The 2017 National General Assembly
Tomorrow’s communities will be shaped by the ambition and drive of their people, and by the investments our governments make in their people, the infrastructure they rely on, and the places they live and work.
The theme of this year’s National General Assembly (NGA) ‘Building Tomorrow’s Communities’ goes to the heart of the role of local government in modern Australia. Key presentations will address how councils, often working in partnership with other levels of government, or the private and not-for-profit sectors, are shaping the future and responding appropriately to the challenges that lie ahead.
Achieving great outcomes for every one of our communities requires decision-makers at all levels of government to listen and engage, to be clear in our objectives, to be agile, and to harness the ever-increasing range of data, knowledge and technology to ensure that their communities are best placed to innovate and seize the opportunities of tomorrow.
In the Australian context, governments at all levels must focus on creating an environment in which people and businesses can innovate and prosper, both in cities and the regions. Government service delivery needs to be targeted and responsive to the wide range of needs in communities, and appropriate infrastructure must be provided to drive increased productivity as well as social equity.
Increasingly, Local Governments are striving, wherever possible, to assist communities to be productive, innovative and entrepreneurial, to help build resilience, create jobs and increase overall prosperity at the local level.
The Australian Government has shown that it understands and appreciates that Local Government’s strength lies in its capacity to identify and respond to local needs which are often diverse, complex and changing rapidly in response to evolving domestic and global pressures.
And as our focus on economic development grows, they can see that Local Government not only plays a significant role in the local and regional economy but increasingly in the national economy, I encourage you to explore this and other themes by attending the NGA, and by working with myself and the ALGA Board as we explore opportunities to strengthen the contribution that Local Government makes to creating the future.
The NGA offers an ideal opportunity to elevate local government issues to the Federal level. In recent years, Local Government, by developing partnerships with the Commonwealth, has successfully delivered over 55,000 road and community infrastructure projects. These projects have improved safety, productivity and community participation around the nation.
I have invited the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Australian Greens to address the NGA so that you may hear directly from them about their vision for Australia and its local governments. The Minister for Local Government and Territories and the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformations have confirmed their participation at the NGA.
The NGA is also your opportunity to make sure that your council’s view is reflected in the national priorities identified for Local Government.
The ALGA Board recently called for Notices of Motions for the NGA and these will set out the framework for debate. I would encourage you and your council to think through ideas or initiatives you would like to see debated at the NGA and become national policy, and to submit these as motions for the Assembly.
I invite you to be part of this important event, to learn from your colleagues, to be inspired by our leaders and to shape national policy, by registering for the National General Assembly to be held in Canberra from 18-21 June 2017.
Mayor David O’Loughlin