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Restoration of Federal Assistance Grants to 1% – What will it look like?

Feb 21, 2019 | Mayor's Blog

An extract from the North Burnett News, published in the Central and North Burnett Times, 21 February 2019

The importance of regional advocacy cannot be stressed enough, as the North Burnett is hugely reliant on State and Commonwealth funding (funds received from government makes up 57% of our total annual budget).

As part of the upcoming federal election we have written an advocacy pitch to include six priorities of our community that are important to everyone, these are federal funding to local government (FAG’s), mobile phone coverage (black-spots/telecommunications), transport, water,
aged care and tourism.

Today I’m concentrating on what Council sees as the most important election commitment as a Local Government, which is, the restoration to 1% of the Federal Assistance Grant. Its vitally important that we all understand what’s going on because this effects each and every one of you.

It is said in politics that you can’t please everyone, however we disagree. All local governments in Australia have agreed that our communities need the Federal Assistance Grant to be restored to 1% of total federal taxation income.

Here is the background on the Federal Government Assistance Grant:

  • The Federal Government Assistance Grant is money which the Federal Government allocates to Local Governments, this program has been running since 1974. The purpose of this grant is to enable councils to function “by reasonable effort to an average standard”.
  • In 2009, this fund totalled 1% of the total federal taxation income, however in the last ten years this figure has been reduced to a mere, 0.57%.

Currently Local Government manages 33% of public assets whilst the Federal Government collects 80% of taxes and manages 11% of public assets.

Even in the last 12 months the North Burnett Regional Council has seen a further reduction of $155,000 from this funding (a loss which equates to almost a 2% rate rise for our small community).

What this one decision would look like for our community:

Restoration of the 1% of Commonwealth Taxation revenue would result in an increase of $9.2million per year invested into your community.
If this decision was made this year, the result would be a safe and efficient road network.

  • $3.4 million could be allocated to the shortfall to maintain our road network.
  • A futher $5.2million could be allocated towards the required replacement or repair of 15 bridges within the region.

And in future years, our community’s assets could be continually maintained and improved to the stated “average Australian standard”.

With the reinstatement of this 1% funding – our council would be able to look after our community for generations to come. So if you get the chance to speak to a candidate in the upcoming Federal election campaign period, be sure to let them know that there is a way they can please everyone…