Local government leaders gather to discuss regional economy

Mayors and a number of local government leaders from across Queensland will gather in the iconic outback town of Winton this week to discuss the direction of Queensland’s regional economies and the role local councils can play in developing the State’s prosperity.

The annual regional meeting of the Local Government Association of Queensland’s Policy Executive will debate a wide-ranging agenda including improving council efforts to attract international trade and investment to regional Queensland and developing an action plan for local government to partner with the State Government to strengthen regional economies.

The meeting will also receive an update on a leading edge renewable energy project that may unlock the potential for regional Queensland to generate much of its own power needs locally.

LGAQ President and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Winton geothermal project, due to come on line later in the year, will be able to supply the power needs of the local council and may end up powering the entire town.

‘There are several other towns looking at using the same technology, which is completely renewable as it uses the naturally heated water from the Great Artesian Basin to generate electricity,’ Mayor Jamieson said.
The Policy Executive meeting, which kicks off tomorrow (Tuesday, 14 February) will also discuss the grant funding arrangements for Queensland local governments and how councils are tackling the challenge of adapting to climate change.

Mayor 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 many challenges that are common for all councils right across Queensland but often the impact is different and more profound in remote and rural areas,’ Mayor Jamieson said.

‘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’.

Mayor 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.

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