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Labor downgrades local government



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MEDIA RELEASE BRUCE SCOTT MP Federal Member for Maranoa Shadow Minister for Local Government Assistant Shadow Minister for Primary Industry & Rural Matters

LABOR DOWNGRADES LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The resignation o f Brian Howe as Deputy Prime Minister will further downgrade the priority o f local government under the Keating Government, Bruce Scott said today.

Mr Scott, Shadow Minister for Local Government, said that even with his status as Deputy Prime Minister Mr Howe was unable to convince Cabinet o f the need for adequate Federal funding for local councils.

"Labor's funding record for local councils is pathetic", M r Scott said.

"And despite his rhetoric about a partnership with Local Government, M r Howe was never able to deliver the goods".

Federal general purpose grants for local councils in 1995/96 will be 3 per cent less in real terms than when Labor came to office. At the same time, Federal tax revenues have increased by a massive 49 per cent.

"Local Government will be forced to limp on with a Minister who has just abandoned any clout he might have had".

"Local Government associations must be wondering how safe the promised Federal-Local Government accord will be under a diminished Minister".

M r Scott said M r Howe's departure meant that Labor had lost one o f its few remaining connections with the past.

"He does represent one o f the last links with Labor's tradition, long since abandoned by this Government, o f a commitment to the working man.

"There are very few true believers left, despite the pretensions o f the current ruling clique, and the interests o f the old-fashioned Labor supporters who remain are all the worse for that", M r Scott said.

END

20 June 1995

For further information: Bruce Scott (06) 277 2180 (W); (06) 285 2285 (H)