Always a pleasure to mix with local government. It was great to represent Minister Shelley Hancock MP at the Local Government Professionals awards night.

In my welcome remarks I made the point that 48,000 professionals across the state deliver the essential services of local government and now more important than ever, as we deal with the many challenges from the pandemic to bush fires and floods!

It was wonderful to see the annual conference and awards night able to proceed in person after COVID-19 resulted in last year’s events being cancelled and the awards presented online.

In my speech I reflected on the enormity of the challenges which have faced our State’s local government sector throughout drought, bushfires, floods and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government is only too aware of how important this sector is to the overall recovery of our State – with more than $12 billion spent on services and infrastructure each year and 48,000 people employed at our 128 local councils.

Despite these unprecedented challenges, we have seen our local government sector not only maintain delivery of key infrastructure and services to local communities, but councils have continued to innovate and achieve excellence.

While we have faced a range of challenges, there has been one constant – State and local governments working closely together to support our communities.

This strong collaboration and engagement between the two tiers of government has never been so important as we continue to recover from the social and economic impacts of these crises

Social and economic recovery and community resilience requires a strong and mutually beneficial partnership between our levels of government.

During these crises, we have worked together and listened and acted on each other’s needs, wants and aspirations.

The recent flooding is another example of our two levels of government working together to ensure immediate and critical support on the ground in affected communities and funding and other support to start the long road to recovery.

There’s much to be proud of in the local government space. There’s still a lot of work to do and many challenges ahead.

But the Government will continue to stand side by side with your councils and communities as we continue the long road to recovery.