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Deal with premiers bad for local government.



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MEDIA STATEMENT

 

Senator Sue Mackay

Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories

and Local Government

 

 

DEAL WITH PREMIERS BAD FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 

15 April 1999

27/99

 

 

Shadow Minister for Local Government, Senator Sue Mackay, said today that Local Government had been comprehensively dudded by the tax deal between the Howard Government and the States.

 

Opposition Leader, Kim Beazley and Senator Mackay today met representatives from the Canterbury, Strathfield, Burwood, Ashfield, Drummoyne and Concord Councils in Western Sydney to discuss the impact of the tax package and the GST on Local Government.

 

“The Government promised Local Government that its funding would be guaranteed when it was handed over to the States as part of the tax deal”, said Senator Mackay.

 

However, the Government has slipped a clause into the Premiers Agreement that could enable State Governments to change the functions and funding of Local Government which amounts to an opt out clause.

 

Clause D2 of the Agreement states " ... .undertakings in respect of funding levels do not preclude revenue neutral funding adjustments made in consultation with Local Government to reflect; reciprocal taxation or charging initiatives of a particular State or the Northern Territory; and significant change in respective roles and responsibilities of the States, the Northern Territory and Local Governing bodies in a particular State or the Northern Territory...”.

 

“This means that the States could change the functions and funding of Local Councils. This is an open invitation for cost shifting.

 

Local Government could find itself lining up for funding to provide essential local services from the States with the likes of schools and hospitals.

 

“Local Government has told us time and time again that they don’t want their funding handed over to the States.”

 

“The Howard Government has totally ignored this call, just as it has completely ignored all the concerns Councils have raised about the tax package.”

 

Senator Mackay reaffirmed that Labor would move in the Senate to protect the 25 year funding arrangements between the Commonwealth and Local Government.

 

 

Further information: Jane O’Dwyer 041993 7336

 

 

JS