Labor is calling on the Turnbull Government to acknowledge the devastating impact that their freeze on funding for local government is having, particularly in regional Australia.
Today's Victorian Grants Commission report puts on the record that the state is $200 million worse off as a result of the Turnbull Government’s Financial Assistance Grants indexation freeze. All up, the Turnbull Government has booked savings of $925 million over three years by freezing these grants.
Freezing the indexation of funding to local government has meant local councils across Australia have been forced to reduce the services they provide to their communities like community care, library opening hours, waste transfer station operations, childcare availability and increase fees such as kindergarten fees.
The impact of this lost funding on infrastructure maintenance and repair budgets is also significant.
The impact on regional and rural councils is of particular concern. This is because in regional areas where income from rates is lower and there is limited alternative funding, councils are more heavily reliant on the federal government assistance grants.
Cutting funds to rural and regional councils means that people living in the most socially disadvantaged parts of Australia are seeing the services they rely on cut back.
They should not be blamed for feeling abandoned by their Coalition representatives in Canberra.
With Victorian local council elections just around the corner, Labor is calling for Coalition MPs to face up to the harm this indexation freeze is doing to their local communities.
We also call on local council candidates standing under the Liberal or National Party banners to make clear the impact their Federal colleagues’ policies are having on services in their local areas. In Victoria councils are a significant provider of services such as childcare, libraries and home and community care programs. They cannot continue to withstand the sort of cuts that are being imposed by the Turnbull Government.
The list below shows the estimated cuts to some Victorian councils by federal electorate, it clearly demonstrates that rural regional electorates are the hardest hit:
Ballarat 9.5 million
Bendigo 9.3 million
Indi 15.4 million
Marley 22.8 million
Gippsland 14.8 million
THURSDAY, 13 OCTOBER 2016