LG financial report card from 2016-17 goes to Parliament

Councils raised 89.2 percent of their own revenue in 2016-17, with grants and subsidies making up the remaining 10.8 percent, a new national report shows.

In that time, local government’s total tax revenues amounted to $17.4 billion – or 3.6 percent of all taxes raised across all spheres of government in Australia.

Councils (along with the ACT) also received $3.5 billion in untied through the Financial Assistance Grant program.

The 2016-17 Local Government National Report, presented to Federal Parliament this month, also showed taxes on property were the sole source of taxation revenue for local governments, with individual councils having differing abilities to raise revenue.

“These differing abilities may not be apparent when national or even state averages are considered,” the report said.

“The differences between urban, rural and remote councils including their population size, rating base and ability to levy user charges, affects the ability of a council to raise revenue.”

Northern Territory councils relied more on government grants and subsidies than councils in other jurisdictions, as they raised only 72.9 per cent of their own revenue.

In the remaining states, the proportion of revenue raised from own sources ranged from 88.0 percent for both NSW and South Australian councils to 92.4 percent for Queensland councils.

On average, local government received 26.8 percent of its revenue in 2016-17 from the sale of goods and services.

Local government expenditure was primarily on housing and community amenities (24.3 percent) followed by transport and communication (21.5 percent) and general public services (17.6 percent).

It is a requirement of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 (Cth) that an annual report of its operation is prepared for the Federal Parliament.

The report also includes an assessment of the performance of local governments, including their efficiency, based on comparable national data.