‘Parliament of the People’

In his Presidential address at the 3rd National General Assembly of Local Government, David Plumridge welcomed some 700 delegates, representing Councils across the nation, to Local Government’s ‘Parliament of the People’.

Referring to ‘the golden thread of Australian democracy’, he said this is the right of people to be heard and to influence decision makers in the areas of government that impact on their lives. He believes the ‘golden thread’ is woven into the fabric of Australian society by Local Government.

“Democratic Local Government enables citizens to exercise their right to get local answers from local people, whose primary role is to deal with local issues,” David Plumridge said. “What the other spheres of government must understand is that there is no acceptable alternative.”

Turning to the issue of Local Government facing serious threats from a number of quarters, he said it is vital for Councils collectively to take the lead, ensuring national leaders of all political persuasions do not forget their community base.

“It is the task of those of us here to link the seductive glitter of the global economy with the real needs, aspirations and rights of the citizens of our towns and communities,” Mayor Plumridge said.

On the proposed Memorandum of Understanding, which was to replace the historic Accord signed last year by the Commonwealth and Local Government, David Plumridge said that the ALGA Executive has taken an unprecedented step in announcing it is not prepared to continue discussions until the Commonwealth Government is prepared to negotiate in a reasonable way.

Negative Commonwealth responses to ALGA proposals include the failure to honour pre election undertakings, including Constitutional recognition of Local Government as part of a Constitutional reform process and a review of the financial position of Local Government. In addition, ALGA is also concerned about the Government’s inclusion in its draft MOU of excessive and inappropriate reference to structural reform and amalgamations. The position taken by the ALGA Executive to suspend negotiations was later ratified by the General Assembly.