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It's showtime, folks

Weekly column from Council Courier e-newsletter by CEO Greg Hallam, Friday, 13 October 2017.

From Monday, Queensland’s local government family descends on Gladstone for the LGAQ’s 121st Annual Conference. We are aiming for the star of the show to be the launch of a path breaking initiative and - dare I say it - a world first, LG Sherlock.

Having been around for the birth of LGM, LGW, Local Buy, LG Online, LGIS and Propel, I can honestly say that Sherlock is right up there. Certainly, it's the most technically complex initiative we have ever undertaken.

That said, it has come at no cost to councils, courtesy of the generous support of LGM and LGW special dividends. Its promise is game changing.

But enough of me spruiking Sherlock’s benefits. At Annual Conference, you will hear for yourself from experts from around the globe; meet the LG Sherlock team and have a 90 minute Q&A session with fellow councillors. You will learn what insights our partner councils have already gleaned in areas such as fleet management, electricity usage and barking dogs. You will also be asked for input into the future data analytics works program for Sherlock and, of course, kick the beast’s tyres on one of many display screens at the LGAQ trade booth.

It's going to be special but, in truth, only the starting point with years of innovation, better performance and cost savings still to come.

Of course, this week the Palaszczuk Government introduced into the Parliament legislation for a new council complaints system which got a big tick from us, and a ban on developer donations, which got a big raspberry. We have made our view clear in public and private - prohibition doesn't work, never has and never will. Read the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption’s 2016 Operation Spicer Report to see exactly what President Mark Jamieson and I have been saying for the last 10 days. The LGAQ put forward sensible alternative reforms that will do the job. We want to be part of the solution, not the problem. Moreover, it is councils that have to make this work on the ground not state politicians.

Finally, you know the political silly season has started when you hear the Government say the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Belcarra Report has heralded the biggest reforms to hit local government in 50 years! I certainly had a giggle. The truth is that, as significant as the reforms are, they will only affect less than 20 percent of councils. The changes pale into insignificance alongside the 2008 amalgamations and Tom Burns’ new, revolutionary Local Government Act in 1993.

One last thing: the Premier yesterday talked about a 'proven link' between developer donations and the prospect of alleged corruption. I might ask where this 'proven link' is mentioned in the Belcarra report…

See you in Gladstone.


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