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Local government comes together in Canberra

Nearly a thousand mayors and councilors from across Australia make their way to the country’s capital for the annual national local government meeting.

The three-day meeting, which begins Monday in Canberra, comes at a time of renewed focus on the ability of the third tier of government to perform for the communities it represents.

While the country’s 537 municipalities are committed to affordable housing, reduced emissions, better health and lower living costs, many face a revenue crisis, according to the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).

COVID, the effects of natural disasters and income source limits were all blamed for the lack of financial security.

As a result, some municipalities had to think about budget cuts and facility closures, and avoiding this would be the main focus of the event, the association said.

ALGA Chair Linda Scott said the motions passed at last year’s national assembly support the association’s advocacy in the run-up to the federal election.

“I am pleased to report that by working together to advocate for all parties and candidates, we have secured major funding and policy commitments that will support every Australian community,” she said.

The restoration of local government representation in the national cabinet was one of the association’s most prominent recent achievements, Ms Scott said.

The association previously participated in meetings of the Council of Australian Governments, but was excluded when this 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 Secretary Catherine King and Agriculture Secretary Murray Watt.

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