With the hours left in 2019 rapidly dwindling like a battery-operated toy on Christmas Day, here’s a reflection on ALGA’s advocacy over the past year.
February: ALGA’s submission on the review of the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code notes various concerns from councils including that it is too hot in some locations for ceremonies to be conducted during daylight. ALGA’s President is a member of the Treasurer’s Forum on Population, which met for the first time to consider different jurisdictions’ views on migration and ways to collaborate on population planning and data sharing.
March: ALGA’s submission to the 2019-20 Federal Budget outlines 13 initiatives developed on behalf of the 537 councils across Australia and the state and territory local government associations.
April: Budget 2019-20 – ALGA advocacy helped achieve increases to the Bridges Renewal Program (to $85m/yr from $60m), Road Safety Blackspots (to $110m/yr from $60m) and Roads to Recovery funding (to $500m/year from $400m). South Australia also received $40m for supplementary local road funding between 2019/20 and 2020/21.
ALGA launches the Fairer Share campaign to restore federal Financial Assistance Grants to at least 1 percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue, and its 2019 Federal Election initiative, All Politics Is Local.
May: ALGA wrote to all local councils inviting them to participate in the National Road Safety Week, an initiative that honours more than 1,200 people who are killed and 35,000 injured on Australia’s roads each year.
June: Almost 900 delegates attend the 2019 National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra. ALGA’s State of the Regions report includes a chapter on the worrying picture for journalism in regional Australia.
ALGA convened a meeting of dozens of councils during the NGA on 17 June to discuss how the ongoing drought continues to hurt their communities.
2019 National Awards for Local Government winners announced.
July: Commonwealth’s Joint Agency Drought Task Force is wound up, but ALGA continues advocacy with Minister for Drought, David Littleproud, and the Department of Agriculture.
ALGA attends opening of opening of new Centre for Population in Australian Department Treasury. The centre will help all levels of government better understand population changes in cities, towns, regions, states and territories.
August: The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Cairns, of which ALGA is a member, agrees to a phased ban of exporting waste materials.
September: ALGA sends a submission on the Murray Darling Basin Draft Terms of Reference. It also responds to the Climate Change Authority’s consultation paper on the scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change.
October: ALGA sent submissions to the Australian Parliament’s inquiry into Jobs for the Future in Regional Areas and also the New Skilled Regional Visas Bill.
ALGA told a Senate inquiry that new legislation to create a natural disasters emergency response fund ought to focus on mitigation measures before a calamity occurs, rather than only on recovery efforts. Later, the Coalition Government and Labour agreed to lift the Commonwealth’s proposed Emergency Response Fund to $200 million a year from $150m, with the extra funding dedicated to mitigation.
November: ALGA and struggling councils welcome Commonwealth’s latest drought assistance measures.
More than 230 people attended the 2019 National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hahndorf, South Australia.
ALGA officials appear before Parliament’s joint standing committee on migration inquiry in regional Australia.
December: ALGA President O’Loughlin participated in the Deputy Prime Minister’s roundtable on Local Government and road safety in Brisbane. The ALGA Secretariat attended a meeting of the Joint Council on Closing the Gap.