Public hearings scheduled for Inquiry into Local Government

The Inquiry into Local Government and Cost Shifting has commenced and the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration has received submissions from Local Government organisations, Councils and interested parties. There has been strong interest in the Inquiry so far. Over 250 submissions have been received from Councils and others interested in Local Government.

The Committee is tasked to inquire into cost shifting to Local Government by State Governments and the role, responsibilities and financial position of Local Government.

The Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Wilson Tuckey announced the Inquiry in May this year. The Committee is being chaired by David Hawker, MP, Federal Member for Wannon. Minister Tuckey initiated the inquiry following an election promise to review the incidence of cost shifting and to revisit the issues surrounding constitutional recognition of Local Government.

Evidence of cost shifting emerged from the recent review by the Commonwealth Grants’s Commission of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 – the Act under which federal general purpose grants are paid to Local Government.

“Over the years there has been increasing evidence of Councils taking financial and administrative responsibility for services which have traditionally been provided by State Governments, such as supplying doctors and public and property protection,” Minister Tuckey said.

The Committee is holding public hearings in each State and has already taken evidence at hearings in Perth and Canberra.

Minister Tuckey encouraged all involved in Local Government to attend the hearings in their State. “Given the significance of the issues, it is very important for all stakeholders to have their say,” Minister Tuckey said.

Schedule of public hearings:
Date Location
Tue 6 August 2002
Wed & Thu, 4 & 5 September 2002
Mon 7 October 2002
Tue 8 October 2002
Wed 9 October 2002
Thu 31 October 2002
Mon 5 November 2002
Wed 27 November 2002
Thu 28 November 2002
Perth, WA
Canberra, ACT
Katherine, NT
Darwin, NT
Adelaide, SA
Launceston, Tas
Alice Springs, NT