We at the LGAQ are making the most out of the lifting of travel restrictions as we span out across the state to meet with our members. While COVID-19 has led to your association embracing technology to reach you, nothing beats the ability to meet you face-to-face, in your community so we can truly understand and help address the challenges you face.
This week President Mayor Mark Jamieson joined LGAQ Media Executive Sarah Vogler, Peak MD Brent Reeman and yours truly on a trip to visit Burke, Doomadgee, Mornington, Carpentaria, Croydon and Etheridge councils in and around the Gulf of Carpentaria and Aurukun Shire on the western side of Cape York. It has been a long time since we had hit the road and for someone who has spent circa 60 nights away or 90 days out of the office visiting members every year for the past 28 years, being cooped up in Brisbane for the last five months has been tough medicine. But as I said in a column earlier this month, it is nothing compared to the complete lockdown endured by the state’s 17 indigenous councils over that same period.
Our traveling party ensured we undertook COVID checks before making our way to these communities as it is critically important they remain COVID-free amid this ongoing pandemic. We spent 12 hours in various aircraft over the course of the trip, covering 6000km, so we had plenty of time to soak in the sheer size and remoteness of the country we were in.
I remarked to the President how much your sense of time and perspective alters in those huge, sparsely populated expanses. The time we spent on the ground in direct face-to-face discussions with elected members and senior council staff at each of the seven location was invaluable.
That time is pure gold for us, hearing councils concerns and aspirations first hand.
The President and I will be back out to the central west next week while teams of LGAQ staff will now start criss crossing the state over the next three months delivering elected member training free of charge .
It was my pleasure this week to also announce the appointment of Ms Tracey Whitelaw as the LGAQs first ever Chief Digital Officer. She will be the head of our new Digital Stream and a member of our Executive Leadership Team ( ELT). Tracy comes to us from a similar role at Urban Utilities, having previously worked at the Commonwealth Games and Brisbane City Council.