Local Government proposal

Proposal:

Whether local councils, the tier of government which is closest to people’s everyday lives, should be recognised in the Australian Constitution, possibly in s 96 so that C’th can directly grant money to them.

Effects

  • Change the Constitution from a two tier system to a three tier one
  • Allow the Federal government to directly fund local councils
  • Circumvents the states, increasing the power of the central gov’t whilst decreasing the power of the States
  • The gov’t would use s 96 to dictate State spending in relation to local councils
  • Coercive federalism would increase

Evaluation

  • Seems to be a power-grab by the Feds
  • States are opposed to it
  • ‘Constitutional recognition of Local Government could be a further step in the 21st century’s centralisation of power, or a revival of Federalism suited for a 21st century Australia – Cheryl Saunders of MelbU
  • Not likely to pass even though it seems innocent
  • Support has died out, Abbott does not seem to be keen on passing it

Mentioned in syllabus, but no longer a current reform proposal.

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