Leaders from the local government sector are converging on Canberra for the annual National General Assembly of Local Government from 2-4 July and the Australian Council of Local Government on 5 July. 

The theme of the 2024 National General Assembly (NGA) is “Building Community Trust” which acknowledges the critical importance of trust in Australia’s different levels of government, its institutions and amongst its citizens. The conference program features a range of high profile and engaging speakers who will explore ideas about what creates trust, and how it can be nurtured. 

The NGA also incorporates the Regional Cooperation and Development Forum, which allows for the sharing of ideas and opportunities through both a mix of academic and practitioner insights. 

The Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG) assembly will put local government priorities on the national stage, with officials able to engage with cabinet ministers and discuss the opportunities and challenges being faced in their areas. 

In the lead up to the event, the Federal Government is also bringing forward $2.78 billion in financial assistance to ensure councils have funds ready to deliver the services Australians rely on. 

This represents 85 per cent of the Financial Assistance Grant allocations for 2024-25, which the government paid to states and territories before 30 June to flow onto councils as soon as possible. 

This early payment will help councils facing immediate cash flow pressures, ensuring they can continue to deliver for their communities.  

The 2024 NGA is expected to be attended by more than 750 local government representatives, including mayors, shire presidents, councillors, CEOs, and a range of peak body representatives. 

The National Awards for Local Government will also be presented at the ACLG Gala Dinner on Thursday evening – celebrating the innovation and expertise of the local government sector on the national stage.  

Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, said that local governments have been facing a range of challenges, including financial sustainability and economic barriers, workforce shortages, and natural disasters.  

“That’s why it’s important we stand side by side to identify how we can work together to overcome these challenges, which is exactly what we are doing by bringing forward these vital cash payments and hosting the ACLG National General Assembly,” Minister King said.  

“The ACLG is a core pillar of the Federal Government’s local government agenda, with representatives from 271 councils participating at the assembly in 2023, discussing critical topics such as housing supply, energy transition, roads and community infrastructure. 

“Through this agenda, we are continuing to work with local councils to ensure they can deliver outstanding services to communities and make their regions great places to live, work and thrive.” 

Federal Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain, said that councils go that extra mile for their community, which is why the government has brought them back to the table as a trusted delivery partner.  

“Getting everyone in the same room to discuss how we can tackle challenges and maximise opportunities has a huge impact on strengthening service delivery, forging fit-for-purpose programs, and delivering money where it’s needed most,” Minister McBain said.  

“We’re building on the success of the 2023 ACLG assembly and renewing our commitment to this key forum in 2024, because local government shouldn’t be an afterthought when it comes to whole-of-government policies.” 

Australian Local Government Association President, Linda Scott, said that the ALGA is delighted that the Federal Government has responded to its call and delivered an early payment of Financial Assistance Grants to Australia’s 537 local governments. 

“This untied funding is critical for councils and bringing forward 85 per cent of their 2024-25 allocations will greatly assist with budget planning and certainty for next financial year,” Councillor Scott said.  

“We sincerely appreciate every dollar of federal funding we receive, which helps to build and maintain local pools, libraries, cultural centres, cycleways and skate parks that are vital for vibrant, liveable communities.” 

Image: Wirestock Creators/shutterstock.com 

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