President’s Update – 20 November 2023

Win! Roads to Recovery funding to be doubled to $1 billion per year

Strong advocacy and leadership from ALGA has delivered a landmark $500 million per year increase to Roads to Recovery funding, which will be phased in over the Federal Budget forward estimates.

The increase was announced yesterday by Infrastructure Minister Catherine King, in response to the Government’s Infrastructure Investment Program Review. Increasing Roads to Recovery funding has been a core part of ALGA’s advocacy platform, and a key component of our Federal Budget submissions in recent years.

Minister King also announced a $40 million per year increase in Black Spot Program funding, as well as a new Safer Local Roads and Infrastructure Program, which will combine the Government’s existing Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity and Bridges Renewal Programs, with funding gradually increased from $150 million to $200 million per year.

We sincerely thank Minister King and the Government for this major funding boost and look forward to working closely with them to ensure this funding is effectively rolled out to our communities.

Win! Grattan Institute recommends extra $1 billion funding to councils

I was also delighted to welcome a new independent report by the Grattan Institute last week calling for Australia’s councils to receive an extra $1 billion in federal funding each year, through increases to Financial Assistance Grants and the Roads to Recovery Program.

This new research – which received national media coverage – clearly demonstrated federal funding to councils has not been keeping pace with the increased costs we are incurring building and maintaining roads.

We are thrilled the Government has agreed to double Roads to Recovery funding over the next couple of years, and we will continue to advocate for Financial Assistance Grants to be restored to at least one percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue.

Win! National packaging reforms endorsed by Environment Ministers

On 10 November, I attended the Environment Ministers’ Meeting in Adelaide and was pleased to see Ministers endorse new national packaging reforms that local governments have advocated for.

Ministers agreed the Federal Government will establish new regulations for packaging, and also mandate how packaging is designed, develop minimum recycled content requirements, and prohibit harmful chemicals being used.

We have consistently pushed for businesses to be responsible for their products to their end-of-life, and these changes will support councils to recycle more effectively.

State and territory conferences

I was delighted to speak at the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory’s Convention on 9 November and I sincerely thank LGANT President Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis and Vice President Cr Peter Clee for their warm hospitality.

I also addressed the Local Government NSW Conference in Sydney last Monday. Thank you to LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley and Cr Karen McKeown for hosting me, and congratulations to Cr Turley on being re-elected as LGNSW President for another two years.

Thank you to Mayor Jamieson

Finally, I want to acknowledge Sunshine Coast Council Mayor and Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) President Mark Jamieson for his outstanding contributions to our sector.

Mayor Jamieson announced he will be stepping down as Mayor at next year’s elections, and I applaud his long and dedicated service to councils at a local, state and national level.

He has enjoyed a wonderful career, including seven years as LGAQ President and four years on our Board, where Mayor Jamieson made a significant contribution to national local government policy and helped secure a better deal for our communities.

I wish him well in his future endeavours.