ALGA President Linda Scott said the Australian National Audit Office’s review of the Building Better Regions Fund was a timely reminder of the importance of fair and transparent federal funding.
“Formula based funding programs such as Financial Assistance Grants and the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program are completely transparent, and benefit every Australian community,” Cr Scott said.
“The October Federal Budget is an opportunity for the Government to re-direct funding from competitive grants programs to FA Grants and ensure that funding is fairly provided right across the country.”
“Financial Assistance Grants have declined from 1 percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue in 1996 to just 0.55% today, and this has had a significant impact on many of our regional and rural councils that rely heavily on this funding.”
“Some councils are looking at closing local facilities such as swimming pools or reducing their community centre hours of service due to budgetary pressures.”
“Other councils can’t move ahead on key projects such as vital stormwater upgrades because they’ve been unable to secure funding through over-subscribed grants programs.”
“Over time we want to see Financial Assistance Grants restored to 1 percent to ensure that every Australian council is sustainable, and every community is liveable.”