The creation of the Western Queensland Alliance of Councils (WQAC) has been welcomed by member councils, Federal and State Government representatives as a proactive, timely and constructive initiative which will lead to improved outcomes for Western Queensland, the State and the nation.
Twenty-one councils have made the historic step to unite as the Western Queensland Alliance of Councils. The group held its Inaugural Assembly in Longreach on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 July 2020 with all member councils represented, with the exception of Burke Shire and Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council.
Assembly attendees included two Federal Ministers; a Senator; two State Ministers; the three local members; two Directors General and senior Federal and State departmental officers; President and CEO of the LGAQ; and media.
The Prime Minister also sent a message via video to the Assembly delegates thanking local government elected members for their hard work on the back of dealing with drought, floods and now COVID-19.
The two-day program focussed on long term priorities for the region which will form the basis of a WQAC 2020 State Election Platform, and concluded with adoption of the Alliance through a Memorandum of Agreement.
“This is a generational opportunity and won’t just benefit our regions. This is the first time we will have a clearly defined group across the West. As a group we are able to make sure government and LGAQ know that this one voice represents what 60% of the state is thinking and what their needs are,” RAPAD Chair Cr Tony Rayner said.
The Alliance unites the 21 councils through their representative bodies: North West Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (NWQROC); Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD); and the South West Local Government Association (SWLGA).
“As a group, we already punch well above our weight, and we also face the same issues. By joining forces we can open doors and get our messages out there. When you lobby as a group, or ‘hunt in a pack’ as we’ve heard at the Assembly, you can bring about a lot for your local areas,” SWLGA Chair Cr Samantha O’Toole said.
Western Queensland’s key industries of agriculture and resources are critical in supporting the State’s economy which, based on current data, are outperforming the rest of the nation.
With this context in mind, speakers and guest presenters discussed the opportunities and continued potential of Western Queensland:
“As a region we are carrying well above our weight. Our agriculture and resources industries are essential to the State’s economy. In the West we always deliver whatever crisis comes and our ability to keep on working and continue production during this global pandemic is proof of that - without it Queensland would be pretty stuffed right now,” NWROC Chair, Cr Jack Bawden said.
The next steps for the Alliance will include ramping up their campaign ahead of the 2020 State Election and continuing to build the brand and reputation of the Alliance as the “united voice for all of Western Queensland”.
Find out more at: www.wqac.com.au/assembly2020-communique
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Media contact: Aleisha Domrow – 0423 116 865 | firstname.lastname@example.org