My column this week comes at a time of reflection for us as individuals and as community service providers. Today marks the end of a week which has included Easter and Anzac Day, events of great religious and national significance which have been celebrated and commemorated in local communities right across Australia. Councils and elected representatives will have supported these events through tourism related services and infrastructure, and local representation and event coordination, highlighting the central role councils play in working for the greater common good.
In terms of Anzac Day, councils throughout Australia will have worked with their local communities to bring the Spirit of Anzac to life and convene commemorative services and remembrance activities commencing at dawn. Later in the day marches by ex-servicemen and women throughout cities and town centres will have been held as the community reflected on the sacrifices made by those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.
Councils have also supported this important commemoration through provision of land over the years for memorials, and grants for the Returned and Services League activities. This year I am pleased that we have partnered with “Soldier On” as the charity for our National General Assembly. Soldier On is focused on helping to secure the futures for all those who have served and continue to serve our nation.
At the same time, these major tourism and commemorative events are taking place against the backdrop of a Federal Election in which councils across the country are united in seeking a better outcome for their local communities through our campaign for Fairer Funding and by championing the priorities identified in ALGA’s election document. We are now at Day 16 of the 37-day campaign and I want to encourage all councils to engage with their local candidates and step up their commitment to supporting a better deal for local communities both at home and across the nation.
As in previous campaigns, we are seeing a multitude of ad hoc and opportunistic promises from the major parties to support a select number of community projects at the local level but that is not good enough if we are to make headway on the longer term financial sustainability issues facing almost every council.
All politics is local. So seize the moment by inserting your own projects and pictures into ALGA’s campaign kit to demand more of our Federal Candidates, to demand a long term strategic partnership at the local level which builds capacity and resilience in our communities, and to demand a partnership that is funded sustainably and gives our communities a more certain future beyond a three year electoral term.
Above all, ask them to restore Fairer Funding to local government.
Safe travels for those returning home after an extended break.
Mayor David O’Loughlin