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On the final day of the ALGA National General Assembly, Labor has announced a commitment to restore the indexation freeze on Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) from July 2017, if elected.
Speaking at the Assembly, the Hon Julie Collins MP, Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, announced the commitment, which has been welcomed by ALGA.
"We are pleased that the Opposition has provided the certainty called for by the sector on restoring indexation of FAGs," said ALGA President Troy Pickard.
"The three-year pause on FAGs indexation implemented in the 2014-15 budget was unexpected and continues to have a severe impact on the sector.”
It is expected the Coalition would also restore the indexation from 2017, but Mayor Pickard said a firm commitment provides peace of mind for cash-strapped councils.
“Having certainty on the indexation of this untied funding will ensure that our local councils have the resources necessary to fix local community infrastructure and fund crucial community services such as parks, swimming pools, libraries, community amenities, and recreation and cultural facilities."
Labor has also said it would re-establish the Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG).
"The ACLG will ensure that councils have direct dialogue with the Prime Minister and Cabinet on issues of national importance and will strengthen the partnership between both levels of government," said Mayor Pickard.
"The forum will be an opportunity to address issues around the sustainability and certainty of local government funding."
Ms Collins also highlighted the Opposition’s commitment to a Regional Innovation Fund, which would focus on expanding the role of regions to establish self-sustaining innovation hubs, and funding to encourage the active participation of women in local government.
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