Next week will see the Federal Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, hand down his second budget and I am as keen as you to see if our Australia-wide campaign to hold the Government to its promise to end the freeze on Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) indexation has worked.
ALGA, with your support and that of your state and territory local government associations, has campaigned relentlessly to ensure the Government honours this promise.
The campaign has so far seen more than 100 emails sent to politicians across the country and across all parties, which certainly gained the attention of Ministers and Federal members in Canberra. The Opposition publicly reiterated its support to end the FAGs indexation freeze, and Senators and Members submitted motions, questions in writing and made statements in Parliament urging the Government to deliver on its promise to restore FAGs indexation in next week’s budget.
A “thunderclap” on 21 April on social media also saw the campaign message reach a social network of more than 65,000 – a tremendous effort!
On your behalf, I personally called every serving member of the Coalition who has a background in local government to highlight the issues, the disproportionate impact on regional communities, and the promise we were seeking to hold their administration to. I was well received and I asked them to do the hard work within their party structures to make it happen.
As well as our call to restore FAGs indexation, ALGA provided recommendations for the 2017-18 Federal Budget that were designed to support our councils and communities to grow and develop into the future.
The proposals put forward in ALGA’s submission, titled Investment in Tomorrow’s Communities, address some of the common issues that unite our councils and wider sector and will not only support local communities but boost national GDP by $5.5 billion and create more than 45,000 new jobs.
One of these proposals is ALGA’s call for the Government to establish a Local Freight Productivity Investment Plan, funded at $200 million per annum over the next five years.
Local roads are a critical part of Australia's transport infrastructure. ALGA’s plan addresses first/last mile and freight connectivity issues by supporting local government to assess key local road assets on designated freight routes and target pinch points. We know these investments will improve safety, access and connectivity between local businesses and national and global markets.
ALGA will keep the sector updated on next week’s Federal Budget outcomes, including providing the customary Federal Budget Analysis on the ALGA website.
Thanks again to those of you who took the time to get involved in the ‘EndTheFreeze’ campaign.
Mayor David O’Loughlin