The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has restated its commitment to constructively engage in the White Paper reform processes on behalf of Local Government at the close of the Association's three-day National General Assembly of Local Government today.
Mayor Troy Pickard, President of ALGA, said: "The national discussion around reform is an excellent opportunity to start looking at how all levels of government can have access to appropriate revenues to deliver their respective services and infrastructure. Given the very real potential of changes to the operation of the three spheres of government, it is vital that Local Government is an active participant in these reform processes.
"Local Government fully understands that all governments are under financial pressure to meet service expectations, and that is why we support sensible reform. But from a Local Government perspective, it is especially important to ensure that the implications of any reform for local communities are carefully examined prior to implementation.
"Unfortunately the Commonwealth's decision in the 2014-15 Budget to freeze the indexation of Local Government Financial Assistance Grants – the main federal funding program for Local Government – for three years is likely to mean that the grants, as a proportion of Commonwealth taxation revenue will fall to just over 0.5 per cent, down from a figure of more than 1 per cent in 1996. And yet, costs for Local Government continue to rise and community demand for services continues to grow.
"Therefore it is critical that our voice is heard in the White Paper processes to ensure that any proposals sustain, and ideally improve Local Government's capacity to meet local needs and that any reforms deliver positive outcomes for local communities."
The National General Assembly of Local Government is being held from 15 – 17 June at the National Convention Centre, Canberra.
Sharon Akinyi, Director Public Affairs, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) 0418 415 649, email@example.com