Mayors and councilors across Australia will focus on how to avoid service cuts when they gather for their annual national meeting on Monday.
Nearly a thousand mayors and councilors from across Australia travel to the nation’s capital for the annual National Local Government Assembly.
The three-day gathering, which begins in Canberra on Monday, comes at a time when the focus is on the ability of the third tier of government to serve the communities it represents.
While the country’s 537 councils have pledged to facilitate affordable housing, reduce emissions, improve health and reduce pressures on the cost of living, many are facing an income crisis, said the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).
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COVID, the impacts of natural disasters and caps on income sources have all been blamed for the lack of financial security.
As a result, some councils have had to consider service cuts and facility closures, and avoiding that would be the primary focus of the event, the association said.
ALGA president Linda Scott said motions passed in last year’s national assembly underpinned the association’s advocacy ahead of the federal election.
“I am pleased to report that by working together to advocate across all parties and candidates, we have been able to secure major funding and political commitments that will support every community in Australia,” she said.
Re-establishing local government representation on the national cabinet has been one of the association’s most significant recent achievements, Ms Scott said.
The association previously participated in meetings of the Council of Australian Governments, but was excluded when that structure was replaced by the national cabinet in 2020. Labor has pledged to add local government to the national cabinet.
This year’s delegates will hear from Governor General David Hurley, Infrastructure Minister Catherine King and Agriculture Minister Murray Watt.