Council to speak up on key issues at 122nd LGAQ conference

Redland City Council will use October’s Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Annual Conference to call on Queensland councils to lobby other levels of government on four key issues:

• Community residences
• National landcare projects
• Park and Ride facilities
• Postal ballots for Local Government elections

Redland City Deputy Mayor Cr Lance Hewlett, who chaired yesterday’s General Meeting, said the four motions, which were supported unanimously by Councillors, will now be tabled at the LGAQ’s 122nd annual conference in Brisbane, 29 to 31 October 2018.

“Redland City Council has historically used the annual LGAQ conference to lobby other levels of government on behalf of the community and these motions are again aimed at responding to our community’s needs,” he said.

National landcare programs

The first motion, put forward by Mayor Karen Williams, calls on the LGAQ to lobby the Federal Government through the Australian Local Government Association for increased funding for National landcare programs.

“National landcare programs, such as Land for Wildlife, provide invaluable support for community-based landcare projects that deliver both ecological and educational benefits to communities,” Cr Williams said.

“Increased funding for these projects would also provide for increased community involvement in local landcare and vegetation management.

“Additionally, it would provide for increased education about the role the community can play in caring for the environment and open opportunities to partner with other levels of government in delivering environmental programs.”

Community residences

The second motion, from Cr Wendy Boglary (Division 1), calls on the LGAQ to urge the State to include additional planning requirements for community residences to ensure they are located close to public transport and possible employment areas; their impact on existing residential amenity is addressed; and they are not established without consultation with the relevant Local Government to ensure conformity with local planning policies.

Cr Williams said the motion followed Council first raising concerns about community residences with the then Newman government in 2013.

“Council is of the view that community residences should not be established without consultation with the relevant local government to ensure conformity with local government planning policies,” she said.

“Unfortunately, we have seen in the Redlands a community residence that housed past offenders who were reintegrating into the community that led to considerable community anxiety and concerns from police.”

Cr Boglary agreed that the mandatory community residence provisions needed review and improvement.

“Council is supportive of the program of reintegrating people back into the community but experience has shown that the current provisions mandating the level of assessment are insufficient,” she said.

“The community has raised a number of concerns regarding these residences, particularly those in residential areas; so we will again be asking the LGAQ to request the State Government conducts a review to provide greater oversight, monitoring and transparency of these services.

“The social and service needs of the residents, the proximity to public transport and employment opportunities, and the likely impact on community amenity must be taken into consideration along with the current requirements of limiting resident numbers, car parking and support worker requirements.”

Park and Ride facilities

Cr Boglary also put forward the third motion, which addressed the need for an overarching Department of Transport Park and Ride Strategy that outlined the process for planning and upgrading these facilities.

“Park and Ride facilities across Redlands Coast and south-east Queensland are in high demand and are generally over capacity during the working week,” she said.

“Commuters’ cars then spill over into surrounding neighbourhoods, which results in high demand for on-street parking.

“With Park and Ride facilities managed by multiple stakeholders, including councils, Translink and Queensland Rail depending on a facility’s location, a clear strategy would provide greater clarity in the planning and upgrading of this important infrastructure.

“Clear policy that outlines the intention of managing these assets into the future is required, especially on how over-capacity facilities will be managed and timed for upgrades.”

Postal ballots for Local Government elections

The final motion, put forward by Cr Murray Elliott (Division 7), calls on the LGAQ to lobby the State Government for an amendment to the Local Government Electoral Act 2011 that would allow local governments to conduct their elections by full postal ballot.

“Postal Ballots will provide cost savings, reduce impacts to the environment and enhance voter convenience,” Cr Elliott said.

“At present this option is available for some regional areas but with our islands and isolated populations in parts of the city, I think it makes sense for this to be an option for the Redlands.”

Cr Williams will be joined by Deputy Mayor and Division 4 Councillor Lance Hewlett as official delegates at the conference, which will bring together delegates from all tiers of government, external stakeholders and the media to consider challenges facing Local Governments and their communities.

Other Councillors are able to attend as observers.