Advocating For Our Region

Eight important advocacy motions for the TRC Region were presented at the Local Government Association of Queensland (LQAG) annual conference in October.

Mayor Rod Marti, Councillor Dave Bilney and Councillor David Clifton attended the conference, which had around 200 delegates from Councils across Queensland.

‘There were nearly 160 motions put forward by the 77 Queensland Councils, so it took the good part of a day to get through them all,’ said Mayor Marti.

‘The motions covered the width and breadth of topics that affect and influence Councils, their functionality and their decision-making processes,’ he said.

‘Our motions included:

  1. That the LGAQ request the Queensland Local Government Grants Commission make available the full particulars of the General Purpose Grant calculation methodology. The recently revised methodology has resulted in a significant reduction to Council’s funding. This has coincided with significant cost increases and has effectively moved TRC close to being considered unsustainable under the current and proposed sustainability measures.
  2. That the LGAQ make further representations to Scott Stewart MP, Minister for Resources to have the Land Valuation Act 2010 amended to remove water licences from the unimproved value of the land to which the licence is attached. In the valuations for primary production land that came into effect on Thursday 1 July 2021, Department of Resources included the value of water licences in the valuation methodology. Within the primary production rating category, valuation changes ranged from an increase of 67% to a decrease of 4%, and the value of the water licence attributed to each property is not provided to the property owners or TRC. The valuations that are effective from Saturday 1 July 2023 show similar trends and inconsistencies.
  3. That the LGAQ supports the existing guideline on equity and fairness in rating for Queensland local governments being made mandatory for all Councils to adopt as guiding principles to underpin their rating decision-making process. TRC considered the principles set out in the guideline when developing the current budget.
  4. That the LGAQ supports a change to the frequency in which land valuations are issued from annually to every three years for rural local governments. The current frequency is not required in rural areas and generates a significant workload for rural local governments and individuals through the objection and appeal process. Moving to a three-year cycle would align the valuation frequency with the maximum averaging provisions contained in the Local Government Act 2009. Changing to the three-year cycle would enable a more thorough and effective consultation period, sufficient sales activity to provide an accurate valuation assessment, and a longer period of certainty for landholders and ratepayers in relation to their rates and rentals.
  5. That the LGAQ make representation to Steven Miles MP, Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning to make completion of mandatory training a prerequisite to nominating for election as a Mayor or Councillor of a local government. The online material provided to candidates at the 2020 elections was not sufficient to prepare candidates to be a Councillor. The training materials should be expanded to cover all areas of local government including financial management, strategic and operational planning, service planning, roles and responsibilities of staff and Councillors, and Councillor conduct.
  6. That the LGAQ make representations to Leanne Linard MP, Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef to:
    i. have Navua Sedge declared a prohibited or restricted plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014
    ii. provide urgent funding to accelerate research into potential biological controls for Navua Sedge
    iii. provide urgent funding for the control of Navua Sedge particularly on main roads.
    Navua Sedge is a significant biosecurity risk to the pastoral industry in North Queensland. The weed is spreading rapidly, and better control of the weed is required particularly on main roads where vegetation control treatments are spreading the weed.
  7. That the LGAQ make urgent representation to the Steven Miles MP, Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning to create a mechanism for population projections provided by the Queensland Treasury to be reviewed in circumstances where a local government considers the projection to be incorrect. Population projections inform planning for education, health, water and sewerage services, housing provision, etc., and major public and private decisions and investments are made on their basis. Population change at the local government level is calculated by extrapolating each area’s share of its encompassing regional population. Consideration should be given to better understanding the drivers of growth, and this could be achieved through more engagement with Councils including regular Queensland Treasury visits to regional Queensland Councils.
  8. That the LGAQ make representations to the Glen Butcher MP, Minister for Regional Development, Manufacturing and Minister for Water to implement legislation indemnifying water and sewerage service providers from liability associated with the release of Perfluoroalkyl and Poly Fluoro Alkyl Substances (PFAS) to potable and receiving waters including stormwater, as the industry are passive receivers of these substances and there are no viable and cost-effective technologies to remove these substances from water and sewerage systems. PFAS are a large, complex group of synthetic chemicals that have been used in consumer products around the world since the 1950s. Their molecules have a chain of linked carbon and fluorine atoms, which means these chemicals do not degrade easily in the environment.

‘We are proud to say that seven of eight motions were endorsed by the conference, which is a real show of support for the issues we face in our region, and evidently in other parts of the state.

‘While we’re disappointed that changes to mandatory training for Councillors prior to nominating for election wasn’t supported, we understand that the Queensland Government, LGAQ and other organisations do provide a range of compulsory and optional training for Councillors,’ said Mayor Marti.