October 29, 2008 – 12:21AM
NSW councils have called for the elimination of the State Government. But in doing so they have also called for local councils to be disbanded, in favour of new super councils.
The policy was passed at the Local Government Association’s annual conference in Broken Hill, where another successful motion could see 50,000 NSW council employees granted 18 weeks’ paid maternity leave and two weeks’ paid paternity leave.
The motion to investigate scrapping state governments was brought by Lake Macquarie Council, which said they should be replaced with a two-tier system of federal and regional governments.
Deputy Mayor, Barry Johnson, said duplication of departments was costing the country millions of dollars.
“We have a minister for health in both state and federal. We have departments and ministers for transport … It’s a major cost for the general public of Australia, not only NSW.”
He said the State Government in NSW was too Sydney-centric, and regional governments, which would be much larger than local councils, would deliver better services and infrastructure to their communities than the State Government does.
But he accepted it would be almost impossible for the proposal to succeed.
“Under our constitution the state governments would basically have to vote themselves out of power.”
He believed all councillors were aware of the implication the proposal would have on their own local councils.
“In local government we’ve got usually fairly intelligent people who would be able to work that out, I would assume.”
The association’s president, Genia McCaffery, said Australia was over-governed and removing state governments was the most-logical solution.
City of Ryde councillor Nicole Campbell said she was thrilled the association voted in favour of her push to double the current paid maternity and paternity conditions in the Local Government Employees State Award, which will be renewed in 2010.
The United Services Union backed the plan but it would still require the support of the Shires Association to be fully implemented.
Ms McCaffery said it was important to provide support for working parents in order to attract the best staff to local government.