Australia

Panel reports to Government on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government

LOCAL Government Minister Simon Crean last released the report by the independent Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government.

Mr Crean said the government's commitment to recognition of local government in the Constitution was strong and long-held and that the Expert Panel's work would play an important role in informing the community on the issue and assisting the government on the best way forward.

The independent Expert Panel was appointed by the Australian Government in August 2011 and tasked with consulting the community on whether Australia's Constitution should be changed to include local government.

A majority of the Panel members found that financial recognition is the only option with a reasonable chance to succeed at a referendum, provided steps are taken to secure the support of the States and achieve broader public awareness and engagement.

"The Expert Panel consulted widely with stakeholder groups and the community to look into the options for including local government in the Constitution," Mr Crean said.

Mr Crean said the government will now take time to consider the community's views and details of the report before providing comment in early 2012.

The Panel's report is available from the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government website at <http://www.localgovrecognition.gov.au/>.

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