Federal referendum can provide greater financial security


Redland City Mayor Karen Williams has welcomed the announcement that Redlanders will vote to recognise local government in the constitution at September’s federal election.

Cr Williams said local government constitutional recognition would enable councils to receive funding directly from the federal government, which would help fund local roads and infrastructure.

“I have always been a supporter of local government gaining constitutional recognition and encourage all Redlanders to vote in favour of this important change,” she said.

“Recognising local government through Australia’s constitution will provide greater certainty and security for the Redlands in accessing several sources of federal funding.

“This includes programs like the federal roads to recovery program, the regional and local community infrastructure program and the local government reform fund.

“While we currently receive funding through these programs, recent High Court decisions have placed these programs in serious jeopardy and suggested they may be constitutionally invalid as they provide federal funding directly to local government.

“These funds have helped build local roads and infrastructure in recent years, so it is important that local government is recognised constitutionally so we can continue to access these important programs.

“Funding for local government from grants and as share of national taxation revenue has been steadily declining across Australia over the past decade or more, while the demands on Councils have increased.

“This move is not designed to give Council increased powers or to by-pass the state government, it is merely to give legal recognition to an existing situation that allows vital federal funding to be granted to local government.

“It is in the best interest of locals that this referendum is passed in September so I would encourage all residents to vote in favour of it.”

The Redlands has led the charge for local government in Australia for this topic, including co-hosting an event last year where Cr Williams and Constitutional Lawyer Nicola McGarrity spoke passionately in favour of this constitutional change.

This was the first event of its kind to be held anywhere in Australia.