Early last week the ALGA CEO and I met with six Federal Ministers and Shadow Ministers on behalf of the sector and our message was the same with every one of them – end the freeze, restore indexation of the Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs), and work with us to improve community safety, productivity and prosperity across the nation.
We received a warm reception, but that doesn't mean we have their firm commitment in hand. We want the Government to work with us, as genuine partners, in supporting our communities at the local level. This is where your role on the ground, with your local Federal members, is vital to our success.
On 19 January 2017, ALGA provided its 2017-18 Federal Budget submission to the Commonwealth Government. Titled Investment in Tomorrow’s Communities. The recommendations contained within are clear, strategic and designed to support our councils and communities to grow and develop into the future.
Over the coming week, I will be sending your council a copy of the submission to inform you of the key strategic priorities in which ALGA is urging the Commonwealth to invest.
The proposals put forward in ALGA’s submission address some of the common issues that unite our councils and wider sector and will not only support local communities but would boost national GDP by $5.5 billion and create more than 45,000 new jobs.
One of these proposals is ALGA’s call for the Government to establish a Local Freight Productivity Investment Plan, funded at $200 million per annum over the next five years.
Local roads are a critical part of Australia's transport infrastructure and make an important contribution to productivity improvements across the nation. ALGA’s plan addresses first/last mile and freight connectivity issues by supporting local government to assess key local road assets on designated freight routes and target pinch points.
We know these investments will improve safety, access and connectivity between local businesses and national and global markets, which is particularly important given recently negotiated free trade agreements.
With our Federal counterparts of all persuasions already deep in budget discussions, I urge you to book meetings with your local Federal representatives and use ALGA’s submission to support our bid to end the freeze, restore indexation to FAGs in this year’s Federal Budget, and support the range of strategic partnerships we are promoting on behalf of your community.
I am sending a copy of the submission to all members of parliament and senators to advocate for investment in our communities through supporting the proposals put forward by ALGA.
However, we will not end the freeze or receive additional support through emails and letters alone. Personal contact will be vital. Your efforts in this regard have the potential to amplify the message through every Federal member into every party room, and give the next Federal Budget the local focus that our communities need.
Mayor David O’Loughlin