Another BIG – albeit shortened – week for local government in Queensland

Published: 30th April 2021

All eyes turned to Cairns this week for the two-day Indigenous Leaders Forum (ILF).  

All 17 First Nations councils were represented at what has become an important vehicle for Queensland’s Indigenous mayors and councillors to discuss common challenges and to ensure they present a strong, united voice to State and Federal decision-makers on the changes they need for their communities.  

All up more than 60 mayors and councillors were in attendance, hearing from guest speakers including Minister for Housing, Minister for Digital Economy and Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch and Assistant Local Government Minister Nikki Boyd, as well as key departmental heads over the two-day forum.   

Housing and service delivery continue to be among the areas of key concern to First Nations communities. 

With this in mind, the ILF lent its support to Mornington Shire Council’s plea for an urgent independent audit of service delivery to Mornington Island, with Mayor Kyle Yanner going public this week on the health and social welfare crisis affecting his community.

The LGAQ has also backed Mayor Yanner’s call. You can read the ILF’s statement here.

It was wonderful to see all councils sharing their experiences during the council “yarn up” session. The LGAQ staff and I came away with a long list of jobs to follow up. 

Minister Enoch launched the first ever First Nations councils waste strategy – Respecting Country: A sustainable waste strategy for First Nation communities – which has been a two-year collaboration between the ILF, the State Government and the LGAQ. 

Both Minister Enoch and Assistant Minister Boyd also took questions from attendees and agreed to take concerns raised with them back to the government. 

When it comes to housing, the message to the State and Federal governments is clear. They simply need to stump up the money to fix the abomination that is the overcrowding crisis affecting these communities.  

It is a blight on our country. 

The Gap will never be closed while our First Nations People cannot get the most basic of human rights – access to decent housing. 

The LGAQ is heartened by the recommendation of the Select Committee on the effectiveness of the Australian Government’s Northern Australia agenda for the re-establishment of a National Partnership Agreement focused on remote First Nations housing, to fund housing “as a critical foundation for economic and social development in the North”. 

Now we need action. 

Thank you to all those Indigenous leaders who attended and a big shout out to my staff Tony Goode, Gabrielle Dorward, Allen Cunneen, Mike Lollback, Nicole Johnson and Georgia Stafford for working with our councils to organise and run the event. You are the best. 


Suppression order lifted in the Logan matter 

Yesterday the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) lifted the suppression order over its decision in the Logan matter. 

The truth has been laid bare by the unmasking of the QIRC’s decision. 

It is as plain as the nose on your face that there been an abuse of process by the Crime and Corruption Commission. 

If the matter could not get through the civil industrial relations tribunal due to the lack of evidence, how could a rational person think a superior criminal court would find against the former councillors. 

The criminal prosecution should never have been brought against the group of former Logan councillors. 

These former councillors were vindicated in the Brisbane Magistrates Court when the CCC’s charges against them were thrown out, and they were further vindicated yesterday. 

This does not change the fact that their livelihoods and reputations have been ruined and a duly elected council wrongly dismissed. 

The Government can no longer ignore the need for an independent inquiry.