House debates

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Questions without Notice

Australian Council of Local Government

3:38 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the House) Share this | Hansard source

Indeed, last week’s Australian Council of Local Government meeting has been well received by local government, including by ALGA, Council of Capital City Lord Mayors, Local Government Managers Association and local mayors around the nation, who came to Canberra for what was an extremely successful dawn of a new partnership between the Commonwealth and local government. Regional mayors welcomed the event. Sandra McCarthy, the Kiama mayor, told the Illawarra Mercury:

For the first time I feel we are a genuine part of the overall demographic of government in Australia and it’s long overdue.

The opposition did what it usually does: it came out and welcomed the event and the funding, and then it went to work undermining it; then it went to work walking both sides of the street.

Perhaps the best example of that was the member for Cook, one of their shadow ministers for local government—they have two—saying that the community of Wollongong, because they are under administration, should not have received any local government funding. He argued that the ratepayers of Wollongong should be punished for the actions of some rogue councillors from Wollongong. The good people of Wollongong did not react kindly to that. The paper ran an article headed ‘Shadow minister for silly statements’ and the subheading said:

Scott Morrison says he’s appalled at a $2.15 million grant for Wollongong council. (Yeah, we’ve never heard of him either)

But it was not just the full page splash—there was more. The Illawarra Mercury had a bit to say about it in their editorial on behalf of the people of Illawarra. They said:

The corrupt actions of one of our developers and some councillors were enough to bring a slur on the … good name of Wollongong—we didn’t need a numskull .. MP to compound the situation …

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