Stronger councils, stronger communities: what to expect at this year's Annual Conference

Published: 3rd October 2023

The 127th LGAQ Annual Conference is shaping up to be the biggest yet with a huge program of firm favourites on the register, as well as some new inclusions.

This year’s theme Stronger Councils, Stronger Communities heralds to the dedication and strength that Queensland councils put into making their towns and regions great places to live. 

We know that we are stronger united, and with the 2024 Local Government Elections on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to come together to knowledge-share and double down on our advocacy issues that matter most to your communities. 

Here’s what you can expect at this year’s conference in Gladstone. 

Council Showcases

One of the most popular sessions at Annual Conference, this year’s Council Showcases are a series of fantastic council case studies of an innovation or a terrific initiative from a coastal, resources, First Nations, rural and remote and SEQ council. This year we have an extra ‘CEO’s pick’ taking the total number of showcases to six.

Council Forums

Council Forums are an excellent opportunity to join together with council peers to discuss, share, and debate key issues. This is also an opportunity to talk with each other and the LGAQ Policy Executive members about ways the LGAQ can help and support your council. 

Indigenous Leaders Forum (ILF)

The ILF is an opportunity for Indigenous Leaders to gather and discuss issues of importance to their communities. This year, ILF will be finishing at 2pm so delegates attending the ILF can also attend any Monday afternoon sessions that are of interest.

State Government, Opposition and Federal Government updates

Giving presentations throughout Conference are Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and the Territories Kristy McBain MP, and Leader of the Opposition David Crisafulli MP.

Roads and Transport Forum

This year’s Roads and Transport Forum has been extended by an extra 30 minutes following last year’s feedback. 

CEO Speed Dating

CEO Speed Dating with Alison Smith is back again this year and will be held during the lunch breaks on day two and day three. It’s an opportunity to sit down one-on-one with Alison and have a chat. 


For the second year in a row, we’ve had a record-breaking number of motions. At this year’s conference, a full day will be dedicated to motions, which will enable more time for debate of A and B motions. 


There will be several awards handed out over the Annual Conference period and following feedback from last year, they’ll be streamlined into a shorter, but more significant, part of the program.

Time to Shine

Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) is again this year offering a $10,000 marketing package for the best tourism idea from a Queensland council. There were many great entries this year so it will be no easy feat for the TEQ judging panel to pick a winner!

Long Service

Long Service Certificates will be awarded on the night of the gala dinner to acknowledge mayors and councillors for their service to the local government sector. It’s a well-deserved moment of acknowledgement in front of local government peers.

LGAQ Journalism Award

The LGAQ Regional Journalism Award is dedicated to showcasing excellence in reporting in regional Queensland. The award honours the memory of ABC journalists John Bean, Paul Lockyer and Gary Ticehurst. The 2023 winner will receive a $15,000 prize.

Alison Woolla Memorial Award for Local Leadership in Preventing DFV

The Alison Woolla Memorial Award was established to recognise domestic and family violence (DFV) leadership in our Queensland community, in honour of pioneering late Mayor of Aurukun Shire Council, Alison Woolla. The 2023 winner of the award will receive a $5,000 cash prize and will host the hand-crafted artwork created by Brisbane artist Laura Vincent for 12 months.

Butch Lenton Memorial Bush Council Innovation Award

The Butch Lenton Memorial Bush Council Innovation Award, a Peak Services initiative that carries a $10,000 bursary, was created to recognise innovation in Queensland’s bush councils and celebrate the contribution the late Mayor of Winton Shire, Graham ‘Butch’ Lenton, made to his beloved community and local government in Queensland. 

Step your way to $10K

There’s a new prize up for grabs this year … introducing a fun members’ gift for delegates to collect at the LGMS trade booth – a pedometer to wear while at conference. Your total steps will not only help to create engagement with our exhibitors and sponsors, but will also be stepping someone at Council on their way to winning a $10,000 LGMS Prize towards a wellbeing initiative for their Council and/or community. 

Gala Dinner

The Gala Dinner is always a much-anticipated event, and this year will have an optional dress-up theme of Oktoberfest. Some members of the LGAQ team have already got their costumes ready and waiting, but if you’re not keen on dressing up, general dress code is after-five attire. There will be award presentations, live music and dancing as always. 

There will be a host of over free and fun additions, as well as great speakers, at this year’s conference. Visit the event page for more information.