Speakers say models aside, good city candidates are needed

NO MATTER the system, the best way to ensure good representation is to elect capable councillors.

That was the underlying message from several speakers at Monday night's boundary review evening, hosted by Ipswich City Council.

Ipswich City Council chief executive David Farmer responded to an audience member's question about the lack of skills new councillors often possessed.

The questioner asked how inexperienced councillors would manage council financials.

"It's not just budgets - you've got to set environmental policies, deal with drainage, stormwater quality and animal control," Mr Farmer said.

He said Wollongong councillors were urged to undertake training similar to board members.

"We encouraged all of our councillors to do the Australian Institute of Company Directors course," he said.

"It's expensive, it's hard work and you do an exam.

"That helps them fulfil their role as a member for the board.

"A number of those councillors had not done any formal education since they left school."

Lockyer Valley mayor Tanya Milligan.
Lockyer Valley mayor Tanya Milligan. Contributed

Mr Farmer said the council would work to ensure the next crop was a good one.

"We would be seeking to assist incoming councillors to skill themselves up as much as possible," he said.

"It's much, much more than budgets, a role of a councillor."

Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio said there was a "strict line" between elected councillors and council operations.

"The reality is you need skills - skills to analyse what the operational arm are putting forward," he said.

Lockyer Valley Mayor Tanya Milligan said some qualities could not be learned on a course.

"I have known some exceptionally intelligent people that just lack common sense and being practical," she said.

"Do not ever underestimate life skills and being a reasonable person and having empathy. You can't train those qualities in a person."