The USU’s Spring 2023 edition of United has been sent to members. Check it out.

On behalf of members I presented Prime Minister Albanese with the Certificates of Registration of our great union who said: “I’m wrapped with the present from Graeme – being the City Council employees union way back there a hundred years ago.  I grew up in the City of Sydney Council and the community was full of workers from the council.”

It’s time for a fair Go for local government

It is time for local government to stop being treated like the poor relation when it comes to funding.

Back in May with the Albanese government set to deliver their budget I was pleased to be able to lead a delegation alongside ASU National Secretary Robert Potter, to advocate for an increase to Federal Assistance Grants for Local Government.

In great news for our members $3.1billion was promised for the 2023/24 financial year, with further increases following. There will also be a further $54.3million in new funding for apprenticeships!

Earlier this year I was pleased to meet with President of the Australian Local Government Association, Cr Linda Scott, Assistant Minister for Local Government Kristy McBain MP and ASU National Secretary Robert Potter, to discuss how councils and local government employees continue to deliver for their communities.

In a further win, at the recent National Australian Labor Party Conference the USU was able to win significant commitments for local government from the Labor Federal Government (see page 11).

In August we held our conference where we had the honour of celebrating our 120 year history with the Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese MP. Our Growth Conference followed on from a very successful Women’s Conference. Check out our conference reports on pages 4-10.

122 years after our constitution was written it is time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have recognition in a practical form and a say on issues and policies that impact their lives.

In 2017, 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders held a Convention at Uluru – the result of which was the Uluru Statement from the Heart. This powerful document became an invitation for Australians of all backgrounds to walk together toward a better future for all of us.

The Uluru Statement, among other things, asked Australia to consider updating the 122-year-old Constitution to finally reflect the 65,000 years of continuous culture held by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. That recognition should be in a form of the right to be listened to by politicians on issues that affect them – a Voice to Parliament.

It’s time we open our nation’s next chapter by voting ‘yes’ at the referendum on October 14th.

I urge you to find out more about this important vote. Find out why this vote is union business on page 15 or visit

We are always by your side.

Graeme Kelly OAM
General Secretary
United Services Union