The NGAA visited Canberra last week for the 2023 Parliamentary showcase. Federal Minister for Infrastructure, the Hon. Catherine King MP, attended and addressed attendees, which included Mayors, Councillors and senior staff from NGAA member councils. It was a valuable networking opportunity as the event was also attended by federal ministers who represent the growth areas our members are from.
Our Chair, Cr Matthew Deeth, welcomed the Minister and thanked her for her focused approach to infrastructure investment. Cr Deeth acknowledged how the recently released Infrastructure Policy Statement reflects many priorities the NGAA have long advocated for, including the vital role of infrastructure in productivity and liveability.
He continued by sharing the concerns our members feel. Most importantly, for change to occur, local government need to be part of the discussion. “We continue to be frustrated by the limited opportunities to contribute our knowledge and understanding of our communities to infrastructure funding decisions.” In closing, Matt reaffirmed NGAA’s commitment to being a strong voice for our growth areas, “an incredibly underestimated asset for Australia’s future.”
The Minister opened with an acknowledgment of the way the NGAA has collaboratively engaged with government over the years. “It has been a really great success story. I think it provides an opportunity for us to gain knowledge and understanding of the unique perspectives [of growth areas]” stated Catherine. She also acknowledged how contributions from the NGAA can help in the government’s understanding of where help is required from the Commonwealth and where they need to hold state governments more accountable.
She detailed the purpose of the recently launched Infrastructure Policy Statement, which is to outline where the Commonwealth should focus infrastructure investment. These include projects to unlock national productivity, support freight movement, improve jobs growth and support people accessing jobs. Looking ahead, her priority is to bring all levels of government together to address the current housing crisis. This includes future grant funding programs with a distinct focus of improving housing supply, including connecting essential services.
While we process the impact of the recent Infrastructure Investment Program review, we continue to be a strong representative for growth areas at a Federal level, seeking to work alongside other levels of government as a trusted partner in decision making that impacts our communities.
We had a clear purpose for our recent trip to Canberra for the 2023 Parliamentary Showcase: to elevate the challenges faced by growth areas onto the federal agenda, foster networking opportunities for members, and gain deeper insights into the dynamics of their communities.
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