As we celebrated the first sitting week of the 47th Parliament in Canberra, your ALGA Board also met to finalise National General Assembly motions and discuss post-election ALGA priorities.
I was honoured to be in Canberra to congratulate former ALGA Vice President Tracey Roberts MP on her first speech, and welcome former mayors and councillors, including Jerome Laxale MP and Dai Le MP, to their new roles.
A special thanks to newly elected Federal MP Andrew Willcox, whose first speech called for restoring Financial Assistance Grants to at least one percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue.
As the former mayor of the Whitsunday Regional Council, he understands the budgetary pressures councils are under, and how important this un-tied federal funding is to our communities, especially in regional and rural areas.
To advocate for your local government priorities, I met with Local Government Minster Kristy McBain MP and the office of Cabinet Local Government Minister Catherine King MP, as well the Shadow Local Government Minister, Andrew Gee MP.
To progress local government engagement with the Commonwealth Government, I met with Minister Linda Burney MP to discuss the importance of local governments in the forthcoming referendum on a Voice to Parliament, Assistant Minister Senator Jenny McAllister to discuss the importance of local government in energy policy, and emissions reduction planning, and the Prime Minister’s new Special Envoy for Disaster Recovery, Senator Tony Sheldon.
To ensure ALGA is working across the Parliament, on your behalf I also met with newly elected Greens Senator David Shoebridge, and One Nation Senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts.
As expected, the Government moved quickly, introducing a number of pieces of legislation, including their new climate bill.
Local government has a key role to play in reducing emissions, and many councils have already set ambitious local targets.
While many councils are already installing energy-efficient lighting and increasing tree canopy coverage, others are going even further, investing in renewable energy plants or supporting residents to install solar panels.
These initiatives could be replicated in communities right across the country with dedicated funding support, which is why ALGA is calling for a new Local Government Climate Response Partnership Fund of $200 million over four years.
The Government also introduced its Electric Car Discount Bill into Parliament this week.
As part of their local emissions reduction strategies, many councils are investing in EVs for their fleets and in EV charging networks to support communities making the switch from conventional cars and trucks.
I’ll have more to say about local government’s great work supporting EV uptake when I deliver an address at the National Electric Vehicle Summit next month.
Finally, registrations are now open for our 2022 National Local Roads and Transport Congress, to be held in Hobart from 2-3 November. A draft program will be released in the coming weeks so please keep an eye out for it.
We hope to see you there!
Cr Linda Scott,