In December 2021, the State Government landed another blow to the residents of the North Burnett, notifying Council in a bombshell letter that $700,000 a year in Federal Assistance Grants will be removed over the coming 3 years, seeing over $2 million in funding lost.
This comes after a new Financial Assistance Grants methodology was enacted by the Local Government Grants Commission, whose final report has not been publicly released.
“The Commission knows their new methodology is flawed and they don’t want to lose face over it”, Acting Mayor Radel said.
“The State Government and the Commission promised a transparent, equitable, simple, reliable and stable funding methodology. What they have delivered is anything but.
“The State Government has refused to acknowledge the grave financial challenges facing the North Burnett region and others like it.
“The Commission noted that feedback received from Councils ‘requested the Commission’s decision making…be transparent and well documented’. The State Government and the Commission have not delivered on this and are trying to sweep this under the rug.
50 remote, small and indigenous councils, who are already highly subsidised, are set to benefit from this methodology change, while diverse regions like the North Burnett cop a funding cut.
“They are robbing Peter to pay Paul. The State are trying to make this methodology change out as a win while telling regions like the North Burnett, who have worked closely with and done everything the State has asked of them, to deliver services for the community out of their own empty pockets.
“They don’t care about regional Queenslanders and are demanding rate payers in one of Australia’s most disadvantaged areas pay for essential service delivery out of their own pockets.
“There is no equity or fairness here.
It has been commented that the State Government has set up North Burnett Regional Council to fail by amalgamating six financially stressed regional towns with small populations and overtime stripping away funding that the community is reliant on. NBRC maintains the 5th largest road network in Queensland and has limited capacity to raise its own revenue.
“I appreciate that small, remote and indigenous Council’s also face many challenges, however they receive remote subsidies and incentives and don’t have initiatives like the Waste Levy pushed on them.
“While the State Government is busy playing Olympics host in the South-east, they are killing regional Queensland areas like the North Burnett.