Supporters of the "no" case for constitutional recognition of local government in an upcoming referendum are aghast they will get a mere $500,000 to push their claim while the "yes" camp will get $10 million.
National convener for the "Vote No to Canberra's Power Grab" campaign, Julian Leeser, accused the federal government of attempting to buy the Australian Constitution.
"That is exactly what the government is doing by giving the `yes' case twenty times more funding than the `no' case," he said in a statement on Monday.
The "no" campaign's spokesman Tim Wilson called it "flagrant corruption of Australian democracy".
In the 1999 Republic Referendum then prime minister John Howard gave $7.5 million to both the 'yes' and 'no' sides.
When the nation goes to the polls on September 14, it will also vote on the referendum to change the Constitution to enable the commonwealth government to directly fund local communities across the country.
Local Government Minister Anthony Albanese defended the $10 million contribution to the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), saying it will enable a positive and proactive campaign to be held in the national interest.
"Getting people excited about constitutional change is not going to be easy but there are plenty of opportunities to advocate for the `yes' case," Mr Albanese said at the opening of the National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra.
The $10.5 million funding split was based on the support of federal members of parliament.
The proposed amendment found strong bipartisan support, with the vote going 134 to two in favour of changing the Constitution.
The government says the change will not diminish the role of states with regard to the administration of local government.
ALGA president Felicity-ann Lewis said the amendment was about securing federal funding for vital local services and infrastructure for communities.
She said councils were more than just "roads, rates and rubbish".
They provide libraries, childcare, aged care, employment and disability services, swimming pools, parks and sporting fields.
"Providing such a full range of services is only possible because councils work in partnership with the federal government," Ms Lewis said in a statement.