A parliamentary committee recommended a referendum on the recognition of local government at the same time as the next federal election.
"But Coalition MPs and Senators issued a dissenting report, saying there was too little time to prepare for a referendum, and the risk of failure was too high."
Key points in the article:
- The purpose of the change to the constitution: "guarantee the federal government's ability to directly fund local government projects like Roads to Recovery; a guarantee that recent High Court cases stripped away."
- "In June, the High Court ruled that the national school chaplaincy program was constitutionally invalid because it exceeded the Commonwealth's funding powers."
- "Committee chairwoman and Labor MP Michelle Rowland... Attorney-General's department should draft a constitutional amendment by January 31 ..."
- ''Past crises in Australia have highlighted the need for governments to be able to respond rapidly and flexibly to ensure the well-being of their communities,'' Ms Rowland wrote.
- "Experts told the committee that the current funding arrangements, including for the Roads to Recovery project that builds and upgrades regional roads, were unconstitutional."
- ''It is therefore not a matter of 'if' but of 'when' the presently understood ability for the Commonwealth to fund local government directly is struck down as unconstitutional by the High Court,'' the report stated.
This page http://bit.ly/18IWf8V