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Funding on agenda for Maranoa at LGAQ Conference

Funding was firmly on the agenda for councils across the state at last week’s Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Annual Conference, held in Brisbane.

Councillors Cameron O’Neil, Puddy Chandler and David Schefe attended on behalf of Maranoa Regional Council, taking the opportunity to learn, listen, network and to bring innovative ideas on how to best manage the region’s assets.

Cr O’Neil said that with the federal election due between now and May 2019, federal colleagues must be reminded of the important role local government has in delivering key services in our communities, which often cannot be achieved without the help of Australian Government Assistance Grants.

“A resolution was put forward and unanimously supported at the conference to restore federal assistance grants to at least 1% of total commonwealth taxation revenue, a positive move and one that was strongly backed by the Maranoa Regional Council delegates,” Cr O’Neil said.

“Financial sustainability was a hot topic for all councils, but even more for regional, rural and remote councils. The message is clear if communities want long-term sustainability, they must continue to invest in their community, as other tiers of government will not partner with irresponsible councils who do not generate income to co-invest,” he said.

One of the key take-home messages for Cr Chandler from the conference was the need for a bipartisan coordinated drought policy, if rural communities are going to be prepared long-term.

“Our Maranoa community has been in drought for the best part of the last 10 years and I strongly support governments forming a coordinated approach to provide support for this far-reaching issue,” Cr Chandler said.

“I am very supportive of LGAQ showcasing the significant contributions local governments make to their communities, especially in the wake of issues arising from a small number of elected officials in the south east. I am proud of the work councils do to make our communities function and I am especially pleased with the work our Council is doing to drive our tourism sector,” she said.

Cr Schefe, who attended the QSport forum during the conference said he found the discussions surrounding the ways the State Government funds sport in Queensland communities informative. He also participated in a conversation about the best ways to get more people of all fitness levels and ages involved in sport.

“As each local government is different, it is important that the state and councils work together to determine the best funding outcomes for each community,” Cr Schefe said.

“In addition, drought was definitely the key topic this year for the many councils who are drought declared. I appreciated the discussions with one of the state’s new Drought Commissioners – Vaughan Johnson. He talked about the $9 million state funding set aside for the drought and how this is going to be distributed, as well as the impacts being felt by those drought affected. With so many people impacted by these devastating conditions, it is important that we continue to discuss them,” he said.