A 7 Point Plan for QLD Local Government
The Local Government Association of Queensland is advocating for the needs of Queensland communities in this year’s federal election. Queensland communities deserve a guarantee that at least 1 per cent of the taxes Australians pay Canberra is returned to local projects that are important to them.
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) is the peak body for the 77 local governments in Queensland.
The centrepiece of the LGAQ’s election plan is the restoration of Financial Assistance Grants to at least 1 per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue. Access to this level of revenue would enable local governments to better target the real challenges and opportunities facing their local communities.
Federal funding to local government also makes good public policy and economic sense boosting Australia’s Gross Domestic Product by over $1.4 billion and enabling national challenges to be responded to with local solutions.
Local infrastructure, job creation, social challenges and public amenity can be best addressed when decision making is targeted to each communities’ unique needs. Local government is best placed to do this.
Australian communities deserve a guarantee that at least 1 per cent of their taxes are returned to local projects that are important to them.
Queensland councils and their communities face unique challenges and look to the Federal Government for their support and leadership.
Queensland is Australia's most decentralised state.
Over 58% of the land area of Queensland is drought declared in January 2019.
Over 20% of our councils are discrete indigenous councils.
We have the Great Barrier Reef, supporting 64,000 jobs and generating economic activity estimated at $6.4 billion per year.
Our state is the most impacted by natural disasters, with a projected total economic cost of $18.3 billion per annum by 2050.
Our councils employ nearly 40,000 people and manage public assets worth a combined $155 billion.
Queensland local governments support the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) federal election plan. ALGA is the national voice of local government representing 537 councils across Australia. ALGA believes that all Australians, regardless of where they live, deserve equal access to services and infrastructure that will preserve and enhance their quality of life.
Formally addressing drought
Droughts and flooding rains. The deluge in the north has not meant an end to the drought in much of Queensland. Hear from McKinlay Shire Council Mayor Belinda Murphy.
Addressing the infrastructure cliff
This Federal election #QLD councils are asking for support to renew essential infrastructure. Hear from Maranoa Regional Councillor David Schefe on why essential infrastructure needs urgent attention.
Closing the gap this Federal election
This Federal Election Queensland indigenous communities need a formal and genuine commitment to redressing housing disadvantage. Hear from Mayor Vonda Malone from Torres Shire Council on why we can't ignore this issue any longer.
Restoration of Financial Assistance Grants
Mayor Jenny Hill of Townsville City Council talks about what restoration of Financial Assistance Grants to 1 per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue means for local communities.
Heading into 2019 and a Federal election
LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam speaks about key issues for Queensland local government in 2019, including the federal election and the need to advocate on the restoration of Financial Assistance Grants.
A genuine commitment to the Great Barrier Reef
Hear from Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox on why the Great Barrier Reef needs to be an election priority.
Improving road safety and sustainability
North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers on why roads need to be highlighted this Federal election.
The big issue the parties cannot see
While this federal election campaign has been notable for the amount of attention parties have given to local community issues like waste management and housing, there remains one significant blind spot in their thinking when it comes to Canberra’s responsibilities. This blind spot has a name, financial assistance grants. These untied grants are a lifeline for many local communities as their councils simply would be unable to provide the level of services the public expects without them. The funding source that most people associated with councils, rates, can only plug part of the gap between the services council provides and the money they have to pay for them. The remainder is filled by funds from a range of sources, including financial assistance grants.
The trouble is that these grants have steadily eroded over time and with successive federal governments. This is where the blind spot comes in. The Commonwealth raises 87 percent of all taxes in Australia, while local government is responsible for just 3 percent. Yet the major source of funding to councils from the Commonwealth, financial assistance grants, is half what it was 25 years ago. For local communities, that means fewer roads can be maintained, less green space can be set aside and better water treatment facilities are being delayed because of the financial squeeze being put on their councils from Canberra. These grants maintain local jobs and create new ones, provide infrastructure that communities value and give the federal government a community connection that it otherwise would not have.
Councils from around Australia, not just in Queensland have long called for these grants to be restored to proper levels. That is, at least the equivalent of 1 percent of total Commonwealth taxation revenue. The challenge at this election is for the major parties in particular to acknowledge there is a problem and some indication they will fix it if they win on 18 May. There have been some initial indications from Labor that it may be prepared to address the issue but as yet no detail has been forthcoming.
Until it is, local councils will keep banging the drum for some fairness to be shown in relation to these grants. Each and every local community in Australia benefits from them so, in an election where local issues seem more important than ever, it should be a no brainer.