President’s column – 4 December 2020

This week, as we celebrated the International Day of People with Disability, I’m proud to have signed on behalf of our nation’s local councils a statement of continued commitment by all governments to deliver a new 10-year National Disability Strategy.

This is very positive news to the 4.4 million Australians with disability – including my younger sister, born with Downs Syndrome – as well as their families and their carers because it will enable us to build on the many positive outcomes that have been realised over the past decade

Councils have been important partners in implementing the 2010-20 strategy, and ALGA has been a strong advocate for disability inclusion since 2010 and well before.

Unfortunately, stage two consultations to inform the development of the new strategy were deferred in late March due to Covid-19 – with the reform steering group conceding that a new National Disability Strategy would not be delivered by the end of 2020 as hoped.

However, all the parties involved in this important work – ALGA and the state, territory, and federal governments as well as the reform steering group – have continued working together to maintain momentum.

In July, a new position paper was published, and in September stage two consultations began. With these consultations now completed, a new date of mid-2021 has been scheduled for delivering a new National Disability Strategy.

I am sure the new strategy will build on this consensus and the clear evidence that a whole-of-government approach is the best means of ensuring that people with disability have the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of life.

I was pleased to be able to attend my first Local Government Ministers Meeting as ALGA President on Thursday, where several important topics – including the part councils have played in economic and social recovery in the regions – were discussed and which we hope to progress at meetings next year.

I look forward to continuing to make the case for the need to provide an increase in the Federal Assistance Grants into the future to ensure local governments can support their communities to thrive.

Finally, as our weather warms and bushfire season is upon us, I was pleased to also represent you at this week’s Emergency Management Ministerial Meeting.

Local governments are doing such important work to build more resilient places, and we are key voices in the debate to ensure the recommendations of multiple state and federal inquiries into the most recent Black Summer are implemented to ensure our communities are safer in the future.

Thanks to all of you who have sent well wishes and provided support for the work that ALGA does!

Linda Scott,
ALGA President