This week began with a major announcement from the Prime Minister that the 2016-17 Federal budget will now be handed down a week earlier on 3 May 2016. This change to the Federal budget timeline will have little impact on ALGA; our pre-budget submission was lodged in early February and, since that time, I have undertaken numerous meetings with Members of Parliament, Senators and government officials advocating the priorities set out in ALGA's submission.
The submission, titled Investment in an Innovative and Prosperous Future, reflects the role councils play in supporting and stimulating investment and local economic activity. It focuses on support for the priorities and needs of our communities and, while it acknowledges the fiscal restraints on Commonwealth Government spending, it makes the important point that community priorities and demands cannot wait for the best of economic times – they need to be addressed as they arise.
The submission highlights that investment in local infrastructure and services underpins our future prosperity, and targeted local investment programs, in partnership with the Australian Government, will provide opportunities for all Australian communities to contribute to national growth.
We look forward to the handing down of the Federal budget in early May.
The early budget announcement has also set the stage for an early election, possibly as early as July 2 depending on the repercussions of the additional sitting sessions in April also announced by the Prime Minister this week.
ALGA is well-prepared and is working with state and territory associations to finalise our election priorities, which complement the proposals put forward in our pre-budget submission. The ALGA Board meeting next week should see the finalisation and endorsement of ALGA's election priorities.
With Easter ahead of us and many people planning travel at some stage over the long weekend, I would also like to remind everyone to travel safely – we all have a role to play in keeping our roads safe.
On behalf of all the staff at ALGA, I wish you a happy and safe Easter break.
Mayor Troy Pickard