Referendum teeters as Rudd makes King latest Local Government Minister

By Julian Bajkowski and Paul Hemsley Australia’s 565 councils and shires have been handed their third federal minister for Local Government in as many months on the back of an inevitable reshuffle following the second incarnation of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister. Member for Ballarat, Catherine King has been elevated into Cabinet under a simplified […]

Federal leadership turmoil weighs-on referendum

By Julian Bajkowski A referendum that could give financial uncertainty to federally funded local government projects like Roads to Recovery is again in doubt after another outbreak of internal attacks within the Labor that threaten to topple Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Less than week after crucial legislation to hold a referendum finally cleared the House […]

Gillard green lights local government referendum as recriminations fly

By Julian Bajkowski and Paul Hemsley Prime Minister Julia Gillard has finally confirmed that the federal government intends hold a September 14 referendum that if successful would allow the financial recognition of local government in the Australian Constitution, but there are signs of growing tensions and signs of fracturing support for the poll within the […]

Albo returns to Local Government

By Julian Bajkowski Prime Minister Julia Gillard has rewarded Anthony Albanese, one of the key protagonists in the attempt to unseat her, with the Local Government and Regional Development portfolio as fresh uncertainty over the prospect of a referendum to guarantee federal funding for councils grows. In an announcement on Monday, Ms Gillard said that […]

ALGA demands funding for civics education blitz

By Paul Hemsley and Julian Bajkowski The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has called for money to be urgently freed up under the Referendums (Machinery Provisions) Act to educate the Australian public about Constitutional matters in the run-up to a vote on financial recognition in the federal election in September 2013 – if it happens. […]

Leak lays bare Newman referendum support

By Julian Bajkowski A leaked letter from Queensland Premier Campbell Newman to Prime Minister Julia Gillard reveals that the state government is behind the proposed wording of a Constitutional amendment pivotal to a referendum and does not believe the change will erode state powers over local government. A copy of the letter obtained by Government […]

Committee green light for local government referendum

By Julian Bajkowski The final report of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government has recommended that a referendum be put to electors at the 14th September 2013 federal election despite the relatively short lead-time, but support within the Coalition could be fracturing along Liberal and National party lines. After previously reserving […]

Crean reaffirms referendum support after crisis talks

By Julian Bajkowski Federal minister for Local Government Simon Crean has ratcheted-up pressure on state premiers to get behind a referendum on Constitutional recognition and direct funding of council projects from Canberra. The renewed push to get states on board comes after crisis talks were held between the Australian Local Government Association and Mr Crean […]

Election date no impediment to referendum: Windsor

By Julian Bajkowski Key independent powerbroker Tony Windsor has vowed that the naming of a September 14th federal election date is no excuse to put off a referendum on Constitutional recognition of local government, saying the long lead-time provides a catalyst not an obstacle for the plebiscite to be held. “I think it’s got a […]

Barnaby backs referendum over Committee dissenters

By Julian Bajkowski   Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has accused the Gillard government of attempting to let a proposed referendum on Constitutional recognition of local government deliberately die of neglect – despite the plebiscite having ongoing federal Coalition support. In a broadside aimed directly at Local Government minister Simon Crean, Senator Joyce claimed that the […]

ALGA intensifies push for recognition in Constitution

By Julian Bajkowski and Paul Hemsley The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has increased pressure the federal government to have local governments officially recognised in the Constitution after Prime Minister Julia Gillard postponed another looming referendum that would have acknowledged indigenous Australians. ALGA President, Felicity-ann Lewis has called on Canberra to establish a parliamentary committee […]

Muzzle bites Financial Assistance Grants review

By Julian Bajkowski The announcement of a long-awaited review of the $2.1 billion Financial Assistance Grants (FAG) mechanism by the Commonwealth has been overshadowed by an attempt to gag local government criticism of a big funding shortfall caused by botched federal estimates. On Friday federal local government minister, Simon Crean, revealed the terms of reference […]

Melton hub improves learning access

A library and learning hub will improve economic development in the Melton Shire Council area through federal funding. Melton Shire Council received the $4 million for the $19.5 million Melton Library and Learning Hub through the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF). This follows the Victorian Government’s funding of $1.5 million as well as developer contributions, […]

Regions need more funding and capability

By Paul Hemsley Regional areas need more funding allocated to infrastructure projects, according to a report commissioned by the Australian Local Government Association. The 2012-13 State of the Regions Report, prepared by National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR), said a ‘new approach’ to regional development is required to address ‘inequality issues’ across Australian […]


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