This week, ALGA News is coming to you a day earlier than usual because of the Easter break and I expect that many Australians will be taking the opportunity for an extended break over the Easter/Anzac Day period. This period also coincides with school holidays in the majority of states and territories and so people will be taking the opportunity to visit other parts of the country and use the local facilities and infrastructure provided by councils during their journey and at their destination.
Tourism, and catering for visitors in general, remains a key function for many councils and while local economies are dependent on visitors, there are challenges and opportunities for local communities in providing the facilities and infrastructure generated by the tourist economy. In some areas there is also an adverse impact on local residents with added pressure on roads, parking and public areas. This challenge is made more difficult by the fact that the Financial Assistance Grants for councils do not fully take into account the burden imposed on our favourite holiday destinations which experience a rapid and temporary increase, sometimes a doubling, of population at peak holiday periods.
ALGA’s Fairer Share for Local Communities campaign is, in part, about improving the resources for councils which help to make the visitor experience something to remember and one which brings people back in the future. I encourage councils who have not yet accessed the materials on the campaign website (http://fairershare.com.au/) to do so and to use those materials to engage their local candidates in the current Federal Election. This is the chance to seek their commitment to partnering with the Council to advance the interests of the local community.
On a final note for those travelling over this period I want to remind everyone to travel safely and make wise decisions on the road. We want everyone to complete their journey safely.
On behalf of the Board and ALGA staff I wish you a happy and safe Easter break.
Mayor David O’Loughlin