Political campaign – yes, Services for ratepayers – no

The absurdity of the local government referendum continues.  According to reports, this week Wyndham Council claims they cannot afford services for their ratepayers:

Wyndham council has slashed recurrent funding to key community groups including social welfare, housing and education providers, blaming a “tight economic environment”.

Several groups across Wyndham have reported that funding from council’s identified needs program had been cut by as much as 50 per cent in the proposed 2013-14 budget.

The cuts mean an outreach and early intervention program that helps 400 vulnerable residents a year is on the chopping block and some of Wyndham’s annual community events will be “significantly scaled back”.

Without details we cannot assess the merits of the services and whether they should be funded by the Council, in the first place. But the cries of poverty are a bit rich from a Council that just threw $15,000 toward the Australian Local Government Association’s political campaign for the local government referendum:

Wyndham council will donate $15,000 to the Municipal Association of Victoria to help encourage Victorians to vote “yes” at September’s referendum on constitutional recognition of local government.

The Wyndham example is just a microcosm. Across the country Councils face tough budgets. But sadly the solution for many of them is to simply throw money at political campaigns, not take care of ratepayers.

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