2013 local government referendum postponed

A REFERENDUM that was to be held at the same time as the federal election has been postponed.

The referendum would have given voters the chance to amend the Australian constitution to give financial recognition to local governments.

Electoral and constitutional laws meant the earliest the referendum could be held was September 14 - the day former Prime Minister Julia Gillard set down as the election day.

Ms Gillard promised to hold the referendum before the end of the current parliamentary term.

Around the country, direct federal funding has delivered safer roads, upgraded public amenities and better playgrounds and parks.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Jodie Harrison said the way in which the constitution was worded meant it was crucial for the referendum to be passed.

"When our constitution was written 112 years ago, federal funding for local government projects wasn't mentioned, which means today billions of dollars in federal funding for community projects could technically be legally challenged."

A bill to hold the referendum cleared Parliament on June 24, with only seven Coalition senators voting against it.

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