Australian councils have welcomed tonight’s Federal Budget as a solid investment in local government, with councils receiving $3.1 billion in Financial Assistance Grants over the next 12 months.
“For Australia’s 537 councils, $3.1 billion of local government funding is a vital investment in Australia’s productivity, allowing us to employ nearly 200,000 Australians and provide local services in every corner of the nation,” said Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) President Cr Linda Scott.
“However, it’s disappointing that another Federal Budget has passed without the Government delivering on their pre-election promise of ‘fair increases’ to these grants. Local governments will continue to work with the Government to see this happen, returning local government funding to at least one percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue.”
“Our local roads are in a state of significant disrepair, with increasingly frequent natural disasters as a result of dangerous climate change.
“ALGA welcomes the $500 million in local road funding, and will continue to advocate for a significant increase to the Roads to Recovery Program that will support all councils to build better, more resilient roads.”
Cr Scott said it was encouraging to see the Budget’s strong focus on supporting vulnerable Australians.
“As the closest government to communities, councils play a critical role providing community services and welcome this increased support for vulnerable Australians.”
Cr Scott said local governments would miss the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program, which was not extended in this year’s Budget.
“Established in 2020, the LRCI program has been successful in helping all councils deliver much-needed local infrastructure projects, including libraries, community sporting fields, local roads, parks and playgrounds,” said Cr Scott.
“The demise of the LRCI Program will be partially offset by two new urban funding programs – a $200 million Thriving Suburbs Program and a $150 million Urban Precincts and Partnerships Program, alongside the Growing Regions and Regional Precinct Funds.”
“Local governments successfully advocated for the establishment of the $200 million Disaster Ready Fund, to enable us to invest to better prevent damage from natural disasters. Councils are delighted to see the Disaster Ready Fund continued, along with new Flood Warning Infrastructure Network Remediation, allowing councils to better protect our communities from flooding and other natural disasters in the future.”
“ALGA also welcomes the extension of the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program, a new $10 million National Waste Education campaign, as well as an extension of $20 million per year supplementary road funding for South Australian councils disadvantaged by the national local roads funding formula.”