Councils outvoted

Ipswich City Councillor Paul Tully secured a position on the LGAQ Policy Executive without contention, due to a disparity of votes between Ipswich (eight), and Lockyer Valley, Somerset and Scenic Rim regional councils (two each). Picture: FILE

Eight votes always beats six.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council (LVRC) and Somerset Regional Council (SRC) want fairer representation in the Local Government Association of Queensland Policy Executive, an organisation tasked with appointing LGAQ directors and the CEO, approving the annual budget and more.

After each local government election, one councillor from LVRC, SRC, Scenic Rim Regional Council or Ipswich City Council (ICC), is elected to represent District 2 SEQ (Western) in the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Policy Executive.

Under the current LGAQ constitution ICC is allocated eight votes, while the three regional councils are allocated only two each.

LVRC and SRC have written to the LGAQ to express their disappointment over the inequity of the constitution.

In its post-election meeting ICC nominated Councillor Paul Tully for the role, and due to the disparity of votes the other councils chose not to elect a contender.

LVRC CEO Ian Church spoke on the matter at the ordinary meeting on 24 April.

“We did try to have this changed through the LGAQ’s annual conference [in 2021], we put up a motion with SRC to change the constitution to change the number of votes, but it seems to have gone into the ‘too hard basket’,” Mr Church said.

“They’re basically saying ‘it’s too complicated to change the constitution, you need to work it out yourselves, talk to Ipswich and other councils and maybe have a rotation’.

“Ipswich don’t want to do that, they’re keen to have their representative there for the full term.”

Cr Tully has held the role since 2020, previously held by LVRC Mayor Tanya Milligan.

“My name was put up last time, but eight always beats six, so Ipswich put up Cr Tully,” Cr Milligan said.

LVRC Deputy Mayor Chris Wilson said he watched ICC’s post-election meeting, in which the agenda recommendation put forward Mayor Teresa Harding.

“The officer recommendation was not actually Cr Tully… and basically five councillors decided they wanted Cr Tully, so now you’ve got a group of five councillors in ICC basically representing a group of 30 elected members across four councils,” Cr Wilson said.

“It’s not the way it should be done.

“It’s supposed to be representing the whole of the district, and they can’t even make the decision within their own council.”

SRC Councillor Kylee Isidro said the constitution was unfair for the smaller councils.

“I think what was isn’t what is now, we’ve grown, Lockyer’s grown, Scenic Rim has grown,” she said.

“Our issues have changed and they change differently to Ipswich, which has got its own issues.”

Both councils agreed to write to LGAQ to urge action addressing the representation issue, and as an interim measure communicate with ICC to ensure comprehensive representation of the sub-regional group’s views at LGAQ Policy Executive meetings.