The impact of the Federal Government’s freeze to the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) has been felt by councils far and wide across the country, both regional and metro, in varying degrees. For the Shire of Plantagenet, a small rural council in Western Australia, the impact of the freeze is estimated to be $50,000 annually, which equates to around 1per cent in rates.
Shire President, Cr Ken Clements, said the impact was felt across the board with a likely reduction in capital renewal projects in each year equating to the loss in revenue.
“Although the Shire has no intention to cut services, we have decided to absorb the burden and continue with the premise in our Long Term Financial Plan to adopt a rate increase of around 1 per cent above CPI,” Cr Clements said.
“The Financial Assistance Grants freeze only adds to the financial difficulties of regional and rural local governments in WA in the face of a decision by the former WA government to remove the licensing concessions on local government heavy vehicles from 30th June 2017. This decision will also impact on the Shire’s bottom line to the tune of 50,000 annually.”
The FAGs payments to local government from the Commonwealth are important to every council across the country and the freeze to the indexation of FAGs applies to every council.
ALGA will continue to advocate to the highest levels for the restoration of FAGs indexation in the May Budget, but we will also need your help to strengthen our national advocacy efforts.
If you have a Twitter or a Facebook account, you can help by joining ALGA’s social media Thunderclap campaign.
The team at ALGA has also prepared a council advocacy kit – available at councils.endthefreeze.com – that includes templates, background information and talking points to assist your campaign at the local level to ensure the Government keeps its promise to restore indexation to FAGs in this year’s Federal Budget.