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Local government and planning on national agenda.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Wilson Tuckey MP Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government

15 July 2003 WT52/2003


Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Wilson Tuckey, has welcomed the commitment of Local Government and Planning Ministers and the Australian Local Government Association to address the critical issues facing local government and urban planners.

The inaugural meeting of the Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council was held in Darwin today.

Mr Tuckey said the Council had already begun to address key issues such as water recycling, the better integration of land use and transport planning, and funding arrangements to ensure the viability of local government.

"As one of the driest continents on Earth, Australia faces huge challenges in making best use of our limited water resources. The drought we are currently facing vividly illustrates the fickle nature of our access to water," Mr Tuckey said.

"While significant advances have been made in adopting environmentally sustainable water management practices, we need to do more to better use and re-use our water - we must become a nation of water recyclers.

"This Council has agreed for the need to establish national guidelines for water recycling and water-sensitive urban design, and to support the inclusion of water recycling in the COAG-initiated National Water Reform Framework."

Minister Tuckey said the Council had also endorsed a National Charter of Integrated Land Use and Transport Planning, the simple aim of which was to make cities and towns more livable.

"This Charter will help ensure that transport planning and land-use planning are considered together, to improve peoples' access to services, widen transport choice, maximise investment in infrastructure, and create safer and healthier communities."

Minister Tuckey said Ministers had also gained a clearer understanding of the financial hardships confronting many local government councils, particularly those in rural and remote areas, following an address by David Hawker, chair of the local government and cost-shifting inquiry.

"Many councils are facing very real financial difficulties having taken on more functions and responsibilities, many of which have been handed to them by the States, without the

capacity to raise the revenue to fund these new services.

"We are all in the business of promoting effective and efficient local government. This Council meeting provided an important opportunity for Ministers to discuss the issues that are a barrier to this.

"I understand the Inquiry will present its findings by the end of the year and I look forward to presenting them to the next meeting of the Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council."

The Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council brings together the former Local Government Ministers' Conference and Planning Ministers' Conference to enhance the effectiveness of local government and planning in Australia and New Zealand. It will next meet in Perth towards the end of the year.

Media Contacts

Graeme Hallett ( Minister Tuckey's Office ) 0419 688 440