The ASU has joined the support for the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government Simon Crean to take the next step towards local government constitutional recognition by establishing a bipartisan Committee of Members of the Federal Parliament. This Committee will take forward the report of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government.
Minister Crean's action is seen as an important step forward to get politicians from all sides to show their support for local government and, ultimately, recognition in the Australian Constitution.
Constitutional recognition would allow the Federal Government to directly fund local government and, in turn, ensure councils have money for infrastructure, community services, waste collection, recycling, parks, beaches, natural disaster recovery and many more services to the community.
"The Minister's actions are also seen as an endorsement of the work of the Expert Panel," said Greg McLean OAM, a Member of the Expert Panel and the only union official on the Panel.
Minister Crean has also been congratulated by the ALGA, meaning that Australia's largest local government union, the ASU, and the peak national local government industry body, the ALGA, both support this important step.
The ASU has been in regular contact with the Minister's Office on this and related matters, and thanks the Minister's Office for keeping the ASU informed as the major representative for local government employees across the country.
ASU members should note the great work undertaken by councils working with the Federal Government on schemes like the Roads to Recovery programs. Also the Federal Government's expenditure during the global financial crisis, that saw many jobs generated in local communities and kept our communities alive during difficult times.
The ASU has a long history representing local government employees, going back as far as 1881 http://www.atua.org.au/biogs/ALE0475b.htm