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The Australian Local Government Association reinforced the sector’s commitment on February 20 to a referendum to recognise local government in the Constitution .
President, Felicity-ann Lewis, (pictured) appeared before the second public hearing of the Joint Select Committee charged with investigating the likelihood of Australians voting “yes” in a 2013 referendum to coincide with the 14 September Federal election.
“We are now less than seven months out from a referendum if one is to be held at the time of a federal election and we have previously raised concerns about the limited time available for making the necessary changes to the Commonwealth legislation which governs referendum processes,” Mayor Lewis said.
“One of the Committee’s recommendations was for the Government to release a draft Constitutional Amendment Bill by 31 January for public consultation. Although this hasn’t been done, Local Government Minister, Simon Crean, has assured ALGA there is enough time to meet the preconditions and he gave strong assurances that the referendum could go ahead.
Mayor Lewis said local government was focused on engaging state governments and encouraging them to support the proposed change.
“I have written to Premiers and Chief Ministers urging them to engage with Minister Crean and their state local government association presidents. I have personally spoken to a number of local government ministers and Premiers asking them to support the proposal.”