Q&A with Kristy McBain, Federal Minister for Local Government – Part 1

ALGA News sat down with Federal Minister for Local Government the Honorable Kristy McBain MP, in a two-part interview, to discuss the Government’s move to re-establish the Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG), allowing Cabinet Ministers to hear directly from the local government sector in Canberra this June.

ALGA: Minister, can you tell us about the importance of re-establishing the ACLG and why it’s a priority for the Government?

Kristy McBain (KM): We know our local governments are front and centre in servicing our communities and I know the difference between a thriving community and one just surviving goes well beyond efficient roads and rubbish.

That’s why this Government has committed to re-establishing the ACLG as an opportunity for Ministers to hear directly from the local government sector about the issues impacting them. In addition to re-establishing the ACLG, Labor is committed to putting local government on National Cabinet and on the Council on Federal Financial Relations once a year.

ALGA: We understand Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will be involved in the ACLG, which is interesting given he was one of the original architects of the forum?

KM: The Prime Minister will be hosting a dinner for those delegates at Parliament House on the evening before the ACLG. He is a passionate advocate for local government and understands the difference they make to the liveability of communities around Australia.

ALGA: What can people expect from attending the ACLG and what is the Government hoping to achieve?

KM: The opportunity to raise important matters relevant to their local area with the Ministers who are making the decisions. Some concurrent workshops will be delivered for urban and regional councils and an information session on the Voice to Parliament. But most importantly, following a few years where local governments couldn’t and didn’t meet in person, it’s an opportunity to network and talk about solutions and ideas that just might work in your area.

ALGA: The National General Assembly (NGA) of Local Government will also be held in the lead-up to the ACLG. What has your previous experience at this event been like?

KM: This is a great networking event with lots of interesting sessions and speakers, and again that all important networking opportunity. Many exhibitors come along and meetings can be held with Departmental staff, Members of Parliament and Ministers. I always enjoyed debating motions and understanding the innovative ideas being implemented in other council areas.

ALGA: The Government provides significant support to local government, can you tell us about the importance of this investment, especially in infrastructure and rebuilding local communities hit by disasters?

KM: In my own electorate of Eden-Monaro, I recently announced that eight organisations and local governments will share in over $2.6 million in federal funding from the $29 million Disaster Risk Reduction Fund. This will support preparedness and prevention strategies and risk mitigation initiatives—something that community members who have been impacted by multiple floods and multiple bushfires have welcomed. We want to be better prepared come the next natural disaster.

Our 2022–23 October Budget committed $1 billion over three years towards regional funding programs: the Growing Regions Program and the Regional Precincts and Partnerships Program. These programs will be delivered in a way that is fair, has integrity and is accountable.

Click here for part two of the Q&A with Kristy McBain, Federal Minister for Local Government.