The High Court decision yesterday in relation to the federally funded chaplaincy program in schools may have repercussions for direct Federal Government funding of local government. This highlights the need for constitutional recognition of local government.
An expert panel was formed last year to look into constitutional recognition of local government. The ASU Assistant National Secretary Greg McLean is a member of the panel.
Part of the expert panel's deliberations explicitly concerned direct funding arrangements with the Federal Government.
To properly address the funding problems, the ASU's position was that a referendum must occur, asking for the constitutional recognition of local government. This will ensure that direct funding from the Federal Government is secured.
Yesterday's High Court decision has confirmed our concerns and underlined the need for a referendum.
Shortly after the decision was handed down yesterday, the ASU's Greg McLean met with Federal Minister for Local Government Simon Crean's Office in Canberra for a discussion on the next step by the Federal Government. At this time we're expecting the current funding arrangements to continue.
The Government is well aware of the ASU position on direct funding of local government including for specific programs such as the roads to recovery, arts, libraries, recreation and more.