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Labor thinks local

Labor talked local government in Surry Hills in October. Federal Sydney MP Tanya Plibersek, ACT Senator Kate Lundy and federal candidate for Wentworth George Newhouse were in attendance writes Ben Walker in the South Sydney Herald of November 2007.

Plibersek is currently the Shadow Minister for Human Services, Housing, Youth and Women and so, understandably, housing affordability is one of her key election issues. Plibersek says that the Howard Government has typically blamed the state and local governments regarding housing affordability rather than investing in communities.

In contrast, Plibersek says Labor will put half a billion dollars into housing, which will include getting rid of infrastructure charges and setting up a housing affordability fund and a national rental affordability scheme. Urban design also needs to be examined to create more affordable units and keep pace with immigration.

George Newhouse says that Howard has a Thatcher-like approach to society with an emphasis on households, rather than communities. He would like to see better consultation between federal, state and local governments and says that federal governments can learn from the example of local governments. Newhouse proposes a coordinated, cooperative approach between the three levels of government to provide services rather than a piecemeal strategy of funding.

Kate Lundy is Shadow Minister for Sport, Recreation and Health Promotion. Lundy says funding to local governments has declined, creating difficulties for local governments’ investment in the community. She says local government spends double what the federal and state governments combined are spending on sports and recreation. Instead, she would like to see collaborative, cooperative federalism with local governments, with a structured approach to funding community and social activities.

Photo: Andrew Collis Caption: George Newhouse, Tanya Plibersek, Kate Lundy, Meredith Burgman

Source: South Sydney Herald November 2007