What is the value of a federal Budget released two weeks or so before the announcement of a federal election?

Promises, promises, promises!

A round up of responses at a local level reveals an interesting picture of priorities and reservations as we travel around the country.  

The ALGA response notes the increase in national infrastructure spending, tick, but the lack of commitment to long term resolution of ‘the mismatch in revenue and responsibility’ afflicting Local Government, no tick.

LGPro’s response focused on the sector’s need for greater federal support to help address the infrastructure backlog and to ensure adequate service provision to all Australians.

The VLGA cautions in it’s response to the Budget, many of the Government’s spending commitments rely on co-funding from state and local governments, are spread over the next four years, and will be reviewed and readjusted after the election whichever side wins.

South Australian councils were happy to have supplementary road funding maintained at current levels with a commitment of $20 million per year top-up via supplementary funding; a definite win for that state.

New South Wales is preoccupied with its own election honeymoon, although LGNSW has continued to focus on the growing problem of waste management and is disappointed that while the budget included a $100 million environment restoration fund, was unclear how much would be available ‘to address the nation’s escalating waste and recycling crisis’.

MAV has welcomed the two year funding commitment for the Commonwealth Home Support Program, which contributes to essential home support services such as Meals on Wheels, personal care, nursing, domestic assistance, home maintenance and community transport to assist older people to keep living independently in their own home, but is seeking assurances from all political parties to commit to future funding.

WALGA notes the budget has brought to an end more than a decade in the red, predicting a return to surplus in 2019-20; however ‘with the election expected to be called in a matter of days, it is not surprising that the other budget highlights were election “sweeteners” focused on large personal income tax cuts and a $1 billion infrastructure package’.

LGAQ released a summary of the Budget, identifying program funding for Queensland councils but refrained from commenting on the package. Chief Executive, Greg Hallam, opted instead to rejoice over the Palaszczuk Government strategic withdrawal on the issue of compulsory preferential voting for councillors.

Likewise the Northern Territory and Tasmania remain mute choosing to wait and see what if anything remains of the Budget in June when the dust settles.