Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly.

Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly. image
Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly. image
Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly. image

Myself, our Deputy Mayor and General Manager attended the Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly. This is the first time in a number of years that Flinders Council has attended this event.

I’ll provide a more detailed report as part of the agenda for the next Council meeting, but as an overview...

The four-day programme started with the Regional Forum, a day focused on regional rural and remote councils. After the Minister’s Address by the Hon Kristy Mc Bain MP, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, and her shadow counterpart, the   Hon Darren Chester MP, we heard from economist Nicki Hutley, who presented a state of the region seminar looking at how we can make the most of our resources of land, labour and capital; and how we can enhance our advantages by investing in infrastructure services people skills housing and social inclusion.

After lunch we split into different sessions. Whilst Vanessa headed to Disaster Resilience and Recovery, and Warren to Roads and Transport, I continued with Housing and Community Infrastructure.

We discussed the development of federal funding models to address local needs, the coordination of multiple tiers of government, taxation arrangements, new housing models, market intervention, and the differing needs of rural and remote areas.

Despite these differences, there are common threads amongst regional, rural and remote Councils, such as the importance of aged care and the goal of keeping people in their homes as long as they desire.

Days two and three were the main ALGA conference. Intergenerational Equity, Community Trust, and Politics and Civic Engagement were all topics of discussion. There were also motions to be voted on. Some of interest to our Council were the raising of Federal Assistance Grants from 0.5% of total tax revenue raised to 1% (ideally 2%), calls to re-instate the Regional Airports Program, and addressing skills shortages in remote areas.

Day four was the Australian Council of Local Government, a session organised by the Federal Government and opened by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. The sessions explored housing, climate change, service delivery and skills capacity.

During this time, we met with Senator Carol Brown, Assistant Minister Infrastructure and Transport to discuss both the Tasmanian and the Bass Strait Freight Equalisation Schemes, as well as the Senior Advisor to Senator Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism.

We also took the opportunity to chat with Senator Anthony Chisholm, Assistant Minister for Regional Development, Kristy McBain, Minister for Local Government and a few other advisors.

There was a gala dinner at Parliament House where the food was exceptional. I was sat at a table with Senator Brown, who informed me that she had arranged for the Freight Equalisation Review team to visit the island in September.

The last part of our excursion was a road trip from Canberra to Melbourne stopping at the Albury Waste Management Facility, which is leading the way in state of the art waste reduction.

From there we visited airports in Yarrawonga and Tocumwal, to look at airparks – where houses with hangars are part of the airport. It is an interesting concept and may have some potential for our own airport.

It has been a hectic week, but one where I feel that we have learned of some real opportunities for our community.

I’m off with the kids for a week, leaving you all in the very capable hands of our Deputy, who will be Acting Mayor until Monday, 15th July.

Rachel Summers


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