Local government ministers’ communiqué

In March 2020, the Hon Mark Coulton MP, Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government invited all Australian Local Government Ministers, along with the Australian Local Government Association, to meet to help co-ordinate the national effort on COVID-19 as it relates to local government. Since then, Local Government Ministers have been meeting regularly to share information about their jurisdictions’ response to COVID-19 and how they are supporting local government to respond.

As the level of government closest to communities, local governments play an important role in Australian life. They have been critical to maintaining and protecting the health and wellbeing of people during the immediate crisis, and will continue to be an important partner going into the recovery period. The Ministers wish to express their appreciation for the part local governments are playing in helping our country manage the COVID-19 response and their willingness to support recovery efforts.

The Local Government Ministers’ Meetings has proved a valuable forum for Local Government Ministers to discuss how the unprecedented and evolving COVID-19 pandemic is affecting local government. Ministers have shared information on how each jurisdiction is managing issues as diverse as relaxing supermarket curfews to allow re-stocking, legislative changes to allow councils to hold virtual meetings, arrangements for local government elections and the role that local governments can play in recovery. Ministers have compared notes on support packages for local councils, access to low interest loans and local infrastructure investments through councils.

2020 has been a very difficult year for councils across Australia, with the effects of drought, bushfires, other natural disasters and now COVID-19. Despite the pressures on all levels of Government, Ministers are confident that the local government sector is playing its part and will continue to play an important role in economic and social recovery.

Ministers have agreed to continue to meet monthly during the COVID-19 pandemic.