The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has been granted an appointment at the National Cabinet at a conference this week by Labor government, after a long history of lobbying for representation.
The appointment of Local Government to the National Cabinet was just one of Prime Minster Anthony Albanese’s pre-election promises, however the ALGA has only been invited to one meeting per year out of the four times the cabinet meets annually.
City of Sydney Councillor and ALGA President Linda Scott established that the ALGA will not consider Labor’s commitment to have been delivered until ALGA is a full voting member at all national cabinet meetings.
“Inviting local government to attend National Cabinet and the Council on Federal Financial Relations annually is a good start, but we will be working towards securing full and ongoing membership” Cr Scott said.
Also included in the Labor government’s promise was the re-establishment of the Australian Council of Local Government, which was established in 2008 by Prime Minister Albanese. The Council was abandoned by Liberal Government in later years, but is in the works to be reinstated with Albanese’s current government, as Cr Scott said she is working with Cabinet Minister Catherine King and Minster for Local Government Kristy McBain.
When asked if ALGA believe the Albanese government will follow through with their full commitments, Cr Scott shared that she is confident the Government will deliver on its promise to bring local governments to the table.
Additionally, the association looks forward to putting their membership of the National Cabinet and the Council on Federal Financial Relations on the agenda at the first meetings they attend.
“It’s also important that we’re represented on relevant Ministerial Councils, and I look forward to working with the Government to ensure we are represented in areas that councils can make a difference, including housing, energy and climate change.”
UNSW Professor says ‘all politics is local’
The ALGA advocates for a stronger local government voice to be heard in the National Cabinet, urging that without a voice, local communities will risk getting left behind.
“We know that we get the best results when all three tiers of government – federal, state and local – work together.”
UNSW Associate Professor in Political Science Geoffrey Levey shared his professional insight into ALGA’s ‘limited’ appointment to the National Cabinet.
“The inclusion of the ALGA in the National Cabinet is a welcome development by the Albanese government, However, it is hard to understand why this is being limited to one National Cabinet meeting each year” Professor Levey said.
“All politics is local, as the saying goes. The country was reminded of this with the recent teals experience.”