Local Government referendum

Local Communities Will be the Big Winners

17 May 2013

WA Greens spokesperson on Local Government and member for the Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple MLC, today urged widespread support for the referendum on constitutional recognition of Local Government.

“I call on all sections of the community to get behind this long overdue reform, which will streamline our system by cutting out the middleman.  Local governments throughout my electorate, and indeed across the state, have consistently lobbied me for support in moving to upgrade recognition of this most important tier of government.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of a strong and vibrant local government sector to the community at large.  They deliver a vast range of vital infrastructure and community programmes on a daily basis, right at people’s doorsteps.

“It is virtually impossible to get a referendum through – even with bi-partisan support.  With the Abbott opposition offering only lukewarm support, prospects are even bleaker.

“I had hoped for a bit of leadership from WA on this issue, but after having sat on the fence for far too long, the Premier has now slipped into his default anti-Canberra position.

“The central issue here is financial security – why should councils have to line up, cap-in-hand, with their funding dependent on the whim of the state government of the day? Just this week, the Treasurer and Premier have been setting off the alarm bells, with dire warnings of further funding cuts.

“It is not widely recognized what is at stake here if this referendum was to fail – a whole range of Commonwealth funded projects would continue to have the sword of Damocles, in the form of state government interference, hanging over them.

“Future projects such as the recently completed Swan Regional Riverside Park, Champion Lakes Regatta Centre in Armadale and a tourist and information centre for the Shire of Derby/West Kimberley will be far less likely to proceed without the certainty of this constitutional change.

“At a statewide level, the Roads to Recovery scheme, which provides desperately needed roads upkeep in the regions, will be under constant threat.

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