This week, ALGA provided its pre-budget submission to the Government in advance of the Federal 2016-17 Budget in May. The submission outlined the importance of supporting jobs growth, innovation and opportunities for all Australians, particularly those in rural and regional areas.
We are urging the Government to include in its budget priorities a complementary focus on support for our communities to help build resilience against a backdrop of relatively low economic growth and an expanding income disparity across Australia's regions. In the submission, ALGA is calling for a commitment from the Government to:
- fund community infrastructure at a cost of $300 million per annum for five years to stimulate growth over the longer term and build community resilience
- establish a program directed at regional road projects, funded at $200 million per annum over the next five years, to ensure that first mile/last mile and freight connectivity issues are addressed to improve national productivity
- make the Bridges Renewal Program permanent
- immediately restore the indexation of the Financial Assistance Grants.
ALGA is also calling for additional investment in natural disaster mitigation and the restoration of fairer roads funding for South Australia, among other priorities.
The Government has made a clear commitment to restrain expenditure responsibly, and this commitment is supported by ALGA, but our submission also argues that expenditure on community priorities cannot wait for a convenient moment. Indeed, constraints in the budget should not be at the expense of support for essential community services or investment in local infrastructure and initiatives that are vital to the sustainability of local communities.
You can read ALGA's full submission on ALGA's website.
Mayor Troy Pickard