Topics:  australian constitution, australian government, funding, lobby, southern downs regional council

Councils seek place in constitution

SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council is leading the push to have local government recognised in Australia's constitution.

The historic move would see local government and consequentially regional communities secure access to Federal Government funding.

During her election campaign, Prime Minister Julia Gillard pledged to stage a referendum on bringing local government into the constitution but no action has been taken yet.

At the Local Government Association of Queensland annual conference this month, Southern Downs Regional Council will move to lobby its state counterparts to make the dream a reality.

If passed, local governments will actively lobby other states and the Northern Territory to support the referendum seeking recognition of local government.

The council stated in its written motion information that advice from "Federal political sources" suggested support for constitutional recognition of local government in some states was low.

According to the LGAQ, almost 90% of Queensland's councils have already passed similar motions.

Despite the overwhelming support for the move, the Federal Government's pace has come under scrutiny.

Recently, the Australian Local Government Association called on the Commonwealth to follow through on its commitment and hold a referendum on the emotional issue by 2013.

"This is an urgent issue for local government," ALGA president Genia McCaffery said.

"We have been arguing for years that we need to be recognised in the Australian Constitution to ensure the continuation of direct federal funding through programs such as Roads to Recovery."



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