Qld Govt wants council merger Senate inquiry axed

27th August 2007The Queensland government has called for the scrapping of a Senate inquiry into laws that would sanction local voting on forced council mergers.

The polls are tipped by the Queensland Local Government Association to take place on October 20.

But Queensland Local Government Minister Andrew Fraser has written to Special Minister of State Gary Nairn urging that the Senate inquiry into proposed federal laws regarding the polls on council amalgamations be disbanded.

The inquiry is due to take evidence in Noosa on Thursday, Emerald on Friday and Cairns on September 3.

“This (Senate inquiry) serves no purpose given the Queensland government will not take action against councils holding referenda,” Mr Fraser said.

“It is a taxpayer-funded touring circus for Howard government mouthpieces to peddle false hope.”

Meanwhile, Federal Labor Leader, Kevin Rudd, has promised to recognise local government in Australia’s constitution if elected to Parliament.

Th Labor party says it will consult with State and Territory governments and representatives of local government, including the Australian Local Government Association, the Capital City Lord Mayors and other stakeholders, on the process for achieving constitutional recognition.

Constitutional recognition will redefine the relationship between Commonwealth, State and local governments and guarantee communities have an effective local voice in decision making on the issues that affect their lives.

In Queensland the State Government has been able to force its controversial changes upon unwilling local governments because they were created by an act of State Parliament.

Labor is now calling on the Liberal and National parties to support this initiative.

SOURCES: Brisbane Times, and Rural Press National News Bureau, Parliament House, Canberra.