Local governments have signed up to a landmark Housing Accord between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, investors, and the residential development, building and construction sector that plans to deliver up to one million affordable homes for Australians.
President Linda Scott said including the Australian Local Government Association as a representative of Australia’s 537 councils was recognition of the key role local government plays in facilitating affordable housing.
“A lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges councils and our communities are facing, and we look forward to working with governments, financers and the housing industry to help facilitate more affordable homes for Australians,” Cr Scott said.
“ALGA has also committed to partnering with the Government to develop the National Housing and Homelessness Plan.”
Cr Scott also welcomed the Government’s new Growing Regions Program and regional Precincts and Partnerships Program, which will include $1 billion of new funding that local governments can apply for over the next three years.
“Many of our regional communities have been devastated by flooding this year, and some are still recovering from cyclones and fires,” said Cr Scott.
“Federal funding to our regions is more important than ever, and these new programs will help councils build stronger, more liveable communities.”
“Regional and remote councils have put significant time and resources into developing funding proposals for round six of the Building Better Regions Fund, which has been discontinued.”
“Local governments support transparent funding and it is critical the Federal Government ensures all funding to councils is transparent and accountable.”
“ALGA will be advocating for both the Growing Regions Program and Precincts and Partnerships Program to be dedicated to local government infrastructure.”
In response to ALGA’s advocacy, tonight’s Federal Budget also included the $250 million expansion of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program through to 2025-26, and a $200 million per year Disaster Ready Fund from 2023-24.
“Secured through ALGA’s advocacy, this Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program extension will help councils build and upgrade playgrounds, libraries, cycling paths, and swimming pools right across our nation,” said Cr Scott.
“It is critical that this program continues to be allocated to councils on the existing and successful program formula, so that all communities continue to benefit.”
“The Disaster Ready Fund will help councils better protect their communities against natural disasters, and as a direct result of ALGA’s advocacy this funding is expected to be available from next July.”
Cr Scott also welcomed a $32 million four-year commitment to help local governments improve disability access and build up to 400 new “Changing Places” toilets.
Cr Scott said ALGA’s advocacy had also delivered an extra $100 million in Financial Assistance Grants for councils in this year’s Budget, bringing the total for 2022-23 to $2.92 billion (including $2.1 billion pre-paid in 2021-22).
“ALGA will continue to advocate for Financial Assistance Grants to local government to be restored to at least one percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue,” Cr Scott said.
“Councils collect less than four percent of national taxation, and around one in four are heavily dependent on federal funding,”
“Labor has committed to ‘fair increases’ to Financial Assistance Grants, and we look forward to working with the Government towards beginning the path back to one percent from next year.”