Councils see red in vote to head off budget black hole

The peak body for NSW councils has resolved to lobby for the end of a measure it says will cause a $288 million funding hole across the sector in the next three years. The peak body for NSW councils has resolved to lobby for the end of a measure it says will cause a $288 million funding hole across the sector in the next three years.
Nanjing Night Net

Councillors at the 2014 Local Government NSW (LGNSW) conference unanimously voted to lobby the federal government to abandon freezing the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants to councils.

In June Dubbo City Council estimated the measure would leave it more than $1.9 million worse off in the next four years.

Dubbo council has delegates at the conference, which on Monday considered motions from councils about the issue.

After the vote LGNSW president Keith Rhoades said councils were living the reality of the government’s budget decision not to index the important grants.

“The consequence of this funding freeze is a $288 million hole for the NSW local government sector – and our communities – over the next three years,” Cr Rhoades said.

“All NSW councils, both country and city, will feel the pinch, as shown by the 11 councils who submitted motions on this issue to the LGNSW Annual Conference, including the Blue Mountains, Blacktown, Randwick and Wakool.

“Financial Assistance Grants are extremely important as they are untied, which means they can be used for council services, facilities and infrastructure that the community deems to be most important – not as directed by the Australian government.

“They are also an essential part of councils’ revenue base, particularly as NSW councils are constrained from increasing their own source of revenue by rate-pegging.

“$288 million over three years will not drastically impact the Australian government, but it is a severe hit to individual councils, and even more so in country areas where they have extensive road networks and small rate bases.”

Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson and councillors Greg Mohr, Kevin Parker, Allan Smith and John Walkom are attending the conference on behalf of the council.

Dubbo councillors Greg Matthews and Ben Shields are also in attendance as board members of LGNSW.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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