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16/06/2018 南京夜网

Fight to save councils begins

WESTERN NSW politicians are urging citizens of the state to vote “yes” in a referendum that could ensure funding keeps flowing directly from the federal government to local government councils from programs such as Roads to Recovery.
Nanjing Night Net

Parkes MP Mark Coulton, who lobbied for the referendum, yesterday welcomed it despite concern that there was limited time to mount a case for closing a “loophole” in the constitution.

At the same time Nyngan-based joint president of Local Government NSW Ray Donald asked communities to consider the billion-dollar benefits of a minor but important change.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday announced bipartisan support for a referendum to recognise local government in the Australian Constitution, to be held in conjunction with the federal poll on September 14.

Local Government NSW immediately began campaigning for the “yes” vote, explaining that High Court cases had put under threat the ability of the federal government to provide crucial funding directly to councils.

It reports that for more than 10 years federal governments have been directly funding councils through initiatives such as the Roads to Recovery program, the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure program and the Regional Development Australia Fund.

NSW councils received almost $97 million from the federal government to improve roads in the past year, and a total of $484 million since 2009.

Moree Plains Shire Council was one of 20 councils to pick up more than $1 million from Roads to Recovery in the past 12 months.

“Billions of federal dollars have helped councils carry out tens of thousands of local community projects including roads, footpaths and bridges, community halls, ovals, childcare centres, swimming pools and more,” Cr Donald, the longstanding mayor of Bogan Shire, said.

“Under this proposed change to the constitution, councils will continue to remain accountable to their communities and the responsibility of the state government, however uncertainty about councils’ access to federal funding for vital local community infrastructure and roads will simply be removed.

“I urge the people of NSW to think about what their community will gain from maintaining Commonwealth funding to their council and vote ‘yes’ in this referendum.”

Mr Coulton said the decision to hold the referendum should have been made 12 months ago to allow more time to mount a “yes” case and counter a traditionally negative response to referendums.

He committed to working hard at convincing Australians that closing a loophole in the constitution was to their benefit.

The MP expects regional councils will come to rely more on direct funding from the federal government and made note of the Barden Park Regional Centre for Excellence for Athletics in Dubbo receiving $3.5 million from the Regional Development Australia Fund

“The money came directly from the federal government to Dubbo City Council,” Mr Coulton said.

Local Government NSW is directing people looking for more information to http://www.lgnsw南京夜网.au/key-initiatives/constitutional-recognition-local-government

WESTERN NSW politicians are urging citizens of the state to vote “yes” in a referendum that could ensure funding keeps flowing directly from the federal government to local government councils from programs such as Roads to Recovery.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.