Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with COAG Leaders to address inter-governmental challenges
Last month I attended what was a very important and historic COAG Leaders’ Retreat which provided the opportunity for full and frank discussions between leaders from all jurisdictions on reform of the Federation with the purpose of delivering better quality services across Australia.
It was evident that all leaders were committed to substantial reform to improve outcomes for all Australians and I commend the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers on their cooperative and collegiate discussions at the retreat.
ALGA will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in finding solutions to the challenges facing all levels of government and improving outcomes for Australians now and into the future.
I was pleased to see the role of local government in the Federation explicitly acknowledged during the Retreat.
The significant fiscal challenges for the Commonwealth, States and Territories also have implications for local government’s role in terms of maintaining the delivery of quality community services and infrastructure at the local level.
At the Retreat, I sought support for a number of important issues for local government including a continuation of the direct funding relationship between the Federal and local government and recognition of the uniquely difficult challenge local government faces in asset management.
The Retreat was a vital step towards the development of the Green Paper on the Reform of the Federation, which is why I also took the opportunity to reinforce the need for the Green Paper to address the role of contributors other than the Commonwealth and the States.
In particular, I sought for recognition of councils and non-government organisations in the delivery of essential services and infrastructure whose efforts will be important if reform is to be successful.
I will work to encourage full participation by local government in providing its perspective on how the delivery of services and infrastructure at the local level can be improved and the role councils can play to achieve that outcome.