Thank you, Madam Chairman; I rise to speak on two items - the LGAQ conference and briefly the Stretton College Awards function which I attended last night. It was a great pleasure to be able to attend the LGA conference a couple of weeks back. I know that a couple of people have already spoken on that conference, but I just want to add a few more words on it.
One of the key points I found out of the conference was how much the difference is between city councils and country councils. While we had sort of over 85 motions to debate in the one day, and I was extremely surprised that we were going to get through them all, but we did, the highlight of it was the fact that they seemed to be very well prepared. There was very little argument on most of the motions, and everybody seemed to agree on what they wanted.
There was one particular motion, no. 73, which highlights for me the difference between the city and country, which I mentioned, and that was to do with the level crossings - the upgrading and elimination of open crossings. While we here in Brisbane City Council are committed to doing exactly that, obviously for the people in urban areas, that is actually not feasible, so the motion was amended to say 'in urban areas' which made sense once they started to explain it to you.
There was also the chance to meet and interact with many other councillors and mayors from all over Queensland. Of interest, I did meet the Mayor of Somerset, and it was kind of interesting, because you get to speak about your role and their role and how things are done and how things are different. They have 22,000 people in the whole council that they look after, whereas as you will all know here, we generally would look after at upwards of over 30,000 people in our wards alone, so that was one of the biggest key factors of difference.
Another contentious issue that was highlighted at the convention which Councillor Cumming has mentioned was the flying foxes. Everyone admits that there's a problem. They all have a problem with it. How it's dealt with is obviously a different issue comparing to the different areas.
We had some key speakers there at the convention. There was obviously the Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, who gave a speech; the Premier, Campbell Newman; Hon. David Crisafulli also spoke. We had a Gary Pert, who was actually the CEO of the Collingwood Football Club, and I have to admit, when I read that in the program, I'm thinking: what does a footballer have to do with council? But interestingly enough, he did have quite a few pertinent, interesting facts to pass on to us. I know I certainly took a lot away from his speech.
There was a Helena Popovich who spoke about turning stress into success, and she also was extremely interesting. So I really want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend the function and to have been there at the start of what I would see debates that possibly will come up in some years to come. I will be able to say, well, I was there when that was discussed at that LGAQ some years ago, and here it is coming up to Council today for us to discuss. So it's kind of been part of history, without being too dramatic about it.