In Australia's most diverse and regionalised state, Queensland local government employs more than 42,000 people and manages public assets worth a combined $150 billion.
While Queenslanders rely on their local councils for more than 280 unique community services, local government today is about much more than roads, rates, libraries and rubbish collection.
Queensland councils enjoy arguably the most autonomy and the broadest responsibilities of any jurisdiction in Australia. This is no accident. It is a consequence of more than a century of fierce advocacy.
The LGAQ employs a passionate and professional group of policy, project management, intergovernmental relations, media and campaign experts dedicated to supporting members.
Their role is to secure essential funding from state and federal governments, conduct timely research and policy development to ensure our advocacy is informed and evidence-based, and share information and experience about what works.
They also oversee key funded projects that benefit the sector, state and nation – and educate the community about the role and importance of councils.
Water and wastewater service delivery in Queensland is primarily the responsibility of local councils, who work daily to ensure millions of Queenslanders have access to safe, reliable drinking water and that wastewater is disposed of responsibly to reduce impacts on the natural environment and public health.
Queensland councils work hard to deliver this vital community service across tremendous physical distances and to highly dispersed populations.
The LGAQ works on behalf of the local government sector to spotlight issues such as deteriorating networks and the ageing of what is most often the ‘invisible infrastructure’ of water and wastewater networks – as well as the strain placed on water sources by visitors to some of the state’s most popular tourist destinations, and drought in some of the most remote.
We work with councils to help ensure Queensland communities continue to enjoy reliable, safe and secure water and wastewater services now and into the future.
As Australia’s most decentralised state, Queensland’s regional communities contribute significantly to the economic footprint of the nation.
With almost 3 million Queenslanders now calling areas outside of Brisbane home, Queensland councils play a vital role in creating and maintaining liveable regional communities.
The LGAQ advocates on behalf of local government to ensure communities are at the forefront of decision making when it comes to State and Federal investment into critical areas like regional telecommunications and connectivity, regional economic development and infrastructure – as well as emerging challenges around regional policing and youth crime.
Waste management is a core responsibility of councils and has become so much more than just throwing rubbish into a hole. Today, it is at the forefront of creating a truly circular economy, by creating pathways to reduce, reuse and recycle materials used by Queenslanders every day – and councils take on this immense responsibility with the lowest budget of all tiers of government.
Every community deserves to live in a waste-free environment, where product chains are developed to use end-products as a resource for something new.
The LGAQ is working diligently with the State and Federal governments to ensure councils continue their role as a driving force and key partner in a journey which is vitally important to current and future generations of Queenslanders.
From the asbestos in old Queenslander houses, to mosquitoes in the wetlands outside of town, to the quality of the food at each restaurant - Queensland councils are responsible for a range of public health measures on behalf of their communities.
The LGAQ helps ensure that these activities, safeguarding the health of all, remain contemporary and locally sensitive so as to protect the unique character of each Queensland community.
Protecting the health of Queenslanders and their communities is a complex and diverse task. The LGAQ works closely with a range of government partners to ensure every action and activity in this critical area is well coordinated and supported as part of the daily role Queensland councils play in creating safe, liveable communities.
Queensland councils are responsible for 150,000 kilometres of road across the state. Councils work closely with the Federal and State governments, as well as other organisations, to ensure this complex task is managed effectively, maintaining the networks that keep Queenslanders, visitors and providers of the state’s exports safe and connected.
The LGAQ advocates on behalf of local government to help ensure key State and Federal funding programs that drive significant benefit for community, such as the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program (LRCIP) and Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS), continue to create jobs, stimulate local economies and provide safe travel, now – and into the future.
Local government is at the forefront of planning for, facilitating and managing growth, change and development within Queensland’s local communities.
This includes a range of roles and responsibilities relating to strategic land use planning, development assessment, infrastructure planning and charging, urban design and architecture, land tenure and native title, building services as well as plumbing and drainage work.;
The LGAQ engages with various State and Federal agencies, and other organisations, to represent the collective interests of local government in planning and development, as well as running dedicated campaigns around high priority issues – like the chronic housing crisis gripping Australia.
Local government plays a critical role in helping Queensland communities reduce emissions and adapt to a changing climate.
Climate impacts are presenting new economic, social and environmental challenges across Queensland’s regions, and councils statewide are working in partnership with other tiers of government, industry and the community to develop and implement effective climate risk management strategies and deliver on-ground responses to bolster local resilience.
