New Brisbane Lord Mayor Councillor Graham Quirk was today announced as the new Chairman of the Council of Mayors (SEQ) with Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Bob Abbot elected as Deputy Chairman.
Councillors Quirk and Abbot provide great depth to the executive of the Council of Mayors (SEQ), with proven track records in local government.
The election of a new Chairman follows the resignation of former Chairman Campbell Newman from the position of Lord Mayor of Brisbane.
Councillor Graham Quirk said the Council of Mayors (SEQ) role of seeking cooperation from, and holding to account, State and Federal Governments on behalf of South East Queensland communities was critical.
“I firmly believe the work carried out by the Council of Mayors (SEQ) in the areas of growth and planning, infrastructure and environment is integral to securing the long term sustainability and liveability of SEQ communities,” Cr Quirk said.
“My interest is in ensuring we get the best possible outcomes for the ratepayers of SEQ, and I want to constructively work with both the Federal and State Governments to achieve that.
“As Chairman of the Council of Mayors (SEQ) I look forward to working with the SEQ Mayors to provide a voice for the one in seven Australian’s that live in South East Queensland in the major debates about the future shape of our region,” Cr Quirk said.
Scenic Rim Regional Council Mayor John Brent’s decision to stand down from the Deputy Chairman’s position following his nomination for pre-selection for the State seat of Beaudesert has seen long-serving Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbot step up to the role.
Councillor Abbot believes that strong regional leadership in SEQ is essential given the issues facing local government and local communities.
“South East Queensland councils and communities have been placed in a very difficult position due to the State Government’s lack of consultation on important issues,” Cr Abbot said.
“Local councils appreciate that there are difficult choices to make and major debates ahead as we try and balance the issues of economic development, environmental protection and social justice.
“Our communities have made it clear they want to have a voice and be heard in these future debates.
“The recent State Government back flip on water reform is just one example of local councils being faced with tough decisions, without consultation, and this will have significant financial implications for our communities.”
Cr Abbot added that the State Government’s decision to strip councils of their planning responsibilities was also unacceptable, pointing to the recent takeover of Caloundra South by the unelected Urban Land Development Authority as an attack on local democracy.
“Our communities want to have a say in the planning outcomes for their region,” he said.
Cr Abbot paid tribute to outgoing Chairman Campbell Newman and Deputy Cr John Brent who have lead the organisation since it was re-formed in 2005.
“Cr Newman and Cr Brent have made a huge contribution to building the Council of Mayors (SEQ) as an effective regional advocate for SEQ councils, and on behalf of SEQ Mayors, I want to thank them for their efforts,” he said.
The Council of Mayors (SEQ) will meet this Friday at Gatton in the Lockyer Valley.