President’s Update – 6 May 2024

Build up to Federal Budget

We will be closely monitoring next week’s Federal Budget in Canberra to see if the Government finally follows through on its pre-election promise of “fair increases” to Financial Assistance Grants.

The number one priority in our pre-Budget submission is restoring these vital untied grants to at least one percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue, and this is the Government’s last chance to deliver ahead of the next election.

I will write to all councils on Budget night to provide an update and overview of the relevant funding announcements for local government.

Local government inquiry update

A reminder to get your submissions into Parliament’s inquiry into local government sustainability before the end of this month.

While submissions were originally due on 3 May, ALGA successfully advocated on behalf of all councils for a four-week extension to 31 May.

We have also developed a new user-friendly guide to help you draft your council submissions, and highlight what you could do for your communities with fair and more sustainable funding.

IPWEA public works conference

I was delighted to speak at the 2024 IPWEA International Public Works Conference in Melbourne last Thursday.

During my speech and panel discussion, I highlighted how partnering with IPWEA on the National State of the Assets reports helped us successfully advocate last year for significant increases in our Roads to Recovery funding.

We’re currently working with IPWEA on the latest edition of this report, due to be released in the coming months.

Investing in road safety

It was fantastic to see the Albanese Government announce last week they are investing $21 million in the National Road Safety Data Hub.

Australian councils manage more than 75 per cent of Australia’s local road network, and improved data will support better decision-making enabling us to build and maintain safer local roads.

The Commonwealth’s Black Spot Program plays a crucial role supporting councils to address known high risk road safety sites, and last year ALGA’s advocacy delivered a 35 per cent increase in this funding, to be phased in over the forward estimates.

We welcome this new Budget announcement and are committed to continuing to work with the Australian, state and territory governments to address our unacceptable national road toll.

Regional banking announcement

Many regional communities will welcome Westpac’s announcement last week to extend their moratorium on regional bank closures until 2027.

We know the impact branch closures have on our councils and regional and rural communities, which is why we advocated for the Bank Closure Support Protocol through our participation in the Government’s Regional Banking Taskforce.

Supporting our libraries

Finally, I will be speaking at the Australian Library and Information Association national conference in Adelaide this week, highlighting the importance of our local libraries and how they’ve stepped up to support communities during this cost-of-living crisis.

I also encourage your councils to attend and promote a free webinar this Thursday about investing in street libraries.

The webinar is for community workers and placemakers from all levels of government, as well as individuals, interested in learning how Street Libraries can benefit communities.

Register here