Jun 25, 2009

Australian Council of Local Government welcome speech


Parliament House, Canberra

25 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 the second Australian Council of Local Government meeting.

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to their ancestors and elders.

There is no forum quite like the ACLG.

Cabinet ministers getting together with mayors, shire presidents and councillors from right across the country.

Today, the Rudd Government continues our partnership with local government about the challenges facing our communities.

Such as the global economic recession.

And recent natural disasters, which are likely to become more severe as our climate changes.

And we want to talk to you about the progress we’ve all made since the inaugural meeting last year, in particular, the rolling out of the Community Infrastructure Program.

I know that you’re flat out building and modernising more than 3,300 community facilities around Australia.

And you know that now is not the time to lose momentum.

The Community Infrastructure Program has already had a positive impact in local communities.

Take the now completed upgrade of the Seacliff Sports Club at Holdfast Bay in South Australia.

That project injected $95,000 into the local economy and employed local electricians, carpenters and plumbers.

Or the $17,000 provided for the tennis courts upgrade in Blayney in regional New South Wales. It employed four tradespeople.

The improved tennis courts will bring more regional matches to Blayney, further stimulating the economy.

And much as it pains me to use a Queensland example today, the $828,000 we provided for the Goondiwindi Natural Heritage and Water Park upgrade has employed a large number of local plant operators.

This is what our partnership is about — supporting jobs and delivering long-term benefits for local communities.

Of course, many of our communities are facing not only the worst global recession since the Great Depression, but also the ravages of natural disaster.

And the Rudd Government has implemented practical measures to help communities get back on their feet. Such as bringing forward Financial Assistance Grants.

So it is timely that the focus of today’s discussions is on how we can best work together to build resilience in our local communities.

Resilience means having strong foundations in place to withhold and withstand external challenges, like the global recession.

Resilience is also about how local councils react and respond to adversity, such as natural disasters and a changing climate.

Today, we want to have a genuine dialogue about building resilience.

Building resilience in our communities depends on the strength of our partnership and our dialogue with local government.

After this plenary, you will move into break-out sessions.

Each session will be chaired by ministers and parliamentary secretaries.

After the break-out sessions we reconvene here to look at the progress we’ve made over the course of the morning.

I know you will have a productive exchange.

Enjoy the morning.

Thank you.