Where do I meet my new councillor(s)? Your mayor and councillors will be issued with tablets and mobile phones, and enabled with remote access to documents and council information, meaning they will be completely mobile and can meet with ratepayers and residents in any location. The closure of the previous 10 divisional offices and associated operating costs has yielded some $2m in annual operating cost savings to ratepayers. Office space is provided for all elected representatives at council’s administration building in Ipswich Central. Your council will also have three customer service centres integrated at Rosewood, Ipswich Central and Springfield Central libraries. There will be meeting rooms available for councillors (and the public to book at no charge). Why does council spend so much money on new growth areas of Springfield and Ripley, compared to the more established parts of the city? It doesn’t. The land use planning and development assessment system in Queensland requires developers to provide the urban infrastructure needed for their developments, as well as contribute towards the upgrade and new “trunk” infrastructure around their development. This means that the vast majority of new roads, footpaths, kerb and channel, drainage systems, parkland, water and sewerage systems in newer communities are paid by developer contributions. In effect, new property owners pay for this infrastructure as it is embedded in the price of land acquired from developers. Over the past three years for example, only some 15 percent of council’s capital budget has been spent within the Greater Springfield area.
Steve Greenwood (one of the five IMC members) will take over as acting Interim Administrator until the newly-elected council is formed. There is still a significant body of reform work underway within your council’s organisation, driven by the directions established by the Interim Administrator and IMC. But these are organisational and operational reforms and hence will be managed by your council’s CEO. A comprehensive four week induction program is planned for the incoming mayor and councillors, to be coordinated by the CEO and relevant council staff. This training will reflect the governance and policy reforms delivered during interim administration. Why can’t I contact my new councillor about council operational issues after March 2020? You can, but there are far more effective ways to do that now. Council’s operational work is not completed under direction of a councillor; it is unlawful for a councillor to direct a council staff member. Your council’s call centre has the appropriate procedures and administrative arrangements in place so that all work or service requests are logged, allocated, dealt with and reported back to the enquirer. There is also a new – and separate – complaints management system that handles any subsequent complaints from people unhappy with council’s response. This is the way that most large local governments have been operating for years. Any direct contact with a councillor in regards to an operational service request just adds another unnecessary step to the process as the councillor will refer you to council’s call centre (which is contactable by phone, email, online or in person).