This week is NSW Local Government Week.
It is an opportunity to recognise the significance of local government and the important contribution local government workers make to our community.
Local government workers are on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. The work they do in providing community services is critical at this time.
The work our local councils do will also be essential in getting us out of this recession.
We are going to have to rebuild this nation and our economy brick by brick, street by street and job by job.
Local governments are best placed to deliver shovel-ready infrastructure, and the Morrison Government’s community infrastructure program is insufficient.
That’s what we did during the GFC, and local government can help us do it again.
When the GFC hit, the former Labor Government worked with Lindsay Fox and Bill Kelty to collaborate with the local communities that had been hit the hardest.
They brought together local leaders - mayors, business leaders, community leaders - and developed local plans to get people back to work.
They also recommended the creation of local employment coordinators in each area, funded by the Federal Government. This was a person on the ground to help implement the plan and a contact person on the ground with Canberra.
We did it and it worked. Now we need to make sure local voices are heard as we recover from this terrible recession and that no part of Australia is left behind.
Instead, the Prime Minister excluded local government from the National Cabinet earlier this year. This is the first time in 28 years that local government has been excluded from the highest level of decision making in Australia.
Local councils know what their communities need – what will create local jobs and what will help get local economies back on their feet.
This week is an opportunity to thank local government workers for all their hard work, and acknowledge the important contribution they make to our community every single day.
MONDAY, 3 AUGUST 2020