Improving the value of the National General Assembly
The LGAQ recently sought feedback from members following concern over the low numbers of Queensland councils attending the Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly.
While overall attendance at ALGA’s 2019 National General Assembly (NGA) in June 2019 was at its highest level in five years, only 8% of council delegates were from Queensland councils. This was the lowest in five years, as was the number of Queensland councils attending – 27 out of 77.
The Policy Executive considered analysis of attendance over the past five NGAs at their meeting on 28 June. The Policy Executive agreed that the LGAQ would conduct a survey of members to understand why councils did not attend the NGA, and what councils that did attend NGA find most valuable.
Mayors and CEOs and/or their delegate were emailed a link to an online survey in July/August, and also offered a telephone survey. There was also discussion with members at the Bush Councils Convention in August and at several ROC meetings.
Feedback was provided from 15 of the 27 councils that attended the 2019 NGA (56%), along with 34 of the 50 councils that did not attend the 2019 NGA (68%).
Many member responses were broadly consistent with the issues discussed at the Policy Executive meeting in June, including the location, conflicting timing with delivery of council budgets, cost, and perceived lack of value in the program.
Feedback from many councils that did not attend suggests that there are entrenched negative views of the NGA. Several respondents said they had attended previously and saw no value, while others specified a lack of relevance to small regional councils.
While there was support for the NGA to be held in a Federal parliament sitting week, the difficulty in securing delegations in competition with other councils and having Ministers available for scheduled appointments was noted.
With respect to councils that did attend in 2019, there seems to be an overall positive view of the NGA, with emphasis on the networking and the Regional Cooperation and Development Forum. There were mixed comments on the motions process and quality of speakers. Feedback on the LGAQ’s breakfast at the NGA was universally positive.
Based on consideration of the member feedback, and with the intent to improve Queensland council attendance at the NGA by increasing the value of the event rather than simply encouraging attendance to ensure greater numbers, the Policy Executive considered and endorsed ten recommendations ( member log-in required for this document) to the ALGA Board meeting in September.
The ALGA Board discussed the LGAQ recommendations and endorsed several changes to the motions process for the 2020 NGA. It is hoped these changes will make the NGA motions debate more attractive for Queensland delegates. Other recommendations will be considered further in planning future NGAs.
Further information is available from your ALGA Board representatives Mayor Karen Williams and Mayor Matt Burnett, or from your LGAQ contact Stephan Bohnen, LGAQ Lead – Intergovernmental Relations.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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