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Steady hand amid upheaval

In a week of upheaval in Australian politics, it was interesting to watch the leadership drama in Canberra from the idyllic north Queensland community of Palm Island, where the LGAQ Policy Executive met this week. It was the first time in the LGAQ’s 122 history that its principal policy making body had formally gathered in an indigenous community. Palm Island, celebrating its centenary as a community this year, gave us a wonderful welcome.



Given what was occurring in Canberra, I was also reminded of the success that can be achieved from stable government. Palm Island Mayor Alf Lacey is serving his third term in that role and the consistency and steady hand of leadership he has shown has paid enormous dividends for his community. There is an optimism and drive on Palm Island that can only help the community develop its economy and break out of the stereotype that many indigenous communities unfortunately must struggle with. It is certainly a different place compared to a decade ago and a lot of that can be put down to Alf’s work as mayor.

Despite the beautiful surroundings, the Policy Executive knuckled down to a detailed meeting agenda which included deliberating on how to respond to the Crime and Corruption Commission’s call for council operations to change markedly in the wake of its investigation into the former Ipswich City Council.

The Policy Executive believes firmly that the entire sector should not have to pay for the alleged sins of a few. In particular, members rejected any notion that the use of controlled entities by local councils should be abolished. These are legitimate vehicles for councils to conduct business on behalf of their communities.

The LGAQ agrees that policy and procedural changes need to take place in the wake of the CCC Windage report’s findings. But we do not believe that the type of behaviour revealed at Ipswich City Council should be taken as an indication of how things are done across local government.

From tomorrow, I will be joining other local government leaders on an overseas study tour to investigate the latest technologies in waste management.  Advocacy general manager Sarah Buckler will be acting chief executive in my absence.


The LGAQ is mourning the tragic loss of our colleague and friend, Ryan Goff, who lost his life in a traffic accident on 10 August.  

Our hearts and thoughts go out to Ryan’s family at this very difficult time, especially his wife and two young children. 

Read our tribute here. 

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

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