Case Study 5.1 - Australian Council of Local Government
On 18 September 2008, the Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, and the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, announced the establishment of the Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG) to forge a new cooperative engagement between the Australian and local governments giving a voice to local government on matters of national significance.
More than 400 mayors and shire presidents from across Australia attended the inaugural meeting of the ACLG on 18 November 2008, to begin a dialogue on issues of concern to both levels of government. These included local, regional and national infrastructure; local government efficiency; the habitability of major cities; the need to strengthen regional economies; climate change; housing affordability; Indigenous disadvantage; and opportunities to improve community wellbeing.
The role of the council is to:
- provide a forum for the Australian Government and local government, including the Australian Local Government Association, to consider policies and initiatives in areas of mutual interest;
- provide advice to the Australian Government on matters relevant to local government and local communities;
- contribute to dialogue on issues of national significance that affect local government and local communities;
- promote collaboration between the Australian Government and local government, as well as between individual local governments to address emerging economic, social and environmental challenges;
- encourage innovation and best practice in local government; and
- improve the provision of information and data to support the long-term development of local government.
At the inaugural meeting, the council established a steering committee to continue engagement, policy coordination and close cooperation between annual plenary meetings. Two steering committee meetings were held during the reporting period, in February and June 2009. The topics discussed funding initiatives and financial reforms. The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, chairs the steering committee meetings.
At this meeting, the Prime Minister announced initial funding of $300 million to councils and shires to build and improve community infrastructure and boost local economies through the new Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program. On 25 June 2009, at the most recent ACLG plenary meeting, the Prime Minister announced additional funding of $220 million for the 2009 Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program allocations. The department provides comprehensive secretariat support to the Minister in these roles.
Minister Albanese at the opening session of the ACLG, June 2009.