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Leadership: Are we doing good by our people, our environment and our responsibilities to future generations

Apr 13, 2018 | Mayor's Blog

Question 3 in the “10 Hardest Questions to answer in Local Government”

I’m going to challenge myself by addressing the ten hardest questions in Local Government (according to the LGAQ – Local Government Association QLD), one by one. But I also want to challenge you to read these and offer any insights in order to help us to do better.

The third question….

Are we doing good by our people? Absolutely, no doubt in my mind. Councillors get up every day and focus on the things in which we believe our people and our communities will benefit from.

Are we doing good by our environment? Of course we are. The environmental controls under which council operate are immense and we adhere to these adamantly (million dollar fines exist for councils who do not). At a community level, we do get asked about recycling bins a lot however and would love to offer this service but unfortunately labour costs and infrastructure to sort recyclables together with the transport of product to either Brisbane or Bundaberg far outweighs any revenue that that may be derived. There are a numbers of initiatives on the horizon with the State government’s Container Refund Scheme and Commonwealth push for E-Waste which will alter the playing field; so Council can only wait to discover how those projects will be implemented in rural areas and to determine how they can be supported keeping in mind what it would cost to the community.

Are we making good on our . responsibilities to future generations? This is a bugbear of mine – best summed up by two quotes.

The first, “Leadership is not about the next election, it’s about the next generation” Simon Sinek. Or so it should be! In my humble opinion politicians are increasingly becoming more concerned about being re-elected rather than forward thinking and planning, instead of focusing on our combined futures, our vision has shrunk back into this generations issues only. However, we must ask ourselves what has spurred this mindset on? I read an article about the developing culture of impatience and instant gratification due to consumers becoming afforded improvements in innovation and technology. The article went on to suggest that a society that experiences fewer and fewer waits in daily life will possess less and less patience for outcomes. I’ve been told many times in the last two years that I need to start campaigning for the next election. My answer is this “I’m working my butt off now and if that’s not enough to be re-elected then I’m fine with that”. I believe actions speak louder than words which brings me to my next point.

“Rather than always focusing on what’s urgent, learn to focus on what is really important.” Steven Covey. This is my biggest struggle in my position. Every day I have countless phone calls, emails and meetings, most with some form of urgency attached, these take up the majority of my time but what should I be doing? What should we, as a council be focused on? In my opinion we should give our attention to the present but our energy to the future. We are working on getting the balance right.

Can we make the hard decisions? Unfortunately we have to however it’s about making sure that when we do, we have a thorough understanding of the issue and that this understanding is backed up by evidence. This may surprise you, but I could guarantee most of you that if you were in this position, you too would make the same hard decisions as I/we do, as by the time we get to a hard one, we’ve investigated all other easy options… and the hard one is the only option left.

Talk soon