Jun 24, 2009

Address to 2009 Australian Council of Local Government Dinner


Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra

24 June 2009

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

Welcome to Canberra and welcome to the second Australian Council of Local Government.

I respect that many of you have travelled great distances to be here, while some of you have abandoned sunnier climates for the freezing Canberra winter.

You have spent the last few debating issues at the ALGA National General Assembly.

And tonight, you are here because, the Rudd Labor Government wishes to acknowledge your contribution to local communities.

Earlier today, we recognised some of those contributions at the National Awards for Local Government.

I extend my congratulations to all of the category winners.

And later tonight, we will be announcing the two National Award winners.

You are also here today because as the level of government closest to the people, the Rudd Labor Government is committed to a direct partnership with you.

All of you have seen, first-hand, the affects of the global recession.

All of you have stories to tell. All of you have valuable knowledge which comes from your direct contact with local and regional communities.

We want to hear from you. We want to listen to your stories.

We want to talk about building resilience—our theme for the ACLG.

And we want to talk about the importance of infrastructure investment.

We also want to take that all important next step and build on the successes of last year’s meeting. We set a solid foundation last year.

Together, we are delivering the $800 million Community Infrastructure Program. More than 3,300 projects across the nation.

It is important that we don’t lose momentum.

It is important you keep your foot on the accelerator, and support the jobs of today while building the infrastructure of tomorrow.

And we must keep working together to identify ways we can strengthen our partnership. It is this for this reason that the ACLG was conceived—to strengthen the dialogue between the two spheres of government.

When you look at the Rudd Government’s Nation Building for Recovery Strategy—particularly the $800 million Community Infrastructure Program—local government has assumed an even greater importance.

The Community Infrastructure Program funded projects that you identified as local priorities.

These projects are improving the quality of life in your local communities, while supporting local jobs during these tough times.

Our Nation Building agenda also includes record investments in this country’s roads, railways, ports, schools and hospitals, all designed to support Australia’s future productivity and prosperity.

Local government is an important part of those investments as well.

The Rudd Government believes infrastructure investment is crucial in developing Australia’s resilience during the global recession.

So it’s vital that we continue our partnership. The responsibility of delivering infrastructure and supporting jobs in our local communities rests with all levels of government.

Your attendance here tonight is recognition of that fact.

Local government is integral to the delivery of our Nation Building agenda.

Tomorrow this theme of resilience will be developed, and our dialogue of ideas will begin.

But tonight we welcome you to the nation’s Parliament and once again congratulate the award winners.

Enjoy your evening.

I look forward to our exchange of ideas to support our communities.