Preparations are in full swing for the COAG Leaders' Retreat coming up next week. My priority for the retreat is to canvass options for reform of the Federation from a local government perspective to not only improve the way the Federation works by clarifying roles and responsibilities but also strengthen collaboration between the spheres of government. It is important to ensure that all options are put on the table and deliberated with an open mind.
Although the Federation White Paper process rightly has its focus on major issues such as health, education, and housing and homelessness, the contribution that local government makes should not be overlooked. Local government is an extensive network providing public administration as well as local services and infrastructure across the nation. Maintaining the direct relationship between the Commonwealth and local government is critical to the provision of these essential services.
Local government is also ready to work with COAG and the Federal Government to fight domestic violence, in particular violence against women and children. At the National General Assembly last month, a motion was moved by Tumut Shire Council Mayor, Trina Thomson, and unanimously carried by the Assembly, to support my advocacy at COAG to ensure the national campaign against domestic violence is appropriately resourced. I look forward to productive discussions within COAG on how all spheres of government can work together to educate the community about domestic violence and provide sufficient support for victims of domestic violence.
The COAG Leaders' Retreat is a vital opportunity to highlight the importance of local government and to ensure that any reform strengthens rather than weakens local government's ability to deliver services and infrastructure for local communities. I will be working towards outcomes that are in the best interest of Australian communities and that lead to improvements in the way our Federation operates.
Mayor Troy Pickard