Councils call for fairer funding share

AlburyCity Acting Mayor Amanda Cohn has called on candidates standing for election in the seat of Farrer to support the call by the Australian Local Government Association for a fairer share of taxation revenue to flow to local communities through their councils.

Councils across Australia receive Commonwealth grants, known as Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs), to provide services and infrastructure for their local communities but the relative size of the grants has almost halved over the past 20 years, stopping many communities from achieving their full potential.

“Once upon a time, councils were about roads, rates, and rubbish, but times have changed and councils like AlburyCity manage a huge variety of services that make our communities better places to live, like libraries, sports grounds, parks, community centres, and arts venues like MAMA and the Albury Entertainment Centre,” Cr Cohn said.

“Councils manage 33% of the nation’s public infrastructure, including 75% of our roads, but we raise only 3.6% of taxes through our rates.  We rely on transfers from other levels of government, especially the Federal Government, and without a fairer share of tax revenue we can’t keep our facilities up to the standards the community expects.

“If we can restore the grants back to where they were 20 years ago – and that means bringing them up from a little over half a percent of Commonwealth tax revenue back to one percent - then council can look at some major projects to improve life for our residents.”

AlburyCity General Manager Frank Zaknich has written on behalf of council to all nine Farrer candidates, asking them to press the new government to restore a fair share of funding to councils.

“The restoration of this funding would ensure we can continue to deliver services, facilities and infrastructure to our community,” Mr Zaknich said.

“When local councils get a fairer share, local communities are stronger, safer, healthier and happier.”

Cr Cohn urged the candidates to support their local communities by backing the funding push.

“If we can restore the grants back to where they were 20 years ago – and that means bringing them up from a little over half a percent of Commonwealth tax revenue back to one percent - then council can look at some major projects to improve life for our residents," she said.

More information about this and other local government federal election initiatives is available at www.allpoliticsislocal.com.au

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