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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. 

 
Federal Priorities Aligning with NGAA's Mission 

It was encouraging to hear from the Minister of Infrastructure, the Hon. Catherine King, who recently launched the Infrastructure Policy Statement and the outcome of the Infrastructure Investment Program review. Stating that “the Government is now committed to a credible and sustainable pipeline of projects which support a range of economic and social objectives.” The focus on productivity, sustainability and liveability strongly resonates with NGAA’s mission.   

We applaud the increased funding for the Roads to Recovery program, recognising the pivotal role it plays in expanding local councils' capacity. However, as the voices of our members echoed, there remains more work to be done.

 

Member Voices: A Resounding Call for Action 

The challenges articulated by our members during discussions reflect the pulse of growth areas: 

  • Insufficient Funding: Our members are grappling with the harsh reality of insufficient funding for critical infrastructure projects. The expectation to achieve substantial results with limited resources is a common struggle.  
  • Negotiation Challenges: Councils face an uphill battle when negotiating with State Governments for funding. Their expertise is often overlooked, and growth areas’ current pressing needs are increasingly deemed less of a priority than areas with future potential for densification. 
  • Infrastructure Deficit: The existing infrastructure deficit raises critical questions about how growth areas will contribute to meeting the government’s housing accord target of 1.2 million homes over the next five years. Leaving many wondering whether there is planned funding for essential infrastructure and services to align with these ambitious housing targets.  
  • Uncertainty Post-IIP Review: The outcome of the Infrastructure Investment Program review has introduced significant uncertainties. Projects left without funding will have profound impacts on growth areas and the ability to gain funding through other opportunities is not clear. 

 

NGAA's Response: Turning Insights into Advocacy 

These insights are the compass guiding NGAA's strategic focus. We are committed to transforming these challenges into opportunities for advocacy. By channelling our energy into research, we aim to build a robust evidence base that fortifies our advocacy efforts. 

Collaboration is key, and NGAA is actively engaging with key partners and stakeholders. By incorporating the direct experiences shared by our members, we are ensuring that growth areas become a priority in the agendas of key policy shaping organisations such as Infrastructure Australia. 

 

Shaping the Future Together 

NGAA stands united with its members. The challenges may be shared, but so is the determination to overcome them. As we navigate the intricate landscape of growth areas, our commitment to collaborative advocacy remains unwavering. 

Together, with our members and in partnership with key stakeholders, we are not just addressing challenges; we are shaping the future of growth areas. By amplifying the voices of those on the frontline, NGAA is fostering a collective effort to ensure that growth areas receive the attention, funding, and support they deserve. 

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