Constitutional Recognition

Integral to Governance

Local Government is an essential part of Australia’s system of government.

Local Government’s contribution to our national wellbeing can be measured in economic, social and environmental terms. Its contribution can also be measured by the way it enhances our democratic way of life.

It should be recognised in the Australian Constitution, alongside Commonwealth State and Territory Governments.

Funding Doubts

Local Government relies on State and Commonwealth Government funding along with its own revenue to carry out many of its responsibilities.

The High Court Pape and Williams cases cast doubt on the Commonwealth Government’s ability to directly fund Local Government projects. The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) believes that a constitutional referendum, empowering the Commonwealth to directly fund Local Government is vital for the future of Local Government.

At a very practical level, including Local Government in the constitution is about securing funding to deliver the services communities need.

The Campaign

Local Government NSW has been working closely with ALGA and State and Territory Local Government Associations on constitutional recognition since the Local Government Constitutional Summit - A Special National General Assembly in December 2008.

Local Government’s best opportunity of achieving constitutional recognition unfortunately did not eventuate when the  referendum scheduled for 14 September 2013 was cancelled after an early Federal election was called.

However, Constitutional Recognition remains a priority for LGNSW, other State and Territory Local Government Associations and ALGA and together we will continue to advocate that a referendum to recognise Local Government in the constitution should be held in the near future. 
 
For more information on the national campaign to recognise Local Government in the Australian Constitution, please view ALGA's website.

Submissions

In January 2013, LGSA made a submission to the Joint Select Committee Inquiry into Constitutional Recognition of Local Government (PDF, 137KB)

Previously, LGSA made a submission to the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government in November 2011 (PDF, 517KB)