Collaborative efforts for the benefit of localities and residents

Synergies between local councils, residents, and several government entities are leading to enhancing the quality of life in the community

The Local Government Parliamentary Secretariat collaborates with councils and other government entities to create initiatives that benefit the local communities
The Local Government Parliamentary Secretariat collaborates with councils and other government entities to create initiatives that benefit the local communities

The Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government is in the final stages before launching the National Strategic Vision for local government. Following a number of consultation meetings with various stakeholders of local government, this strategic vision will seek to establish guidelines for local government with the main aim to address the needs of localities and residents respectively.

To this day, local councils remain the first point of contact for residents. The strategic vision will seek to improve the work of local government so that our families expectations are met and addressed more efficiently. Positive relationships between local councils and their respective residents are imperative in creating dynamic synergies. Consequently, such synergies allow local and regional councils to be catalysts of change for the benefit of residents. As experts of their localities, local councils remain a relevant function for residents.

The expertise obtained by such positive synergy between local councils and their respective residents is also extended when in discussion with other stakeholders, that include other ministries and governmental entities. As a matter of fact, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government is holding a number of meetings and consultation sessions, whereby feedback on behalf of the residents is communicated by local and regional councils. This feedback plays a pivotal role during the planning and execution of projects and initiatives in our localities.

Recently, this secretariat, together with the Association for Local Councils and the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects held a meeting to discuss public transport efficiency and traffic mitigation. All parties involved emphasized that local councils are important stakeholders in implementing the government's vision, ensure communities are safe, accessible and provide the opportunity for sustainable alternative transport systems such as cycling. This would also contribute to a secure and cleaner environment.

During this meeting, improvement of public transport was also discussed. Improving public transport would essentially change ways of how residents travel and to rely further on public transport rather than using their private vehicle. Local councils may contribute by providing the necessary expertise to establish suitable infrastructure in our localities.

Earlier this year, LESA, the local enforcement agency, in collaboration with the Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government, confirmed that €1 million obtained from contraventions were to be re-invested into our localities. Through projects that would provide safer localities, development of new spaces, embellishment of historical places and investment in alternative transport. In fact, this month, Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government, Minister for ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Home Affairs, Security, Reforms and Equality together with Isla Local Council inaugurated a new pedestrian street which was funded by LESA contraventions.

Another function of the local council includes that of preserving cultural traditions. After a hiatus of three years, due to the pandemic, a cultural programme for the historic day commemorating Saint Gregory was launched. One of the government's visions is to enhance similar cultural traditions so that they keep passing from one generation to the next. The collaboration between the Ministry for Cultural Heritage, Arts and Local Government and Zejtun Local Council, made it possible for both stakeholders to highlight important aspects of this tradition, whilst acknowledging Maltese cultural heritage and how this benefits the quality of life of our residents. Additionally, similar initiatives will seek to bolster the local economy and foster social cohesion. Hence, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government remains committed to invest in local councils to remain a pivotal stakeholder in preserving Maltese heritage.

Local councils also contribute towards initiatives that promote local produce. Together with the Ministry for Agriculture, Fishing and Animal Rights, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government announced the extension of the Farmer’s Market concept in the locality of Birgu.

Such markets enhance the promotion of sustainable agriculture whilst sustaining farmers to provide fresh local products to the communities. The success story of the Ta’ Qali Farmer’s Market and other socio-cultural events, such as ‘Festa Ċitru’ and ‘Festa Frawli’ are proof that such collaborations should continue.

The National Strategic Vision for Local Government will aim to build on these positive synergies between such diverse players. Working as one with Local Councils allows for the improvisation of forthcoming initiatives and projects within our localities for the benefit of all residents.

The government will remain committed towards providing the necessary resources to local and regional councils, to be equipped with the right tools to address the needs of localities and their respective residents to the best of their ability and in the most efficient, effective and sustainable ways.