Local Futures is this year's Convention theme, but what does it mean..?

Published on:
Friday, 7 July, 2023
WALGA updates

The theme for this year’s WALGA Local Government Convention 2023 is Local Futures, a phrase which will be the bedrock of discussion over three days in September this year.

But what does it mean?

We always hear about decisions being made for communities, not by communities, and the problems which come with this way of thinking.

The hallmark of Local Government is making decisions with the community, not just for it.

Local Governments know their communities because the connection with communities is deeper than any other sphere of government.

Local Government staff and Elected Members know how important it is to bring the community along with them when charting a path forward.

That is the essence of Local Futures.

When the community informs decision making in a meaningful way you get outcomes which respond to the unique circumstances each individual community finds itself in.
That means backing culturally safe health messaging in a remote Aboriginal community. It means modifying road designs to suit farm machinery. It means improving an urban park cherished by residents of neighbouring streets. It means lobbying fearlessly for new community sports facilities.

It means advocating for and making those small decisions otherwise ignored by blanket policy approaches, and ensuring the big projects are wanted and needed by the people they’re built for.

Local Futures means taking time to listen to ideas from the bloke who stopped a Councillor at the butcher to say g’day, from the mum who started chatting to a planning officer on the sidelines of her kids’ footy match, and from the school student who stood up in Council chambers to read a deputation about building a better skate park.

It means listening genuinely to everyone in the community to shape decisions big and small.
And it also means continually looking at new ways of working for the benefit of our communities.  Not change for change’s sake but being open to innovation that can shape better outcomes.

When decision making for the community starts in – and is led by – the community, we can find comfort in the knowledge that we’re united in working for the future of our suburbs, towns, cities and communities.

This is what Local Futures means and it is at the heart of what Local Government does.

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