The Federal Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, handed down the 2017-18 budget this week, and it was a good result for local government.
Firstly, the Government delivered on its promise to resume indexation to Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs), which will return from 1 July 2017. This follows a hard-fought campaign by the sector since the introduction of the freeze in 2014-15. Motions were raised, resolutions were passed, meetings were had, and hundreds of emails were sent fighting for our case – particularly with local Federal MPs. It certainly wasn’t an easy feat but your efforts and the efforts of ALGA and your state and territory local government associations paid off. I would like to thank each and every person who supported and joined ALGA’s campaign to restore indexation, we can all join together in celebrating this enormous success.
The Government also announced in the budget that the first two quarters of FAGs payments from the 2017-18 financial year will be brought forward to June of this year – and will include the returned indexation – so councils can expect a sizable FAGs payment next month. Please keep in mind that this is not additional funding for local government, just a re-profiling of the funds.
Other positive outcomes for local government in this budget include:
- restoration of the supplementary funding for South Australian roads at $20m per annum for two years – 2017-18 and 2018-19.
- continuation of Roads to Recovery to 2020-21
- continuation of Bridges Renewal funding to 2020-21
- further funding for the Building Better Regions program with its focus on community infrastructure.
As usual, ALGA has provided an extensive, local government–focused analysis on this year’s budget which you can access on the ALGA website.
Mayor Damien Ryan
ALGA Vice President