The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has applauded today’s National Federation Reform Council as an important step in accelerating the economic recovery now underway across the country.
ALGA President Linda Scott, who attended the high-level intergovernmental forum with First Ministers and state and territory Treasurers, said she was encouraged by the consensus at the meeting that coordinated action was needed across all levels of government to enable recovery and to build more resilient and liveable communities.
She said local governments had already played a crucial role in dealing with and overcoming the multiple disasters of 2020 – including drought, bushfires, Covid-19, and the first economic recession in 30 years.
“We were first-responders to those communities hard hit by the Black Summer bushfires, and we moved quickly to support vulnerable community member when the health and economic impacts of Covid-19 became apparent,” Councillor Scott said.
“Councils got shovel-ready projects underway.
“We partnered with state and federal governments to roll out larger roads and cycleways and community infrastructure projects designed to underpin national economic recovery.”
Cr Scott said local governments – with their extensive business and service activities and their on-the-ground expertise – stand ready to do more.
She also welcomed the acknowledgement from the National Federation Reform Council for the Federal Government to increase its engagement with local government on the national priorities of addressing mental health, emergency management, domestic violence, indigenous affairs, and veterans’ well-being.
“This year’s natural disasters have laid bare the perniciousness of these and other issues like homeliness – and they have further underlined the need for concerted and effective action at all levels of government, Cr Scott said.
She said councils were involved in funding or delivery of a range of human services such as childcare and aged care –and worked tirelessly to alleviate homelessness and family and domestic violence.
“We welcome the fact that the National Federation Reform Council gives local lovernment the opportunity to work more closely with the Commonwealth and the States and Territories on these important issues,” Cr Scott said.