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Longreach to host Western Queensland Local Government Conference

Published: 25th March 2019

Longreach Regional Council is hosting the event, which includes the AGM of the association made up of 12 Western Queensland local governments, with Mayor Ed Warren elected chair of the organisation at last year’s AGM and conference in Emerald.

The conference, titled Regional Diversification, will focus on ways local government can assist the growth of industries. Cr Warren says there are issues that all local governments in Western Queensland face.

“There are many challenges and opportunities that we, as local governments, all share” he said. “That’s why our association, and this annual conference, is so important.

‘Local Governments these days deliver so much more than essential services. We’re taking on more and more responsibility for things that have previously been done by someone else. Particularly here, in Western Queensland, we’re under pressure from above and below. Other levels of government can’t do some of the things they once did, and our communities can’t do what they used to either.”

He said it was important for communities in Western Queensland to diversify their economies.

“It’s never been more important for our region to broaden its economic base. Each of our member councils are trying to raise the profile of their communities, and that means they’re building relationships across a diverse array of stakeholders and interests. So, in that way, I think local governments can be the conduit through which the world engages in our communities.”

He said the response to natural disasters earlier this year is just one example of how local governments are already working together.

“You just have to look at the way our member councils have worked together this year, in response and recovery, to see the benefits of our association. If we can work together on that, imagine what is possible if we harness our shared networks and connect the dots to grow our regional economy.

“That’s what this conference is all about.”

The conference boasts an impressive line up of presenters, including renowned economist Professor Ross Garnaut.

“We’ve tried to bring together subject-matter experts in the fields of tourism, agriculture, training, energy, water, waste, and the economy – as well as key departmental figures from state and federal governments.

“We’ve been mindful of not filling the program with visiting politicians – although there are a few attending as delegates. We really wanted this to be symposium on things local government can do today that will assist the growth of industries, and make our communities more sustainable and liveable.”

Mayor Warren said hosting the conference would also bring a welcome economic boost to the Longreach community.

“This whole thing is also a great opportunity to show off our towns. We estimate about 150 delegates will come in to the region for this event, which should be great for our accommodation houses, restaurants, and small businesses.

“We’re very proud of what’s been organised and we can’t wait to welcome everyone to our community.”

The full conference program and registration form is available on the Longreach Regional Council website at longreach.qld.gov.au – registrations close 1 April.

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