ALGA’s ongoing advocacy to reverse local government’s exclusion from National Cabinet was highlighted on ABC radio and digital platforms this week.
In an interview with the national broadcaster, ALGA National President David O’Loughlin said the scrapping of COAG in March effectively meant local government could speak to first ministers and treasurers only once a year.
He said while ALGA is on several councils and takes part in ministerial meetings below the National Cabinet level, many of those forums are under review.
“We haven’t been given a good reason why it’s happened,” he said.
Cr O’Loughlin said the nation’s councils had been severely impacted by the pandemic, and have lost millions in revenue. However, they will be an important part of economic recovery
“We do run aged care, primary health and public health offices, so there was certainly a strong interface that would have been helpful.
“We’re exactly the right level of government to be able to run small scale, local, grassroots employment programs, including training programs to get the nation back on its feet,” he said.
“Even with programs such as the building grant, wouldn’t it be good if local government had known about it so that our planners could be ready for the influx.”
In related news, Victorian Federal MP Andrew Giles spoke about local government’s exclusion from National Cabinet during a National Growth Areas Alliance webinar on Thursday.
“The National Cabinet has played an important role during the early stages of the pandemic in coordinating Australia’s response to Covid-19,” Mr Giles told his audience.
“But a truly National Cabinet must include a seat at the table for local government and for cities and suburbs to be a particular focus of its work.
The ALP’s shadow minister for cities and urban infrastructure concluded: “Where we live means so much to all of us. These places need to matter equally in government, and around any National Cabinet table.”