What is Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett’s new national role?
AFTER 20 years in local government Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett was proud and honoured to be elected vice-president of the Australian Local Government Association.
The ALGA represents all 537 councils nationwide at a federal level to advocate for councils and local communities.
Every two years, the ALGA board, which has two members in every state, elects its executive committee of president and vice presidents.
Cr Burnett said the election was held in an online conference on Friday, where he was up against candidates from Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania for the two vice-president positions.
“To be acknowledged for your contribution to local government and your peers think that you’re the right person at a national level to represent all 537 local councils was fantastic,” he said.
“I’m pretty rapt.
“I’ve been in local government 20 years, so obviously people are happy with how I have represented my community, how I’ve represented Central Queensland and Queensland, and they are happy for me to be one of the three people on the executive to represent all 537 councils at a national level.”
In addition to his role as ALGA vice-president, Cr Burnett is also the member of the Local Government Association Queensland for the Central Queensland district.
“As the Mayor of Gladstone I was elected by Central Queensland to be on the Local Government Association of Queensland policy executive,” he said.
“There are 14 districts and they all get together every two months and talk about local issues for Queensland.”
Each state then elects two members of the policy executive to be on the ALGA board, which for the next two years is Cr Burnett and Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey.
“Every two months we meet and discuss issues that are relevant to Queensland at a national level and we all come together as an LGA board to discuss issues that are relevant to all local councils across the country,” Cr Burnett said.
“If there is an issue that comes up that might support NSW but would be counter-productive to Queensland, then we will put our case forward.
“The idea is we try and do everything cooperatively so our position as an LGA board is ideally unanimous, consensus is what we look for.”
While some may see Cr Burnett as having significant influence and power, he said after his decades of experience he was confident he could fulfil the role objectively.
“I will be meeting ministers, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister more regularly as part of the ministerial council,” he said.
“I’ve already been involved as an LGA board member for the last four years, and as an alternate delegate for the past two years, so I have already got an idea of the issues that are facing other states and territories.
“The retiring president, David O’Loughlin, in his thank you speech said ‘I wanted to thank Matt who had been the most well represented, well attended alternate delegate the LGA board had ever seen’.”