President Update – 28 August 2023

Win! New housing affordability funding and planning reforms

In an important advocacy win for local government, the Federal Government has announced a new $500 million Housing Support Program, available to local and state governments, to help address the nation’s affordable housing crisis.

Unveiled at National Cabinet on 16 August, this new program will help Australia’s 537 local governments build parks, footpaths, roads, sporting grounds and other local infrastructure that is essential for our communities.

I am delighted the Government has heard our urgent call for more investment in vital infrastructure that will enable affordable new housing developments in our cities, towns and regions.

It is also fantastic to see the promise of increased support for built environmental professionals announced by National Cabinet, including local government town planners.  Our research shows there is a severe shortage of skilled planners in local government and we need more support in this area.

Protest groups and disruption of councils

It has been incredibly disappointing and concerning to see the rise of organised protest groups and the threat they pose to the safety of our council members and staff.

On behalf of councils, I recently wrote to the Australian Federal Police Commissioner to raise our concerns and proposed a meeting to discuss a national approach to this issue.

We know these groups are coordinated and funded but we don’t have a full picture of the extent of their activities. So I would urge you to report any suspicious or anti-social behaviour targeting council meetings and events to your local law enforcement.

Local Government Ministers Forum

Finally, I attended the Local Government Ministers Forum in Adelaide last Friday. This was a good opportunity to share the great work we are doing to build stronger, more resilient communities.