ALGA eyes renewed Roads To Recovery threat

Australian Local Government Association fears second challenge to chaplaincy cash may hit funding

August 16, 2013

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) fears a second High Court challenge to chaplaincy support
has the potential to impact on Roads To Recovery funding.

The court ruled last year that direct federal funding of a national school chaplaincy program exceeded the Commonwealth's executive spending powers under the Constitution.

Direct federal funding provides $350 million a year to councils to maintain local roads and community infrastructure.

The court found that the Government could not spend money on programs, even if they were permitted under the executive powers, without authority from Parliament.

The Government has since introduced legislation in an attempt to provide legislative backing for hundreds of programs but lawyers for Toowoomba father of six Ron Williams argue that the legislative fix is not valid.

ALGA argues that such conflict is a prime reason for constitutional recognition of local government, a referendum for which fell foul of the federal election.

"For many years, ALGA has been championing the need to include local government in the Constitution to protect important funds for community projects from legal challenge," it says.

"If such a challenge was successful, hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for facilities and services across Australia that are within local communities, like Roads to Recovery projects."

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