Club Cowra

Disappointing Budget For Local Government: Ruth Fagain

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix

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Cowra Myor Ruth Fagan is less than impressed with what the Federal Budget has offered local government in Australia.

Local Government has been disappointed yet again by the Federal Government’s lack of recognition in the Budget.

Although an additional $330 million was announced, including a $150 million increase in the Roads to Recovery program, Local Government receives only 0.51% of the Commonwealth’s budget through Federal Assistance Grants.

Mayor of Cowra Ruth Fagan said Local Government had been asking the Federal Government for a fair and consistent funding model by increasing the amount to just one percent of the taxation revenue.

“While I understand there are budget pressures from everyone, Local Government is well placed to deliver the services to all communities without any further red tape or bureaucracy. We provide 25% of all services and are struggling to be viable,” said Mayor Fagan.

“A financial grant increase, would allow us to contain rates and charges, helping reduce inflation and allow us to provide more services to our communities including water, sewerage and waste management,” Ruth said.

“The Government is hoping to build more houses and provided grant funds for infrastructure but Local Government now has to compete for these grants, which can be a time consuming and costly exercise with no guarantee of success.”

Mayor Fagan said the Federal Government was holding a Parliamentary inquiry into local government sustainability, and Cowra Shire would be making a submission for an increase in Financial Assistance Grants to 1%.
“As well as making local government more viable it would allow us to more easily update our ageing infrastructure and provide a clear and more certain financial path to plan for the future and new services,” said the Mayor.

“The NSW government’s rate peg and cost shifting, asking Local Government to pay for more government services has left many Councils in a very difficult situation,” Ruth said.

“We do recognise and thank the Government for their support of the Roads to Recovery program and additional road funding to make roads across the network much safer.”

Aging and Disability Commision

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