Sunday, 19 May 2013

O'Farrell Government's broken promise to support Council referendum

The O’Farrell Government has broken a key election promise to support a referendum into the constitutional and financial recognition of Local Government, Shadow Minister for Local Government Sophie Cotsis said today.

“Barry O’Farrell’s Local Government Minister said yesterday that financial recognition of local government would create confusion and lead to pork-barrelling. This is a breathtaking backflip and it will mean local services and road funding will suffer from Sydney to the Northern Tablelands,” Ms Cotsis said.

In 2011, prior to the election, the Coalition promised that direct funding of local government from the Commonwealth would be beneficial for councils and the services they provide:

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals endorse the proposal from the Australian Local Government Association for a referendum to amend the Australian constitution to give the Australian Government the power to fund Local Government and to enshrine people’s rights to democratically elect their councils.”

“I as a Minister in the Government support the idea of local government being recognised in the Constitution … I think we'd get better use of the money … coming from the Feds going to local government. And I think also the financial situation with local councils across the State, if they can tap into a source of revenue, whether it be GST - that's probably the most practical one - a percentage of GST revenue, that would be very helpful to local government."
-          NSW Local Government Minister Don Page Stateline 7:30 NSW 16/09/11

“This is a blatant broken promise from Minister Page,” Ms Cotsis said.

“Eighteen months ago, Minister Page wanted councils to receive a carve-up of Federal GST. Now he’s happy to kill them off.

“Clearly, Minister Page doesn’t want anything interfering with his agenda of forcing councils to amalgamate by depriving them of funds.  

“NSW Labor is a strong supporter of constitutional and financial recognition of local government.

“My recent tour of councils in the Northern Tablelands has only strengthened my determination that they need financial certainty above all else.”

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