Financial Sustainability and Cybersecurity

Published: 3rd September 2021

Hi, everyone.

This week we' d like to share with you two new pieces of work that the LGAQ is undertaking for members, on financial sustainability and on cybersecurity. Financial sustainability is a pervasive issue for our sector, an ever-present concern hanging over the heads of Queensland councils and the communities you represent.

Communities like those in the North Burnett region where Mayor Rachel Chambers and her councillors have been leading the charge through their Rock and a Hard Place campaign, raising awareness of the tough decisions their council is having to make as one of the one-third of Queensland councils at high risk of becoming financially unsustainable. We know this issue is important. We know it needs to be addressed. We know it is about more than money. It is about the future sustainability and liveability of local communities across the length and breadth of this state.

We know we need to take a fresh look at this issue. So today I can inform you that after discussions at both the recent Policy Executive meeting and the most recent LGAQ Board meeting, the Association has been given the go-ahead to begin a major piece of work to reframe the conversation and tackle this issue head on.

Fuelled by comprehensive and continuous engagement with you, our members, this work will seek to develop a new advocacy approach. It will also seek to develop a new whole-of-LGAQ strategy and approach to ensure we are giving you the support you need.

It will all kick off with a short survey to be distributed to you in coming weeks. We will also be reaching out to CEOs and Elected Members for expressions of interest to be part of a series of targeted reference groups to take your initial feedback and start charting the path forward.

Other key stakeholders will also be consulted and asked for input along the way. We will aim to keep you updated in the weeks and months ahead as this work gets under way. The time has come to find a new approach. We look forward to working with you on this important initiative.


Free cybersecurity maturity assessments available for all member councils

This week's other update is the new work we're doing for members in cybersecurity. As the LGAQ's Chief Digital Officer, Tracy Whitelaw explains:

The LGAQ is going to be offering a cybersecurity maturity assessment for all 77 Queensland councils. Increasingly you've been reaching out to us, explaining that you're feeling that you need a little bit more help in this area, and we understand that importance for cybersecurity for our Queensland councils. In our 2020 Digital Productivity Report, 65% of you actually responded saying you plan to invest in cybersecurity, in the next five years. We want to help and what we want to offer is a zero-cost cybersecurity maturity assessment.

What that will do is it will deliver a maturity assessment and customised recommendation report to every council. Everyone has the opportunity to participate. It will highlight immediate opportunities to mature in the cybersecurity space. It will also provide you with some really tangible outcomes and tactics to assist in internal conversations around resources, funding and any other requirements for cybersecurity as well as raising awareness of issues. We're really excited about this because we truly believe that this initiative will give councils a better understanding of risk and that has a massive impact across many levels. So not just understanding your risk better, understanding data and data privacy, but actually down to negotiating better insurance premiums as well. Over the next few weeks we will be reaching out and initially we will be contacting CEOs to invite you to a webinar.

I'll be there, so there'll be a familiar face. If you register for that webinar, we can tell you a bit more about what's happening. After that Cybermetrix, who are the vendor that we’ll be using, will be setting up online consultations to take you through that maturity assessment all done virtually, all done online. The webinar at this point we think is likely to begin the week beginning 20th of September and then we have those maturity assessments probably kicking off mid-October. So definitely before Conference, don't worry about that. We see this as a real opportunity to participate in cybersecurity maturity assessments at zero cost. That's a big deal. We know for some councils these are things that they can't quite get to and getting that level of cybersecurity maturity and risk assessment at no cost to yourself is really, really important.

Getting that report as well at the end just allows you to actively manage that risk and improve your maturity. It gives you a benchmark to really look at how you can improve over the next few years. We really hope that it better addresses the issues that you're facing in this space particularly, around gaining insurance. So we've spoken to our friends at LGM, we've had that conversation, and we're all really keen to support. Overall, please look out for the comms that are coming out about this, it's a great opportunity to get involved, a great opportunity to understand your business and to make a massive change in terms of managing your security and your risk.