Podcast series peeks behind the council curtain

Published: 16th February 2023

With the countdown clock about to start ahead of next year’s local government elections, the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning has launched a new podcast series aimed at giving Queenslanders a glimpse into life in local government politics.

So you want to be a councillor is now available on Spotify, Apple, and SoundCloud and has already featured esteemed local government figures such as former North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers, Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Councillor Deniece Geia and ‘retired’ Noosa Shire Council CEO Brett de Chastel.

Mr de Chastel worked with about 100 councillors—and went through two amalgamations and a de-amalgamation— during his local government career. He describes his final role, eight years as Noosa CEO, as the best in Australia and says passion for the community is a must for aspiring councillors.

“If someone had told me at university that I would spend my entire career working in local government, I would have laughed, but after 32 years I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Mr de Chastel said.

“This is the only job I know where you can make a real impact on the community where you live. It’s inspiring to drive around town and see where you made a difference.

“Councils representing today’s communities are also representing the future of those communities, so it’s a big responsibility but also a big privilege to be part of that.”

Despite planning to retire when he left Noosa late in 2021, the former Local Government Managers Australia Queensland president has not yet managed to stop, and continues to mentor the state’s First Nations councils.

“I’m a local government tragic,” he conceded.

Deputy Director-General of Local Government, Jae Lancaster, said the podcast series uncovered what key roles within the state’s 77 councils involved.

“If you’ve ever been curious about a career as a local government leader, this series provides a realistic glimpse into what it’s like to represent your community on one of the state’s 77 councils,” Ms Lancaster said.

“We’re sharing a handful of experiences from those who have represented our regions, including First Nations people, female leaders and those with agricultural backgrounds.

“With the next local government election coming up in March 2024, Queensland is seeking candidates from all walks of life who can actively represent the interests and issues within our diverse communities.

“Start your local government journey by tuning in to So you want to be a councillor to get insights straight from Queenslanders who have done the job.”