PM ‘looking forward to re-engaging with local government’

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he is looking forward to re-engaging with local government and will re-establish the Australian Council of Local Government as part of this.

Linda Scott
Linda Scott: ‘delighted’

Labor made a commitment to reconvene the body, created under the Rudd Government as a forum for Commonwealth-local issues, as part of its election campaign, but this is the first time Mr Albanese has announced it as Prime Minister.

During a Q&A session after his CEDA State of the Nation address in Canberra on Thursday, Mr Albanese was asked how the government would engage with councils to deliver economic and social reform.

Mr Albanese, a former local government minister, said he wanted direct re-engagement between national and local government.

“One of the things that we will do is re-engage directly between the national government and local government,” Mr Albanese said.

“One of the things that we will be re-establishing is the Australian Council of Local Government, a body that brings together every local government … in Australia, together with the national government to talk about how those priorities and programs can best be delivered.”

ALGA ‘delighted’

President of the Australian Local Government Association Linda Scott said she was delighted with the Prime Minister’s commitment.

“This announcement shows the respect our new federal government has for the hard work and commitment of Australia’s mayors, councillors and local government staff,” she told Government News.

Mr Albanese also said he wanted a ‘reframe’ of infrastructure funding arrangements, taking into consideration that local government is in a better position to make decisions about this than federal or state governments.

“I think across a range of funding programs the key dynamic or factor was an electoral map. We have rejected that approach,” he said.

“I believe, for example, that community infrastructure funding, whether it be for local roads or local facilities, things that will drive local jobs, should be determined at the local level.”

Delivering programs to local government was more efficient than other forms of government, the Prime Minister said.

“They employ day labour, they have suppliers who are locals as well, so it has a multiplier effect in local communities.

“When you look at where effective programs can be run, whether it’s in housing, in a range of areas as well, that direct engagement is so important.

“I really look forward to my government re-engaging with local government.”

Council of Australian Local Governments was instrumental in funding local government projects as a means of beating the Global Financial Crisis in 2008–09.

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4 thoughts on “PM ‘looking forward to re-engaging with local government’

  1. It’s great news–however our local council (Inner West) is outsourcing at an ever increasing rate, to bigger companies that are not from within our LGA and which don’t focus on employing locals. Our previous councils did focus our ratepayer funds on employing locals, who are suitably qualified, to staff our needs. Outsourcing to private companies costs more both in terms of $$$ and in loss of job opportunities and local knowledge/experience.

    1. This trend, known as New Public Management, has gripped the entire government sector in Australia since the early 1990’s. It was driven by the fallacy propagated by neo liberal politicians that governments are inherently inefficient, and the private sector is efficient. Of course, the private sector has to take a 5-50% profit margin so this argument, even if true, is quickly undermined. It has meant government now has limited capacity to build or service anything under their own power, whilst the sale of public assets has topped up public budgets. The toll roads in Sydney are perfect example of this in action. So yes, Inner West is doing it, so is everyone else, and it’s a mighty big ship to turn around.

  2. Great news – hoping there’s technology, processes and standards included in that engagement model so we can start to measure national outcomes. And, that we are able to enable community platforms where people in the LGAs have a say and that processes and decision making is transparent. There is so much that we need to educate, empower and enable people in local communities to become involved across a range of community services that will transform financial and service delivery models across the community services ecosystem.

  3. While this announcement may appear to bring benefit to communities it has to be remembered that Local Governments are an instrument of the State. The Federal Government was created by the States to manage the matters of common interest and national significance such as international trade and defence. It is not the Federal Government’s role to take over State responsibilities nor to bypass the States in order to implement its own political agenda. This is a dangerous and unwelcome intervention in much the same way as the United Nations and other international bodies that have not been elected or appointed by the people are interfering and dictating policy to the Australian Government, the Australian Government should not be permitted to interfere with the responsibilities and policies of a sovereign State Government elected by the people of that State.
    We elect our Local Government to fix our potholes, we elect our State Government to manage our schools and hospitals, and we elect our Federal Government to look after our air force. If each level of Government stuck to their own responsibilities then we would all be much better off with less duplication and more efficient services.

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