The announcement of a new ministry by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last Saturday saw a new cabinet sworn in at Government House yesterday. Following the Hon Warren Truss' announcement of his retirement last week, new appointments were made in the cabinet reshuffle including Senator the Hon Fiona Nash MP as incoming Minister for Regional Development and the Hon Darren Chester MP as incoming Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.
The management of local infrastructure and transport links, and facilitating community development across the country, are core functions of Local Government and we are pleased to see the Federal Government continue its strong focus on these important policy areas. ALGA welcomes the opportunity to work with Senator Nash and Minister Chester, as well as the Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, on issues under their portfolio that are of critical importance to Local Government.
We also look forward to further engagement on the Government's cities agenda under the Hon Angus Taylor MP, the new Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation.
This week also saw the release of the Australian Infrastructure Plan: Priorities and reforms for our national's future by Infrastructure Australia. The report highlighted the important role of Local Government in boosting freight productivity.
The report encouraged a collaborative effort between all levels of government to deliver productivity-enhancing reforms to enable more efficient movement of freight and remove first and last mile constraints across the national freight network. This gives prominence to ALGA's call for greater levels of investment in freight infrastructure funding to address both the challenges and opportunities in first and last mile regional roads projects and drive productivity improvements.
ALGA strongly supports the report's focus on improvements in productivity through investment in infrastructure and argued in our pre-budget submission that, in its May budget, the Government should commit to a program directed at regional road projects. We proposed that the program be funded at $200 million per annum for five years to ensure that freight connectivity issues and first and last mile issues are addressed to improve national productivity.
ALGA agrees with the report's outlook of inter-governmental collaboration to improve the productivity of our national infrastructure, and careful consideration will be given by ALGA to this and other recommendations that touch on Local Government issues.
Mayor Troy Pickard