This week I have been championing ALGA's pre-budget submission – lodged with the Government earlier this month – in meetings with Federal Ministers, Members and Senators at Parliament House in Canberra.
This year's submission outlines the importance of supporting jobs growth, innovation and opportunities across Australia in line with the Government's current innovation agenda. It also urges the Government to include in its May budget a complementary focus on support for infrastructure at the local level to help strengthen communities and realise productivity improvements against a backdrop of relatively low economic growth.
I was pleased with the warm reception and positive responses I received in Canberra, but this is just the start of a long campaign running into the election later this year to elevate Local Government priorities, particularly around the sector's role in the infrastructure space.
The recent release of Infrastructure Australia's 15-year Australian Infrastructure Plan highlighted the role for Local Government in boosting the nation's infrastructure. I took the opportunity to discuss the report with the Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government and reiterated the need for a program directed at regional road projects funded at $200 million per annum over the next five years to ensure that first/last mile and freight connectivity issues are addressed to improve national productivity.
Minister Fletcher outlined his plans to engage with the states and industry on accelerating work on heavy vehicle road reform, in particular focusing on investigating the benefits, costs and potential next steps to introduce cost-reflective road pricing for all vehicles.
ALGA is engaged with the officials developing these road reform steps and we look forward to working with the states and industry as the Government develops its road reform strategy.
Mayor Troy Pickard