This year's National General Assembly (NGA), now just two weeks away, is uniquely positioned during the last few weeks of the Federal election campaign and is set to be an important opportunity to keep local government priorities on the election radar. This will be our chance to push strongly on the critical issues and challenges facing our sector and to hear directly from the Government and the Opposition in the lead up to the election with confirmed attendance from key political players in our sector: the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP and Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Julie Collins MP.
Following the theme of Partners in an Innovative and Prosperous Future, the 2016 NGA will also focus on the many ways local government is being innovative and the contribution local government makes to national economic prosperity and productivity – a contribution that often goes unacknowledged with the local government sector employing almost 190,000 Australians and contributing around $34 billion in economic activity.
Initiatives that will drive productivity, innovation and prosperity will be at the heart of discussion and debate this year. Delegates will hear from a range of distinguished keynote speakers who will share their views and encourage thinking on the two key areas of our theme. George Megalogenis, renowned author, political commentator and former economics correspondent, will share his reflections of the political and economic history of Australia and the role of productivity in securing our future prosperity and what this means for local government. Delegates will also get an insight on the importance of community infrastructure from Olympic marathon runner, business owner and family man, Robert de Castella. With this year being an Olympic year, it is timely for us to consider the important role councils perform in providing and managing social infrastructure for our communities and future generations.
We will also hear from an infrastructure panel exploring and discussing the key elements of the Joint Infrastructure Statement launched last month through a partnership between ALGA and seven other high-profile peak bodies. The panel will discuss the need for a significant public investment in productive infrastructure to promote Australia's productivity, international competitiveness and workforce participation and maintain Australia's living standards. The panel will also look at the impacts of the infrastructure shortfall on the diverse areas of Australia's economy represented by the wide range of organisations who are signatories to the statement.
I encourage you to be part of the advocacy and discussion at this year's NGA and, if you haven't already, I urge you to register your attendance here.
Mayor Troy Pickard