Governor-general hosts flood victims in first meeting

Governor-General Sam Mostyn has hosted locals from flood-ravaged NSW during her first meeting in the top job, marking the beginning of a term focused on empathy and care for ordinary Australians.

Ms Mostyn was warmly received as she addressed the Australian Local Government Association's (ALGA) national general assembly on Wednesday, her first public engagement since being sworn-in two days ago.

Describing her first day in her new office, Ms Mostyn said she met with Lismore mayor Steve Krieg and deputy mayor Jeri Hall to discuss the regional city's continued recovery after the catastrophic 2022 floods.

Governor-General Sam Mostyn
Governor-General Sam Mostyn says communities are craving kindness and care. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

"Our meeting and discussion was a great example of how trust is built and reflects what I have heard across the country in recent months - communities crave kindness and care," Ms Mostyn told the gathering of the nation's councillors in Canberra.

"They seek empathy from those with power over the decisions that affect them and they deserve respect and engagement.

"I also heard repeatedly that Australians desire unity and optimism."

One of her priorities as governor-general will be elevating the voices of young and marginalised people, something that is at the core of local leadership.

"Despite our young people having grown up amongst the huge dislocation of COVID, having experienced tough economic challenges and a lot of mental health stresses, it's young Australians that teach us so much and they are so engaged with local government.

"For our democracy to work well, we need to let all our citizens learn how our democracy works and particularly at the local government level and particularly through the eyes of experiences of young people."

Acknowledging the work of her predecessor David Hurley in visiting many disaster-affected regions, Ms Mostyn said she will travel far and wide too.

"I want to visit all of you all around the country and be visible, listen to you when I come to visit, and then take your messages back where I can to whoever I can."

The national general assembly is marking its 30th year, with mayors and councillors gathering from every Australian state and territory.

ALGA president Linda Scott praised Mr Hurley's passion for regional areas.

"He spent time with many of you, particularly in your most difficult, trying times, for you personally and your communities," she said.

Ms Mostyn's vision for a caring nation complemented the work of Australian communities, Cr Scott said.

"I can think of no better descriptor for the work of local government."