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Community deserves a voice

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Many governmental decisions have a profound impact on communities. Therefore, it stands to reason that the level of government closest to community would have a seat at National Cabinet.

And yet, it does not.

This election the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is calling for a Local Government Minister to be included in Federal Cabinet and for local government to have a representative on National Cabinet.

National Cabinet was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic, consisting of the Prime Minister and the State Premiers. It has now permanently replaced the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The nation’s 537 local governments were previously represented by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) on COAG, until it was disbanded in May 2020.

MAV President Cr David Clark said the COVID-19 pandemic had laid bare the limitations of Australia’s federation, exposing how little State borders were relevant to how people lived, did business and connected with their communities of interest.

As individual States responded to the pandemic, it was local people in these border communities who suffered the brunt of the dislocation, disruption and difficulty through 2020 and 2021.

Local Government through the ALGA was the one way these voices could be heard at National Cabinet, yet those voices were deliberated excluded.

“Communities deserve a say in the decisions that impact them, especially those formulated in National Cabinet. It is in the national interest to ensure the voice of local communities is heard.

“When governments work together at all levels and across all issues, then we’re all in a better position to support our communities through a crisis,” Cr Clark concluded.

For further information, contact the MAV Strategic Communications team on (03) 9667 5590.