By Stirling Hinchliffe MP / Minister for Local Government, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
It’s difficult to believe it has already been six months since the local government elections were held and yet, so much has happened here in Queensland and throughout the world.
I must say that during such a challenging time in the face of the pandemic, the leadership and guidance you have displayed for your communities has been nothing short of inspirational. Difficult but necessary health measures put in place at both the Commonwealth and state levels meant our councils have been at the coalface to ensure those requirements were met within their communities. Your collaboration with the state has also been vital to ensure the impacts will be minimised and the economic recovery will be shortened.
An important component of the Queensland Government’s $7 billion Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs Economic Recovery Strategy, is the $200 million COVID Works for Queensland program. Through this program 520 projects are being funded, which will support or create more than 4600 jobs. This is a fantastic result for our economies, our families and improved liveability in communities across the state. Additionally, the $50 million Unite and Recover Community Stimulus Package is helping our South East councils deliver shovel-ready projects in our most heavily populated region. Importantly, these programs will go a long way to helping Queensland communities unite and recover. By now, many of you will have completed your training around the new legislative requirements passed by Parliament in June.
These laws were a result of feedback from councillors, chief executive officers and the LGAQ and provide greater clarity for councillors as to their requirements in relation to reporting and managing conflicts of interest as well as their registers of interest. This new framework includes new provisions governing what are prescribed and declarable conflicts of interest and new provisions addressing quorum concerns raised by councils.
It was important to further strengthen and clarify the process, not only to provide more certainty for councillors but also for their communities. The amendments continue the Palaszczuk Government’s rolling reform agenda
to improve transparency, integrity and consistency, helping to make ours the best local government system in the country.
Finally, I am very much looking forward to catching up with as many of you as I can at the Annual Conference on the Gold Coast. Of course, with the State Election coming shortly, I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you for working with me as your Minister. It has been a privilege to work with so many dedicated and passionate people in the local government sector for the past three years, delivering wonderful outcomes together for Queensland communities.
I hope our partnership continues for many more years to come.
Again, thank you.