President’s column – 2 July 2021

We learned this week, via the latest Intergenerational Report, that there are now more people in work than before COVID-19, with a significantly higher participation rate.

Our sector can rightly hold its head high for helping engineer this remarkable jobs turnaround.

Local governments supported communities through the worst of the pandemic before quickly pivoting to provide economic stimulus and help create tens of thousands of new jobs.

According to the report, the economic recovery is now “now well underway” – attributable to all governments having been able to “deliver stimulus and stability quickly and effectively when needed”.

Elsewhere, the 2021 Intergenerational Report examines COVID’s impacts on overseas migration, making assertions that are highly relevant for local government’s role in Australia’s future development.

Although net overseas migration has dropped dramatically in 2020-21, levels are forecast to reach 235,000 people a year by 2024-25.

If that’s maintained, we’ll have a population of 38.8 million by 2060-61.

Among other things, that will lead to higher demand for services, natural resources, urban land, and infrastructure.

Managing this growth effectively will require “transparency, consistent decision-making and careful planning by all levels of government for governments”, the report says.

It is yet another powerful argument for including local government in National Cabinet, and one your ALGA will reiterate in its federal election advocacy plans.

Staying on matters political, the National Party leadership change last week will have some bearing on ALGA’s working relationship with key federal government ministers.

Changes in personnel are a fact of political life, and we have sent letters to the new Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, the new Assistant Minister for Local Government, Kevin Hogan, and the new Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education, Bridget McKenzie, congratulating them on their appointments.

We’ve also written to former Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and former Local Government Minister Mark Coulton thanking them for their leadership, professionalism, and guidance.

The $1.5 billion Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program, the first iteration of which was unveiled in 2020 was a testament to their belief in the capacity of local governments to advance their communities’ best interests.

On a final note, videos of presentations at last month’s 27th National General Assembly are now being edited and packaged for uploading on our dedicated NGA website very soon.

Even the most dedicated of #NGA21 delegates would have struggled to take in all our lively, informative, and engaging presentations and panel discussions, and these videos are a great way to catch up.

Linda Scott,
ALGA President