"We believe the APCS provides an environment that fosters connections and the sharing of knowledge in one central point. It would be difficult to find a similar event that provides that level of access and connections."
1. Can you give us a quick overview of your organisation?
The Council of Mayors South East Queensland (SEQ) was established in September 2005 as an independent political advocacy organisation to represent the interests of one of the nation's fastest growing regions - South East Queensland. The Council of Mayors (SEQ) is now Australia's largest regional advocacy body, representing one in seven Australians (or 3.5 million people) who call South East Queensland home.
2. Why did you choose to participate and support the APCS?
The Council of Mayors (SEQ) has been participating in the APCS since 2013. As sponsors, exhibitors and delegates of the past APCS, the Council of Mayors (SEQ) received unprecedented access to government and business leaders from across the Asia Pacific and beyond. As a result, we have formed lasting and productive relationships with regions across the globe that continue to create opportunities for South East Queensland.
3. What were some of the highlights from your involvement in the APCS?
Put simply, the APCS offered two major highlights for the Council of Mayors (SEQ) - the opportunity to showcase South East Queensland and its opportunities to interested businesses and city leaders from across the Asia Pacific and beyond. Secondly, the summits presented an ideal opportunity to learn from and connect with like-minded cities and regions both in Australia and abroad.
4. Can you tell us more about the outcomes of your involvement in the APCS?
Specifically, the Council of Mayors (SEQ) has two notable relationships built from its participation at the previous summits, which are:
- Metro Vancouver
In 2017, the Council of Mayors (SEQ) had the opportunity to present at the 2017 Asia Pacific Cities Summit (2017APCS) and Mayors' Forum in Daejeon, South Korea. This presentation highlighted the SEQ Mayors' achievements and the ongoing benefits of regional collaboration. Consequently, the presentation caught the eye of representatives from Metro Vancouver, a regional body of government in Vancouver, Canada, which oversees 21 municipalities, one Electoral Area and one Treaty First Nation, to meet with the SEQ Mayors during the 2017APCS in Daejeon.
Following a productive discussion, both Metro Vancouver and the Council of Mayors (SEQ) found many areas where the two organisations could improve outcomes for their own residents by learning from each other.
In particular, topics such as advocating for transport infrastructure to support growing communities, housing affordability, waste and the circular economy, and the power of regional collaboration become the foundation of an ongoing relationship between Metro Vancouver and the Council of Mayors (SEQ).
From the first meeting at the 2017APCS in Daejeon, Metro Vancouver led a delegation to South East Queensland in 2018, which was hosted by the Council of Mayors (SEQ). Metro Vancouver returned to South East Queensland again to meet with the SEQ Mayors as part of the 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Summit (2019APCS) and Mayors' Forum in Brisbane.
Prior to COVID-19, the Council of Mayors (SEQ) had planned to visit greater Vancouver in 2020 to explore the region's approach to collaborative waste management and participate in Metro Vancouver's National Zero Waste Conference.
While COVID-19 has delayed the SEQ Mayors' delegation to Vancouver, it has not dampened the ongoing relationship between the regional bodies. The Council of Mayors (SEQ) will continue to engage, learn and share with its counterparts from Metro Vancouver as a way to broaden its ideas and opportunities for South East Queensland.
- StandbyU Foundation
At the 2019APCS in Brisbane, the Council of Mayors (SEQ) had the opportunity to meet with a local start-up, Commsync. At its core, Commsync has harnessed a collaboration of expertise within the ICT and human services sectors to deliver innovative technology solutions to increase safety and support for vulnerable children, adults and staff through their alert management tool.
The application of Commsync's alert tool to support women and children impacted by domestic violence captured the attention of the Council of Mayors (SEQ). Domestic and family violence is a challenge for most regions but tackling the issue is complex. The Commsync solution offered an immediate, tangible and cost-effective solution to provide safety and protection to vulnerable women and children.
Since the meeting at the 2019APCS, Commsync has expanded its solution into the StandbyU Foundation, the charity aims to provide tailored support and its alert tool, known as the StandbyU Shield, to women and children at no cost to the user.
Members councils of the Council of Mayors (SEQ) have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the provision of StandbyU Shield to communities across South East Queensland. The Council of Mayors (SEQ), as a collective of councils, has also committed its voice and support to attract additional funding from government and ensure greater community outcomes across the region.
Without the access and engagement that the APCS provides, the meeting between both organisations may have never eventuated. What has formed since is a powerful partnership that can deliver real and lasting social change in South East Queensland.
5. How has your organisation specifically benefited from participating in the APCS?
The Council of Mayors (SEQ) finds its participation at the APCS extremely beneficial. It provides an opportunity to showcase South East Queensland to both a domestic and international audience, and allows mayors and councillors to explore opportunities from other cities and regions to address local challenges.
Like the examples provided, the Council of Mayors (SEQ) believes the APCS provides an environment that fosters connections and the sharing of knowledge in one central point. It would be difficult to find a similar event that provides that level of access and connections to business and civic leaders from across Australia and the Asia Pacific and beyond.
6. Why should local governments and organisations consider partnering with the APCS into the future? Any other words you would like to share with future attendees?
Given the many challenges cities have faced through the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more important time to share and learn from each other.
The 2021APCS in Brisbane will be one of the first gatherings of its kind where civic and city leaders can share their experiences of dealing with an unprecedented health crisis and explore how others are championing their economic recovery.
The Council of Mayors (SEQ) looks forward to once again participating in the APCS, where we will not only share how South East Queensland will continue to adapt and rise from the COVID-19 pandemic, but hear how other cities are learning and embracing this time of extraordinary change.
The above content was provided by the Council of Mayors (SEQ). For information about the Council of Mayors (SEQ), visit the website.