With the federal election won, Malcolm Turnbull has announced his new Cabinet and Ministry. From a local government perspective, two of these changes bode well for an increased focus on councils; Paul Fletcher has been appointed Minister to the newly created Urban Infrastructure, and Cabinet member Fiona Nash is now Minister for Local Government and Territories.
As LG Professionals Australia has been advocating, a closer relationship between the different tiers of government in Australia is an opportunity to harness the place-based knowledge and connections of local government, especially in area analysis, networked solutions and collaborative service delivery.
- Re-establish a federal Office of Local Government and expand local government participation in the design and implementation of all federally-funded programs directed to infrastructure, cities, regional development, community wellbeing and environmental management; and,
- Specifically, establish genuine partnerships with local government in the negotiation of proposed ‘City Deals’ (or similar initiatives) and new regional development programs
As such we will be closely following some of the key election platforms of the coalition government. For example, the LNP’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program offers $50 million in funding which local governments can apply for to implement innovative technology-based approaches to improve the livability of cities and their suburbs. Under City Deals, LG Professionals Australia hope all tiers of government will work together to create and implement their shared vision.
Local councils will also be supported to deliver vital services and local infrastructure, with $3.2 billion for essential road improvements and $2.3 billion in financial assistance grants. Other general policies will also benefit the local government sector; including greater access to government data.
As the Prime Minister implied as he spoke to the ABC’s Leigh Sales this week, the fundamental measurement is whether projects are being funded, and whether projects are being delivered. We look forward to learning more details about how local government can access funding and be involved in both the consultation process and the rollout.