Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Campaspe Shire says no to yes vote campaign donation

Campaspe Shire rejected a proposal to give a donation to a national campaign supporting constitutional recognition of local government.

TRENT HORNEMAN May 28, 2013 4:34am

The decision to support an advertising campaign for constitutional recognition of local government at this year’s election was the $18,000 question for Campaspe Shire councillors at last week’s meeting.

Councillors answered in the negative, rejecting a proposal to give $18,055 to a national campaign run by Municipal Association of Victoria and the Australian Local Government Association.

While Echuca Ward councillor Paul Jarman and Rochester Ward councillor Leigh Wilson supported the donation, most councillors, led by Cr Neil Pankhurst, suggested $18,000 could be better spent.

Cr Jarman said it was important to support the campaign because referendum questions like this were not guaranteed to be successful.

‘‘In fact I think that this is the third time this question has been taken to referendum,’’ he said.

Cr Wilson said it was important for council to back the campaign.

‘‘MAV and ALGA are leading the charge and we should be supporting them,’’ he said.

Cr Pankhurst said while the referendum question was important for local government, the motion centred around whether to support the campaign and he could not endorse using ratepayers money to fund it.

Cr Adrian Weston said if council was to support a campaign supporting the yes vote, it should then donate money to a campaign for a no vote.

‘‘I am not comfortable with this use of our ratepayers’ money,’’ he said.

Cr Emma Bradbury said the diversity of views was enough to suggest councillors should reject making the donation.

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