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Justice Spigelman to lead expert panel on local government



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Hon. Simon Crean MP  Minister for Regional Australia,   Regional Development and Local Government  Hon. Robert McClelland MP 

Attorney‐General 

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE    Tuesday, 21 June 2011   

JUSTICE SPIGELMAN TO LEAD EXPERT PANEL ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT     The Gillard Government today announced former Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme  Court, the Honourable James Spigelman AC, will lead an expert panel on recognition of  local government in the Australian Constitution.    Today’s announcement coincided with Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean’s  address to the 2011 National General Assembly of the Australian Local Government  Association in Canberra.    Mr Crean said the Assembly was the first major gathering of Australian mayors and  councillors this year and was a great chance to reflect on the opportunities for local  government.    “The Conference provides an opportunity to progress the question of recognising local  government in the Constitution, a commitment that successive Labor governments have  never wavered from,” Mr Crean said.    “The Gillard Government, just like the Whitlam and Hawke governments, believes in  recognising local government in the Constitution - our foundational document.    “Under the guidance of Justice Spigelman, the new expert panel announced today has  been asked to look into the level of support for constitutional recognition of local  government and to identify possible forms that recognition could take. 

  “The Panel will comprise representatives with a range of expertise and will consult with  stakeholder groups and the community on options for recognising local government in  the Constitution.”    Attorney‐General Robert McClelland said Justice Spigelman is a strong candidate to  chair the Panel and will bring considerable experience to the position.    “Changes to our Constitution have, and always will be, the prerogative of the Australian  people which is why consultation on possible options is an important step,” Attorney‐ General Robert McClelland said.    “The Expert Panel will consult widely and the outcomes will help shape any proposal to  put to a referendum.”    The Gillard Government’s commitment to establishing the Expert Panel is reflected in its  agreement with the Greens and Independent MP Tony Windsor.    The Panel will report back to the Government by the end of the year.  Its Terms of  Reference are attached and more information is available at  www.regional.gov.au/local/crlg/      Contacts:                    Crean â€ Glen Atwell 0403 949 599 or Colleen O’Sullivan 0409 282  143 

McClelland â€ Ryan Liddell 0427 225 763 

Expert Panel Terms of Reference

Context

The Government has committed to pursue recognition of Local Government in the Australian Constitution.

Purpose

The Government has decided to establish an independent Expert Panel to consult with stakeholder groups and the community on the level of support for constitutional recognition of local government and to identify possible forms that recognition could take.

The Expert Panel will report to Government in December 2011.

Terms of Reference

The Expert Panel should, report on and make recommendations regarding:

a) the level of support for constitutional recognition among stakeholders and in the general community; and

b) options for that recognition.

The Expert Panel will have regard to the benefits and risks of the different options as well as outcomes that may be achieved for key stakeholders through constitutional recognition of local government.

In conducting its inquiry, the members of the Expert Panel will consult :

• Local governments and their representative bodies, including the Australian Council of Local Government and the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA);

• State and Territory governments;

• Federal parliamentarians; • Subject matter experts, such as constitutional reform, local government and regional government experts; and • Interested members of the Australian community.

The Expert Panel will be supported by a secretariat within the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government.

ENDS