What are we asking for?
Reinstating local government representation to the primary intergovernmental forum in Australia, the National Cabinet.
Why is it important?
All Australians expect their governments to work together for their benefit, at all levels and across all issues.
Local government brings strengths and insights that other levels of government do not – a grass roots perspective that is apolitical, and the resources, capacity and expertise to support implementation of policy and programs at a community level.
Local governments, along with the Australian, State and Territory Governments, are jointly involved in funding or service-delivery in a number of policy areas including transport infrastructure, human services (childcare and aged care), land use planning, population management, natural resources and environmental management.
Councils play a significant role in the implementation of national policy objectives such as the waste export ban, Closing the Gap initiatives, family and domestic violence programs, and strategies to reduce carbon emissions.
ALGA was a foundation member of COAG, and for more than two decades contributed effectively and constructively to the Council’s considerations and decision-making.
However, ever since COAG was abolished and replaced by National Cabinet in May 2020, our premier intergovernmental forum has been denied the experience, know-how and corporate knowledge of Australia’s 537 councils.
How would it support our communities?
Australia’s peak intergovernmental decision-making body is the National Cabinet. However, this forum comprises federal, state and territory leaders only, despite the founders of the Australian Federation seeking to share powers and responsibilities across three levels of government.
The lack of local government representation means National Cabinet is deciding important national, state and local issues without community input or perspectives.
More inclusive decision-making would deliver a sustainable post-COVID economic recovery – and help progress important national policy objectives such as digital inclusion, greater housing affordability, climate and disaster resilience, and pathway to zero emissions.
If we want Australia to emerge from the pandemic more resilient and dynamic than before, local government must have a seat on National Cabinet and be involved in discussions about the broader objectives of recovery and how we’re to achieve them.
ALGA is a National Federation Reform Council member and meets with First Minister and Treasurers annually to ensure that the policies and programs of all levels of Government are aligned and working towards a single goal.