President’s column – 19 February 2021

This week, I joined Mayors from across Australia to honour the life of legendary Mayor Lilliane Brady OAM at her state funeral in Cobar.

Her many contributions to local government over 40 years were inspirational and will not be forgotten. Vale.

The importance of ALGA being a full member of the new streamlined system of intergovernmental ministerial forums (including National Cabinet) was well illustrated at last week’s Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation.

In a blow to councils with a large fruit and vegetable growing presence, the forum effectively voted to ensure unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices will rate only two out of five on the Health Star Ratings system, below diet soft drinks.

ALGA supports the Commonwealth’s position that 100 percent juices should be automatically assessed at between four and five stars. However, we have observer status only at forum meetings. 

This situation encapsulates why ALGA is lobbying for inclusion on National Cabinet, which is making decisions that directly impact local government without proper reference to our views or input.

A good test of the Morrison Government’s reset of intergovernmental relations will come on Friday when we attend the National Emergency Management Minsiters’ Meeting (NEMM).

The NEMM has been given responsibility for implementing the 80 recommendations from last year’s bushfire royal commission report – many of which bear directly on local government’s ability to better prepare for future natural disasters.

The inquiry was an important initiative to which many councils and local government associations made submissions, and we will advocate strongly for all of the recommendations to be speedily implemented.

I was delighted to be able to preset to a climate-change roundtable convened by the National Rural Women’s Coalition (NRWC) this week. 

NRWC is developing a position paper on “Climate Change: Impacts on Rural, Regional and Remote Women” and it was gratifying to be able to relate the many wonderful initiatives, partnerships, and collaborations that rural and regional councils are engaging in to mitigate the effects of global warming.

Linda Scott,
ALGA President