This includes developing local climate action plans and strategies, adopting emissions reduction and/or renewable energy targets, purchasing carbon offsets, convening Youth Climate Summits, investing in renewable energy technologies and incorporating climate risks into council decision-making processes, policies and plans.
The LGAQ advocates to other levels of government on issues related to climate and supports councils through programs like the Queensland Climate Resilient Councils (Q CRC) program, aiming to build capacity for councils to plan for and respond to challenges and opportunities arising from climate change.
As Australia’s most naturally diverse state, the management of wildlife, ecosystems and natural resources is critically important to councils – and to the LGAQ.
From country to coast, Queensland councils are dedicated to working to protect and restore our precious natural resources.
The LGAQ, on behalf of councils, advocates at State and Federal levels to ensure natural resource and environmental issues important to Queensland communities – such as the Great Barrier Reef, koalas and stock routes – are addressed in collaboration with local government.
Councils play a vital role in creating safe, liveable Queensland communities. They work to deliver initiatives, policies and services that address the social wellbeing of Queenslanders.
The LGAQ works alongside councils, and in partnership with other levels of government, to ensure councils are represented in areas like the formulation of youth policy impacting communities and in spotlighting mental health challenges at a grassroots level.
In disaster-prone Queensland, building community resilience in response to disasters and emergencies is also a component of the social policy work and capacity of the LGAQ and the local government sector.
To ensure Queensland’s system of local government is accountable, democratic, efficient, sustainable and transparent, local government has a responsibility to comply with appropriate standards relating to applicable governance arrangements.
Queensland’s 77 councils are committed to ensuring that transparency remains at the heart of the sector as they work daily to make decisions which shape and influence the liveability of Queensland communities.
The LGAQ works alongside councils to assist this commitment to effective, efficient and productive local government – and advocates on behalf of councils to ensure they can fulfill their critical role as democratically elected community leaders, to the best of their ability.
Queensland’s 17 First Nations councils – and the communities they represent – are a crucial part of the cultural, social, and economic fabric of the state.
First Nations councils play a key role in facilitating economic development for their growing communities in areas like sustainable cultural tourism and social enterprises. They are leaders in innovative land management, including in emerging areas such as carbon sequestration.
The LGAQ works alongside the state’s First Nations leaders via the Indigenous Leaders Forum – a gathering of the state’s elected First Nations mayors and councillors – to collectively advocate on issues critical to their communities. Key priorities include housing, financial sustainability and connectivity.
Queensland local government is united in eliminating the scourge of domestic and family violence within their communities. As the level of government closest to the people, councils are uniquely placed to tackle the issue from the ground up, influencing community attitudes and beliefs.
Across 2021 and 2022, all 77 Queensland mayors pledged their support for the LGAQ’s ‘Not in our Backyard – stop abuse at the start’ campaign, created to embed cultural change in local government workplaces and communities in response to the State Government’s ‘Not Now, Not Ever’ report.
The LGAQ works with councils in an ongoing capacity to assist them in their leadership role as they work to eliminate domestic and family violence, as well as connecting them to other levels of government to share best practice and work together to address the issue within our communities.
Queensland is the most impacted disaster state in Australia, experiencing significant flooding, severe storms, cyclones, heatwaves and bushfires. Councils play a critical lead role in helping their communities prepare, respond and recover from the many disasters that come our way. All disasters are local, and a locally led response is essential for achieving the best outcomes. As the closest level of government to the community, councils are often first on the ground responding to natural disasters.
Councils are primarily responsible for managing events in their local government area through their Local Disaster Management Groups (LDMGs). Established by local governments, LDMGs support and coordinate disaster management activities to protect and prepare communities in response and recovery from both natural and man-made disasters
The LGAQ works alongside local councils to ensure local, state and federal disaster arrangements promote consultation, collaboration and communication across the functions of resilience – as well as shared responsibility across government, community and industry.
The LGAQ supports councils in the advocacy for the appropriate allocation of funding for resilience and recovery programs and priority initiatives that meet the unique community needs.
Advocating for funding to help achieve members’ priorities is core business for the LGAQ. The LGAQ is proud to be a trusted partner with other levels of government to help develop, manage and deliver outcomes that matter to councils, to help create liveable communities.
