Thursday, 26 September 2013 12:06

Don’t let local government fall off the agenda

Media Release August 5, 2013

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils has urged both sides of politics to continue the push for constitutional recognition of local government, despite the cancellation of the planned referendum.

 

WSROC president Clr Tony Hadchiti said while the new timing of the election made the referendum unachievable this year, it was important that the matter was not deferred indefinitely.

“This is still a very important issue for our councils and their residents,” he said. “Having almost got this far, we do not want to see the issue fall off the agenda in the next term of Government.

Clr Hadchiti said constitutional recognition of local government was critically important to ensure the financial stability of councils.

“Many councils rely heavily on Federal Government funding from programs such as Roads to Recovery and the Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) to deliver essential services to their communities,” he said.

“This is particularly the case in regions with high numbers of disadvantaged and low socio-economic residents and in rural areas where the requirements for road maintenance far outstrip the ratepayer base.

“We cannot afford to have these sources of funding removed.”

He said the inclusion of local Government in Section 96 of the Constitution which determines Commonwealth spending would provide financial certainty and security to councils who would otherwise be totally dependent on State Governments for support.

“We need to be able to stand on our own two feet and negotiate with all levels of Government rather than be held hostage by the States,” he said.

“This is particularly the case in NSW where the state Government has a policy of rate-pegging in place which has severely hampered the ability of councils to raise funds to deliver services.

“And combined with increasing levels of cost shifting from the state government to councils and we are increasingly struggling to meet demands.

By including local government in the constitution it will allow councils to secure additional funding and financial stability to ensure that adequate services continue to be delivered.”

“We would urge whichever party wins on September 7 to make this referendum a priority for the next election.”

 

 


Media Inquiries: Karin Bishop, Deputy CEO on 0417 239 539

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) Ltd

Suite 2 Level 1 (PO Box 63) Blacktown 2148

© 2013 WSROC Ltd

T  02 9671 4333; F  02 9621 7741

 

Last modified on Thursday, 26 September 2013 13:54

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