Power play puts coun­cil in con­trol

Central and North Burnett Times - - LOCAL NEWS - Ge­orge Smith

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.”

What do you think of the changes to the Act? Have your say and email us at monto@cnbtimes.com.au.

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