News

Labor MPs in push for referendum on local government

NSW Local Government Association president Keith Rhoades.
NSW Local Government Association president Keith Rhoades. Contributed

SEVERAL Federal Labor MPs have recommended a referendum on the constitutional recognition of local government be completed this year, despite warnings the vote may not be successful.

After a public hearing on the issue last week, a joint parliamentary committee inquiry has brought down a preliminary report recommending a national vote be held in 2013.

Coalition MPs argue that the report, which has been brought down even before the public submission period for the inquiry has been completed, could jeopardise the vote.

Chaired by New South Wales MP Michelle Rowland, the committee recommended the Gillard Government start negotiations immediately with states and territories in a bid to get a successful vote later this year.

But the recommendations come only days after senior representatives of the Australian Local Government Association warned the political environment associated with the Federal Election this year might jeopardise the vote.

ALGA vice-president and president of the NSW Local Government Association Keith Rhoades told the committee last week the election, and a belated decision in a High Court case, may mean the government has missed the boat for this year.

Mr Rhoades said a delayed decision on the High Court chaplains' case - which challenged the constitutionality of Commonwealth funding programs - could jeopardise the referendum, which would rely on councils being recognised for direct financial payments.

The vote would mean the majority of councils' funding would not need to be channelled through state government coffers.

And while most state and territory governments support the idea of the proposal, the Commonwealth has not begun negotiations with the second tier of government.

Since the committee's report was released Thursday morning, a Griffith University constitutional law expert, Professor A.J. Brown, has welcomed the proposal.

Prof Brown was a member of the Federal Government's 2011 Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government, and spoke during the public hearing last week.

He said a 2013 vote was an historic opportunity to improve the mechanics and operations of Australia's federal system.

But several Coalition MPs and Senators, who also sat on the committee, released a dissenting report to the recommendations.

The conservative committee members said while the change was worthy of support, a well-informed public would be essential to ensure the vote succeeded.

"Coalition members therefore consider that prior to a change to the Constitution being put to the people, parliament should take all reasonable steps to maximise the likelihood that all voting Australians understand the questions," the dissenting report reads.

Topics:  australian government, labor, local government association, politics, referendum



WATCH: Police release CCTV footage of Goodna robbery

An armed robbery took place at the IGA in Goodna at 6am this morning (27-9-16).

Masked men armed with large hammer hold up store

FINALS CHAT: The AT80 team talk NRL and Bears vs Cutters

FINALS CHAT: Manager of rugby league Ipswich Brendon Lindsay joins co-host Anthony 'Bomber' Breeze, host Ben Wilmott and special guest Colin Scott this week on After the 80.

Grand final spotlight should be on NRL heroics

Police remember fallen colleagues

Police Remembrance Day march to Brown's Park in North Ipswich on Thursday.

Police remember falen colleagues

Local Partners

Kim Kardashian West wants restraining order against prankster

She was attacked by Vitalii Sediuk for the second time in two years

Cliff Richard to release 101st album

Sir Cliff Richard's album cover

Sir Cliff Richard is to release his 101st album

CMC Rocks faces fan backlash over date change, headliners

The 10th annual CMC Rocks festival will be headlined by The Dixie Chicks.

FANS are not happy about festival being pushed back by two weeks.

Kim Kardashian West attacked by man trying to kiss her bottom

Vitalii Sediuk targeted Gigi Hadid last week

Madonna poses naked in solidarity with Katy Perry

Madonna posted her own nude selfie on Instagram

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Housing report points to a lift in local market

AFFORDABLE HOMES: First home buyers have the opportunity to purchase modern new homes in the Ipswich region for under $400,000.

Region shaping up as the "final frontier” for affordable housing

Five ways to slash household bills and save the environment

THINK GREEN: Considering the environment when building or buying your next home can save you big dollars. The Village Building Company, who is responsible for Woodlinks Village at Collingwood Park, builds homes with this front of mind.

THERE is nothing as sweet as slashing dollars from your bills.

Investors out-bid first-home buyers in booming market

Housing generic.

Ipswich's housing market is putting more cash into sellers’ pockets

Another Ripley development

THE ENTRANCE: An overview of the last planned development for the fast growing Ripley area.

85 more home lots released