President’s Column – 2 August 2019

ALGA President David O'Loughlin gestures at a lectern

It’s commendable to see so many councils sharing what they do, such as this animation from Shoalhaven City Council (NSW) about the 40 beaches they manage, or this from Bathurst Council in central western NSW which highlighted a local theatre group.

On Tuesday 6 August, join them and other councils to make #PartOfYourEveryday trend nationally as councils across Australia participate in the 2019 National Local Government Social Media Day. Share your great stories so Australians see the sheer breadth and depth of the role we play in their lives.

It could be your leading role in local economic development, running your airport, local zoos, childcare facility or your thriving arts and cultural initiatives or tourism support.

Highlighting the breadth of our role is essential because too often politicians and the media reduce local government’s role to the three Rs – roads, rates and rubbish – and the only way that outdated thinking will change is if we keep telling the broader story.

It’s great to see that some councils in NSW have already started using #PartOfYourEveryday for that state’s Local Government Week this week – make sure your team is on to it too!

This week I returned to Canberra on your behalf and met a range of Federal Ministers in Parliament.

I raised the need for further drought support with David Littleproud (Water Resources and Drought) and the opportunities for a community infrastructure funding and population consultation with councils with Alan Tudge (Population, Cities & Urban Infrastructure). I also spoke about the need for national leadership on recycling and circular economy with Sussan Ley (Environment) and opportunities for funding partnerships to improve freight productivity and road safety with Scott Buccholz (Assistant Minister for Road Safety & Freight Transport). I appreciated their updates on the Government’s emerging priorities related to local government. Similar to my meetings with other ministers earlier in July, I emphasised how Local Government are keen to work with them on various shared priorities to unlock the potential of our communities.

I also had a fruitful discussion with Jason Clare, the Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, on the range of assistance he could provide the sector from his role in Opposition.

Today I’ll be representing Local Government at the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting in Adelaide. It’s an important ministerial council of which ALGA is a member, as local government is responsible for 33 percent of Australia’s public infrastructure including 75 percent of Australia’s roads by length.

Finally, next week I’ll be in Cairns for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting on 9 August. As many of the matters to be discussed at COAG will affect Local Government, I look forward to representing your interests, and I thank Cairns Regional Council for hosting it.

More on those meetings in next week’s snapshot. In the interim, keep up the great work!

David O’Loughlin
ALGA President