Constitutional recognition for councils long overdue

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An email from Jim Bucknall today was a timely reminder that as another year begins local councils will again be in focus.

Jim is a Macquarie Fields resident who has been leading the campaign to get Campbelltown Council to do something about the gigantic bat colony near Myee Road and Redfern Creek.

“Bats stink and the noise is atrocious around 4pm to 8pm. Sometimes during the day as well,’’ Jim says in his update of the situation for the benefit of the South West Voice.

“Campbelltown Council can afford funds for fireworks, yet can’t put funds to clean out Redfern Creek,’’ he adds.

And right there is the problem for all councils – having to please all of their residents, all of the time.

The irony of it all is that local government is not even recognised in the Australian constitution.

At the same time, it is the level of government most ordinary people come into contact, whether it’s paying their rates or having a kerbside collection organised.

Libraries are also run by councils, as are roads, which brings us to the Wollondilly area.

That semi rural council operating out of Picton is responsible for almost 900 kilometres of roads, which is ridiculous.

What is even more ridiculous is some of those roads should be the responsibility of the NSW Government.

With a state election scheduled for March 25, expect to hear a lot of talk about what roads are local and which ones are not.

Wollondilly Council for one is determined to push for the state to take over responsibility for many of its roads such as Menangle and Greendale Roads.

In Camden, for years the local council has been amenable to massive housing growth in return for state government funding towards what can be called liveability facilities such as parks and sport fields.

Well, when I say amenable I mean it really had no choice in the matter.

Federal government grants help councils make ends meet, but the reality is that unless they win constitutional recognition, they will always have their hands out.

Councils here in NSW and every state hold an annual conference where various motions are debated and passed or defeated.

Surely the time has come for all councils in Australia to unite in one cause: constitutional recognition and financial independence.

Let’s see if 2023 can be the start of something big for local government.

1 thought on “Constitutional recognition for councils long overdue”

  1. The road over Razorback is sadly neglected and dangerous with broken pavement and slippage. that has restricted lanes and simply cordoned off with concrete barriers. This road and Menangle road are the only access from the Camden and Campbelltown and places further and are the vital arteries to picton and beyond


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