Baw Baw mayor welcomes local government referendum
Baw Baw News
By William PJ Kulich // 09:43, Tuesday 14 May 2013
BAW Baw Mayor Murray Cook has welcomed the announcement of a referendum on the inclusion of local government in the Constitution of Australia.
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Correction: this article previously wrongly attributed this statement to CEO Helen Anstis.
Last Thursday Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that a referendum on the inclusion of local government in the constitution will take place at the same time as the election in September.
Cr Cook told The Warragul Citizen the change would secure funding opportunities for councils.
“Council believes it is the best way to ensure the future financial sustainability of local communities, particularly in regards to federal government providing funding to local governments through initiatives such as Roads to Recovery and the Community Infrastructure Program,” Cr Cook said.
“For example, the council received $1.7 million from the Roads to Recovery program, and $1 million through the Country Roads and Bridges initiative in 2011-12.
“If Council had not received this federal funding directly, some works would not have been undertaken unless the Council raised revenue via other sources, such as further rates increases.
“Constitutional reform would remove this uncertainty and protect these vital local government funding sources.”
Cr Cook said Baw Baw voted to support the Australian Local Government Association’s bid to see local government included in the constitution in August 2011.
Cr Cook said the referendum needs bipartisan support to be successful.
“I call on the Opposition to support this vital referendum,” Cr Cook said.
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