Border councils win much-needed support

Published: 20th August 2021


Deputy Premier Steven Miles has today announced the establishment of a fund to help reimburse border councils for the costs they have incurred supporting the border closures to protect Queenslanders from interstate COVID-19 outbreaks.

This is a much-welcomed announcement to end the week with.

Queensland’s border councils have stepped up without question to support the State in its border closures since the pandemic began.

But this has come at cost. A cost that for some councils has surpassed 15 per cent of their annual general rates income.

The LGAQ has been working closely with border Mayors and the Deputy Premier to find a solution and we thank him for his announcement today of $1 million to help cover the costs incurred.

Thank you also to Queensland’s border Mayors for working with us to find this solution to support them and their local communities.

EMU session in Ipswich

This week’s LGAQ weekly wrap comes to you from Ipswich, where head of assist Glen Beckett and I delivered an Elected Member Update (EMU).

We were thrilled to get out to Ipswich this week. We would have very much liked to be on the road to visit other councils around the state, but South East Queensland travel restrictions have meant we’ve had to stay in the South East corner.

We believe our EMU sessions are a great opportunity for the LGAQ to brief our members on the issues that are likely to impact them, their council, and their community over the coming year.

It’s also a great opportunity for us to touch base with our members and see what issues are affecting them.

Annual conference motions closed with conference fast approaching

This week the deadline for Annual Conference motion submissions closed with more than 130 motions received.

This is the largest motion intake in recent years, indicating the member need for the LGAQ’s advocacy arm’s support on a range of matters.

Thank you for putting these motions forward. The October conference – the Association’s 125th – is not too far away and it’s already stacking up to be a big session.

The team stands ready to assist.

Welcoming new roles at the LGAQ

Continuing to build our advocacy muscle and keep delivering for members is a very big focus for me.

So, this week it was my pleasure to announce the appointment of a new Head of Advocacy at the LGAQ to replace me when I transition into the CEO role, which takes effect in November.

Cory Heathwood is the current Head of Government, Industry and Public Affairs at Brisbane Airport Corporation.

He has a multi-decade background working closely with State and Federal governments in infrastructure and heavily regulated areas. His roles have required lots of regional travel and he will help bring some new perspectives to our strategic advocacy work

Cory’s appointment has provided the Association an opportunity to further strengthen the LGAQ’s media and intergovernmental relations functions. 

I am delighted to announce that LGAQ Media Executive, Sarah Vogler, will move to a newly created position of LGAQ External Affairs Director where she will have greater responsibility for coordinating strategic messaging and delivery across our external stakeholders in media, State and Federal Government and industry.

Cory will officially join the team on September 20. I look forward to introducing you to him in coming weeks.

Council support of vaccine rollout

Finally, I want to highlight the good work our members are doing to support the COVID-19 vaccination rollout across Queensland.

Queensland councils have been working in lockstep with the Queensland Government to support the vaccination program, whether it be through public support for the vaccination program or through direct support in the provision of community facilities throughout the state.

Some of those efforts have made national headlines with Longreach and Goondiwindi councils most recently recognised for their good work.

First Nations mayors have also been leading the way, strongly advocating to ensure their communities are protected.

Mayors including Lockhart River Mayor Wayne Butcher. More than 80 per cent of his community have now received their first dose of vaccine. 

Noosa Shire Council has launched a vaccine heroes’ campaign with local publication Noosa Today to encourage locals to get the jab.

The campaign features messages of support from prominent locals like Olympic swimming legend Dawn Fraser.

It is another example of the great work happening in this space as we all work together to keep Queenslanders safe.

You can hear more about the campaign from Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart here.

The escalating COVID-19 situation interstate continues to put the vaccination of frontline workers in the spotlight.

All levels of government agree workers delivering critical services should be protected.

Councils play an important guardianship role for communities, delivering vital services and support.

The LGAQ is advocating for the State to ensure council workers – including customer facing employees – are prioritised alongside Queensland’s other vital frontline workers.