Speed dating for capital city mayors

By Lilia Guan
Capital City Lord Mayors from around Australia recently met-up in Canberra to discuss the latest issues and agendas concerning capital cities.
This year, the Lord Mayors met-up with newly appointed Minister for Local Government, Simon Crean.
In an interview with Government News about the annual meeting, City of Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, said the meeting, for him, was like a day of “speed dating with minister and shadow ministers”.
“We looked at issues surrounding climate change and sustainability,” Cr Doyle said.
“I was able to discuss [Melbourne’s] commitment to retrofitting buildings in the City.”
A presentation from Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Water, Barnaby Joyce on Infrastructure Partnership Bonds struck a chord with Cr Doyle.
“Large cities like Melbourne need upfront funding for infrastructure, rather than money coming in dribs and drabs from Federal Government,” Cr Doyle said.
According to Cr Doyle the Infrastructure Bonds Scheme was part of the Coalition’s Infrastructure Policy.
The Scheme looked lat owering upfront building costs through tax arrangements. Private infrastructure operators, State and Local Governments would be eligible to apply for the concessions.
“Before I take this up further with the Federal Government I need to make sure that I don’t take a rebadged Coalition policy,” Cr Doyle said.
“What I want to do first is get a model for this scheme and get a template that I can take to the Federal Government.
“If I can make a persuasive and compelling argument for the scheme it won’t matter where the original idea for the scheme came from.”
Cr Doyle said other than some of the presentations made by the Ministers there was “nothing new under the sun” in the topics discussed among the Mayors.
“We were able to piggy back ideas and share our network of CEOs,” he said.
“We were also able to work out some problems through the experience of other Cities, which’s always a good thing because you can become insular and locked up in your won town hall.”

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