ALGA calls for local focus in federal politics
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has published its latest federal election document, calling for increased local focus by all federal parties.
The document comes after recent findings of a poll published in a federal election advocacy document launched today have revealed that 81% of Australians agree that political candidates should focus on local issues and local communities at the next federal election.
ALGA President, Mayor David O'Loughlin, said a stronger partnership between the Commonwealth and local government could go a long way towards delivering the positive local outcomes craved by our communities.
"Many communities today are struggling due to the growing income inequality in Australian cities, towns and regions and more needs to be done to accomplish a more even spread of prosperity within and across our communities," he said.
"Local councils know the local people, their local businesses, and their local community clubs and organisations. So a partnership with local councils to strengthen our communities makes sense, because it is these people and businesses that create the jobs and income that are the key to innovation, increased productivity and economic growth at the local level, and in aggregate at the national level.
"The policy initiatives presented in our election document reflect our sector's presence in almost every part of the country. They are designed to benefit every community by investing in local services and infrastructure."
Mayor O'Loughlin said that an important step towards improving and maintaining the living standards of all Australians is for the next Federal Government to restore federal funding to local government to 1 per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue, levels last seen in 1996.
"The erosion of the Financial Assistance Grants to councils seems to have slipped under the radar for successive governments so far," he said.
"The result, of course, is that councils are getting less money from the federal government to address their local priorities and fund the roads, parks, libraries and other assets that make up the fabric of our local communities.
"Something must be done to fix the sustained decline in Financial Assistance Grants funding and the next government must stand up and do something about it."
ALGA has called on all politicians to deliver for local communities, through a partnership with local government, by supporting its policy initiatives at the federal election.