Home' ALGY : ALGY Edition 24 2017 Contents THE AUSTRALIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT YEARBOOK EDITION 24 • 9
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce
myself to readers of The Australian Local Government
Yearbook. Local government is an essential foundation
stone for Australian communities. Local governments
provide services and amenities that create the places in
which people want to live.
As a member of the community who lives, works and
farms in the Central West of New South Wales, and as
a regional-based Cabinet Minister, I know too well the
huge impact local governments have on their communities. My
vision is to help build strong and sustainable communities that
our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come
back to, and this portfolio positions me perfectly to do that.
I am passionate about local communities, large and small,
urban and regional. Local governments are a valued partner in
the Coalition Government's drive to build better communities.
They have a big role to play in promoting growth and prosperity
in local communities. As part of our commitment to improving
productivity and building safer and more efficient transport
networks, we are rolling out a $50-billion infrastructure investment
program -- the largest and most ambitious investment by any
government in our nation's history.
We are investing in more than 1000 projects, including
upgrades to major transport corridors like the Pacific and
Bruce highways, and key regional roads. In fact, in 2016--17, the
Australian Government's infrastructure investments will total
$8.9 billion -- the biggest investment ever made for a single year.
In partnership with local governments, we are building
better bridges, fixing accident black spots and improving local
roads. Our investment is also helping to install new rest areas
and other safety initiatives for the heavy vehicle sector -- and
that means greater safety for all road users.
Despite the financial challenges that all levels of government
are experiencing, local governments across the nation continue
to plan strategically and budget effectively, collaborating and
thinking beyond individual boundaries, to deliver the best
possible services for residents.
For our part, the Coalition Government continues to directly
support local government through the Financial Assistance Grant
Programme, helping councils to deliver infrastructure, health,
recreation, environmental and employment projects. In 2016--17,
we have ensured that more than $2.29 billion in funding will go to
local governments to support them in their work.
I would also like to take this opportunity to commend
entrants in the 2016 National Awards for Local Government --
the 30th anniversary of the awards -- and to congratulate the
winners. The awards recognise local governments' dedication and
innovation in delivering quality services to communities in urban
and regional Australia. The government was pleased to welcome
private-sector sponsors Woodside Energy and Optus Business.
Congratulations also go to the 2016 National Award for Excellence
in Local Government winner, Mackay Regional Council, for its
Transforming a Water Business project. I look forward to seeing the
innovative projects that will be showcased at the 2017 awards.
Local governments face many challenges. They are often
the first to identify gaps in services, and are still relied upon
to meet a diverse range of community needs. As Minister, I
want to make sure our shires and councils remain in a strong
and sustainable position to continue this vital work. I look
forward to engaging with the local government sector, and
with state and territory governments across Australia to find
new approaches to government that will strengthen local
communities, and ensure that Australia remains one of the
best countries in the world to live.
The Hon. Fiona Nash
Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Local Government and
Territories, Minister for Regional Communications, Deputy Leader of
By Senator the Hon. Fiona Nash, Minister for Regional
Development, Local Government and Territories
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