A tradesperson holds a solar panel with yellow gloves atop the roof of a house.

Published on 02 July 2024

Onkaparinga takes local issues to national stage in Canberra

The City of Onkaparinga will advocate for the Australian Government to do more to preserve democracy in local government, fund immunisation and develop a national approach to rooftop solar at a historic national assembly in Canberra this week.

The council has submitted three motions at the 30th annual Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) National General Assembly (2–4 July), building on this year’s theme of ‘Building Community Trust’.

Onkaparinga Mayor Moira Were will join about 1,200 mayors, shire presidents and councillors at the assembly to advocate for the community on a national stage.

“This is a powerful and visible way for councils to influence the national policy agenda, advocating for programs and policies that will support us to build stronger communities,” she said.

The City of Onkaparinga’s motions call on the Australian Government to:

  • make a strong commitment to preserving a democratic local government in Australia, including national awareness of minority groups that aim to covertly influence and control elections and disrupt local government Council meetings across Australia
  • develop a national, equitable approach to improving access to rooftop solar for renters and landlords
  • fund local governments for immunisations at $19 per administered vaccine, for parity with the payments available to pharmacies under the National Immunisation Program.

“We’ve seen first-hand how the democratic process can be threatened when we were forced to adjourn one of our Council meetings due to disruptive and aggressive behaviour in January 2023,” Mayor Were said.

“That’s why we want to see the Australian Government to work with local government to explore and enact measures such as compulsory voting, improved voting methods and timing, more robust eligibility criteria for candidates, greater penalties for Council meeting disruptions, and compulsory live streaming of meetings.

“We’d also like to see the Australian Government reduce barriers to renters and landlords installing rooftop solar, addressing an equity divide and taking advantage of what’s currently an untapped renewable electricity source.

“Like many councils across Australia, the City of Onkaparinga receives no state or federal funding for our provision of immunisations to the community, so we’re also calling on the Australian Government to provide the same funding it does to pharmacies for each administered vaccine.”

The 2024 National General Assembly of Local Government will feature a range of speakers from across Australia on issues crucial to councils, with members to then debate submitted motions on Thursday 4 July.

Debate on motions is a vehicle for councils from across Australia to canvas ideas and solutions to the challenges facing local government and communities nationally.

Outcomes of motions provide the ALGA and councils with insights on national issues, gauge the level of need associated with such issues, and identify support required for emerging policies, program initiatives and advocacy.

They’re also sent to relevant federal government ministers for their official response.