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Intergovernmental Agreement a first step in the right direction.

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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Housing; Urban Development; Local Government

and Territories

28/06 12/4/06

Intergovernmental Agreement a first step

in the right direction

Senator Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Local Government, said today’s signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Cost shifting at Parliament House by the Local Government and Planning Ministers Council was encouraging - but merely a first step in the right direction.

Senator Carr said, “Whilst I am encouraged to finally see some action by the Howard Government on the recommendations of the Hawker Inquiry, I am concerned that the document signed today is an expression of good intention rather than a blueprint for effective reform.

“Today’s agreement does provide a framework to improve the way that the three spheres of government relate to each other and focuses on how services or function are transferred to local government but the reality is that the hard yards lie in the future.

“I am of course delighted that local government will have a stronger voice in the negotiation of future bi-lateral agreements but it is important to note that the success of this agreement will depend on the goodwill of all parties to future agreements.

“The best guarantee of progress in Commonwealth/local government relations is for the Federal government to embrace the reality of partnership with local government and not simply mouth fine principles.

There are however many areas other than cost shifting that require urgent attention in the area of local government, including the adequacy of current funding arrangements, the problems for local government created by vertical fiscal imbalance and the greater engagement of local government in addressing issues of urban growth and infrastructure requirements

“Minister Lloyd argues that today’s agreement is a ground-breaking document. He will be judged on results. Labor will be monitoring the implementation of today’s agreement very closely and it will be illuminating to see in twelve months what real progress has been made in these areas", said Senator Carr.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Amanda Forman, 0417 142 238.

Electorate Office: 62 Lygon St CARLTON SOUTH 3053 Ph: 03 9639 2798 Fax: 03 9639 3109 Canberra Office: Parliament house CANBERRA ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3730 Fax: 02 6277 5911