Mayors and local government leaders from across Queensland gathered in Winton this week to discuss regional economies and the role local councils can play in developing prosperity.
The annual regional meeting of LGAQ’s Policy Executive debated a wide-ranging agenda including improving council efforts to attract international trade investment to regional Queensland and a plan to partner with the state government to strengthen regional economies.
The meeting also heard about a local renewable energy project that may help regional Queensland to generate local power.
LGAQ President Mark Jamieson said the $3.5m Winton geothermal project, due later this year, would supply the power needs of the local council and could power the entire town.
“Other towns are looking at the same technology, which is completely renewable using the naturally heated water from the Great Artesian Basin to generate electricity,’’ he said.
The Policy Executive meeting also discussed the grant funding arrangements for Queensland local governments and how councils are adapting to climate change.
Mr Jamieson said this annual regional meeting provided many members of the LGAQ Policy Executive with the opportunity to experience first-hand, the challenges and opportunities confronting councils in remote areas of the State.
“There are challenges common for all Councils but often the impact is different and more profound in remote and rural areas.”
“It is meetings such as this that help to emphasise to our Policy Executive and the LGAQ the need for flexibility in how governments implement new legislation and programs so that the opportunities can be better captured by more Councils”.
Mr Jamieson said that local councils are often key drivers of economic growth in the regions and it was important that the local government sector was included in any strategy aimed at boosting growth and creating sustainable jobs in Queensland.