Investing in local government makes sense

ALGA President Linda Scott has urged the Government to continue to invest in councils and communities in this month’s Federal Budget.

 “Investing in local government will support Australia’s 537 councils to train and upskill Australia’s future workforce, deliver more affordable housing, and support our transition to a low carbon future,” Cr Scott said.

 “Providing councils with more funding will allow them to better protect their communities against increasingly frequent and more severe natural disasters.”

 “Sustainably funded, local government can play a major role increasing Australia’s productivity, providing the infrastructure and services businesses need to thrive.”

 “Councils are in every community and can deliver local solutions to our national challenges.”

 Cr Scott said it was crucial the Government didn’t cut existing funding programs for local government in this month’s Budget.

 “We know the Government is looking closely at a number of programs that councils receive funding through with a view to improving transparency,” said Cr Scott.

 “We fully support changes that will make federal funding fairer and more equitable.”

 “However, if programs are cut because they aren’t accountable or transparent, then this money should be reallocated to other programs so our communities don’t miss out.”

 “Programs like Financial Assistance Grants and the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program are the perfect vehicles for federal funding – they are open, transparent, and benefit every council and community.”

 Cr Scott said ALGA remained committed to seeing Financial Assistance Grants – untied federal grants to local government – restored to at least one percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue.

 “Over the past twenty five years, Financial Assistance Grants have slid from one percent of Commonwealth taxation to just 0.55 percent today,” Cr Scott said.

 “ALGA’s research shows that for almost one in four Australian councils, FA Grants make up at least 20 percent of their annual revenue, meaning they are critical to the ongoing viability and sustainability of these communities.”

 “In the lead up to this year’s election Labor committed to ‘fair increases’ for Financial Assistance Grants, and we look forward to working with the Government to implementing these increases from next year and beginning the road back to one percent.”