Labor Candidate for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, today welcomed the announcement that the Australian Government is planning to hold a referendum on Election Day to ask Australians to finally recognise local government in our nation’s Constitution.
“I will be voting ‘Yes’ on September 14”, Ms Chesters said.
“The government will be asking the Australian people to support a small but important change to our Constitution so that the existing practice of Federal Government support for local communities is formally recognised in the Constitution.”
“I've met with representatives from the four shires in the Bendigo electorate and I have heard directly from them about their funding concerns and the need for commonwealth funding to go directly to local councils. This is one reason why constitutional recognition is needed.”
“Our Constitution, which was drafted more than 100 years ago, says nothing about the role of local government and yet most Australians have daily contact with the services provided by their local council, through childcare, sporting facilities, swimming pools, libraries, local roads and more.”
“In just the last five years, the Commonwealth has partnered with local government to deliver over 6,000 community projects such as libraries, indoor and outdoor sporting facilities, pools, walking trails, roads and bridges, affecting every single community.”
“This is in addition to the repair and upgrade work that has taken place at 16,000 road sites across the country under the Roads to Recovery program.”
“I was told by one council that the amount of money provided by the Federal Labor Government by this program was more than they could raise with their rate base in 10 years.”
“I am expecting a strong vote yes campaign from all of the councils in the Bendigo electorate.”
“This is about saying ‘yes’ to retaining important community benefits. This is about saying ‘yes’ to our communities.”