Albanese hails historic ACELG launch in Sydney

By Rob O’Brien

The Federal Minister for Local Government, Anthony Albanese, has launched the Australian Centre of Excellence in Local Government (ACELG) in Sydney.

At a launch at the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS) attended by Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government, Maxine McKew, ACELG director, Graeme Sansom, stakeholders and local government representatives, Mr Albanese said the centre was a leap forward in the partnership of federal and local governments.

“This is a historic first for Australia – a centre dedicated to supporting and improving the way that local government serves their communities,” he said.

The Centre of Excellence will be hosted at UTS with consortium partners including universities, the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA).

Mr Albanese also launched ACELG’s first annual work program for 2010 which includes the first ANZSOG Excellence in Local Government Leadership Program; a national strategy to address the needs for small, rural, remote and Indigenous local governments and a national innovation exchange for local government.

Recognising the need for an institution that focuses on improving efficiency and performance in local government, Mr Albanese said that Australia had for too long trailed the rest of the world.

“Until now Australia has had a vacuum," he said. "Over the last decade a lack of leadership has shown; there has been neglect of the local government sector when it comes to the attitude of the Federal Government."

ACELG board chair Margaret Reynolds said that the new centre would usher in a new era of co-operation between the three levels of government in Australia.

“I think there has been a gap at the federal level in terms of its engagement for local government for more years than some of us care to remember,” she said.

“I do feel confident that the work that this new centre of excellence is going to do is really going to engage the three levels of government in recognising how much contribution can be made at the national level and to lives of Australian citizens.”

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