During my first six months as Interim Administrator for Ipswich City Council, I’ve been fortunate to meet a wide range of locals from all walks of life, and all corners of the city.
From leaders of industry through to not-for-profit volunteers, members of the arts fraternity, small business owners, sporting club representatives, rural community advocates, and long-term locals who are fiercely proud of their city, you’ve all been honest with me about your hopes for Ipswich. Thank you.
And there have certainly been a few common themes in our discussions.
First and foremost, most of you want your city to move on from the past, to progress, and continue to be focused on putting Ipswich back on the map for all the right reasons.
You also want to be heard. You want an opportunity to share your views and help shape the future of your council through open and meaningful consultation and engagement.
One of my commitments to Ipswich residents is to increase community engagement. During March you’ll see this commitment in action, with the launch of two significant initiatives.
We’re encouraging everyone to read a community discussion paper and survey on councillor divisional boundaries. We’d like to know your views and preferences on how you would like to be represented by your future Ipswich Council in 2020 and beyond, with three types of divisional models presented for your thoughts.
It’s likely there will be differing views on what the community wants from your council. But it’s fair to say there is no better time than this period of administration to seek your views on which of these three divisional models you would prefer:
1. A council with no divisional boundaries, with 8-12 elected councillors.
2. A council with 8-12 divisions, each represented by one councillor.
3. A council with 4-6 divisions, each represented by 2-3 councillors (again having a total of 8 to 12 councillors).
To read about the potential advantages and disadvantages of each model and find council’s short, anonymous survey, visit www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/shapeyourcouncil, where you will also find information about a community information night to be held on Monday March 25.
Your advice will be collated and presented in a report to the state government for its consideration, as, ultimately, council doesn’t make this decision; it sits with the state government.
We have also recently released expressions of interest (EOIs) for membership on our five new community reference groups (community, environment, economic development, governance, and growth and infrastructure) to increase community input into council’s strategies and decision making.
We plan to appoint between 12 and 20 members to each group, representing a broad range of community interests.
I’d also like to welcome council’s new CEO, David Farmer.
Having been CEO at three other councils, including Wollongong during its period of administration and beyond, David is incredibly well-placed to steer council and the city in the right direction.
Thanks again for your ongoing support for myself, David and the entire council team.