One of the consequences of the 7 September election was the inability of the proposed local government referendum to be put to voters. This was a welcome contribution by Kevin Rudd.
The Gillard Government allocated substantial resources to the ‘yes’ case ($31.6 million against $0.5 million for the ‘no’ case).
We can only hope that the referendum is not revived, although I have been skeptical of the efficacy of a government not putting a referendum when both houses of parliament passed the relevant enabling legislation.
But don’t think that is the end of the Australian Local Government Association seeking money to compensate it for costs incurred in preparing a ‘yes’ case.
No. Just because local government tried hard to force a referendum on the people, doesn’t mean it should receive even more money. That would be throwing good money after bad.
Enough already. It is time for local governments to get back to the key functions of that level of government: roads, bridges and sewers.
Local government should not be involved in income redistribution: that is a national responsibility. Nor should it be involved in the myriad of lefty pre-occupations that now drain its resources.
It should be an efficient and effective provider of those basic local services that are rightfully delivered at the local level. This would provide scope to reduce rates. The advocates of the referendum should pull their heads in and represent the interests of their community rather than their own grandiose ambitions.