Mayor rallies voters
Monday, 1st July, 2013
By Kurtis J Eichler
City Council could lose grant money if the local government referendum isn’t voted in at the federal election.
Legislation has passed allowing the Federal Government to hold a referendum on whether to include councils and shires in the constitution, on the same day as the general election, whenever it is held.
For more than 40 years, federal governments have worked with councils and shires to deliver community infrastructure and services including roads, bridges, sports facilities, public libraries, swimming pools and childcare centres.
The government says by including local government in the constitution, communities will continue to receive all this.
Broken Hill councillors have unanimously supported the move and urged people to vote ‘yes’.
Mayor Wincen Cuy said losing the referendum could cost council money.
“This is re-enforcing what we’ve been able to get off the federal government for many years,” Mayor Cuy said.
“The Roads to Recovery is from the federal government and goes directly to the councils and shires.
“If there is another challenge back to the federal government that we cannot give local government funding direct, we could lose a large proportion of our grant money.
“It is imperative we are recognised in the constitution for financial recognition.”
Mayor Cuy said City Council had put $5000 towards the campaign to urge voters to tick ‘yes’ on polling day.
Chairman of the BH Referendum Committee, Darriea Turley, said more money from federal government would relieve the burden on ratepayers.
“Going through the state governments for funding actually costs money,” Clr Turley said.
“So if we got direct money we’d have more money in our coffers.”
Clr Dave Gallagher backed the ‘yes’ vote but doubted it would win.
“It should be recognised but it’s been up a number of times and it hasn’t got up,” Clr Gallagher said.
“Due to history I don’t think it will, but I do hope it does.”
Clr Branko Licul said it would come down to how well each side presented their arguments.
“Traditionally referendums have voted ‘no’.”
Senior Labor member and councillor Peter Black said constitutional recognition should have been given “years ago” and Clr Jim Nolan also urged a vote for it.
“I think anyone in local government or anyone that cares about the future of Broken Hill would wish it to succeed,” Clr Nolan said.