MUTUAL BENEFIT: Livingstone Shire mayor Bill Ludwig, Rockhamton Regon mayor Margaret Strelow lead the 'twin cities'.
MUTUAL BENEFIT: Livingstone Shire mayor Bill Ludwig, Rockhamton Regon mayor Margaret Strelow lead the 'twin cities'. Chris Ison ROK071114cemployment1

MAYOR'S COLUMN: Collaboration makes for the best results

'TWIN cities” and shared services: the smart way forward for both Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast.'

Last week's panel sessions conducted by The Morning Bulletin featured commentary by demographer Bernard Salt and his thoughts about what the future might hold for this region based on growth and the demographic make-up of our communities.

The report once again confirmed the Capricorn Coast would continue to be the major growth centre for Central Queensland.

It also highlighted why Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast need to work together as "twin cities” for mutual benefit.

The amalgamations forced upon our communities in 2008 were promoted by many as the bold move that would create efficiencies and generate more economic development in the region.

This sadly was never going to be the case and that was a hard lesson learned at our community's expense.

Livingstone Shire Council engaged Mr Salt in 2007 in an effort to explain to the then State Government how and why a "twin cities” model was by far the most effective and innovative model.

Perhaps now as we see just how well each of our respective Local Government Areas has moved forward following de-amalgamation, that model can be genuinely revisited.

In his analysis at the time, Mr Salt highlighted that each community was inherently different with its diversity of culture, lifestyle, infrastructure needs, economic growth potential and its aspirations.

He also recognised the importance and power of working together collaboratively.

All that has ever been required to make a "twin cities” model a reality is for the two councils to make a genuine commitment to work collaboratively, supporting whatever is going to advance each community both individually and collectively.

Step two is rolling up our sleeves and making it happen on an organisation to organisation level. This could be achieved by identifying "resource sharing” and joint service delivery opportunities, as well as on a business, economic and community development level by jointly promoting ourselves as a region.

The benefits of this collaborative approach are well documented and include the realisation of significant cost savings and synergies that directly benefit ratepayers.

Organisationally more streamlined and joint service delivery generally results in efficiencies and savings through realising economies of scale as well as avoiding often costly duplication of infrastructure.

Working together as "twin cities” to create a sense of place and an environment where people want to come to visit, live, and invest will empower our future as a region.

When we actively work toward developing that positive inclusive mindset by setting the goals, as well as timelines to make those goals a reality, our region will be in position to really move forward toward its full potential.

The "power of one” is about what can be achieved by working together to make things happen.

This is the challenge and the opportunity Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast need to embrace.