President’s Update – 25 March 2024

Win! National inquiry into local government sustainability

Last week, we welcomed the House of Representatives Standing Committee national inquiry into local government sustainability.

With additional responsibilities costing billions of dollars being forced onto Australia’s 537 councils every year, we expect this national inquiry will consider and address the financial challenges and funding shortfalls being faced by local governments.

Financial sustainability is our number one priority, and it’s vital we restore Financial Assistance Grants to at least one percent of national taxation and address the practice of bringing these payments forward with a once-off $3 billion allocation to councils.

ALGA’s research shows Australian councils receive a lower level of funding than comparable nations, so we need to reverse this trend to ensure our councils – and communities – remain sustainable.

I encourage all councils to lodge a submission outlining these key points, and examples where an increase to financial assistance grants will support your local community to thrive, before the deadline of 3 May 2024.

Action! Help us secure more disaster mitigation funding

Our communities have been repeatedly hit by natural disasters over the past two years, with more than 60 percent of local government areas affected across Australia.

ALGA’s 2022 federal election advocacy secured a new $200 million federal Disaster Ready Fund (DRF).  However, the first round of the DRF is already oversubscribed, and we are advocating for a significant increase in this year’s Federal Budget.

We need your support to contact and engage with your local Federal MPs so we can secure this much-needed funding to better protect our communities.

Council on Federal Financial Relations

I was honoured to represent local government and join Australia’s treasurers at the Council on Federal Financial Relations (CFFR) meeting on 15 March.

We know increasing Federal Assistance Grants is an investment in improving service delivery, increasing national productivity and driving higher living standards for all Australians and communities. On your behalf, ALGA will continue to work to ensure councils are more financially sustainable into the future.

Vale David Plumridge AM

I was saddened to hear of the recent passing of former ALGA President David Plumridge AM.

David was ALGA’s national president from 1994-1996, and during his term negotiated a Commonwealth-Local Government Accord with Prime Minister Keating that was signed at our second National General Assembly in 1995.

In his home state of South Australia, he served as President of the Local Government Association of South Australia, as well as a Mayor at the City of Salisbury, and then later as a councillor at the City of Adelaide.

Our thoughts are with his family, friends and former colleagues at this time.

Kicking off our 2024 NGA

I’m excited to see hundreds of mayors, shire presidents and local government leaders have registered for our peak annual event, the 2024 National General Assembly (NGA) from 2-4 July in Canberra.

The NGA begins with the Regional Forum starting on 2 July from 9.00am and runs through until Friday 5 July with the Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG) finishing at 4pm. To ensure you experience the whole week, please make sure you arrive by early Tuesday morning, and book your departure late Friday afternoon.

As part of this year’s NGA, I will also be speaking at the National Press Club on Tuesday 2 July.  We will share details soon about how you can attend this event.

Don’t forget, we also hold our annual Local Government versus Parliamentarians soccer match in the early hours of Wednesday 3 July.  See you on the pitch!

Finally, voting has officially opened for the 2024 National Awards for Local Government to be presented at the ACLG – so make sure you cast your vote here.