Local Government Minister Senator Fiona Nash’s address to the National Press Club this week strongly highlighted the importance of local partnerships, investment and leadership to drive change and development in not just Australia’s regions but, by extension, the country as a whole.
It is refreshing to hear the Australian Government understands and appreciates that local government’s strength lies in our capacity to identify and respond to local needs which are often diverse, complex and changing rapidly in response to evolving domestic and global pressures.
Achieving great outcomes for every one of our communities requires decisionmakers at all levels of government to not only listen and engage, but also to be clear in their objectives, to be agile, and to harness the ever-increasing range of data, knowledge and technology. This will ensure their communities are best placed to innovate and seize the opportunities of tomorrow, but it doesn’t come without a challenge.
This year's National General Assembly (NGA) is an important opportunity to keep local government priorities on the Government’s 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 with confirmed attendance from key political players: the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Bill Shorten MP, the Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, and Regional Communications, Senator the Fiona Nash and Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, the Hon Angus Taylor MP.
Following the theme of Building Tomorrow’s Communities, the 2017 NGA will look at how councils are enhancing their capacity to respond to the new and, in some cases, unforeseen challenges of tomorrow’s communities. Key presentations will address how councils, often working in partnership with other levels of government or the private and not-for-profit sectors, are shaping the future and responding appropriately to the challenges that lie ahead.
I encourage you to be part of the advocacy and discussion at this year's NGA and to make sure that your council’s view is reflected in the national priorities identified for local government. If you haven't already, I urge you to register your attendance on the ALGA website.
The ALGA Board also recently issued a call for motions to be debated at the NGA. The deadline for motions has been extended to 28 April 2017 to encompass the full April meeting cycle and I encourage you and your council to think through ideas or initiatives you would like to see debated at the NGA and submit these as motions for the Assembly.
Mayor David O’Loughlin