The Queensland Local Government Reform Alliance, Inc. (QLGRA)
The QLGRA is a non-party political association of groups and individuals from throughout Queensland focused on the reform of local government.
The QLGRA’s mission is to be a vigorous peak body promoting the views of local communities regarding improved representation and governance standards in all areas of local government.
(A) To lobby the state government in all matters relating to good local government.
(B) To advocate for:
a) alignment of boundaries that reflect shared community interests and identity;
b) representative and effective local councils that provide amenity to their communities;
c) accountability, openness and transparency by local government to communities;
d) integrity in council elections, governance and operations;
e) efficient councils providing quality local services at reasonable charges;
f) the principle of community based local councils in the Queensland Constitution such that boundaries can only be changed by a properly constituted referendum;
g) maintenance of reasonable levels of state and federal grants and subsidies to support the necessary and important role of councils in providing and maintaining infrastructure in the local communities for all citizens (including rural and remote); and
h) principles and machinery of government that support good governance in the Queensland Local Government Act and compliance with those principles.
(C) To promote:
a) the commonality of our cause;
b) sharing of strategy and resources with all local communities;
c) the benefits of efficient community based local councils to the general public; and
d) local government as an area of study in public educational institutions.
e) a unified non-partisan democratic structure within our Organisation – ‘United We Stand’;
Putting Local Communities First
On 15th March 2008 controversial forced amalgamations reduced the number of councils in Queensland from 156 to 73. 5 years later, 4 councils successfully de-amalgamated, but applications from many other areas to do so were rejected by the state government.
On the 13th July 2013 delegates from a range of Queensland ratepayer and concerned citizen organisations met to establish and formalise an umbrella group – the Queensland Local Government Reform Alliance, Inc. (QLGRA).
Earlier that year citizens from across the state attended a forum titled ‘Local Government: Re-empowering Communities,’ convened by the Southern Downs’ (Stanthorpe based) Save Our Shire group. It aimed to review loss of representation, increased bureaucracy and the reduced power of communities in Queensland’s amalgamated councils. It was addressed by keynote academics, politicians and mayors – all experts in local government.
At the forum’s close, attendees dissatisfied with performance of amalgamated councils set up the ‘Save Our Shires Steering Committee’, tasked with examining the formation of and the structure for an ‘umbrella’ organisation to provide research, negotiating strength and lobbying support for all the various affected Queensland organisations. It had the role of naming, drafting a legal framework, association structure, key objectives and goals, and rules of operation (communications, membership, fees, funding) by July 2013.
At the July 13th 2013 meeting the recommendations of the steering committee were approved and adopted and these are still the accepted format.
The rules of the association were formalised on incorporation with the object below:
The objects of the association are to promote the adoption by the Queensland Government of community acceptable local government boundaries that reflect local community and identity, and defend the democratic right of Queensland citizens to have a say in the establishment of such boundaries.
Statewide membership has followed and the QLGRA continues to grow. The organization also has become aware of many serious issues affecting good governance since council amalgamations took place.
The 2014 and 2015 Annual General Meetings endorsed some modifications to membership structure.
It is recognized that it may be necessary from time to time for modernization of this document. Hence it is agreed that any changes need to be ratified and formalized at Annual General Meetings.