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Buiochas le Dia

Weekly column from Council Courier e-newsletter by CEO Greg Hallam, Friday, 15 December 2017.

Buiochas le Dia 

That’s Gaelic for oh my God.

That’s about the best way I could describe 2017. Epic.

Poor old Queensland local government has endured droughts, cyclones, floods, economic hardship (in some regions), the rigours of the CCC Belcarra Inquiry, and a very small number of mayors and senior council officers being charged with criminal offences.

We also lost two of our great champions; the late Mayor Butch Lenton and Deputy Mayor NeIl Hatchman.

All up, it’s been a tough, unrelenting year for so many of you, so well done on your courage, resilience and fortitude.

Against that there have been some magnificent achievements by councils and decent goals kicked by the LGAQ - it wasn’t all bad news, far from it. Our biennial Community Attitude Survey was a strong result and showed us the community thought you all had done a pretty good job.

Through smart, tough and unrelenting LGAQ advocacy efforts, we have seen an increase in external council funding levels to where we wanted them. In truth, it’s the best they have been in real terms for 20 plus years - we are talking a billion dollars plus better off over the next three to four years.

We still want to turn the screws on the Feds in the run up to the next federal election to sweeten the funding pot even further.

I can’t complete a super quick summary of 2017 without mentioning LG Sherlock - it’s amazing and genuinely a world’s first to have an entire level of government design and develop high-level data analytics capability. It’s the best Christmas council present in decades. Quite simply put, it’s a game changer. Get on board in 2018.

Peak Services came into existence in the middle of the year and that was a really positive thing for councils as well.

For us at the LGAQ having our association being named an official Queensland Great by the Premier on Queensland day was very special.

The second and final Member Loyalty Survey for 2017 was a ripper in both aggregate and council segment scores and meant that through our members eyes the last 12 months was the LGAQs best performance in the decades we have been keeping score. Thank you for that acknowledgement of a job well done.

Congratulations to our new Minister Stirling Hinchliffe who was sworn in on Tuesday. President Mayor Mark Jamieson has already spoken to him on the phone and we will be catching up with him early in the new year when he returns from a long-planned family holiday.

Big hugs to all my wonderful staff, who are doing an extraordinary job and set record after record for engagement. This year, we did more than a million kilometres in travel in Queensland. We spent 725 days away and visited councils 373 times.

Before signing off for the year, a huge thanks to Mayor Mark Jamieson who threw his body and soul into his first full year as President - truly the Sunshine Coast Superman.

On behalf all of us at the LGAQ may you and your loved ones have a happy and safe Christmas and prosperous new year.

The Council Courier will resume on Friday 19 January.


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