Will your voice be heard? - Presidentís comment

Article image - Will your voice be heard? - Presidentís comment ALGA President, Mayor David OíLoughlin

The Federal Government’s election budget handed down last month was a non-event for local government delivering no new extra funding for the sector.

Although we’re grateful for the continuation of key funding streams such as Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) and Roads to Recovery (R2R), the challenge of managing our ageing community infrastructure as well as our growing infrastructure backlog went unaddressed, and the Federal Government’s reduction in investment at the local level flowing from the recent freeze on indexation of FAGs was not remedied.

What’s more, the Government’s focus on freight missed an important opportunity by failing to address the first and last mile connectivity issue.

It’s critical for us to continue our advocacy to the Federal Government for our shared priorities such as restoring the quantum of FAGs, repairing our essential community infrastructure and building productive capacity through freight productivity investment.

It is also essential that the next Government provides more information and clarity on plans for our regions, how it will accomplish a more even spread of prosperity for our communities, and how it proposes to undertake this policy development work and facilitate better coordination between the three levels of government to assist Australia’s regions.

As there is a strong possibility of the federal election being called later this year or early next, we will all need to be ready to speak up on behalf of our sector and our communities on these and more issues.

The National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA), set to convene this month in Canberra (17-20 June), will be the perfect opportunity for us to get election-ready.

More than 800 influential local government councillors, mayors, chairs, presidents and officials will gather to fine-tune the priorities that the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) will advance in its federal election advocacy.

The voice of your council will be important in this process and the NGA will be your chance to contribute and join forces with many to lobby for our communities’ needs – don’t miss this opportunity! If your council has not yet registered to send any delegates to the NGA, I urge you to do so and to get your registration through as soon as you can at alga.asn.au.

I look forward to seeing you there.