New team assembled

Published: 25th September 2020

After several weeks of intense recruitment, it is my great pleasure to publicly announce the appointment of four accomplished new leaders to the talented LGAQ Advocacy team to take us through this new term and beyond.

Our new Head of Advocacy is Alison Smith. Our first ASX Top 100 C-suiter, Alison is currently Group Executive External Affairs for The Star Entertainment Group and has previously worked for Rio Tinto, the State Government and the ABC. Alison will join the LGAQ on 9 November.

Our new Manager of Intergovernmental Relations and Special Projects is Shayne Sutton. Shayne joined the LGAQ’s Intergovernmental Relations team earlier this year, in a temporary capacity, to sharpen internal advocate processes and to lead our State Election campaign. Shayne has become an invaluable member of the Association. The youngest woman ever elected to the Brisbane City Council, Shayne brings extensive private sector and local government experience including as Leader of the Opposition in council, as the inaugural executive officer of NQROC and as Queensland State Director of public affairs consultancy Hawker Britton.

Our new Manager of Infrastructure, Economics and Regional Development is Chean-Piau Lau. Lau is currently Special Coordinator Strategic Infrastructure at Gold Coast City Council. He is an individual with more degrees than a thermometer, 18 years’ experience across various South East Queensland councils, and a heart and smile bigger than Texas. He joins us on 6 October.

Our new Manager of Planning, Development and Environment is Amanda Dryden. Amanda is currently a senior planner with surveying and planning consultancy LandPartners. Amanda has extensive experience in council planning, having worked at multiple councils from Townsville to the old Beaudesert Shire. As the daughter of former Woocoo Mayor the late Kev Mahoney, she has local government in her veins. Amanda will also join us from 6 October.

New advocate staff

From left to right: Alison Smith, Amanda Dryden, Chean-Piau Lau and Shayne Sutton

These skilled new recruits have 65 years of local government experience between them, including across nine councils and regional organisations of councils as well as experience in private sector consultancy, media and state government. They have a swag of undergraduate and Master's degrees between them and, importantly, they all have the requisite personalities to fit the LGAQ culture we hold so dear.

They are LGAQ people - genuine folks and team players with big hearts, lots of grey matter, a commitment to service, and, most importantly, they are capable of having a laugh at themselves. These skilled new recruits round out the Advocacy leadership team, joining our Media Executive, Sarah Vogler, and Manager of Workforce and First Nations Policy, Tony Goode.

They will complement the association’s adroit advocate team members. I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise them all and thank them for their previous and ongoing contribution.

Combined with the recent commencement of the LGAQ’s inaugural Chief Digital Officer, Tracy Whitelaw, this will be the greatest influx of talent and council experience into LG House at any one time.

We are well and truly set for an amazing future.

Local buy

Local Buy is in the final stages of refreshing their extensive range of contract panels, increasing the number of suppliers from 1500 to over 3000 with local businesses making up a large part of that increase. Local Buy has also responded to the challenges of COVID-19 and for small and regional businesses that qualify have waived the fee for those that are successful in getting on Local Buy’s panels, ensuring local businesses struggling amid the pandemic are not disadvantaged.

This will help local businesses get their foot in the door as well as helping councils to get the best deal for their ratepayers while supporting Queensland businesses at the same time.

Drive for Drought

Finally, I wanted to say a big congratulations to Peak Managing Director Brent Reeman and the team involved in the Long Drive for Drought. Their goal was to raise $40,000 for charity Drought Angels as well as to raise awareness that many Queensland communities are still affected by the ongoing drought. They have smashed that goal, bringing in more than $47,000. You can see some of the coverage of the 2500km journey here.