Greens Leader Bob Brown today welcomed the announcement of an expert panel to guide Australia to a referendum to recognise and protect local government in the Constitution, delivering on the Greens' initiative in the agreement signed with the Government.
The Agreement signed on 1 September 2010 included the following goal:
f) Hold referenda during the 43rd Parliament or at the next election on Indigenous constitutional recognition and recognition of local government in the Constitution.
"The Greens will have a representative on the panel," Senator Brown said.
"Local governments deliver for communities and need to be able to call on federal government support, as we saw during the financial crisis."
"Without recognition in the Constitution direct grants from the Commonwealth to local government face massive legal uncertainty."
"Previous attempts, in 1974 and 1988, to have the status of local government recognised through a referendum failed because of the confusing nature of the questions put to the Australian voters. This time, the process will be supported by an expert panel," Senator Brown said.