The West Australian’s Chief Reporter Ben Harvey quizzed Madeleine King – Minister for Resources; Minister for Northern Australia, and Patrick Gorman, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister, in the State of Play session.

Ben has the ability to ask tough questions, while carefully drawing from his speakers some quite frank and forthright reviews, with his cheeky and charming observations.

As Ben observed, through their portfolios, Minister Gorman is the gatekeeper to the Lodge, and compared him to the Lord of the Rings Gandalf character, while Minister King, in her capacity as Resource Minister, has the job of making sure we can keep paying for everything.

She noted, “Resources are the source materials for Australia’s future, a future that has decarbonisation and renewables at its forefront and I know WALGA has been on the front foot with this transformation with commitments such as your Sustainable Energy Project, your Urban Canopy project, and the fact 50 LGAs in WA – 80 per cent of the state - have signed climate change declarations.” - Minister Madeleine King

Minister King acknowledged the challenges facing the rural regions of WA in securing and retaining skilled workers and affordable housing.

She complimented Local Government as the Government that sits closest to the people of Western Australia – “this makes you all very important assets for those of us in the national government as genuine partners in delivering the best policy outcomes for Australia.”

Both Ministers spoke about the forthcoming Voice to Parliament and referendum that aims to enshrine a body in the Constitution that will enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide advice on policies that impact their lives.

Minister Gorman called on Local Governments to be vocal in campaigning in their support for The Voice. The final word: ”You and your Councils know your communities best and we want this to be a moment that brings people together,” he told the audience.