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FAGs funding freeze ‘will hurt councils’

Wednesday, 18th June, 2014

City Council has joined the opposition to the freezing of indexation on Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) by the federal government.

Mayor Wincen Cuy, Deputy Mayor Marion Browne, Council’s General Manager Therese Manns and more than 800 delegates at Canberra’s 20th Annual National General Assembly of Local Government Congress this week voted to lobby the government to restore the indexation. 

“There is no moving away from the fact that local governments across the country are struggling and it is important that the Federal Government continues to support regional and rural communities,” said Mayor Cuy.

He said that concerns centred on the financial sustainability of local governments, which was partly dependent on FAGs.

“(An issue was) how they are allocated and the fact that these grants are not sufficient to ensure infrastructure and service delivery at a local level,” Mayor Cuy said.

“A late motion was accepted addressing the federal budget announcement to freeze these grants which will have a significant impact upon local communities already struggling with financial sustainability and asset gaps; this resolution demands the Federal Government restore the indexation.

“Another very important late motion was accepted in relation to the federal budget planning to achieve savings of $1.3 billion over the next four years by terminating the National Partnership Agreement on certain concessions from July 1 2014.

“Broken Hill has an ageing population and such a decision will impact our Council and our residents.”

Earlier this month State MP John Williams used a speech in Parliament to call for a “redistribution of wealth” among the NSW councils.

He said “shearing off” some of the revenue that richer councils received was one way to help poorer councils.

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