President’s Column

ALGA lodged its 2015-16 Budget Submission at the end of last week.

The document outlines local government's key national priorities in the context of the Federal Government's fiscal constraints and includes proposals for initiatives in 2015-16 as well as proposals for programs and directions in future budget years.

It builds on ALGA's strategic direction and key issues in our ongoing advocacy work.

The submission, while recognising the challenging fiscal environment, calls on the Australian Government to immediately restore indexation of Financial Assistance Grant (FAGs), which was frozen in the 2014-15 Budget for a period of three years.

In the longer term, ALGA would like to see a review of the adequacy of the base and indexation methodology of FAGs.

The importance of the local road network has been highlighted in the Submission, with ALGA proposing a strategic regional roads program aimed at boosting productivity through investment in first and last mile projects.

The $100 million would supplement the valuable Roads to Recovery program, which will see councils receive a one-off doubling of R2R funds this financial year. The first and last mile strategic program would help enhance regional productivity through additional investment to improve access for freight vehicles and connectivity between local roads and preferred state and national freight routes.

Beyond 2015-16, ALGA has asked for the Federal Government to commit to a permanent doubling of Roads to Recovery and a permanent Bridges Renewal Program.

Community infrastructure has been identified as a key area of investment to support local communities, with a $300 million program per annum for the next four years proposed to allow councils to plan and deliver adequate and appropriate community infrastructure projects to enhance their resilience.

ALGA's submission also looks at disaster funding arrangements, managing the effects of climate change and the provision of indigenous municipal services.

Next week, the ALGA Board will come together for a two day strategic planning meeting, to review the ALGA Strategic plan, discuss the ongoing campaign to have FAGs indexation restored and address a number of other strategic issues.  This important meeting will help guide ALGA's ongoing advocacy work as we head towards a Federal election in 2016.


Mayor Troy Pickard
ALGA President