President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Felicity-ann Lewis, has called on the Australian government to establish a parliamentary committee as the next step towards a referendum on the constitutional recognition of local government.
‘ALGA has long maintained that the only way to protect direct federal funding for community services and infrastructure is to have local government recognised in the Australian Constitution and we are keen to work with the commonwealth on putting in place the conditions for a successful referendum,’ Cr Lewis said.
During a meeting with Cr Lewis last month, minister Simon Crean said that the government would consider establishing a parliamentary committee based on a proposal put forward by the ALGA Board for progressing the issue of constitutional recognition. This follows an undertaking by PM Julia Gillard to hold a referendum on the financial recognition of local government by 2013.
‘As part of our proposal, we are also seeking a federally funded community awareness program that educates the public regarding the Constitution, constitutional change and the local government question,’ Cr Lewis said.