Who cares about Local Government Week?

GUESS what starts on Monday? You might want to get your diary out for this…

It’s Local Government Week.

Why on earth we’d want a special week devoted to local government, I can’t imagine. We are, after all, stuck with local government for 52 weeks of the year anyway!

I mean, what possible benefits could accrue to anyone from having a Local Government Week?

Will our councillors go door knocking with collection tins to raise money in a desperate bid to keep the rates down? Will they let us off the rates for the week, to help us celebrate?

I don’t think so.

It is, of course, a waste of time.

Someone important may wake up now in a local government office somewhere and write a letter insisting that Local Government Week is necessary and valuable and serves a very useful purpose.

That will be tripe.

It serves no-one but the pompous and self-important people who invented it.

Here’s some clues to its real value.

Our own City Council couldn’t think what to do with it.

If you go to the Townsville City Council website you’ll find a big important-looking button with Local Government Week written on it, and if you click it, you’ll be taken to some information about what happened last year in Noosa and Maroochydore. Very informative!

If you go to Council’s calendar of events there’s no mention of it at all!

Which is just as well because what it does tell you is that it’s also Disability Action Week and National Glaucoma Week, which are a lot more worthwhile.

I take my hat off to the Council, though. Our Mayor, Cr Tony Mooney, is actually the president of the Urban Local Government Association of Queensland; but even he can see what a load of rubbish Local Government Week is!

Otherwise wouldn’t he have made sure there was lots going on to help us celebrate?

Perhaps a special room where we could watch officers and councillors in the exciting process of developing strategic plans, or engaging in community consultation?

Roadworks at which we could watch workers leaning on shovels?

Actually, that’s not fair. It’s the blokes with the shovels who actually do work. Well, most of the time. They are at the sharp end where things are seen to be done. You can’t very well dig up a road and just… well, leave it.

I’ve worked for local government and I can tell you that it’s not the blokes with the shovels who are the problem. It’s the ones with the pencils — the ones with enough time on their hands to invent a thing like Local Government Week.

But Tony is quite right. Just because they choose to be fools doesn’t mean we have to encourage them. Indeed, across the road in Thuringowa the website doesn’t even have a button to press. I tried searching “Local Government Week” and it tried to help with NAIDOC week and local government elections, but nothing else.

It would be funny if it weren’t such an appalling waste of my money. Because it is my money — and your money — they’re spending on this nonsense.

And what’s more they do it every year!

I suppose they need to give an impression of doing something useful.

The sad fact is that in local government no one wants to make any moves that might expose them to criticism. It’s safer to keep your head down than to risk getting it shot off. So the entire local government philosophy is one of making as few waves as possible.

Well, they definitely got it right this time. Local Government Week is a rippleless pool of mud, sucking in and choking the life out of anything that resembles a bright idea.

And talking of waves, on Monday Council is closing The Strand waterpark. For essential maintenance. You might want to put that in your diary, too.

So Townsville City Council is marking Local Government Week by closing the most innovative and exciting public facility it owns.

It was obviously making too many waves.