Power play puts council in control
POWER is being returned to local councils.
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli has announced changes to the Local Government Act that will hand power back to councils.
The changes will see things being done directly by councils without intervention by the State Government.
North Burnett Council Mayor Don Waugh has welcomed the changes.
He said they would give council more autonomy.
“Councils had been held back by red tape and this new legislation gives a sense of freedom in a psychological sense. It is absolutely beneficial,” CrWaugh said.
“At this stage it is too soon to put a dollar value on potential benefits however local governments know their areas better than anyone else and are in the best position to attract investment to their areas.
“Roads, rates and rubbish are the biggest issues for rural communities and with more autonomy local governments are better able to deliver services for their residents.”
Changes include mayors back in control of councils so they are accountable to their ratepayers, councils being able to hold referendums on issues of significant local interest and conflict of interest provisions increasing penalties for rogue councillors.
Mr Crisafulli said the previous Act made councils less responsive to their communities because they were too busy reporting to George St in Brisbane.
CrWaugh said the Local Government Association was also seeking financial recognition of local government in a referendum in next year’s federal election, to be reflected in the national constitution.
“It is hoped that GST revenue can then be passed straight from federal to local government.”
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