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ALGA News archive 2017
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17 February 2017
President's column
In my President's Column this week, I would like to address an important issue that is facing our sector and that is likely to play out over the coming months. With the Federal 2017-18 Budget to be handed down in May, and no cast-iron guarantee that the Government will reintroduce indexation to Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs), it is important for our sector to come together now to lock in the Government's support and commitment to restoring the indexation as signalled in the last Federal Budget.
Call for council motions to 2017 NGA
ALGA is inviting local councils to participate in the 2017 National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) by submitting a notice of motion under the NGA theme of Building Tomorrow's Communities. The NGA, to be held in Canberra from 18 to 21 June, is an opportunity for individual councils to identify matters of national relevance to the sector and to submit notices of motion to seek the Assembly's support for these matters to be considered by ALGA as national policy.
Time running out to apply for Building Better Regions Fund
Minister for Regional Development, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, has reminded local councils and community groups that applications for infrastructure projects under the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) close in two weeks' time. Minister Nash said the BBRF infrastructure stream will invest in projects that drive new investment across rural, regional and remote Australia. "The strongest applications will highlight the economic benefits of the project and show how it will create ongoing jobs and strengthen the local community," she said.
10 February 2017
President's column
Financial sustainability, strengthening regions and cities, safe and productive infrastructure, and innovation will be the four key planks in ALGA's work and advocacy over the coming two years. At the Board's strategic planning workshop this week on the Sunshine Coast all associations were well represented and discussion was lively and positive about the future of local government and our key relationship with the Commonwealth government in block funding, policy development and program funding to achieve mutual objectives.
Progress on Townsville City Deal
Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, the Hon Angus Taylor MP, has welcomed the announcement that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will invest $20 million in the Ross River Solar Farm near Townsville. This investment represents early action on one of the core commitments of the Townsville City Deal: to boost energy productivity and establish Townsville as a leader in renewable energy through CEFC investment. The CEFC's investment will accelerate the development of Australia's largest solar farm
$10m a year to strengthen Indigenous Affairs Strategy evaluation
The Government has announced that it will allocate $10 million a year over four years to strengthen the evaluation of Indigenous Affairs programs. Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the multi-year program of evaluations would be underpinned by a formal Evidence and Evaluation Framework to strengthen reporting, monitoring and evaluation at a contract, program and outcome level. "The IAS has already greatly improved the transparency and accountability of Indigenous Affairs funding," he said.
03 February 2017
President's column
Next week, the ALGA Board will come together for a two-day strategic planning meeting to review ALGA's strategic plan, discuss the possible implications of Government policies introduced in the past year, and also address a number of other strategic issues. This important meeting will help guide ALGA's ongoing advocacy work with each priority reviewed, clear strategies agreed and new items considered. This meeting is also part of the process of developing an ALGA 2017-20 Strategic Plan and associated action plans.
Registration open for the National General Assembly
Registration is now open for the National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA). Under the theme 'Building tomorrow's communities', speakers, debate and discussions will seek to highlight local government's fundamental role in shaping our communities for today and tomorrow. The discussions will look at how councils, working in partnership with other levels of government, the private sector and the not-for-profit sector, can innovate and harness the ever-increasing range of data and technology to ensure their communities are best-placed to seize the opportunities of tomorrow.
$15.3 million to NDIS projects
The Government is providing a package of more than $15.3 million to help people prepare for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) through the NDIS Sector Development Fund. The Sector Development Fund (SDF) was established to assist the disability sector - including people with disability, their families, carers, services providers and workforce - transition to the new arrangements for disability support under the NDIS. The Hon Jane Prentice, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, said that SDF funding of more than $6 million was for projects in the Northern Territory.
27 January 2017
President's column
Happy New Year! 2017 is well underway and the year ahead looks to be filled with a range of opportunities for local government and Australia. This year the Government will reveal its refreshed regional policy, the outcomes of the Regional Development Australia (RDA) review will be known, new programs announced last year will be implemented, and we will see the current City Deals agreements taking shape around the country.
Strong representation from local government in Australia Day honours
The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Australian of the Year awards on Thursday night in Canberra, with the 2017 Australian of the Year award going to Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, an inspirational scientist and international leader in stem cell research. Local government was strongly represented in the Australia Day honours list through past and present local government councillors and mayors. Those honoured by being made a Member in the Order of Australia (AM) were:
ALGA calls on the Government to deliver on promise in May budget
ALGA has called on the Federal Treasurer the Hon Scott Morrison MP to deliver on the Commonwealth's promise to restore the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) payments in the 2017-18 Federal budget. The Australian Government estimated that the three-year freeze on FAGs indexation introduced in the 2014-15 Federal budget would strip more than $900 million from council revenues over the period up to 2017-18. Mayor David O'Loughlin, ALGA President, said that it is ultimately communities that felt the pain of this freeze

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