FNQROC August 2012 Update

Before I go into my report I would like to introduce Lauren Stiles.  Lauren is a casualty of the State Government (Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning) cuts within the region and we have taken her on a casual basis to scope and provide a recommendation on a regional standard conditions document as well as other planning matters.  I have been able to fund her position from some consultancy work undertaken for the FNQ&TS Regional Development Australia.  

As well as supporting the Coordinators, I have been involved in several projects myself...

Strategic Directions Workshop

The FNQROC board held its strategic directions workshop 25 July 2012.  I am particularly excited by the enthusiasm of the Mayors to work collaboratively and desire to actively advocate so our voice is heard and acted upon as happens in South East Queensland.  The top priorities include:

  • Infrastructure (particularly substantiating the funding gap to allow the Board to advocate on all our behalves).  Within this as well (so I am told) is NDRRA.
  • Water reform.
  • Environment (in terms of legislation and alternative funding models).

All actions identified by the Councils will be dealt with and I will table a report at the next FNQROC Board Meeting on 13 August 2012. 

NDRRA submission to Federal and State Governments

As identified in last month's e-News, we met with Attorney General Nicola Roxon on 5 June 2012, and subsequently spent a little under two hours with Minister Joe Ludwig on 26 July 2012, after we voiced our concerns with the new (on trial) LG Value for Money Pricing Guideline.  Minister Ludwig asked us to submit our issues and regionally-agreed solutions to both himself and the Attorney General as they are currently reviewing the guidelines.  We gave a commitment to do this within two weeks (what were we thinking?!).  We have developed a joint submission with proposed solutions for both the Federal and State Governments.  A big thank you to those CEO's and Senior Council Managers who met with me at short notice on Tuesday and or Wednesday of last week to workshop the submission.  Councils now have a draft copy of the submission for comment.  One of the additional benefits of these two workshop days was Councils' ability to identify submissions which were declined, while other Councils had their submissions approved - this will prove to be good ammunition.  

Regional Events Strategy

At the last FNQROC Board Meeting it was requested as a matter of priority that we discuss a Regional Events Strategy to mitigate the occurence of event organisers pitting Councils against each other, effectively guilting Councils into contributing.  We had a conference call shortly after the Board Meeting and a subsequent face to face workshop to review the TTNQ Regional Events Strategy and Cairns Regional Council's Events Strategy.  This workshop included representation from TTNQ.  Given the number and types of events held throughout the region, the new committee recognises a regional strategy at this stage would be an overkill.  However, we do need a process for event organisers to follow when seeking funding from Councils for regional events.  We also identified an opportunity to capitalise on our individual constitutions to get a better outcome for Councils in assessing these events into the future.  This group also will investigate the purchase of an economic modeling tool to assess the benefits of not only events but any other economic initiative.

TNQ Experience Development Workshop

Whilst discussing the regional events initiative I was informed of a Tablelands Regional Council initiative to capitilise on a visit by the Minister for Environment on 8 August 2012 and host a TNQ Experience Development Workshop.  One of the key messages from Destination Q was there was no money to give, however in order to capitalise on any future funding we would need to showcase regional 'hero' projects.  We have seen prompt and significant regional support for this workshop and for the development of a plan to present our unique natural areas (via tracks and trails).  This regional support at short notice is the result of the hard, collaborative work we have put in, the ability to talk with 'one voice', and the ability to keep egos at bay.  I also acknowledge the new Advance Cairns Board members and their willingness to support this initiative in any way they can while still being conscious that they don't want to be seen as taking over. 

Queensland Water Regional Alliance Meeting (Q-WRAP)

And finally, we recently held a Queensland Water Regional Alliance Meeting (Q-WRAP) meeting with a presentation from Mr Jim Martin.  Jim has been involved in the development of water reform in both Victoria and Tasmania and the implementation of it as a CEO of one of the utilities.  His presentation on the benefits and pitfalls based on his experience was enlightening and it is my hope he will be able to present at the FNQROC Board Meeting in October. 

I hope the Council budget process hasn't caused to much wine to be drunk and I look forward to reporting back on the activities of August - already it's shaping up to be another big month!