President’s column – 25 June 2021

It was wonderful to be able to connect with so many local government delegates at this week’s National General Assembly.

The strength and value of our NGA has always been its diversity of views and opinions – not to mention the unrivalled opportunity to share stories and experiences that ultimately advance our communities’ best interests.

#NGA21 certainly delivered in that respect.

What really stood out for me at #NGA21, however, was the community, fellowship, and sense of shared purpose.

That spirit of “we’re all in this together” was captured in debate on motions calling on the Federal Government to:

  • Include local government (ALGA) in the National Cabinet;
  • Increase Financial Assistance Grant to a level of at least 1 percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue;
  • Introduce funding opportunities for regional airports to offset COVID-19 income losses and ensure regional communities are not further disadvantaged; and
  • Provide funding and resources for circular economy capacity-building and support for the development of local government circular economy action plans.

These motions, all overwhelming endorsed by delegates, will now be considered by the ALGA Board, and then incorporated in the Association’s strategic planning and advocacy agenda.

Thank you to all those councils who contributed Motions covering the entire sweep of local government activity.

Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack (as he was still was on Monday) and his colleague, federal Local Government Minister Mark Coulton gave addresses in which they generously acknowledged local government’s efforts in sustaining jobs and leading economic recovery.

Both have championed local government’s capacity to partner with the Commonwealth to deliver results for local communities, and I thanked them for their long-time support.

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Shadow Minister for Local Government, Regional Services, Housing and Homelessness also addressed delegates, committing a future Labor government to:

  • Putting local government in National Cabinet;
  • Re-establishing the Australian Council of Local Government; and
  • Implementing a regular meeting of Federal and State Housing and Planning Ministers and ALGA to improve affordable housing options.

I know you are passionate about advancing your communities’ interests – and I encourage you to keep talking to your state and federal MPs about what adequately resourced local governments can do to stimulate local economies and drive job-creation.

Thank you so much for attending #NGA21 and making it the success that it was.

Our circumstances may still be difficult and trying, but our resolve as a sector to overcome adversity and deliver greater community prosperity and cohesiveness going forwards is stronger than ever.

Linda Scott,
ALGA President