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Labor listens to Local Government on tax while the Coalition turns its back.

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Senator Sue Mackay

Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and;

Local Government


7 December 1998





Labor today demonstrated its commitment to co nsultation with Local Government on tax reform by hosting a briefing by the Australian Local Government Association on tax reform issues for local Councils for all members of the Labor Caucus.


“Local Government has repeatedly made it clear it is unhappy with the Coalition’s tax package, and unhappy with the Coalition’s lack of consultation on the development and implementation of the tax package,” said Senator Mackay.


“The Coalition has effectively ignored Local Government throughout the whole tax reform debate — despite the fact Local Government spends some $10 billion a year on infrastructure, economic and community services.


“There can be no doubt the reason the Coalition has consistently ignored Local Government is that it is seeking, through the tax package, to undo a 25 year tradition of the Commonwealth maintaining a direct relationship with Local Government in order to achieve local implementation of national policy goals.


“For the first time in the history of Financial Assistance Grants to Local Government the States will be given responsibility for Local Government funding — a responsibility that the State’s have historically shown little real commitment to and that ALGA President, Cr John Campbell likened to ‘ putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank ’.


“Local Government has made it very clear that it is absolutely opposed to any proposal to hand over funding responsibility to the States.


“Labor has listened to Local Government concerns and supports the retention of a direct relationship between the Commonwealth and Local Government.


“There must be a Commonwealth commitment to national standards for Local Government and local communities, one that sees Local Government as a partner in delivering to local communities.”


Senator Mackay said that the ALGA would also today brief the Labor members of the Senate Select Committee on tax reform.


Further information: Jane O’Dwyer (02) 6277 3336 or 0419 937 336