President’s Column

Today, I am representing you at the 44th meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in Hobart, advocating for the local government sector on important national strategic issues such as public infrastructure investment, progress on Indigenous affairs, and national security and community safety, among others.

Recent events have once again reminded us that terrorism is a challenge being faced across communities and jurisdictions not just around the world, but also here in Australia. These events always impact locally and, while we know that local communities are extremely resilient and always rally together in adversity, this is no excuse for complacency or a lack of preparedness.

 It is important that local government is engaged upfront in a range of prevention, protection, and engagement strategies to address this challenge. Local leadership is often critical when discussing cultural matters at the local level, almost as critical as it is when dealing with a crisis. Good leaders know that building tolerance and understanding is vital, and as important an investment as implementing any physical protection or prevention strategies.

Many councils exercise this leadership by using arts and cultural activities as a way of ensuring locals feel and enjoy being part of a community and as well as to celebrate diversity and the broader social, cultural and natural environment.

However local government also has an important role in helping secure the safety of our communities at events, including mass gatherings, in our local areas.

While policing and counter terrorism are not within local governments’ area of responsibility, local government is always willing to be consulted and engaged by the other levels of government on this issue. Having a seat at COAG is an important mechanism to ensure this occurs, and to ensure that governments work in unison to protect our communities and our nation's reputation for peace, tolerance and prosperity.


Mayor David O’Loughlin

 ALGA President