The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has welcomed yesterday’s release by the Prime Minister of the Government’s approach to planning for Australia’s future population, noting that the document is an important step towards a better way of managing the nation’s population growth but that there needs to be a matching commitment to funding local infrastructure.
The document reiterates the Government’s commitment to continuing to engage with all level of Government, including local government, and its release comes at a time when the three levels of government are working together on population issues through a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) process initiated at the end of last year.
“Planning for population change and, in particular, finding the right balance between population growth in metropolitan and regional Australia is of vital interest to Local Government”, said the President of ALGA Mayor David O’Loughlin. “For several years ALGA has been calling for a population strategy which takes account of community needs and capacities and which can also guide investment in infrastructure and services through matched funding commitments.”
“The Government’s focus on regional population is important but it needs to be matched by a commitment to fund the local infrastructure and services necessary to attract and retain people. ALGA’s submission to the forthcoming Federal Budget and our Federal Election document propose a number of partnership initiatives between the Commonwealth and Local Government which we believe are necessary to improve the liveability and productivity required in regional Australia.”
“Currently, local government manages 33% of the nation’s public infrastructure, including 75% of Australia’s road length, with just 3.6% of the tax revenue and ALGA is calling for a fairer share for local communities so that they can unlock their potential.”
“We look forward to seeing how this year’s Federal Budget supports local governments in regional and growing communities deliver on vital infrastructure such as roads, bridges, digital technology and community infrastructure.”
Roz Chivers, Executive Director Policy & Research, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), 0438 768 359, 02 6122 9414, Roslyn.Chivers@alga.asn.au