Local government welcomes Opposition commitment to engage councils on urban policy

The Federal Opposition's announcement to introduce a City Partnerships program if it wins the next federal election and engage local government as a genuine partner has been welcomed by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), the peak national body representing local government and councils Australia-wide.
The program was announced in a speech to the Sydney Institute this evening by the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Infrastructure, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP.
Mr Albanese said that urban sprawl, growing congestion on roads and public transport, declining housing affordability and an unequal distribution of employment opportunities, particularly in outer suburbs and growth areas, have an impact on people's quality of life.
He said that the national government has a responsibility to work with the state and local governments to address these problems, and recognised the critical role of local government in leading structural change and fostering local community ownership.
Mr Albanese added that, in delivering the City Partnerships program, Labor will work with local government in a way that is genuine and supports their expertise.
Mayor David O'Loughlin, ALGA President, said it was important for local government to be part of a collaborative approach across all levels of government to address the challenges facing the country's cities, including our regional cities.
"Local governments play a central role in shaping our urban communities and must be engaged directly in developing strategies and approaches across the three levels of government to address the problems and realise the opportunities in our cities," he said.
"I particularly welcome Mr Albanese's commitment to work with existing local government structures and the private sector, and to focus on bottom up strategies which engage and promote community ownership.
"We appreciate the commitment to a transparent process that is defined and open for participation by all councils.
"ALGA has long highlighted the importance of both metropolitan and regional cities to the national economy and advocated for Commonwealth engagement in urban policy. National leadership is essential in this area as is the inclusion of opportunities for regional cities to be part of this program."
Media enquiries:
Sharon Akinyi, Director Public Affairs, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), 0418 415 649, 02 6122 9434, sharon.akinyi@alga.asn.au