Editorial: No response to 10 Point Plan

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) through its election document ‘A 10 Point Plan to Reinvigorate Local Communities’ has called on major political Parties to commit to the Constitutional recognition of Local Government, provide one per cent of direct taxation revenue to Councils and establish a Local Community Infrastructure Renewals Fund. The plan is available on the ALGA website at www.alga.asn.au

ALGA is also posting on its website, under various key headings, the major policy announcements by the various parties as soon as they become available. These are well worth checking on a regular basis.

At the time of going to press and half way through the campaign, neither the Coalition nor Labor had formally responded to ALGA’s 10 Point Plan.

Further pressure is also being exerted on those vying for the right to lead the nation for the next three years for additional funding for social and community infrastructure by the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA). NGAA is a coalition of 30 Councils representing more than five million Australians in fast growing communities.

With one in four Australians residing in these Local Government areas, NGAA is seeking $3.1 billion in Federal funding for vital infrastructure in these metropolitan growth areas. Representing a significant voting bloc, NGAA national spokesperson, Councillor Linton Reynolds, said that neither party has addressed the critical infrastructure issues residents are dealing with right now, let alone issues to be faced in 10 to 15 years’ time.

Representing one quarter of Australia’s population, NGAA argues that it deserves one quarter of our political leaders’ time, attention and funds, and is monitoring election spending and the travel commitments of the major party leaders during the election campaign through its ‘Quarter of the time, quarter of the money’ index. This is also being regularly updated during the campaign.

Independent research shows NGAA Councils need to spend an estimated $11.7 billion on infrastructure to meet the demands of their constantly growing communities.

Its member Councils assert that if the funding shortfall continues, current and future residents will be deprived of basic services, including safe roads, recreation facilities, community facilities and so forth.

This infrastructure crisis is no less pressing for the many rural and regional Councils around the nation.

Local Government leaders from Councils large and small must continue to put pressure on Federal candidates in their area to ensure that meeting these basic community necessities becomes part of key campaign platforms and has bipartisan support.