Constitutional Recognition of Local Government

With_Lord_Mayor_for_Wollongong_Mall_Wifi_presentation.jpgAs the Member for Cunningham, I believe it’s important to support good community services.  That’s why on September 14, I will be voting ‘yes’ to support constitutional recognition of Local Government.   I urge you to do the same.

For at least 40 years, the Commonwealth has directly funded a variety of council-run services.  These include aged-care hostels, parks and sporting ovals, town halls and community centres, childcare centres and libraries, to list just a few.  The Commonwealth also provides councils with funds for local roads.  In the last five years alone, the Roads to Recovery program has totalled some $1.75 billion.  Without this assistance, councils would be forced to rely on State Governments or increase rates.

The referendum will give everyone the chance to confirm the role of our local councils in providing the services we depend on each day.  The proposed change will not change the relationship between the State Government and local councils in New South Wales.

An amount of funding is being provided by the Commonwealth for the campaign and reflects the proportion of Members that voted for and against the Constitution Alteration (Local Government) Amendment Bill 2013.

The Government supports constitutional recognition of local government.  The Coalition say they support it and so do the minor parties and the cross bench.  The vote was almost unanimous with only two members of the House of Representatives voting against this proposal.  Notably, in the Senate, 7 Senators broke ranks with Mr Abbott on this issue, including NSW Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.

The Government will offer up to $500,000 to proponents of the ‘No’ case to put its case to the community.  The two Members who voted against the Bill in the House have been asked to determine the distribution of this funding.

The Government will provide $10 million to the Australian Local Government Association for the ‘Yes’ campaign.

On September 14 when you attend your local polling booth to vote for the next Federal Government, you will also be asked to vote on this small but important change to our Constitution.

The Government is encouraging Australians to support including local government in our nation’s Constitution and to SAY YES on 14 September.

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