Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Federalism and State Government Management

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The Prime Minister has argued that, “Where the states and the territories have not done their job, it’s our job to come in and do a better job”.

“I do not believe Australians are hung up about theories of governance, or arbitrary lines on maps. They get hung up on results. And they get frustrated by mismanagement. They want good services and good outcomes. And they want someone to deliver it” he said.

He is absolutely right about that!

However, he should look further than the states and evaluate the plight of local government.

Jeff Kennett neutered local government through amalgamation turning local councils into bureaucratic arms of the state that are financially dependent upon the state.

Speaking in his weekly radio message released overnight, Mr Howard said the states would run up $70 billion of extra debt to finance their spending over the five years to 2010-11. If this happens, cost shifting from federal to state and on to local government will never be overcome and municipalities will be the worse off because of it.

Rather than be criticised for getting involved in State management affairs, the Federal Government would be applauded by the electorate, and might even turn its re-election prospects around, if it took the financial management of local municipalities away from the States.

That would make the states more accountable to the electorate for state infrastructure and provide councils with the financial freedom to provide the services required in their individual municipalities.

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Written by Greg Naylor

6 August 2007 at 8:38 am

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