This week, I met with the National General Assembly Sub Committee to work through the potential motions submitted by councils for debate at the National General Assembly (NGA) next month. Submissions came from our largest cities and smallest towns, from every state and the Northern Territory.
The motions coming before the NGA this year reflect the breadth of issues that councils face on a daily basis. A considerable number address issues facing councils, such as inadequate resourcing and trying to meet community demand for services. The resourcing of councils has been further impacted by the on-going freeze to the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs), however many of these motions offer a range of creative solutions to resourcing issues that will be of interest to delegates.
In addition to finances, this year’s motions demonstrate that Local Government’s concerns are truly national. Delegates at the NGA will be debating a range of issues including transport, climate change, pest management and healthcare. It will be an opportunity for councils to have their views heard and assist the ALGA Board in further developing national policies in these and other important areas. Indeed, the Board looks to the NGA motions as an indicator of emerging policy priorities for local government.
The theme for this year’s NGA is 'Closest to the Community: Local Government in the Federation'. The NGA is Local Government's opportunity to engage with issues of national importance, especially those under consideration through the White Paper processes on Federation and Taxation. The Australian Government continues to consult with ALGA through Council of Australian Government processes, in particular on the development of the Green Paper for the Reform of the Federation. Throughout this process, I have been clear that I want to see Local Government strengthened as a result of any reform and we need your input to advance that objective.
The NGA promises engaging and interesting debate and if you haven't yet registered for this important event, I urge you to visit the ALGA website and ensure that your council is part of the national debate, not just about the reform of the Federation and Taxation, but also issues that our communities care most about.
Mayor Troy Pickard