To say it has been a crazy week is an understatement. We have had the State Election on Halloween, a Melbourne Cup run under very different COVID-19 circumstances, and the USA Election.
Behind the scenes, here is a hard-working group of LGAQ staff who would have never stopped working throughout. Over the course of a year, our staff across industrial relations, human resources, local government administration and finance, workplace health and safety, environmental health, regulatory functions, planning, Natural Resource Management (NRM), climate adaptation, industry attraction, Domestic and Family Violence (DFV), First Nations, intergovernmental relations, roads and transport, and media and disaster management - just to name a few - make and answer about 100,000 phone calls a year as well as receiving more than 50,000 emails from mayors, councillors, CEOs and council staff.
That includes our dedicated Member Services Centre (MSC) staff, whose sole job is to be at the service of members. Here at the LGAQ, we are on tap, not on top, waiting at the end of a phone or computer screen to help.
The State must recognise local government’s job-creating might in its new Cabinet
The State Election has been done and won with the Palaszczuk Government rewarded by voters with a third term in office. As always, the LGAQ stands ready to work with whomever has the keys to the executive building to ensure strong councils and stronger local communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Queensland councils worked with the State to create and support thousands of jobs across Queensland through our Battleplan partnership.
Right now, this partnership is more important than ever before. Evidence shows councils deliver economic stimulus to where it is needed most, quickly and efficiently, with maximum impact. It is time for the State to recognise the role councils will play in repairing the economic fabric of Queensland by including the sector in an economic portfolio within Cabinet.
This would send a strong and powerful message to the sector that councils are true partners. Last month, Queensland councils overwhelmingly voted to support the re-establishment of the Department of Local Government, Infrastructure, and Planning. The LGAQ President Mark Jamieson wrote to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Monday morning, asking her to listen to this request and to act as she prepares to announce her new-look Cabinet.
Mayor Jamieson wrote: “Queensland councils firmly believe this would assist the State Government and the local government sector in maintaining and strengthening our strong partnership.
“In particular, councils believe this will provide a more streamlined platform for collaboration, policy formulation, and decision-making on local government, infrastructure, and planning issues that will inevitably underpin the investment required and employment generation necessary to deliver economic recovery across Queensland.”