Four guest speakers confirmed for divisional boundaries public forum

Ipswich City Council CEO David Farmer

Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio

Shoalhaven City Council (NSW) Mayor Amanda Findley

Ipswich City Council can confirm the expert speakers who will discuss the three local government models being put up for consideration at the community information session in Ipswich on
25 March.

Interim Administrator Greg Chemello said the four speakers bring a wealth of experience, not only from local government, but from working within the various models across their own councils.

The speakers are Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio, Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan, Shoalhaven City Council (NSW) Mayor Amanda Findley and new Ipswich City Council CEO David Farmer.

Ipswich residents will be able to vote for councillors again at the March 2020 local government elections. There are three broad models of electing councillors as community representatives up for consideration (each model will result in a minimum of eight and maximum of 12 councillors being elected):

  1. Undivided – (no divisions)
  2. Divided – 1 councillor per division (8 to 12 divisions)
  3. Divided – 2 or 3 councillors per division (4 to 6 divisions)

Mr Chemello said the public information session will be held on Monday 25 March from 6.00 pm to 7.30 pm at North Ipswich Reserve Corporate Centre, 2B Pine Street, North Ipswich.

“The session will feature four guest speakers from relevant local government areas who will discuss the three models and will be available to answer your questions,” he said.

“They will talk openly about the advantages and disadvantages of each model. I am sure residents will appreciate hearing firsthand how the models work as they consider what might work best for Ipswich going forward.”

Toowoomba currently has the undivided model, with 10 councillors and the mayor. Lockyer is also undivided, with six councillors and the mayor. Shoalhaven is divided, following a multi-representative model, with 12 councillors – four councillors representing each of the three wards – and the mayor.

Queensland does not currently have any divided-multi representative councils, but they are prevalent in New South Wales and Victoria. (Cr Milligan worked in a multi-councillor model before amalgamations, so can speak on both).

Council has received more than 550 responses from residents to date.

“All three models are receiving strong support at this stage,” Mr Chemello said.

“We are incredibly grateful to the community for their views and comments – so many residents have taken the time to share their thoughts, not just fill in the survey.”

In April, Ipswich City Council will present findings of the community engagement period to the State Government, which is ultimately responsible for any changes to the way council is structured.

About the speakers

Toowoomba Regional Council’s Paul Antonio has been Mayor of the region since 2012. Bringing more than 30 years of local government experience to the role, Paul was previously the Deputy Mayor in its first amalgamated term, and Mayor of Millmerran Shire Council for eight years, having served continuously on council from 1982 to 2008.

As Mayor of one of Australia’s most family-friendly cities, Paul leads the region at a time of intense growth and development. The current and projected spend in the broader region is estimated at more than $11 billion dollars which includes the construction of the much anticipated Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, one of Australia’s largest ever inland road projects.

Paul is the founding Chair of the Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors and Deputy Chair of the Council of Mayors South East Queensland, which collectively represents one in seven Australians.

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley was born in Northern Ireland and her early years were indelibly marked by The Troubles.

Amanda’s family moved to Australia in the early ‘80s, a move that Amanda was none too keen on. An early career in banking (branch manager of Guildford at 21) was followed by home finance, real estate sales and managing two stores for a large retail chain.

Amanda moved to the South Coast during the late ‘90s and still enjoys being a high school teacher, when time permits.

Amanda was voted Mayor of Shoalhaven City Council, a local government area in the south-eastern coastal region of NSW, about 200km south of Sydney, in September 2016 and was a councillor for eight years previously.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council’s Tanya Milligan was elected as only the second Mayor of this council in April 2016. 

Tanya’s local government career began in 2000 when she was first elected to the former Laidley Shire Council, having served in the position of Deputy Mayor between 2004 and 2008. Following amalgamations, she was elected to Lockyer Valley Regional Council in 2008 and again in 2012, where she held the position of Deputy Mayor throughout this term. 

Prior to being elected to Council, Tanya was a disability support worker and 18 years in this industry fostered a strong desire for the region’s first female Mayor to nurture partnerships and relationships.

During the devastating floods of 2011, Tanya chaired the Human and Social Committee and she held the position of Deputy Mayor during the 2013 floods which again devastated the region.

Ipswich City Council’s new CEO David Farmer draws from more than 20 years of experience at the helm of council administration, including his most recent role as general manager (CEO) of Wollongong City Council, where he has worked with administrators and restored democratic governance. Wollongong Council was dismissed after a public hearing in 2008.

During his 11 years at Wollongong, there were many key projects – the Blue Mile, a city foreshore project similar to the Cairns Esplanade (which he also worked on) and Grand Pacific Walk. He also saw the commencement of Fowler’s Rd Bridge, a $90 million project which began after 30 years of discussion.

David was also CEO of Cairns City Council (now Cairns Regional Council) for almost seven years and for about five years before that led Mudgee Shire Council (now Mid-Western Regional Council, NSW). He has worked across all three models currently being considered by Ipswich.

Public Information Session

A public information session will be held later this month. The session will feature three guest speakers from relevant local government areas who will be presenting on the three models and will be available to answer your questions.

Date: Monday, 25 March 
Time: 6.00 pm 
Location: North Ipswich Reserve Corporate Centre
2B Pine Street, North Ipswich

For more information or to request a hard copy of the survey please email: or call  (07) 3810 6666.

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