President’s column – 1 October 2021

Your ALGA published its Closing the Gap Implementation Plan this week – a proud moment for an organisation that has long championed strong and sustainable First Nations communities.

Developed by ALGA with our state and territory association members, the Implementation Plan sets out key actions councils can undertake to meet the priority reforms laid out under the landmark National Agreement on Closing the Gap signed in 2020.

Local government has already forged close partnerships with local Indigenous peoples to address our priorities at local and regional levels. 

We are a major employer of First Nations peoples in many regional and remote areas, and our procurement practices give us added capacity to empower local communities.

This Implementation Plan will enable further mutually beneficial outcomes at the local community level by:

  • Supporting local governments to harness the opportunities provided by the national Closing the Gap Plan;
  • assisting state and territory governments to work with local governments in the implementation of the National Closing the Gap Agreement; and
  • supporting strengthened shared decision-making at the local level, supporting local governments to better partner with the Commonwealth, states and territory governments, and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

On the vital matter of increasing economic opportunities for First Nations people, I attended a Roundtable on Indigenous employment with the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP last week.

A discussion paper circulated at the meeting set out short, medium, and long-term actions, including reviewing and possibly scaling up initiatives in the Northern Territory and Queensland to recruit and develop Indigenous staff in local government.

To further identify opportunities for councils to employing indigenous people, your ALGA will be undertaking a Local Government Sector Workforce and Organisational Capability Report through surveys of councils.   

These are exciting developments that will enable local governments to work more effectively at transforming local lives through providing local jobs and career pathways.

Linda Scott,
ALGA President