President’s column – 28 May 2021

I travelled to Parliament House in Canberra this week for talks with senior Morrison Government Ministers Michael McCormack and Mark Coulton and with senior Opposition figures and crossbench MPs.

I thanked Ministers McCormack and Coulton for listening to our advocacy around leveraging the potential of local government to drive a locally-led recovery.

My discussions with Jason Clare MP (Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government) and Josh Wilson MP (Shadow Assistant Minister for the Environment) centred on Federal Labor’s commitment to the long-term financial sustainability of Local Government through increases to grant allocations.

I also spoke to Australian Greens spokesperson for Local Government Senator Larissa Waters and Independent MP for Warringah Zali Steggall – both strong supporters of local government’s work.

Regular face-to-face meetings with key federal members and senators are vital to progressing ALGA’s strategic initiatives.

Moreover, the likelihood of a federal election within six months has reinforced the necessity for frequent political outreach.

The Morrison Government acknowledged local government’s effectiveness in partnering with the Commonwealth to deliver positive outcomes by announcing several important initiatives in its recent Budget, including:

  • A further $1 billion investment in Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) program, taking total funding to $2.5 billion;
  • $1.2 billion over five years for improving preparedness and response to natural disasters; and
  • An additional $256.5 million for Round 6 of the Building Better Regions.

These will enable all 537 our councils to work even harder on behalf of local communities, delivering on national objectives such as economic growth, regional equity, disaster resilience, and increased productivity.

ALGA has a suite of proactive policy initiatives built on your insights and contributions that will optimise local government and Commonwealth partnerships so our COVID recovery is effective and long-lasting.

These and other ALGA objectives (such as reforming federal funding to local government, securing a place in the National Cabinet, realising the productive potential of Australia’s freight routes, and protecting communities from the impacts of natural disaster), will be soon be packaged in a new election document.

Preparing a federal election statement is an important undertaking for ALGA.

It involves close consultations with state and territory associations as well as careful economic modelling.

We know what our sector is capable of, but it is incontrovertible facts about jobs created and value added to GDP that will achieve cut-through for our proposals.

With your help and input, I am confident this will be the case for our 2020-21 election document.

I will outline ALGA’s election platform in more detail at next month’s National General Assembly and in my speech at the National Press Club on 22 June.

Linda Scott,
ALGA President