westgarth Chambers and KPMG and is expressed in our Constitution and Rules and Governance Charter, documents available on our website.
The fail safe is the LGAQ’s Internal Audit Committee which has two former auditors-general as well as a senior barrister and an experienced external company chief financial officer company secretary who sits on many audit committees in the corporate world. In other words, they are the real deal and not to be trifled with. I jokingly refer to meeting with that body every couple of months as akin to going to confession.
When it comes to the dealings of the former Local Buy - now part of Peak Services - none other than the Local Government Minister needs to sign off on any tender or standing quotation where an LGAQ entity seeks to be part of those arrangements. That’s after we use independent assessment panels to determine which companies get on to those public offers. The whole process is reviewed by an independent probity auditor to boot. A very robust governance framework to be sure.
Finally, whatever cash and other assets the LGAQ owns they are ultimately and lawfully the property of our members. Not the Policy Executive, not the staff, just councils themselves.
As I keep saying, we are not in the business of making money but when we do we spend it wisely and for the benefit of members. For every $1 in commercial revenues the LGAQ or our subsidiaries make, our member councils have already saved $14. That fact is verified by KPMG.
Best of all, if we have especially good years in the open market (we have no monopoly anywhere and have to compete with all and sundry for your business) then we return those surpluses as cash dividends to members. Accordingly we have returned $21.5 million over the past seven years. The upshot is that in the last seven years it’s cost our member councils a net $1 million a year to run the LGAQ. Truly amazing.