How we operate

Published: 5th March 2021

After last week’s successful LGAQ Board strategic retreat, I thought it would be timely to take a look at the teams within the Association who will be charged with enacting that strategy and to shine a light on a fundamental tenet of what the LGAQ does - advocate for its members.

Our Advocacy stream, headed up by Head of Advocacy Alison Smith, consists of a group of 22 staff including engineers and planners and experts in environmental policy, economic development, indigenous policy, and industrial relations, to name just some of the skill sets.

Within the Advocacy stream sits the Intergovernmental Relations team headed up by Shayne Sutton and including Nathan Ruhle, Georgia Stafford, and Campaign Planner Leah Steinberg as well as Samantha Dean who is currently on maternity leave. That group is augmented by media executive Sarah Vogler and supported by our Comms team. The Comms team sits in the Assist stream, led by Comms manager Jon Guarna under General Manager of Assist Glen Beckett and includes print, video, digital, social media, and graphics capabilities as well as our celebrated Producer, the multi-award-winning Tim Cox.

Beyond that, we have the backup of the Digital Stream led by chief digital officer Tracy Whitelaw. In particular, the unique insights generated by the Sherlock team with the state-wide Data Lake and whiz-bang technologies.

The LGAQ also has King and Co. Solicitors on speed dial 24/7, Queens Counsel available as well as pollsters at the ready to get into the field on just a few hours notice as well as a creative advertising agency on standby.

Our Advocacy experts, led by Alison Smith,  make one formidable team. I would argue they are the best in Queensland. It's no wonder have won national awards for their work like Battleplan.

Not to forget the brilliant social media campaign they executed in 2019 to prevent compulsory preferential voting. The team has been recently assigned ROCs and segments to work with and are right now out and about visiting councils and. ensuring members will have familiar faces to work with as well as consistency when partnering with the LGAQ on advocacy matters as they are progressed. The Advocate team gets a lot of value from getting out and listening to members.


Importantly, while we have a fire fighting capacity, a lot of their work is strategic. Think Annual Conference resolutions, Annual Advocacy Action Plans (AAP), Election Plans, and dedicated campaigns. Of course, it is all member-led.

Annual Conference Motions are submitted by you while it is the Policy Executive that signs off on the AAP, election plans, and, for the first time, a small group of campaigns that will be submitted for consideration to the April meeting. Not all conference resolutions or indeed AAP actions will be the subject of campaign,, that would be impossible.

Leah’s job is to make sure all the campaign details are taken care of,, that every resource in the LGAQ is fully utilised, and that we engage our members in our campaigns to create a force multiplier effect. Quite literally the LGAQ has the research capability,  specialist staff and financial muscle that is at least the equal of the state political parties. We can engage in battles on many fronts if need be. That said, we are not a political party and eschew party politics. It's issue by issue and councils first.

Our style of engagement is straightforward, carry a big stick but favor diplomacy. Our job is crystal clear - to protect and promote local government interests.

Nothing more or less. To use the military jargon, our current force posture ensures that we can meet our mission.