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The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is the national voice of local government, representing 537 councils across the country. In structure, ALGA is a federation of state and territory local government associations. ALGA's members include:

ALGA was founded in 1947 and, in 1976, established a secretariat in Canberra reflecting growing links with the Australian Government and an awareness of local government's emerging national role.

ALGA's leadership team comprises the President and two Vice Presidents. The secretariat is managed by the Chief Executive.

ALGA's key activities include representation of local government on national bodies and ministerial councils, providing submissions to government and parliamentary inquiries, raising the profile and concerns of local government at the national level and providing forums for local government to guide the development of national local government policies.

ALGA's strategic priorities are to:

  • strengthen local government financial sustainability
  • strengthen regions and cities
  • ensure infrastructure meets the needs of local communities
  • strengthen innovation and digital transformation in local government 

ALGA's policies are determined by the ALGA Board, consisting of two representatives from each of the member associations.

As one of Australia's three spheres of government, local government is represented by ALGA's President on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). This peak government body brings together the Prime Minister, state premiers, territory chief ministers and the ALGA President to develop responses to issues of concern to all three spheres of government. 

Major events

Major events convened by ALGA each year include the National General Assembly of Local Government and the National Local Roads and Transport Congress.

The National General Assembly is usually held in Canberra during June. The first National General Assembly of Local Government was held in 1994, replacing ALGA's annual conference. The expanded format turned the conference into a true gathering, or parliament, of local government, creating a united voice on the core issues affecting local communities.

The National General Assembly brings together several hundred delegates from councils across Australia to move and debate resolutions of concern to local government. Speakers include prominent local government leaders, national political leaders and leading Australian experts and academics from fields of interest and relevance to local government.

The annual National Local Roads Congress is held in November in regional Australia. Delegates from local government gather to discuss transport and road issues of concern to local government (roads owned and maintained by local government account for about 76% of the entire Australian road network). Delegates hear from political leaders, transport officials, leading technical and policy experts and share best practice experience.

ALGA services

ALGA provides a range of services to its member associations and, through them, local councils throughout Australia. These include:

  • information on national issues, policies and trends affecting local government via the Internet, newsletters, special reports and conferences
  • representation on national bodies including the Council of Australian Governments, Ministerial Councils, intergovernmental committees and specialist bodies, including United Cities and Local Governments
  • liaison and negotiation with a wide range of Commonwealth ministers and departments, shadow ministers and political parties, as well as other national organisations related to local government
  • policy development to provide a local government perspective on national affairs
  • special projects aimed at enhancing local government's capacity and status in key areas of national concern
  • lobbying the Australian Government and Parliament on specific issues and running campaigns to secure agreed policy objectives.

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