The Government’s decision to freeze indexation to Financial Assistance Grants in the 2014-15 budget was met with disappointment across the sector. This decision affected the ability of many councils to continue providing necessary services and infrastructure at the levels required by the community.
Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield said that the freeze on Financial Assistance Grants indexation is putting pressure on all councils.
“It means that austerity measures must be introduced into all our financial planning and budgeting. It just keeps adding pressure on councils and angst within our communities,” she said.
The council is also faced with tough decisions on how to offset the lost revenue with rate capping having recently been implemented in the state.
“We’re struggling under a 2 per cent rate cap here in Victoria,” Cr Rothfield said.
The Financial Assistance Grants payments to local government from the Commonwealth are important to every council across the country and the freeze to the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants applies to every council.
ALGA will continue to advocate to the highest levels for the restoration of Financial Assistance Grants indexation in the May Budget, but we will also need your help to strengthen our national advocacy efforts. If your council has examples of how the freeze to Financial Assistance Grants has affected your community, please send them through to the ALGA News editor on email@example.com. These stories go a long way in raising the Federal Government's awareness of the real impact of their decision to freeze Financial Assistance Grants indexation and will assist ALGA to make a powerful case to the Commonwealth.
You can also help by writing to your local Federal member to reinforce the importance of Financial Assistance Grants, the impact the freeze has already had on your community and what services may need to be cut if the freeze continues.