The Opposition’s call today to end the freeze to the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) addresses the challenges being faced by local councils as a result of the Government-imposed freeze and demonstrates that council funding must be a focus in the forthcoming budget.
According to the peak national body for local government, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), the three-year freeze to FAGs indexation introduced in the 2014-15 Federal budget continues to have a significant impact on councils, particularly those in rural and remote areas.
According to the Government’s own estimates, the freeze on FAGs indexation has stripped nearly a billion dollars from council revenues over the four years to 30 June 2018. In last year’s budget the Government signalled its expectation that annual indexation of FAGs would return from 2017-18, but this does not completely guarantee an end to the freeze.
“The Government promised to end the freeze and ALGA has urged them to honour their promise in the coming budget and ensure indexation is restored to Financial Assistance Grants in 2017-18,” Mayor David O’Loughlin, ALGA President, said.
“We are very pleased that the Opposition supports this call and understands the fundamental importance of this funding stream to locals and their communities across the country.
“These untied payments are essential, particularly to rural and remote communities, allowing local councils to respond to the priorities of their communities and invest in essential community infrastructure and services ranging from local roads to swimming pools.
“We need certainty in the Federal budget this May that indexation will be restored to this critical funding and that our local councils will have the resources necessary to provide the level of services that every Australian community deserves.”
More information about ALGA’s campaign to end the freeze and restore indexation to Financial Assistance Grants is available at media.endthefreeze.com