President’s Column: 12 April 2019

The Federal Election and our call to action is now upon us. To assist, the ALGA Board has authorised campaign materials for your immediate use to help you win a Fairer Share for your local community.

ALGA has worked with state and territory local government associations to develop materials for use by every council in arguing that it is time to unlock the potential of our local communities by providing them with a Fairer Share of resources to deliver better services, better infrastructure, more jobs and a brighter future. The central plank of the Fairer Share campaign is the restoration of the Financial Assistance Grants back to a level equal to at least 1% of Commonwealth Taxation revenue – the level they were at in 1996.

The campaign material, available to be downloaded at http://fairershare.com.au/, provides a wealth of resources including posters and flyers which can be adapted and tailored by each council to include their own photographs and digital images of their local community, their people and their infrastructure. There are template letters, emails and press releases for councils to use in engaging with their local Federal candidates and the political party leaders.

The Coalition’s decision to freeze the indexation of FAGs in the now notorious May 2014 Budget has cost local government more than $900m so far and has contributed to the ongoing decline in this vital revenue source, a decline which must be addressed. But more than that, we need to address the fact that we did not have enough support in the Party room in Canberra when that decision was made.

Too many MPs and Senators did not know enough about the importance of councils and the need for the FAGs revenue and we have to reverse that. My message to councils is that ALGA’s Fairer Share campaign in this election is your campaign. It’s your campaign to get a commitment from the local member you send to Canberra in May that they will fight for a Fairer Share for the local communities which elected them. That they will fight for the local councils they will need to partner with if they want to be re-elected. That they will champion the local priorities that mean so much to people in their everyday lives. We must remind them that that all politics is local and woe betide any elected representative at whatever level who forgets that.

I challenge every council and councillor to make the most of our material and make your voice heard with your local candidates. Insert your own project names, road names, photographs and people. Tune it to exactly reflect your local needs, whilst tying it to the national campaign for maximum impact.

A strong Australia is built from the ground up with investment in every local community, not from grandiose rhetoric and vague visions. Let’s make an investment in the future at this election by calling on every candidate to commit to delivering a Fairer Share for our local communities.

Because All Politics Is Local

Mayor David O’Loughlin
ALGA President