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.