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Property News

Local councils could be recognised by Australian constitution

December 28, 2011

An expert panel has handed down its findings on the options surrounding the inclusion of local government councils in the Australian constitution.

It was tasked with investigating the pros and cons that could result if councils were included in the document's preamble.

The Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government was an independent body made up of key professionals charged with conducting consultation with stakeholders and community groups.

It found that any symbolic, financial, democratic recognition or federal cooperation would need to meet a number of criteria before they would be considered.

These included making a practical difference, having resonance with the public and possessing a reasonable chance at a referendum.

The experts found that democratic recognition was met with stiff resistance from a number of parties, while symbolic recognition in the Constitution and federal cooperation carried with them a measure of flow-on effects that the report identified as extending "well beyond local government".

While the support for financial recognition was widespread, many state governments were found to have doubts about its effectiveness, citing that there was a lack of "clear evidence that existing funding arrangements are deficient".

The proposed changes could have a profound impact on residential real estate across the country - however they would require a full referendum before any legislation could come into effect.



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