Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:39): As we speak, citizens in the great state of Victoria are in the process of deciding who will form the councillors and mayors of the local governments throughout the state. It is an important job everywhere, but it is particularly important in Victoria, where the local councils perform so many of the functions that are performed by state governments and community organisations in other states around Australia—functions like running libraries, early childhood learning, childcare, and home and community care programs, just to name a few.
That task has been made all the more difficult by the $925 million worth of cuts of the Turnbull government to financial assistance grants to local councils all throughout Australia. Today, we learnt that in Victoria the devastating impact of these cuts was $200 million to councils right throughout the state. It hurts them all, but it particularly hurts councils in rural and regional Victoria, where they have a low rate base and they rely on the federal grants to provide those basic services. In the council area of Ballarat it means $9.5 million, and in Bendigo it means $9.3 million. I see the member for Indi here in the chamber, and in Indi it is a cut of $15.4 million. In Mallee, it is a whopping $22.8 million and in Gippsland it is a whopping $14.8 million. (Time expired)