Labor Candidate for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, is today calling on the Turnbull Government to provide South Coast local councils with a one-off boost to their funding by bringing forward one quarter of Financial Assistance Grants funding from 2018-19 into 2017-18.
This funding boost will provide important cash flow for South Coast local councils and support local jobs. On the basis of 2016-17 funding amounts, Shoalhaven City Council would receive an additional $2,864,130; Eurobodalla Shire Council an additional $1,622,031 and Kiama Council an additional $372,774, which would be a significant boost for the region. In particular, councils like Shoalhaven and the Eurobodalla that are heavily dependent on Financial Assistance Grants will be free to undertake new projects and fund much needed maintenance works. Labor has always strongly backed local government and has condemned the Turnbull Government’s freeze on the 3-year indexation of Financial Assistance Grants that has seen nearly $1 billion stripped away. Federal Labor understands that local government needs the capacity to plan for the future and make strategic decisions about infrastructure and growing service priorities. That is why at the 2016 Federal Election, Labor pledged to end the indexation freeze after 2016-17. The Turnbull Government continues to refuse to provide assurances that they will lift the freeze. Across Australia around 560 local councils employ nearly 189,000 Australians and these councils are at the front line of services to their communities. Freezing the indexation of funding to local government has meant local councils across Australia have been forced to reduce the services they provide to their communities, including: community care, library opening hours, waste transfer station operations, childcare availability and increase fees such as childcare fees. The impact of this lost funding on infrastructure maintenance and repair budgets is also significant, and will have a lasting impact. That the Nationals allowed these cuts to occur in regional communities is further evidence that they are unable to stand up to the Liberals. You cannot claim to stand for regional Australia and at the same time strip funding away from the local councils that the community rely on. Media Release