Nearly a thousand mayors and councilors from across Australia head to the nation’s capital for the annual National Assembly of Local Government.
The three-day meeting, which begins in Canberra on Monday, comes at a time of renewed focus on the ability of third-tier government to deliver on the communities it represents.
While the country’s 537 councils are committed to facilitating affordable housing, lower emissions, better health and lower cost-of-living pressures, many are grappling with a revenue crisis, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) said.
Invest in the journalism that made a difference.
EOFY sale. One year for only $99.
COVID, the impacts of natural disasters, and limits on income sources were blamed for the lack of financial security.
As a result, some councils had to contemplate service cuts and facility closures, and preventing this would be the key focus of the event, the association said.
ALGA President Linda Scott said motions passed at last year’s national assembly supported the association’s defense in the run-up to federal elections.
“I am pleased to report that by working together to champion all parties and candidates, we were able to secure significant funding and policy commitments that will support all Australian communities,” he said.
The re-establishment of local government representation in the national cabinet was one of the association’s most notable recent achievements, said Ms Scott.
The association previously participated in meetings of the Australian Council of Governments, however it was excluded when this structure was replaced by the national cabinet in 2020. Labor has pledged to add local government to the national cabinet.
This year’s delegates will hear from Governor General David Hurley, Infrastructure Minister Catherine King and Agriculture Minister Murray Watt.