President’s column – 14 February 2020

Image shows President David O'Loughlin smiling in front of a black background

Restore our funding to 1%, fix the infrastructure backlog, invest in recycling, improve community resilience and tackle climate change risks.

These are a precise of the top five issues raised at this week’s ALGA strategic planning session in Canberra.

It was also an opportunity for noting our successes over the past three years.

These include an increase in Roads to Recovery funding to $500m per year – an increase of 42 percent.

There was also an additional $138.9m in drought funding under Roads to Recovery. 

Black Spot funding has almost doubled to $110m per annum, while the Bridges Renewal Program rose by $25m per annum to $85m per year – a great program for local government bridges, our lowest grade class of assets.

South Australian councils received an extra $40m for supplementary Local Road Funding for this financial year and 2020-21, an increase we’ve requested that the Commonwealth make permanent in ALGA’s 2020-21 Federal Budget submission.

This summer has shown there are ongoing and new challenges facing local councils and the ALGA board has responded accordingly with its new strategic plan.

We‘ll continue advocating for more Commonwealth assistance for disaster mitigation, additional assistance for councils affected by bushfire and drought, and support for greater preparedness, hardened infrastructure and more reliable communications systems.

I’ve received positive feedback from councils about ALGA’s advocacy for drought-affected communities, and despite welcome rain falling in many locations, the drought remains and we are grateful for the additional funding provided to many councils.

Under the new strategic plan, ALGA will continue to focus our efforts on strengthening community resilience at the same time as stepping up to the risks associated with climate change, both at the national and the local level.

The new strategic plan also reflects the considerable challenges facing councils in managing waste and recycling.

The ALGA board wants to work with the Commonwealth on product stewardship, industry investment, and using government procurement powers to generate crucial new onshore demand.

This is essential if we are to avoid the impending waste export ban being as damaging as the recent China National Sword bans.

The board will consider the final draft at its March board meeting.

Keep up the great work out there!

David O’Loughlin

ALGA President