Queanbeyan-Palerang Community Voice

The Voice

… of the Queanbeyan-Palerang community

The Bigger Picture

Posted by Pete on July 26, 2017
Filed under: Election Commentary

When election time rolls around, it’s all too easy to become preoccupied with our own individual issues, talking about fixing this or fixing that. We also live in a world that has come to expect political conflict, a battle, just like the political bickering we see on the news each night over what issue might or might not be more important.

But Council is not like other levels of government. There is no government or opposition as such. There are just eleven elected representatives who must work together in the interest of their community. The battle-lines style of government is entirely inappropriate in an environment like this and the ‘issues’ model of representation also generally ends up with a very narrow focus.

What is needed in the local government environment is a willingness to address individual issues on their merits, without getting bogged down in confrontational politics. It’s not about a prevailing political ideology, a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and fighting for that one size to be our size, the size that addresses our individual issue(s). It’s about serving the broader community by recognising its diversity, recognising that one approach might be appropriate in one set of circumstances but that this approach might be entirely inappropriate in another.

Our new council area is anything but homogeneous. It embraces the urban environment of Queanbeyan, the rural residential hinterland of the ACT, genuine farmland and a fair smattering of national parkland. Further, we must manage this environment under the significant influence of an adjacent jurisdiction, the ACT, over which we have no direct control.

So this election should not be about issues per se. It should be about establishing a management group with the skills to both recognise and deal with the much larger challenge of building a viable local government service organisation.

Success will be about recognising the ever changing needs of a diverse community and directing council resources accordingly. It will be about knowing when to lobby other levels of government for support, and how to effectively complement services and facilities that are available within the ACT.

Success for our new Council will be about focusing on the bigger picture and not getting bogged down in the minutiae of our own individual issues.

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