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Funding welcome for Gold Coast City Council, but what about reform?

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Margaret May MP

Federal Member for McPherson Shadow Minister for Ageing


7 October 2008

Funding welcome for Gold Coast City Council, but what about reform?

Margaret May MP has welcomed the allocation of $ $1,714,000 to Gold Coast City Council as part of the Australian Government’s fiscal stimulus package, but said the Rudd Government had failed to address the need to reform local government at the meeting of Mayors and Shire presidents in Canberra yesterday.

“While the stimulus package is welcome, we should not mistake this announcement as anything more than another very large cheque signed by the Rudd Government from an ever decreasing surplus, Margaret said.

“Yesterday’s announcement did not address much needed reforms such as cutting council regulation and red tape and improving transparency in local government decision-making.

“The move to more direct engagement between the Commonwealth and councils is welcome, but it must have the power to transform and reform local government.

“Local government is ill equipped to deal with the challenges they face. Cost shifting from State Governments and a lack of certainty about financing arrangements make their task even more difficult. There is an urgent need to enhance the capacity of local government by engaging in a comprehensive program of reform.

“Our councils know what they need to do. It is now a question of getting reforms in place that enable Councils to step up and do their job.

“With federal taxpayer funds increasingly being used to support our councils, the Rudd Government must demand a quid pro quo on reform from local councils to improve how they go about delivering services to our community.

“Any new partnership between the Commonwealth and local government must ask the hard questions of local government such as reducing business regulation, reforming council workplaces and enhancing transparency in local government decision making.

“The only demand Mr Rudd is making of Councils for increased funding is for a photo opportunity and a personal and very public thank you, showing once again the Rudd Government has a political strategy for local government, but no strategy for policy.”


Media Contact Amelia Walsh (07) 5525 0688 or 0415 660 251