In 2015-16, our 120th year as a peak body, the Local Government Association of Queensland continued its mission to Connect, Innovate and Achieve for our 77 member councils.
The LGAQ remains committed to the overarching goal of serving you, our members, no matter what challenges we face in the course of our duties.
The past 12 months featured significant change to the local government landscape.
Councils across Queensland experienced a changing of the guard at the local government elections on 19 March when 41 new mayors were elected.
Of course, the beginning of a new quadrennium also heralded the end of an era for many of our elected members who called it a day, including the LGAQ’s much-loved president Margaret de Wit, who retired after almost 20 years as a Brisbane City councillor.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill filled the President's vacancy temporarily until Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson was elected President for the remainder of the 2016-2020 term. Our 16-person Policy Executive has also changed appearance with 10 new faces voted in.
Our staff at the LGAQ have continued to storm ahead and represent the interests of our 77 member councils.
We racked up some impressive wins.
Our advocacy efforts helped secure $200 million in additional funding for councils from the State Budget, including further investment in the Transport Development Infrastructure Scheme (TIDS), the Building Our Regions (BOR) program and the Community Resilience Fund (CRF).
We successfully fought for the introduction of an automatic indexation of maximum adopted charges in the Planning Act 2016, saving councils at least $26 million annually. In June the LGAQ partnered with the State Government to launch QCoast2100, which provides $12 million over three years for councils to conduct coastal hazard planning.
The State Government listened to our argument for a review of the way complaints about mayors and councillors are handled and appointed an independent panel to streamline the process and prevent frivolous and vexatious allegations.
We also made significant progress on the local government innovation agenda, helped by a tour of 'smart cities' in Europe and the Middle East and the LGAQ’s second Digital Productivity Report agenda. Thanks to technology, all councils in Queensland can join the innovation train. Remember, it’s 'how you live, not where you live'.
We kept our overall membership subscriptions at 2 per cent, while increasing the quality of our performance. In 2015-16, we handed back $6 million in surplus funds via our two self-insurance schemes, LGM Queensland and Local Government Workcare (LGW).
There are more success stories in this Annual Report and I can guarantee you there are many, many more that have not been included due to space restrictions. The LGAQ’s staff will continue working with vigour and the sole ambition to represent the interests of local government.
Greg Hallam PSM LGAQ
Chief Executive Officer