This week I attended what was a very important and historic COAG Leaders Retreat which provided the opportunity for full and frank discussions between leaders from all jurisdictions on reform of the Federation with the purpose of delivering better quality services across Australia. It was evident that all leaders were committed to substantial reform to improve outcomes for all Australians and I was pleased to see the role of local government in the Federation explicitly acknowledged.
At the retreat, I sought support for a number of important issues for local government including a continuation of the direct funding relationship between the Federal and local government and recognition of the uniquely difficult challenge local government faces in asset management.
I also took the opportunity to reinforce the need for the Green Paper to address the role of contributors other than the Commonwealth and the states; in particular I sought for recognition of councils and non-government organisations in the delivery of essential services and infrastructure whose efforts will be important if reform is to be successful.
This meeting was a vital step in the development of the Green Paper on Reform of the Federation, which aims to stimulate discussion on options that will better align roles and responsibilities between the three levels of government and establish durable funding arrangements, particularly in the areas of health, education, housing and homelessness.
I urge all councils to take the opportunity to make submissions to the Green Paper when it is released to provide their perspective on the proposed reform options. The Green Paper process will benefit from concrete examples of how the delivery of the services and infrastructure at the local level can be improved and the role councils can play to achieve that outcome.
Mayor Troy Pickard