IN A first for the Rockhampton Region, Rockhampton councillor Greg Belz has been elected to the board of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), by his local government colleagues from across Queensland.
Cr Belz will be one of the two Queensland representatives on the 16 person national association board along with LGAQ State President Cr Margaret de Wit.
The primary task of the ALGA Board is national local government policy development and to advocate at a national level for the needs of the 560 Local Governments across Australia, including the 73 Qld Local Governments.
"With a Federal election due next year, 2013 will be a very busy year to extract agreements and support from all sides of politics for the needs of local government, so they can better serve their communities," Cr Belz said.
He said local governments across the nation need a fairer share of funding from the Commonwealth and States tax revenues to reduce their reliance on general rates income, continual rate increases and debt funding for vital community infrastructure.
Cr Belz said some of the key issues that have to be worked on at a national level include:
* Constitutional recognition for Local Government to ensure the legailty and continuation of direct funding from the commonwealth to local government
* A restructure of the formula determing Financial Assistance Grants to take into account Qld's unique infrastructure needs, as a result of rapid resource industry growth
* An updated system of Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements which locks in existing value-for-money benchmarks to enable councils to deal with future disaster recovery on a more certain financial footing
* Investment in flood mitigation infrasructure
* Collaborative partnership between the Commonwealth Government and indigenous councils
* A permanent Roads to Recovery program with increased funding levels and a commitment to indexing funding to reflect increases in road and bridges construction costs. The Roads to Recovery program is one of the most important direct federal funding schemes supporting local infrastructure. It is on track to deliver more than $8.25 million in direct funding for roads in the Rockhampton region over the 5 years to 2013/14.
Cr Belz said his ALGA Board appointment is also an excellent opportunity to learn what local governments in other States and Territories do well and look at their value for the Rockhampton Region.
Cr Belz is also a member of the Local Govt Association of Qld (LGAQ) State Policy Executive.