Quarterly column by LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam
The council class of 2020 has well and truly seen the power of LGAQ advocacy at work in recent months. We have achieved enormous gains for our 77 member councils now running into circa $370 million, with even more promised in the immediate future. United we stand. Over the previous term of local government, the LGAQ could put its hand on its heart and point to $2 billion in member benefits. Indeed, we sent all 578 elected members specific details of those wins with your LGAQ welcoming pack. What is less obvious are the thousands of phone calls and emails seeking support the LGAQ receives and responds to from members (large and small) every week. All up, we have a team of 10 dedicated frontline staff who cover industrial relations, human resource management, local government finance and administration, regulatory functions, and online and digital services support.
Many of the newer elected member brigade would be unaware that the LGAQ also provides free legal opinions for simple matters that take fewer than three hours. We even keep an online update compendium of all those legal opinions as a ready reckoner for council staff.
Then there is a bevy of tools such as LGonline, the Legislative Compliance Service, Ready.Set.Go council benchmarking, LG Sherlock, and its big data and artificial intelligence cost savings tools including Energy, Plant and Fleet, and Waste, the new Mobile Detective tool, and finally, Our Town, an online, natural language-driven community insights tool.
That’s not to forget the mega savings generated by our wholly-owned subsidiary Peak Services, especially the artificial intelligence, blockchain-enabled, smart contract capable, one-stop procurement portal—Local Buy Next Gen. Finally, our now 25-year-old insurance and workers’ compensation schemes LGMS and LGW, which independent studies have shown savings of $750 million over the life of the schemes, in aggregate, for councils. The cherry on the top is that LGAQ, annually, in aggregate, pays council more in special dividends than members pay us in subscriptions–amazing.