Ladies and Gentlemen it is a pleasure to welcome you here to our annual lunch during the ALGA NGA.
I’d like to acknowledge Mayor Tracey Roberts of Wanneroo, Deputy Chair of NGAA, as well other Mayors and Councillors. I’d particularly like to acknowledge our colleagues from the Shire of Mitchell in Melbourne’s north who are joining us as guests today.
Last time many of us saw each other was at the launch of our election campaign ‘Catch Up with the outer suburbs’ in February in Parliament House.
On that day, we broke all NGAA records and were delighted to welcome not only the Minister for Cities and Urban Infrastructure and the Shadow Minister, but also 17 other Members of Parliament including other Ministers and Shadow Ministers.
The unprecedented interest in our campaign launch was a sign of things to come as we geared up to the May Federal election.
The challenges and opportunities of the outer suburbs influenced policy and funding commitments from both major parties, starting with the release of the Government’s Planning for Australia’s Future Population document in January.
The Plan outlines policy initiatives to manage the future distribution of Australia’s population growth and better plan and build cities that can function well for the people who live and work there.
Importantly, NGAA’s footprint can be seen within that major Government policy document, as we were sought out for advice and input from the minister on issues such as population settlement and congestion.
The 2019-20 Federal Budget in early April also highlighted the outer suburbs, with a range of commitments to improve infrastructure in growth areas, and significant proportion of the expanded Urban Congestion Fund going to the outer suburbs.
Member may recall that this time last year we heard from the Department of Infrastructure about the newly announced $1billion Urban Congestion Fund – and this year it is has been allocated an additional $3 billion.
Whilst that funding is not solely for outer suburban projects, I believe that the fact it even exists is a direct outcome of NGAA’s long-term advocacy for dedicated transport infrastructure funding for growth areas.
In the lead up to the election, our influence on Opposition policy was also evident. Indeed, the ALP’s Cities Policy, released just days before the election, directly reflects NGAA’s policy asks.
The document – for the first time- focusses heavily on the outer suburbs as a distinct category. That is no accident - NGAA was asked to advise the Shadow Minister on the wording of the document.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe the prevalence of the outer suburbs in the policies of both the Government and Opposition is a result of the long-term efforts of our Alliance. Over the last ten years, we have built considerable momentum – and we can all take credit for the advances we have made.
Now is not the moment to slow down. As Bronwen will outline in her presentation, we have plans to maintain the momentum we have built, and make sure that the needs of our member councils and their communities remain on the national political agenda.
We should all be proud of the effort we have put in to building such a strong Alliance, but there is one person I would particularly like to acknowledge today.
Ray Tame, CEO of the City of Armadale is one of the original founders of the NGAA and will be finishing in his role at Armadale at the end of the month.
Ray has been a strong and stable guide for the work of our Alliance, has served on the Executive committee since it was established, and I know our current and previous staff are grateful for the dedication he has shown.
Thanks Ray, and thanks to you all for your continued support. Let’s keep the momentum going!
Mayor Glenn Docherty
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