President’s column – 20 August 2021

Councils must balance competing demands against finite resources, which is why ALGA continues to seek opportunities for improvement and advocate for councils to be adequately resourced for their tasks.

Local government nationally employs about 194,000 Australians (around 10 percent of the total public sector).

We own and manage non-financial assets with an estimated value of $457 billion, yet we only raise around 3.4 percent of Australia’s total taxation revenue per annum and have an annual operational expenditure of around $39 billion – just under six percent of total public sector spending.

As our COVID cases increase across the nation, we’re working even harder to recognise and advocate for the need for further financial support for local governments.

The impacts of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and, in some cases, curfews are being felt most acutely by local governments that run early childhood education and care (ECEC) services.

This week, I advocated on your behalf to the Federal Government, writing to seek urgent financial help for council-run early education and care services whose viability is again threatened by stay-at-home orders and Commonwealth decisions on gap-funding arrangements.

On your behalf, alongside many others in the early education sector, ALGA is advocating for a significant injection of Commonwealth funding to ensure these critical front line services can afford to remain open, caring for and educating our community’s children while their parents are working in other front-line areas of need.

This week, we also advocated on your behalf to the Australian Human Rights Commission to ensure their anti-racism framework considers the great examples of councils tackling racism in their communities, and incorporates local governments as a key partner in this work.

ALGA also took the opportunity to highlight the key role we play in the creation of jobs in the tourism sector, advocating to the Taskforce undertaking an investigation into Destination Development for the Federal Government.

On your behalf, we advocated for:

  • Recognition of the work local governments do to contribute to employment and job creation in the tourism sector;
  • Increased funding for local government to partner with the Commonwealth on important destination development;
  • Increased recognition of the importance of a sustainable approach to tourism, reducing waste, and contributing to a more circular economy.

In another regrettable outcome from this “third wave” of the pandemic, ALGA’s 2021 National Local Roads and Transport Congress planned for Hobart on 7-9 November will not be going ahead as a live event.

Instead, ALGA is looking to transition to a virtual conference; when the new arrangements have been settled we will advise you accordingly.

Stay safe, thank you for all you are doing for our communities and for supporting everyone to access a vaccination!

Linda Scott,
ALGA President