President’s Update – 26 February 2024

Time for Government to deliver on FA Grants promise

Last week, I told The Australian newspaper the Federal Government must deliver this year on its pre-election commitment to increase Financial Assistance Grants to Australia’s 537 local governments.

Before the May 2022 election, Federal Labor promised to support the ‘long-term financial sustainability of local government’ through ‘fair increases’ to Financial Assistance Grants, and after two years of COVID and natural disasters, we can’t afford to wait any longer.

Our number one priority in the 2024-25 Federal Budget is restoring Financial Assistance Grants to at least one per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue, while also securing a once-off $3 billion payment to councils that will address the historical practice of paying these grants in the previous financial year.

Across the nation, councils are delivering free and low-cost services providing cost-of-living relief in our communities, and increasing the vital untied federal funding we receive would help us to expand this important work.

Addressing the housing crisis

Last Thursday, I attended the Planning Ministers’ Meeting to advocate for the key role local government has to play in addressing Australia’s affordable housing crisis.

Councils are committed to working with the Commonwealth and state and territory governments to deliver on our national housing targets, while building healthy and connected communities.

We need a coordinated approach that addresses our major challenges including jobs and skills shortages, rising costs in materials, current economic conditions and the need for supporting built and social infrastructure.

New remote jobs program to Close the Gap

ALGA has welcomed the Government’s new Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program (RJED), which is expected to create around 3,000 jobs in remote Australia in partnership with First Nations communities.

We are often the largest employer in regional and remote communities, and our 2022 Local Government Workforce Skills and Capability Survey showed councils are the biggest employer of First Nations people in the Northern Territory.

We strongly believe councils should be an eligible employer through this new program, and look forward to working with the Government to deliver on its promise.

2024 NGA motions deadline extended

Finally, a reminder to all councils we have extended the deadline for submitting motions to our 2024 National General Assembly (NGA) until 30 April.

Your councils now have an extra month to consider the issues you will bring to Canberra for discussion and debate at our NGA from 2-4 July.  Motions can be submitted here and must meet the criteria outlined in our discussion paper.

Registrations are also open for the 2024 NGA, including the Regional Forum, and the Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG) on 5 July.

Click here to register your attendance in July.