President’s Update – 1 July 2024

Local government inquiry hearing

On behalf of Australia’s 537 councils, I was delighted to appear before the Parliamentary inquiry into local government sustainability in Canberra last week.

During the hearing, I highlighted new ALGA research showing local governments could boost Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by up to $7 billion per year, and create more liveable communities if councils were sustainably funded by the Federal Government.

Due to be released this week, the research shows a $1 billion annual investment in local government roads would increase Australia’s GDP by $3.5 billion per year, and an extra $350 million for parks and open space could increase GDP by $900 million per year.

With more responsibilities being forced on to Australia’s councils, I also highlighted a range of solutions to consider and address the financial challenges and funding shortfalls currently faced by local governments.

As part of our comprehensive, evidence-based submission we made five key recommendations to the committee, with the number one priority being increasing untied Financial Assistance Grants for local government to at least one per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue.

(L-R): ALGA President Cr Linda Scott, Chair of House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Development, Infrastructure and Transport Luke Gosling and ALGA CEO Amy Crawford at Parliament House.

Win! Early payment of FA Grants

In an advocacy win, the Government responded to our call and delivered an early payment of Financial Assistance Grants to councils last week.

This untied funding is critical for councils, and bringing forward 85 per cent of our 2024-25 allocations will greatly assist with budget planning and certainty for the new financial year.

We appreciate every dollar of federal funding we receive, which helps to build and maintain local pools, libraries, cultural centres, cycleways and skate parks that are vital for vibrant, liveable communities.

Meeting with WA Minister Hannah Beazley

I was honoured to meet with Western Australia’s Minister for Local Government Hannah Beazley in Canberra last Thursday.

We discussed the importance of emergency management support for our councils, particularly with increased frequency of emergency events.

We also talked about the Government’s local government inquiry and the long-term needs of councils linked to sustainable funding.

(L-R): ALGA President Cr Linda Scott, WA Local Government Minister Hannah Beazley and ALGA CEO Amy Crawford.

National housing summit

I’m delighted to invite all councils and local government leaders to ALGA’s National Local Government Housing Summit on Friday, 16 August.

The inaugural national summit, to be held at the Adelaide Town Hall, will provide an opportunity for key stakeholders and experts to discuss critical issues to deliver housing across the nation with the aim of forging actionable strategies to support local governments.

NGA countdown

Finally, I can’t wait to see you in Canberra for our historic 30th National General Assembly in Canberra starting tomorrow.

A record 1230 mayors, shire presidents and councillors from across Australia will converge in the capital for our annual conference at the National Convention Centre.

This year’s NGA will also lead into the Australian Council of Local Government on Friday.