Council demands on table for big year ahead
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is continuing its campaign to restore millions of dollar in funding to the council sector.
ALGA has laid out its priorities for the year ahead, with the restoration of indexation of Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) the top agenda item.
The board has met for a two day strategic planning meeting, in which local government sector leaders decided to focus efforts on four key issues.
AGLA President Mayor Troy Pickard said the focus throughout 2015-16 will be on Financial Assistance Grants, the Reform of the Federation and Taxation White Papers, the future of natural disaster funding and developing ALGA's election campaign platform in the lead up to the 2016 election.
"The decision to freeze indexation of Financial Assistance Grants in the May 2014 Budget for three years will see $925 million stripped from local government by 2017-18,” Cr Pickard said.
“These grants are a vital part of the revenue base of all councils and they are used to help fund essential local services and infrastructure.
“The reduction in funds over the life of the freeze will see all councils working with less funding from the Commonwealth this year, and for the next two years.”
Mayor Pickard said it was also important that local government's voice was heard in the debate on both the Federation and Taxation White Papers too.
“Our two spheres of government have strong ties, with Federal funds helping local government provide valuable services in the local community,” he said.
“Possible changes to the Federation should strengthen this tie, not sever it.
“Any reform of the Taxation system must also acknowledge and maintain the integrity of local government's rates base which is so important for local communities.”