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Councils get behind the Olympic bid

Friday 13 February 2020

The 2032 South East Queensland Olympics certainly has a ring to it. Especially when you know its benefits will also be felt far outside the southeast corner of the state.

Local Government Association of Queensland President Mayor Mark Jamieson has this week personally delivered a message to senior IOC officials that the great majority of Queensland's councils are behind the Olympics hosting bid.

The message - fortified by both the unanimous support for the bid of those in attendance at the LGAQ’s Policy Executive’s final meeting for the term last Friday, as well as a survey of the state’s mayors this week - was a necessary one to convey given One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson’s campaign against the Games.

 

Senator Hanson might be good at grabbing a quick headline, but she does not speak for most Mayors on this issue.

Former Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has been actively engaged with councils across the length and breadth of the state over the past six months, primarily through the Regional Organisations of Councils.

He has explained the bid including the number of provincial centres that would host events as well as the overall benefits to the state.

The strong mayoral endorsement for the Games bid is not surprising given the overwhelming support of Queensland councils for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

I was chair of the Queensland Olympic Council fund raising committee at the time and Queensland councils were the nation’s strongest supporters and fund raisers of those Games.

I will never forget the brilliant event held by the QOC one evening at the Longreach Airport with more than 1000 people and more than 100 Olympians in attendance. It was truly amazing.

As Mark conveyed that message of Olympics support in Brisbane, I travelled to Canberra alongside Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett and LGAQ advocacy general manager Sarah Buckler to attend the Australian Local Government Association’s annual strategic planning meeting.

This meeting is always a robust affair with representatives of seven state and territory associations all trying to have their say in shaping the top five or six priorities for our national peak body for the year.

ALGA meeting Canberra

Commonwealth support for councils, climate change action and disaster planning and mitigation rose right to the top of the list along aside the ongoing FAGs battle to secure 1% of total federal taxation.

Australia is a bloody big place and the differences between State and local government systems are very significant, hence it was a drawn out but useful few days getting the strategic policy settings right

Who said Mayors were shy and couldn’t talk?

While in Canberra we also took the time to push for further funding assistance arising from the recent Queensland bushfires during a meeting with the Deputy Disaster Coordinator Major General Andrew Hocking.

I especially pushed the case for nine Queensland councils – Bundaberg, Gold Coast, Gladstone, Gympie, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Redlands, Somerset and Toowoomba – who were affected bushfires but are yet to receive their $1 million in federal assistance package.

As late as today we have been mounting a political campaign to get justice for those councils and their local communities.

Disasters will also be front of mind as I head to London next week off to conduct our periodical discussion with the LGMS scheme underwriters.

Representatives from JLT and I have 17 meetings planned with Lloyds underwriters in four and a half days in what will be a difficult task following three years of natural disasters as well as an increase in the use of Councillors and Officers insurance.

I will then be taking two weeks’ leave to recover.

As always you will be in great hands with Glen Beckett and Sarah Buckler sharing the role of Acting CEO.

Glen will be up first before Sarah brings the team home.

Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006

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