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Coalition tries to slash local government



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MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT BRIAN HOWE

BH063/96 16 February 1996

COALITION TRIES TO SLASH LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The Coalition has announced that it will cu]J24 million from local government and abolish the national Office of Local Government, Minister for Housing and Regional „ Development, Brian Howe said today.

The Coalition has announced it will cut $7m each year for three years from the Local Government Development Program, and $1m each year from the Office of Local Government.

"However, $7.5 million of the $11.2 million budgeted for the LGDP In 1996/7 is already committed., This leaves a $3.3 million shortfall In their target".

"In proposing these cuts, the Coalition Is effectively saying that they're not Interested In maintaining and supporting the historic Accord between the Commonwealth and Local Government that the Prime Minister signed last year with the Australian Local Government Association.

"Features of the Accord Include a commitment to Increasing efficiency In council j performance, streamlining business regulations, more efficient planning and building Improvement processes, environmental and coastal management and major social justice Initiatives for Indigenous Australians.

"The highly successful Local Government Development Program, developed with the close cooperation of the Australian Local Government Association, builds on the Accord by supporting projects of national Importance that reflect the priorities of local government. '

"The Coalition also claims that this Program has minimum public accountability. The LGDP le administered by an Independent body with representatives from the State Governments, local government and industry and the Department of Housing

and Regional Development which makes r-ecommendatlons to the Minister. In every case, I have supported the recommendations of the independent panel on projects to be funded a * .

" Cl e a r l y Mr Howard and his Shadow Minister for Local Government, Mr Scott, have sold vui iucai yO vw m inen i. TrTw li" ΰ υ β ί vuuiiTy m c o S u i'v » tii'w a ϋίθόΓ ΙηζίΐνάνΟΓι ύ ί the Coalition's disdain for this vital sphere of government.

"!r>. addition, o-MtHnG programs that supDort microeconomic reform will only hurt small business - the very constituency that John Howard seeks to woo,

"As in· President of the Australian Local Government Association has said, these proposals are sad, mean and counter-productive."

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION;

Andrew Casey, Brian Howe's Office, phone: (06) 277.7680, (018) 487.581