Local perspectives crucial for national decision-making
With Australian voters about to elect their next Federal Government, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) is calling for local government to be included on National Cabinet.
The nation’s 537 local governments were previously represented by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) until it was disbanded in May 2020.
LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM said the COVID-19 pandemic had laid bare the limitations of Australia’s federation, with widespread confusion and uncertainty over lockdowns, border closures and COVID vaccinations.
“Local government is the closest level of government to local communities and has a wide range of strengths and knowledge that other tiers of government don’t,” Cr Turley said.
“No one is more aware of what is happening at a grassroots level than local councils.
“The omission of local government from the National Cabinet impacts our communities significantly and denies the voices of Australia’s 537 councils to be heard.
“Important local decisions are being made without any input from a community level and considerations of councils.
“Councils play a crucial role in a number of policy areas including housing affordability, transport infrastructure and environmental management.
“Local government has also led the way in helping implement programs and initiatives around waste and recycling, Closing the Gap, family and domestic violence and climate change.
“It makes complete sense to have local government, represented by ALGA, back at the national table to have a say on policy issues as we know what is best for our communities.
“It will also ensure that the voices of our regional and rural communities are considered as it is important that all communities benefit from decision-making and aren’t left behind.
Cr Turley said it was also important local government was included in all relevant Federal Ministerial forums.
“As local government has been left out of the National Cabinet, the three levels of government now only meet once a year at the National Federation Reform Council.
“All Australians expect their governments to work together for their benefit, at all levels, across all issues that can improve their lives and livelihoods.
“We need to be able to work effectively with the Federal government to continue to drive a locally led economic recovery and make sure our communities bounce back better.
“Local government having a voting seat at the national cabinet and being included on relevant ministerial forums is crucial to allow for a better partnership between each level of government and will also help to create better connected and stronger communities."
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