President’s column – 17 September 2021

ALGA thanks Federal Assistant Minister for Local Government Kevin Hogan for taking the time to make an appearance at this month’s Board Meeting.

His commitment to working with local government to get the best outcomes for Australian communities is welcome and we look forward to working closely with him and his department going forward.

Last year, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) co-signed a compact that marks a new chapter in national efforts to reduce and eliminate Indigenous disadvantage.

ALGA has now finalised its Implementation Plan for the July 2020 National Agreement on Closing the Gap – allowing local governments to begin working more effectively to improve the lives and prospects of First Nations people.

All the state and territory local government associations contributed to the development of the Implementation Plan – none more energetically than the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT).

Our strong commitment to achieving better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through shared policy development and decision-making at the local government is evident throughout the document.

I am confident it will lead to real progress in reducing Indigenous disadvantage in all its forms.

The fast-approaching UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) will again likely highlight the contributions of city and municipal governments in undertaking ambitious climate actions.

According to ICLEI, or the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, if the targets set by Australian local governments were met, we would be 96 percent of the way to meeting Australia’s s current target of a 28 percent reduction by 2030.

At a meeting of the Global Covenant of Mayors Oceania this week, I repeated ALGA’s calls for:

  • Commonwealth investment in a Local Government Climate Change Partnership Fund of $200 million per annum over four years; and
  • a targeted disaster mitigation program at the level of $200 million per annum for four years to strengthen community resilience response and recovery costs.

Councils have identified a range of strategies to address climate challenges but we need additional resources to implement them so our communities can transition to a low-carbon future – a process that will deliver new job opportunities in all local communities.

At last week’s National Women’s Safety Summit, I again called for dedicated domestic and family violence prevention officers in every state and territory local government association.

This was one of the recommendations for a federal parliamentary inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence in 2020 that recognised local government also has a major role to play in driving changes that reduce the incidence of violence against women and children.

We await the Commonwealth’s response.

Linda Scott,
ALGA President