President’s Update – 29 January 2024

I hope you all enjoyed the Australia Day long weekend.

For many communities this is a time of celebration, yet for others, it can be a difficult day. As the debate rages about our national day, ALGA has consistently advocated for the right of councils to choose when we hold our citizenship ceremonies and will continue to do so.

Supporting Councils Experiencing Natural Disasters

Our thoughts are with the communities that have already been impacted by floods, cyclones and bushfires this year – and those with imminent threats.

Having successfully advocated on your behalf for disaster prevention funding, it is important for you to know that applications are now open for the second round of the Government’s Disaster Ready Fund.

I urge all councils in high-risk areas to submit their mitigation projects through their state or territory government.

It is crucial that we build back better to reduce the impact of future events, and ALGA will continue to advocate for betterment principles to be more effectively incorporated into recovery funding arrangements.

Supporting Your Federal Budget Priorities

Last week ALGA provided our 2024-25 Federal Budget Submission to Treasury, outlining a range of opportunities for Australia’s 537 councils to work with the Government on national priorities.

Restoring Financial Assistance Grants to at least one percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue remains our number one priority.

This would allow us to continue to deliver and expand on the many free and low-cost services we offer in our communities, providing cost of living relief to millions of Australians.

This Government has promised “fair increases” to Financial Assistance Grants, and we look forward to them following through on this pre-election commitment.

2024 National General Assembly

Our 2024 National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) will be held in Canberra from 2-4 July, and registrations will open in the coming days.

We’ve got a great lineup of speakers already confirmed, including popular political commentator Annabel Crabb, who will talk about the current state of democracy and civic engagement.

One of the highlights of our annual conference is the debate on motions sessions, where we come together to consider the big issues for our communities and nation.

I encourage all councils to consider the motions they can bring to Canberra this July and download our motions discussion paper for more information.

Taking Action on Affordable Housing

The lack of affordable housing remains a serious concern, and councils are committed to being part of the solution to this growing crisis.

Next week I’m speaking at the Regional Australian Institute’s National Regional Housing Summit, where I’ll highlight some of the great work councils are doing, and the importance of not only building more affordable housing, but also healthy and connected communities.