Council Autumn 2022 digital edition

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT: SECURING A SEAT AT THE FEDERAL TABLE by Linda Scott, President of the Australian Local Government Association


he past two years have been incredibly difficult for many Australians. The Black Summer bushfires, COVID-19 pandemic and now flooding in South East Queensland and New South Wales have had devastating impacts on our communities. They have exposed cracks in Australia’s foundations and raised questions about social inequality, poverty and housing affordability. At the same time, these calamities have taught us what we can achieve when we work together. Through it all, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has championed locally led solutions to build a stronger, more inclusive and sustainable Australia. With the 2022-23 Federal Budget just weeks away, and a federal election fast approaching, councils are highlighting all that we’ve achieved over two difficult years, and how with more federal support, we can create more jobs and deliver more projects that will benefit all Australians. ALGA’s national plan, “Don’t Leave Local Communities Behind”, will ensure every council and community has the opportunity to participate in our nation’s postpandemic recovery. In the lead up to the federal election, our united message to every single candidate and key decision-maker is clear: Australia’s local governments are ready to work with you to drive a locally led recovery, to ensure no community is left behind. Together, local governments are advocating for whoever forms the next Federal Government to commit to supporting: ∞ An initial injection of Financial Assistance Grants worth $1.3 billion to drive national economic recovery ∞ A phased increase in the total value of this untied funding to at least one per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue ∞ A four-year extension of the Government’s highly successful Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program


Autumn 2022 // ISSUE 2

An increase in Roads to Recovery and Black Spot funding, and new funding to address road transport bottlenecks ∞ Support to reduce local emissions and better prepare for emergency events If funded, our priorities would create nearly 43,500 new jobs and add $6.46 billion to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product. They would enable our councils to invest more in resilience and mitigation measures so communities in Queensland, New South Wales and elsewhere need not live in fear of the next “rain bomb” or extreme weather event. Properly supported, our councils could minimise the impacts of climate change in local communities and accelerate efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. They could accelerate Australia’s transition to a circular economy and further unlock the economic potential of our local communities. We have a long history of working with State, Territory and Federal Governments to build better communities – and we have the capacity to grow those partnerships even further. Australians want greater Federal, State and Local Government engagement and cooperation to ensure our post-COVID recovery is effective and long-lasting. To that end, we’re advocating for ALGA to have a seat in National Cabinet so the views and aspirations of our local communities are heard and considered when decisions affecting their day-to-day lives are made in Canberra. Working together, we can build a stronger, more inclusive, and sustainable Australia on the other side of COVID-19 and ensure that no community is left behind. ∞

Cr Linda Scott is President of the Australian Local Government Association, the national voice of local government, representing 537 councils across the country.