Weekly Speak CEO Column
Sport and the social fabric
CEO Weekly Wrap
In a week when the Melbourne Cup was front and centre of the national psyche, the enormous role our sphere of government plays in sport and racing wasn’t lost on me.
According to Grants Commission figures, Queensland councils manage 53,000 hectares of sport and recreation land, investing $700 million a year on this undertaking. Sport and recreation comes in fourth in council spending. Only roads, water and sewerage outrank it.
We are the lifestyle level of government.
I can’t think of a country town where the local council is not the owner or trustee or major funder of the local racecourse. This is the story of sport and recreation funding across the board. Council spend simply dwarfs what is put in by the State Government, welcome as that is. The beauty of what councils do is that it’s all about participation. It’s about boys, girls, people of all ages and backgrounds and abilities getting fit, having a go, improving their skills or, in a lot of cases, moving up to the elite level.
The truth is that while council sporting facilities have spawned countless Olympians and Australian champions in every imaginable sport, those same venues have created an immense amount of the social capital that binds communities together.
As a kid, I played social tennis on a Saturday at a council owned facility. There with me were primary schoolers, high schoolers, parents and grandparents; every generation was represented and just having a good time. Today, it’s more likely to be swimming pools, netball courts, fields for every code of football, athletics, cricket, you name it. Councils are in the business of health and fitness and providing the social glue that keeps communities together.
The LGAQ is a major sponsor at the Queensland Sports Awards as we should. Your Association will make the presentation to the Queensland Coach of the Year. We have taken the attitude that as the major funder of sport in this state, local government should get the recognition it deserves, and we will.
A big shout out to Queensland’s regional mayors who made the most of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s much-hyped tour of the state this week. It was the perfect opportunity to lobby the PM on the need to increases the level of financial assistance grants to at least 1 percent of total Commonwealth tax revenue. He got that message loud and clear from at least two of our mayors, Gladstone’s Matt Burnett and Burdekin’s Lyn McLaughlin.
Finally, on all things good in local government watch out for the start of the $3 million year-long LGAQ “Proud to be your Council” TV and social media campaign which will kick off next week. It’s a cracker and there isn’t a cent of ratepayer money involved so the naysayers can take a running jump. Councils do so much good in your respective communities and we are unashamedly promoting that fact. Enjoy the wonderful truthful vision.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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