Local Government New South Wales (LGNSW) has welcomed the new Federal Government reinstating the local government portfolio as a full Cabinet ministry, rather than an assistant ministry, and the appointment of new ministers.
Catherine King will be the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, while in the outer ministry Kristy McBain will be the new Federal Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories.
LGNSW President, Darriea Turley, said LGNSW is pleased to see the local government portfolio had been reinstated.
“We were delighted that the significant community leadership of our councils was recognised with the inclusion of local government in the outer ministry,” Ms Turley said.
“This move follows the City of Canterbury-Bankstown’s successful motion at our 2022 Special Conference, which received unanimous support from the sector.
“We look forward to a strong relationship with the new Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King.
“The new Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain, is well known to many of us as the former Mayor of Bega Valley Shire.
“Her outstanding leadership during the devastating Black Summer bushfires in 2019/20 shows she will be a champion in the 47th Australian Parliament.”
The new ministry represents a milestone for women in government with 13 in the ministry and 19 as frontbenchers.
Only two years ago, Ms McBain was a part of local government herself as the Mayor of Bega Valley Shire Council.
Speaking to the ABC, Ms McBain said a couple of years ago she didn’t think becoming a minister would be a possibility for her at all.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to represent the Labor party as a minister in government. I’m very excited about the opportunity to continue to raise the voice of regional Australia really loudly in Canberra,” Ms McBain said.
“We know regional councils are under more pressure than our metropolitan counterparts with the amount of infrastructure regional councils are responsible for, so I look forward to working with the sector, with the Australian Local Government Association, and with mayors from councils from across the country.
“It’s been difficult these past three years and some of our councils are under significant pressure from bushfires, floods and having to assist with road blocks during the COVID-19 period.
“Our councils have been doing extraordinary things over the last few years.
“What we know now is that disaster recovery is a core business for councils and they step up each time State and Federal Governments ask them to.”