With next week fast approaching, I'm looking forward to opening ALGA's notable annual events, the Regional Cooperation and Development Forum this Sunday and the National General Assembly of Local Government the following day.
The theme for the Regional Forum this year is Addressing Regional Inequality, a vitally important topic for many of the delegates attending from across Australia. Focus on this critical policy area should be a priority not only for Local Government but also State and Federal governments given the implications of regional inequality for regional, state and national productivity. Academics and practitioners from across the nation will provide delegates with their insights into regional development and a potential way forward. The event will also see the launch of the 2015 State of the Regions report which, in keeping with the theme of the forum, presents statistics revealing the depth of inequality within and between Australian regions.
The Regional Forum is a prelude to ALGA's premier event: the National General Assembly of Local Government. I am pleased that the Assembly has this year attracted a strong political presence with representation from Liberal, Labor and the Greens. I look forward to hearing from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development the Hon Warren Truss, Leader of the Opposition the Hon Bill Shorten, and Leader of the Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale on their views on the important role and contribution of Local Government in Australia.
The Assembly provides the opportunity for council leaders, government representatives and stakeholder organisations to consider the major national issues facing Local Government today and to share their ideas and experiences. We face a period of great challenges and opportunities with major national reviews of how the different levels of government work together and how our tax system supports the delivery of services. The level of expected attendance at the Assembly (more than 830 delegate registrations so far) makes this one of the biggest Assemblies ever and illustrates just how seriously Local Government takes this challenge. Although timelines are now very tight, you can still register for both events at this link: http://www.conferenceco.com.au/nga/.
This past week also saw the announcement of the Queen's Birthday Honours List and I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge and thank those who have been recognised for their service to Local Government. I was thrilled to see so many Local Government champions from around the nation receive accolades for their achievements and contributions and I extend my personal congratulations to all of them.
I note particularly that two former members or alternate members of the ALGA Board, John Trainer and James Maitland, both from South Australia, received honours.
Mayor Troy Pickard