With next week fast approaching, I'm looking forward to opening ALGA's notable annual events, the Regional Cooperation and Development Forum this Sunday and the National General Assembly of Local Government the following day.
These events will be our opportunity to push strongly on the critical issues and challenges facing our sector. They will also be the only chance for the Government and the Opposition to address our sector collectively before the next federal election. We have confirmed attendance from key political players in our sector at both the Forum and NGA: Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie (Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Minister for Sport, Minister for Rural Health, Minister for Rural Communications), Hon Dr John McVeigh MP (Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government), Hon Bill Shorten MP (Leader of the Opposition), and Mr Stephen Jones MP (Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government). I’m excited to hear directly from them about how our partnership with the Commonwealth can be strengthened.
Local government initiatives and partnerships to build more productive, innovative and prosperous communities will also 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 why collaboration and partnerships are important in our sector.
The conference will also highlight local government’s journey towards gender balance with a keynote address from Virginia Haussegger, an award-wining television journalist. Virginia will challenge our thinking and explore how our sector’s elected member profile can more rapidly evolve to reflect the community’s gender profile.
This year, we will be supporting a deserving charity – Enormity – which organises warm coats and clothing for those who are doing it tough this winter so don’t forget to bring a spare coat to donate!
Lastly, but certainly not least, the announcement this past week of the Queen's Birthday Honours List saw honours awarded to a number of our local government colleagues for their service to the sector and our communities – congratulations! I was proud to see so many local government champions from around the nation receive accolades for their achievements and contributions. Thank you for dedicating your time and energy to making our communities better places to live.
Mayor David O’Loughlin