State bodies connect for common interests

Article image - State bodies connect for common interests Cr Schefe on the panel at the Local Government NSW Water Management Conference last week.

Maranoa Regional Council, Queensland, Councillor David Schefe, attended the Local Government New South Wales (NSW) Local Water Advisory Policy Group and Water Management Conference last month in an effort to learn from each other and solve common issues with regards to essential infrastructure.

Attending as Chair of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Water and Sewerage Advisory Group, Cr Schefe said the conference was an important opportunity to come together with other local governments in NSW to discuss common issues.

“The main issue has been the pulling back of funding to local government from state and federal governments; in particular for essential services like our water and sewerage infrastructure.

“This under-investment in infrastructure is a major concern to local government in both states.

“The looming ‘infrastructure cliff’ whereby our water and sewerage infrastructure is rapidly reaching its end of life, water security and the effects of dealing with one of the worst droughts on record, puts all local governments in an extremely vulnerable position.

“There was consensus that local government is best placed to deliver infrastructure to suit community needs, however it requires funding assistance from other levels of government.

“There is an opportunity for local government in both states to work together to secure more funding for infrastructure to address the ‘infrastructure cliff’ and the current drought impacting both states.

“External funding is extremely important for small or medium size councils with small rate bases such as Maranoa Regional Council.

“I am positive we will see more collaboration between Queensland and New South Wales local governments moving forward considering our shared issues and the shared will to change the way things are done.”