President’s column – 12 March 2021

Thank you to the City of Newcastle, the Gladstone Regional Council, the Broken Hill City Council, the Livingstone Shire Council, and the many, many other local governments who, having resolved to support ALGA’s calls for a seat on the National Cabinet, have helped secure Federal Opposition commitment to include ALGA in this forum.

In a headland speech on urban policy and the future of our cities, Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese explicitly committed to including ALGA in a “genuine National Cabinet process” should the ALP win government at the next election.

At this stage, only Labor has made this pledge – however, with your help, we hope to secure bipartisan support for our objective.

This national recognition of the need to change the structure of the National Cabinet to include local government’s expertise in building more productive, sustainable, and liveable communities is a significant step forward in our advocacy campaign.

Thank you to the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) and the Local Government Association Tasmania (LGAT) for welcoming this announcement – and to individual councils too. Together, our united voices are making a difference.

If your Council hasn’t already done so, please consider the ALGA template motion to add your voice to the national push to secure local government a seat at the National Cabinet.

More than ever, Australians expect their three levels of government to be working together. Whether it be on successfully rolling out a Covid vaccination program or ensuring that we have a locally-led economic recovery, Australians expect all their levels of government to be collaborating on national objectives.

Thank you to all of you for taking the trouble to pass resolutions, do local media, and lobby your local, state, and federal MPs to create this change.

This week, we also expressed disappointment that the Morrison Government’s aviation and tourism industry support package did not include local government airport support.

While the offer of additional federal support for tourism operators affected by Covid-related travel bans and border closures was welcome, we believe that council-owned regional and remote airports and aerodromes should also have got a helping hand.

On your behalf, we will ensure the Federal Government understands that without further direct financial support our airports will struggle to return to normal operations, potentially denying our regions the air links and connections they need to develop socially and economically.

Local governments, directly and indirectly, employ nearly 4000 Australians in our regional airports, and they are crucial not just for keeping their communities connected but for enabling them to access the kinds of services and opportunities we in the cities take for granted.

ALGA recently gave evidence at a federal parliamentary inquiry into the future of Australia’s aviation sector, in the context of Covid-19 and conditions post-pandemic.

Thank you to the 14 councils who also provided evidence of their struggle to keep their airports afloat.

With your support, ALGA will continue to make a compelling case for why our airports deserve greater support and recognition.

Linda Scott,
ALGA President