Local Government in Crisis was the topic of a summit I attended recently on behalf of the City of Unley in Melbourne.
As testimony that local government (worldwide) is in crisis the leaders of the summit sited the election of Donald Trump and Brexit. To build on this a key note speaker spoke of the crisis being faced by the City of London.
Curious examples I would have thought. An outsider being elected to the post known as the leader of the free world. A sovereign country leaving the European Union. The London Council, more like a State Parliament here.
Truthfully Governments, we all know, are in something of a crisis worldwide as evidenced by the examples given above. Does this drill down to local governments is the question to be answered?
Councils over in New South Wales it could be argued are in crisis. Theirs’s however is not one of people being disillusioned with them. It is under the pressure of forced amalgamations being imposed by the State Government. The people there indeed are actually fighting their State Government in support of the current Local Government model.
And back here in Adelaide the LGA has conducted a survey which has indicated that local government is the most trusted level of government in this state. A far cry from what I was hearing in Melbourne.
Local Government to lead the way, not Local Government in Crisis
Backed by these last two observations what I do agree coming out of the Summit is that Local Government “can” lead the way to correcting the disillusionment in Government that the Trump, Brexit factor shows exists. So far from the catch cry being local government being in crisis it should be local government to lead the way in healing public government relations.
In other words, I agree with the manifesto that came out of the Summit. A manifesto that rests on a belief that the state of the nation and the health of our society depend on community-driven action in the neighbourhood, not just decisions made in parliaments or boardrooms.
Put another way, the crisis facing governments worldwide can only be addressed by a localist approach. And that my friends is the strength of Councils similar in size to the City of Unley.