QCoast2100 is a $20.2 million Queensland Government funding program delivered in partnership with the LGAQ. The program helps councils to prepare and implement coastal hazard adaptation strategies and funds on-ground works that reduce the coastal hazard threat.
It represents an unprecedented opportunity for councils impacted by coastal hazards to get on the front foot in adaptation planning to implement cost-effective mitigation measures over the medium- and long-term, plan for development and growth, budget for higher costs, collaborate regionally and seek investment opportunities.
To date, the QCoast2100 program has provided support to 37 councils to advance coastal hazard adaptation planning and implement actions identified in their strategies.
For more information on the program, visit the QCoast2100 website.
The Queensland Climate Resilient Councils (Q CRC) program is working with Queensland local governments to deliver services and products that will strengthen staff and leadership team skills and capacity to plan for and respond to the challenges and opportunities arising from climate change.
The LGAQ and the Department of Environment and Science (DES) established a partnership in 2016 to fund and implement the program.
To date, the program has:
- provided councils with detailed governance assessments that evaluate and rate councils’ responses against leading practice standards for quantitative and qualitative governance indicators
- provided councils with face-to-face briefings from nationally and internationally recognised specialists to discuss how climate changes impact councils ’ and the community's priorities
- developed the Climate Risk Management Framework for Queensland Local Government and companion guideline, and pilot tested Phase One of the framework
- developed a governance self-assessment tool to enable councils to assess and record their governance practice improvements and compare their scores with other councils
- developed climate change resources for First Nations councils
- developed local government course programs addressing climate and workplace sustainability (delivered by Peak Services)
- delivered a range of climate risk forums.
Members can view further details on the program via the LGAQ member website Congruent.
The Queensland Water Regional Alliance Program (QWRAP) is an initiative funded by the Queensland Government to support regional water providers in finding collaborative solutions to their water and wastewater service provision issues.
QWRAP is a collaboration between the LGAQ, the Queensland Water Directorate (qldwater) and the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (DRDMW), with 56 councils engaged across nine participating regions.
In December 2021, it was announced that QWRAP will receive permanent Queensland Government funding, emphasising the benefits collaborative water and sewerage management has brought to regional Queensland.
QWRAP has provided a return on investment to the State, along with many additional benefits, especially through an increased awareness of water and sewerage challenges within regional Queensland and improvements to technical capability and capacity of participating QWRAP councils.
The aim of QWRAP is to drive regional collaboration to ensure regional and remote water and sewerage (W&S) service providers can deliver sustainable, safe, secure, and reliable urban water and sewerage services. The regions participate either as a Water Alliance, Technical Group or with funded trial projects. Thanks to QWRAP, nine regions including over 240 communities are now working on joint regional projects, including 25 councils that own and manage some of the smallest water schemes in Australia.
The Cleaner Road Runoff project is a key initiative of the LGAQ Reef Council’s Rescue Plan and aims to improve understanding of unsealed roads and their impact on water quality to inform development of a framework to enable road managers to better address erosion and sediment control in the design and maintenance of unsealed roads.
The LGAQ secured $1.5million from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to deliver the project between 2021-2024. This funding facilitated the recruitment of a dedicated project manager to work with members to achieve meaningful outcomes. Now working with five councils across Queensland, the project is seeing preliminary results of sediment runoff and the effectiveness of trialled drainage treatments.
A key hope for the project is that members will get access to; a practical design and maintenance guide, capacity building opportunities and ongoing advocacy to implement innovative on-the-ground drainage works to improve water quality in GBR catchments. For more information please visit the member portal.
The State of Queensland (acting through the Department of Housing) have engaged the LGAQ to provide support to assist Queensland councils in preparation and finalisation of a Local Housing Action Plan (LHAP) to strengthen partnerships between State and local governments on critical housing challenges and opportunities. A LHAP looks at factors impacting housing in a local government area and the current and future housing needs, identifies priority actions to address immediate, emerging and longer-term challenges and helps to coordinate responses to these challenges.
In particular, this partnership between State and the LGAQ will:
- Ensure actions and responses can be tailored to local circumstances that meet the needs of different regions.
- Support the collation of up to date and locally specific housing data and actions state-wide, to demonstrate additional resourcing support and ongoing needs of Queensland councils – for example, funding support to prepare a housing study or strategy.
- Build trust and provide a dedicated key contact for councils to work within developing local housing action plans.
- Deliver on part of Resolution #32 passed by Queensland councils at the 2022 LGAQ Annual Conference.