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Council of Australian Local Government.

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Warren Truss Sophie Mirabella

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Shadow Parliamentary Transport and Local Government Secretary for Local Government


W o r k i n g h a r d , g e t t i n g r e s u l t s

Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 0419 233989 / 02 6277 4482

18 September 2008

Council of Australian Local Government

The Coalition welcomes the Government’s announcement that the first meeting of the Council of Australian Local Government will be held in late November - but has warned against the Rudd bureaucracy turning this meeting into yet another talkfest.

The Coalition has questioned the date chosen for the meeting - only a day before councils in Victoria go to the polls. It appears today’s announcement was policy on the run and dropped on local government without discussion or warning.

The Opposition spokespeople with responsibility for local government, Warren Truss and Sophie Mirabella, said local government would need to be on guard against a Federal Government trying to replicate its 2020 Summit fiasco.

The 2020 Summit date was also poorly chosen and was conducted during Passover, which effectively excluded the Jewish community.

“I will always support closer relations between the three levels of government,” Mr Truss said. “Local government has long played an important role in ministerial forums and they should not be sidelined from that participation.

“But as an attendee at the 2020 Summit, I saw the Rudd Government’s embrace of process and symbolism over good policy. Local government deserves better than to be co-opted into more process that creates confusion rather than clarity.

“I wonder why the Rudd Government has called this meeting to discuss issues like Constitutional recognition only a fortnight before the Australian Local Government Association has convened a summit to discuss the form that recognition should take. How would this council meeting be different from the annual Australian Local Government Association conference?”

Mrs Mirabella said she was supportive of the concept of the 500 local government bodies across Australia attending this gathering, but feared what it might be turned into.

“There is nothing more important to local government authorities across Australia than the issue of inadequate funding to maintain an increasing range of local assets and infrastructure,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“Mr Rudd is fast becoming the Chief Bureaucrat of Australia - such is his fondness for summits, reviews and enquiries. However, on this occasion, Mr Rudd needs to be a Prime Minister and confront the real issues facing local government,” she said.