President’s column – 19 March 2021

The ALGA Board will be in Canberra next week and will be catching up with Local Government Minister Mark Coulton and Shadow Ministers Jason Clare (Local Government), Catherine King (Infrastructure and Transport), and Murray Watt (Disaster and Emergency Management) to reinforce ALGA’s advocacy agenda.

As we approach the Federal Budget and a Federal election, we’re proud to take the issues that matter to local governments to the nation’s capital – and to highlight that local councils are leading Australia’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

How many jobs has your local government secured this year? If you know, please let us know at ALGA so we can share the good news with the Morrison Government.

We’ve secured so much funding for local governments. For example, it is nearly 11 months since the Federal Government announced the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program.

ALGA advocated for Covid-19 stimulus funding for local government, making the case for funding paid directly to councils to ensure rapid economic and social benefits directly relevant to the unique needs of local communities.

The Morrison Government agreed, establishing the LRCI Program and providing $500 million in funding – later extended by $1 billion “following strong community and local government support”.

Almost eight months since the money started flowing, it is so exciting to see the projects now underway that are driving economic recovery.

Congratulations, for example, to the Brisbane City Council, who have embarked on work to replace a two-lane timber bridge in suburban Ashgrove built in 1931.

Unable to take semi-trailer trucks and subject to flood inundation, the Gresham Street Bridge is what might call a “long-awaited” project.

The new bridge, funded through the LRCI Program and the BCC, will have increased vehicle weight limits and improved flood resistance. It will also provide a wider footpath for pedestrian safety, an important new feature given the bridge is used by children on their way to a local school.

Congratulations also to Tasmania’s Huon Valley Council, who are using this funding and state funding, as well as their own money, to construct a major Southern Tasmanian boating destination in Dover.

The Dover Marine Facility Upgrade Project includes a new jetty, a second boat ramp, more parking, and road alignment to improve the offerings and access of a site that is a drawcard for local and interstate visitors.

These are just two excellent examples of local councils working with the Commonwealth and state governments to get much-needed projects moving.

They not only benefit local communities and aid Covid-19 recovery but are an investment that will build a more prosperous and resilient Australia.

Driving a locally led economic recovery (and planning for a bright post-Covid future) is the theme for the 2021 National General Assembly of Local Government, planning for which is now well advanced.

Your attendance will send a powerful message to the Federal Government that local government is strong, purposeful, and can be trusted to partner in the delivery of government services and infrastructure on the ground.

We want to underline this message with more local government project success stories.

Please send examples that we can package for presentation to the Federal Government, including images, via – and don’t forget to register for NGA21.

This is local government’s time. We know and understand our communities, and we can leverage this knowledge to drive economic recovery.

We know the challenges our communities face, and we know what is needed to go forward. 

Linda Scott,
ALGA President