President’s Update – 8 April 2024

New Governor General appointed

I was delighted to see Sam Mostyn AO announced as the next Governor-General of Australia last week.

Sam is a humble, dedicated servant of the public good, and a wonderful appointment by the Albanese Government.

Thank you also to outgoing Governor General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley DCE FTSE and his family for their service.  We were honoured to work closely with him, noting in particular his support for leaders and communities recovering from natural disasters was unprecedented and especially warmly welcomed by Australian local governments.

In recent years, we’ve been honoured to have His Excellency deliver the opening address at our National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA), and I’ve written to Sam asking her to continue this valued tradition.

I’m confident that under Sam’s leadership, we will continue to work effectively across all levels of government to build stronger, more resilient communities, and drive sustainable development across Australia.

Reminder: national inquiry into local government sustainability

A reminder to all councils to lodge your submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee national inquiry into local government sustainability.

ALGA will provide a submission on behalf of local government, but it will also be valuable for the Committee to hear a range of local perspectives from your councils.

The Albanese Federal Government made an election commitment to provide “fair increases” to Financial Assistance Grants which they have not yet met, so it’s important that this inquiry looks for ways that promise will be supported (including retrospectively).

ALGA’s research shows local government expenditure per capita has flatlined over the past decade, while spending by other governments has continued to rise.

This is despite additional responsibilities increasingly being forced onto Australian councils by other spheres of government.

By international standards, investment in Australian councils is low, and this is constraining our capacity to deliver core services, such as maintaining local roads and community infrastructure.

Restoring Financial Assistance Grants to at least one percent of Commonwealth taxation is crucial to ensuring sustainable, productive and liveable communities.

I once again urge councils to make a submission noting 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.

Book now for 2024 NGA and the ACLG

Last week, I invited all councils to book your tickets for our 2024 NGA, in Canberra from Tuesday 2 -Thursday 4 July.

Our 30th NGA will be our biggest annual conference yet, and we have released a registration brochure outlining the full week of events, including networking sessions and the Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG) on Friday 5 July.

This year we have a new addition to the NGA program, with four concurrent listening sessions providing you with the opportunity to have your say about federal policies affecting our communities. These sessions will be held after our Regional Forum on the Tuesday afternoon, before the NGA officially commences on Wednesday morning.

I’ll also be speaking at the National Press Club at lunch time on Tuesday and hosting our annual Local Government vs Parliamentarians soccer match early Wednesday morning.

Your councils can still submit motions for discussion and debate at the NGA, with the deadline extended until 30 April.  Please remember your motions must meet the criteria outlined in our discussion paper.

I’m so excited about this year’s NGA and I hope to see you there.