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It was great to have the opportunity of the Australian Local Government Association President Troy Pickard attend our last Executive meeting on 1 May 2015. The team had a great discussion with Mayor Pickard highlighting the differences and issues that Territory councils face. He is very keen to learn more about how the NT is different and the challenges about our size and remoteness. We also spoke about the importance of the national campaign to restore the indexation of the Commonwealth Financial Assistance Grants. Locally, over the next three years the Territory will lose $3 million from the untied grant not being indexed. In addition, he committed to following up with the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development on behalf of LGANT on issues surrounding airstrips in remote areas such as ownership and the responsibility of maintenance.

While Mayor Pickard was here, he also attended the Local Government Managers Australia’s National Congress. The congress was held in Darwin and local government representatives from across Australia came for the annual two day conference. They heard from keynote speakers such as veteran journalist George Negus, social commentator Jane Caro, and former Minister Dr Barry Jones AC.

The 5th Indigenous Employment and Leadership in Local Government Roundtable was recently held in Darwin. The roundtable was attended by local government practitioners from across Australia. It provided a good opportunity to showcase the unique nature of Indigenous participation in local government in the Northern Territory. There was much discussion on ways to improve engagement and consultation with Indigenous and non-Indigenous local government representatives and other stakeholders. I’m looking forward to reading the communique resulting from the roundtable.

On a final note, I encourage all councils to nominate past and current elected members for LGANT’s long service awards. These awards will be presented at our Annual General Meeting in Darwin this November. The certificates are to recognise the commitment they have shown to their communities over many years.

Damien Ryan, President
Local Government Association of the Northern Territory

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