Jeff Johnson, Ballina shire councillor
It’s outrageous that the Minister for Local Government, Don Page, is not supportive of local government being recognised in the Australian Constitution. Mr Page in not supporting a ‘yes’ vote in the forthcoming referendum and offers the pitiful excuse that, ‘federal funding could then be used in marginal seats before an election’.
Is Mr Page suggesting that both state and federal governments don’t already engage in this type of practice? It’s well known that ‘porkbarrelling’ is common practice by both the Coalition and Labor governments.
It is also widely acknowledged that local government is the most efficient level of government for the delivery of important community services and infrastructure. Moreover, it is widely accepted that local governments lack the funding to adequately maintain roads and other essential public infrastructure.
Referendum questions rarely succeed without bipartisan support. This is an important reform to enable additional funding and recognition of local government.
Please Mr Page, represent your constituents, Northern Rivers councils, and your portfolio and not the interests of the NSW Liberal Party in Sydney.