Bringing back local government to the table

The Australian Government has today delivered on an important election commitment for the local government sector, with the Australian Council of Local Government held in Canberra for the first time in a decade.

The forum brought together mayors and council leaders from every corner of Australia to engage with Albanese Government Ministers about the shared vision of these levels of government. Productive discussions across the day highlighted the common goals of the Australian Government and local government leaders.

The forum highlighted the Government’s refreshed approach to local grant programs, including new community infrastructure grant opportunities Growing Regions and Thriving Suburbs. These programs mean every local government area across Australia is now eligible for to apply for transparent, merits-based community infrastructure funding.

It reinforced the urgent challenge of housing supply and affordability as a priority for all participants. The forum discussed the role of local government in driving local solutions to the housing crisis, and their role in the upcoming Planning Ministers Meeting as well as the delivery of the Housing Accord.

Achieving net zero emissions was a significant theme across the forum. Local government was acknowledged as leaders in the renewable energy transition and this role was supported by the announcement of the Community Energy Upgrades Fund. This $100 million Australian Government investment will co-fund energy efficiency projects with local councils.

The Australian Council of Local Government will be a regular event, with announcements of future events to be made in coming months.

Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:

“Local government is fundamental to the lives of each and every Australian, and that is why I was proud to establish the ACLG in 2008 when I was the Minister for Local Government.

“My Government committed to bringing local government back to the table by re-establishing the ACLG – and that is exactly what we delivered on here today.”

“Local governments are a trusted delivery partner of the services communities rely on. My Government’s priorities for cleaner, cheaper energy, more affordable housing, skills and training, as well as smart infrastructure cannot be achieved without the vital role of councils.”

Quotes attributable to the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King:

“The Albanese Government is committed to continuing to work closely with councils in identifying how we can work together to overcome challenges facing our country.

“This includes delivering on our commitment to establish a new regional grants program focused on integrity, transparency, accountability and collaboration – which is what we are doing through the new Growing Regions Program.

“We heard loud and clear that our suburbs are under pressure, which is why I’m so glad to be working with the local government sector on key issues in urban policy and community infrastructure funding.”

Quotes attributable to the Federal Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain:

“Local governments should not be an afterthought when it comes to whole-of-government policies, which is why hearing from so many local leaders at today’s Australian Council of Local Government is an incredibly important step in forging fit-for-purpose programs.

“We are committed to building strong partnerships with our local governments to improve service delivery, capitalise on our strengths, and tackle the big challenges in our communities – especially in our regions.

“Today’s renewed collaboration underpins our commitment to ensure money delivered through Commonwealth Financial Assistance Grants is equitable and goes where it is needed most – which will be critical to the future of local governments effectively delivering for our communities.”

Quotes attributable to the President of the Australian Local Government Association, Linda Scott:

“It was wonderful to be here with so many mayors, ministers and other colleagues discussing progress on shared visions we’re already working on, such as net zero emissions by 2050, while opening dialogue on new ideas. 

“I look forward to our ongoing collaboration to support councils across the country to continue delivering for Australians – from our most northern communities to the very south of Tasmania.”