Editorial

As we reported in the ‘breaking news’ section on lgfocus.com.au this month, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss announced the Roads to Recovery funding allocated to local councils.

By now, local councils should know how much of this year’s $350 million they will receive.

For many local governments the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants will deal a damaging blow to their finances.

The funding for Roads to Recovery will at least be more certain, with $2.1 billion allocated to fund the program until June 2019.

The funding allocation will double to $700 million for next year.

Minister Truss highlighted this in a speech at the Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) Infrastructure and Investment Conference in September.

“I understand that councils do not welcome our decision to freeze the annual indexation of Financial Assistance Grants for three years, as their contribution to help get the nation’s budget back on track.

“I want to put this decision in perspective.

“We have not reduced funding to local government, in fact this year’s funding is $30 million higher than last because of population adjustments.”

He listed the expanded $565 million Black Spot programme, the
$248 million Heavy Vehicle programme, the new $300 million Bridges Renewal programme and the new $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund along with Roads to Recovery as the major sources of funding the Federal Government is providing to Local Governments.

Releases we have received from local governments have been very welcoming of the Roads to Recovery funding, although with all this funding being earmarked for very specific projects, councils may have less money to use flexibly within their local areas to address local issues.

Does this funding restrict your council’s operations?

Has your council’s funding increased or decreased overall?

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