President’s column

Last Sunday, the Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP called a double dissolution election to be held on Saturday 2 July, marking the beginning of an election campaign lasting almost two months. With the election campaign officially set in motion, local government has an opportunity to advance some of the key issues that are important to our sector.

ALGA has already begun to implement an election advocacy strategy, developed and fine-tuned over the past 12 months, which takes a three-pronged approach.

Firstly, ALGA's plan, Local Government’s Plan for an Innovative and Prosperous Australia, has already been provided to all Federal politicians and all major political parties, seeking their support for the proposals outlined in the plan. If implemented, these proposals could add an estimated $7.46 billion to national GDP and create an estimated 19,300 local jobs over three years, highlighting the benefits of local government as a partner in boosting national productivity to strengthen our communities and our economy. I have been reiterating the benefits of our proposals in meetings with, and letters to, key Ministers and candidates.

Secondly, while ALGA will take every opportunity to call for support for our proposals, all councils can also play a critical role in advocating and articulating the priorities of local government at the local level. ALGA's election plan has been conveyed to councils in partnership with State and Territory Associations and I encourage each and every council to actively champion our election plan by meeting with local candidates and discussing with them the challenges faced by councils and the opportunities identified in the plan to drive local investment and economic development. I will be urging councils to take the lead when I address the Municipal Association of Victoria's 2016 Future of Local Government National Summit next week in Melbourne.

Lastly, our National General Assembly (NGA) is uniquely positioned during the last few weeks of the election campaign to be an important opportunity to keep local government priorities on the election radar. We saw positive indications in the Government's 2016-17 Federal budget of a commitment to end the Financial Assistance Grants indexation freeze and also to extend the Roads to Recovery program beyond 2018-19 at a higher level of funding. But the NGA will be an unmatched opportunity to build on those commitments and push for greater outcomes for the sector. We have already confirmed attendance from the Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP and Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Richard Di Natale and are awaiting confirmations from the opposition.

I encourage you to come and make your voice heard at this year's NGA. You can register here.


Mayor Troy Pickard
ALGA President