Weekly Speak CEO Column
Cherry on the top
This week I signed off on $5.1 million of Local Government Mutual special dividends being paid to our member councils. That is $270,000 more than councils paid the LGAQ in membership subscriptions for the corresponding financial year. It was a similar story last financial year. Indeed, over the last decade the LGAQ has returned more than $29 million in hard cold cash to members. Better still, assuming our financial position does not change the LGAQ plans to continue the practice for at least the next decade. It doesn’t get better than that, folks. We effectively pay our members to belong to the LGAQ. No other Association of any variety in Australia gets remotely close to the value for money the LGAQ provides to Queensland councils.
The LGM/ LGW/ LG Assets story is a ripper. They have been independently verified to have saved members $800 million since they came into existence decades ago. Whilst these insurance schemes have substantial cash reserves for prudential reasons, they and ultimately the LGAQ as trustee do not hold on to money they don’t reasonably need. Hence these special dividends and a $15 million fund to finance innovation to reduce risk in councils. Think LG Sherlock with its data lakes and data detective products, Blockchain and Smart Contracts, with more to be announced at the Annual Conference later this month.
Of course, the LGAQ receives substantial dividends from its subsidiary Peak Services which allows the Association to do all manners of things that would be otherwise impossible. Think investing $1 million a year on TV, radio and digital image campaigns which, by the way, kick off again this weekend. Think free Elected Member Updates from next year and the ongoing free legal opinion service to councils. Think hiring the best consultants when we need them to help mount the best cases to state and federal government.
Think the ability to take legal matters all the way to the highest courts in the land when much is at stake for councils. Think the value of employing our internal full time political lobbyists to engage power brokers in Canberra and 1 William St. Think the financial wherewithal to have the LGAQ’s senior leadership and staff visiting every council on a regular basis no matter where they are located in what is a huge state. Think of the development of free-of-charge tools for councils such as Ready Set go, MyCouncil Story and Game On. And finally, think 11 full time LGAQ staff completely dedicated to solving council’s immediate needs on the spot or within a day.
That is a bloody brilliant model. A generation of unity of purpose amongst Queensland councils and economies of scope and scale employed through various longstanding and emerging business models enable all this to happen.
Cherry on top or daylight second- you pick.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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