Labor is today calling on the Turnbull Government to provide an economic boost to communities across Australia by bringing forward one quarter of Financial Assistance Grants funding for local councils.
This funding boost - which would bring forward funding of nearly $620 million from 2018-19 into 2017-18 - will help councils invest in the local projects that support local jobs, such as roads and community infrastructure projects.
These communities need jobs and they need them now. This will provide local economies with a shot in the arm which will mean more local jobs and more investment.
This is particularly important for small rural and regional councils that rely on Financial Assistance Grants, who with Labor’s plan will be able to undertake new projects and fund much needed maintenance works.
Today’s announcement is separate to critical assistance that must be provided to communities hit by natural disasters under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
The Government – with the full support of the Nationals - have ripped nearly $1 billion from the hands of local government through a three year indexation freeze to this grants funding.
The Government’s cuts have meant local councils across Australia have been forced to reduce services and increase fees for important things like community care, library opening hours, waste transfer station operations, childcare and community kindergarten.
Local government needs the capacity to plan for the future and make strategic decisions about infrastructure and growing service priorities.
That is why at the 2016 Federal Election, Labor pledged to end the indexation freeze after 2016-17.
Australia’s nearly 560 local councils employ some 189,000 Australians and these councils are at the front line of services to their communities.