The Changing Face of Local Government in Queensland – Challenges for Councillors

The Changing Face of Local Government in Queensland – Challenges for Councillors

Category : General News

The Changing Face of Local Government in Queensland – Challenges for Councillors – Week 2 of the Campaign Trail

I remember all too well when Councils’ key responsibilities were heavily entwined with roads, rates, and rubbish. Thankfully, we have moved on from this being considered the main core business of Local Government. Local Government today embraces many different responsibilities and the need to collaborate strongly with other levels of government and statutory bodies.

To gain a better understanding of what our Council does, I would suggest to have a look at the monthly financial reports as provided in the agenda of the Ordinary Meeting of Council, and which are available at any time on Council’s website. You will see budget line items contained in the report that are considered by Councillors at the time of annual budget preparations. The budget is broken up over key areas of council’s operations and here you will learn of the line items contained in each program such as:- Council Properties; Community Culture and Recreation; Libraries; Disaster Management; Road, Street and Bridge Maintenance; Town and Village Facilities; Waste Management; Environment and Regularly Services; Economic Development; Land Use Planning; Building Services; and Marketing and Promotion to name a few. In addition to the recurrent revenue and expenditure there is also a capital works program.

Local Government Association of Queensland conducted recent research that found Queenslanders’ satisfaction with their local councils has increased this year compared with satisfaction levels reported in 2018. The research provided feedback that Queenslanders want councils to get on with their job and are not interested in playing the political games that occupy those in other levels of government. Sixty percent of those surveyed were satisfied with their local council, a marked improvement of the 55 percent in 2018.

Securing and guaranteeing the most basic commodity – water – is becoming a key issue in the challenges that many Queensland Councils are facing. Our Council has joined forces with Lockyer Valley Regional Council to ensure water security for both regions. Waste management and how to sustainably deal with this issue is an ongoing problem. Some ground breaking initiatives have been taken up by Australian Councils, by seeking energy from waste and diverting waste from landfill. Amongst other actions, it is good news that our Council is participating in a regional waste alliance (SEQ West Waste Alliance) with Ipswich, Logan, Lockyer Valley, and Redland Bay councils. I want to see a clean and healthy environment for my granddaughters, so this subject is very dear to me.

There is also an important need for our council to continue to work with sports and recreation; event planning; social and wellbeing initiatives; parks and gardens; town centre beautification; weed and pest control; animal control and ongoing maintenance of cemeteries to name only a few. Roads, and the conditions of roads is undoubtably the most contentious local government issue in our region. This matter is governed by rigorous policies that provide complete information and associated action around the treatment of all council roads in our region.

I believe we have been a very proactive set of Councillors during the past four years. I know people expect the truth in leadership, and I openly discuss issues with my constituents. Often, I am thanked for taking the time to explain the reasons behind decisions and policies, and where the responsibility lies with other levels of government or statutory bodies. For all of us who choose to nominate to represent our communities, it is no easy task. For most, the driver is the opportunity to give back, contribute to making a difference to communities we totally understand, we become the glue to hold communities together. We make long term decisions that will create and navigate the opportunities that will deliver more prosperous and livable communities.

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Somerset Farmers book your seat now for the Farmer's Big Night Out on Wednesday, 8 September at the Somerset Civic Centre.Enjoy a great evening of live entertainment, dinner and socialising. This event is Free for Somerset farmers.Call Council on (07) 5424 4000 to book your ticket now as seats are limited. ... See MoreSee Less
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Councillor Cheryl Gaedtke for a strong Somerset Region
See you there tomorrow morning for a sausage sandwich.🌭👍👍💲2-50 each ... See MoreSee Less
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Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and PlanningThe Honourable Dr Steven MilesGreater council integrity for QueenslandersThe Office of the Independent Assessor will receive more funding and Queensland communities will see improved clarity for councillors around their decision-making, announced the Deputy Premier and Minister for Local Government today.The Deputy Premier announced $1.302 million over two years to support eight full-time equivalent positions in the Office of the Independent Assessor OIA.“It’s vital Queensland communities have confidence in the decision-making of their elected representatives, and we are looking to ensure that decision-making isn’t hindered by any confusion around potential conflicts of interest,” Mr Miles said.“The Government recently undertook a project which analysed the operations of the new councillor complaints framework to make sure it is working smoothly and effectively.“The analysis resulted in a number of recommendations, including streamlining the interactions between the department, the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) and the Councillor Conduct Tribunal (CCT).“We will streamline the process of declaring conflicts of interest, clarifying when a councillor can and cannot participate in decision-making, and how the conflict of interest framework, including the definition of ‘related party’, applies in small council settings.“We’re also providing greater resourcing support for OIA to help carry out its investigations into councillor complaints and keep up with high demand.“To support the OIA to carry out its investigations into councillor complaints we’re committing an additional $1.302 million over two years to support eight temporary full-time equivalent positions.It follows an announcement in December 2020, of an extra $250,000 for the OIA to fund an additional three staff.Mr Miles said the Government will continue working with key stakeholders such as the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), to look at ways of improving the system.Local Government Association of Queensland CEO Greg Hallam thanked the Deputy Premier and his department for working proactively with the LGAQ and its member councils to review the current conflict of interest laws to make sure they are achieving what they were designed to.“Ensuring Queensland’s conflict of interest rules are both workable and effective is of critical importance to local councils and the communities they serve,” Mr Hallam said.“We have provided the Deputy Premier and his department with an extensive submission outlining some of the unintended consequences our member councils are experiencing and recommending potential reforms to the Local Government Act and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Government to progress those changes.”Mr Miles thanked the LGAQ and all stakeholders involved for their input to improve the sector.“It’s crucial we keep listening to stakeholders and support councillors to be the best representatives they can be for their communities,” Mr Miles said.“This is about making a good system even better by increasing transparency and integrity and providing Queenslanders the finest Local Government system in the country.”ENDSMedia contact: Katharine Wright – 0428 957 903 / Amy Hunter – 0423 651 484 ... See MoreSee Less
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