Our successful 2015 National Local Roads and Transport Congress once again took place this week in historic Ballarat, Victoria, at which we had more than 250 delegates in attendance. This year's Congress was as important as the very first Congress held at Moree in 2000. This week, as we did fifteen years ago, Local Government identified the challenges and opportunities ahead in managing our local roads and the future transport challenges facing our communities and our nation. And this year, just as in 2000, it was important to once again make local roads part of the national narrative, in particular, the national productivity narrative.
We made important strides towards this goal at the Congress this week and it was encouraging to hear the same sentiment echoed by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Warren Truss MP, the Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, and the Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP. A common theme in all of their addresses to the delegates at the Congress was the importance of local roads in connecting Australian communities to create a strong nation and, in particular, their importance in helping to lift productivity in our communities and nationally.
Our aim now is to have all political parties and crossbench members also understand that local roads are vital in achieving the productivity benefits of national road reform.
Local Government has an important job to do now and not just in identifying the challenges we face, but also in the solutions we propose to meet these challenges. Local Government must be part of the solution and we have important work to do to hone our message, prioritise our needs and define the relationship we want to have with the Federal Government.
Mayor Troy Pickard