Mayor Tanya Milligan Lockyer Valley Regional Council
The Lockyer Valley is the genuine ‘salad bowl’ of Australia and is recognised nationally and internationally as one of the ten most fertile valleys in the world.
Uniquely positioned 20 minutes from Toowoomba, the Garden City, and less than an hour from Brisbane, the River City, we are close enough to city life, but nicely nestled in the centre amongst pristine landscape and world famous agriculture. It really is a location second to none.
We offer an affordable lifestyle that is attractive to families and according to the latest ABS statistics, with a male to female ratio almost equal there is ‘someone for everyone’ in the Lockyer Valley.
I chose to act
I was elected in 2000 onto the Laidley Shire Council, pre-amalgamation, where I served two council terms, the latter as Deputy Mayor. At the time, I was a disability support worker who felt very disheartened by the lack of empathy and understanding for mobility and access issues in the community. I decided I could be the noisy minority who sat on the sidelines to complain and throw stones, or I could show some guts and contribute in a positive manner. So I did….and the rest is history.
In 2008 the Gatton and Laidley Shires were forced to amalgamate; I was the only sitting councillor from Laidley to be elected to the new Council – Lockyer Valley Regional Council.
I was elected Mayor in 2016.
Divided by inland rail
One of the key challenges for our community is water security and securing an alternate water source so this region can confidently and consistently continue to feed the nation.
Inland Rail is another challenge our community is currently facing. This not only puts our prime agricultural land at risk, but also has the potential to create extreme flood impacts. The line itself is a physical barrier which has the capacity to disconnect our community. Our community is very emotive about this particular project and given that we have been crying out for passenger rail for most of our lives, it is disappointing that freight is the priority and not people for my community.
Innovative projects we have worked on include securing a 300 bed (stage 1) backpacker lodge for our farm workers. We are actively involved in securing a state-of-the-art cannery in our region. We have formed a Water Collaborative, with an Independent Chair to assist us to pursue the goal of water security.
The new Council has delivered a Budget surplus for the last two consecutive years. This is the first time this has ever occurred in the life of a Lockyer Valley Council. It is about being honest with yourself, your community and your capacity.
Transparent from the top down
We are an open and transparent Council and as Mayor, I like to demonstrate leadership by example. I encourage open and honest discussion at all levels, because at the end of the day it is what’s best for the community. Our community is in good hands with genuine councillors at the table and staff who are on the journey together. As Mayor, I am only as good as the people I have around me.
The difficult part of life on council is that it’s never ‘just about you’. It does impact your inner circle, your family and your kids. It’s important to remain vigilant and self-aware.
The best part about being in local government is the opportunity to ‘give back’. It truly is a privilege to serve your community and one that I never take for granted. Yet, in saying that, local government does not define me.
The future? Simple really…to leave the region in
a better place.