Brief – 1 September 2010 – The Australian Local Government Association has welcomed an agreement between Labor and the Greens to hold a referendum in this parliamentary term to include local government in the Australian constitution.

ALGA president Geoff Lake said that such a change to the constitution would help protect funding for local councils.

“This is absolutely fantastic news for councils, local communities and for improved cooperation between the three levels of government,” Mr Lake said.

“The inclusion of local government in the constitution is all about stable government. It is about removing the current uncertainty stemming from last year’s high court decision in Pape which has cast serious doubt on the power of the commonwealth to continue to provide funds directly to local government.

“Ratepayers should be protected from the threat of having to bail out their local council should a constitutional challenge of local funding prove successful and affect future funding. They could also face having to pay back all of the money previously received directly.”