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.
Federal election blog: Candidates beware: mayors are not happy
With the election date set and the major parties already reciting their focus group tested lines about economic management (Scott Morrison) and leadership stability (Bill Shorten), the grand narrative of this campaign is being played out on the national stage. But, for voters, the big picture need not be drawn on a national scale. In fact, the more successful a candidate can be at convincing voters he or she is looking after their local interest, the more likely they will emerge victorious on 18 May.
This is why it is in the parties’ interests to take notice of what peak bodies like the Local Government Association of Queensland is saying about this campaign. The LGAQ has a seven-point policy plan it will challenge the parties to respond to before the election. How the parties respond, along with their wider policies and funding commitments, will draw a picture about the extent to which whoever wins government on 18 May will unlock local community potential. And that’s a pretty big picture for many.
Among the LGAQ’s asks is for the parties to commit to proper grant funding for local governments. The proportion of grants flowing to councils from Canberra used to amount to 2 percent of total Commonwealth taxation revenue. It now stands at 0.55 percent, meaning local communities are missing out on a chunk of funds that they had previously used to build and maintain roads, libraries and parks. This at a time when many councils are being expected to shoulder more of the burden of providing services that should be with the remit of the states or Canberra. Think paying for teachers so that rural schools can remote open, or nurses so hospitals can continue to look after community health. For some councils, particularly the indigenous communities on Cape York and elsewhere in the state, these grants are the ONLY source of funding they have.
The response of the major parties to the proposal to restore financial grants has ranged from flat out refusal to barely disguised disinterest. But more than 60 percent of Queensland’s councils have gone to the trouble of passing formal resolutions in favour of restoring these grants to a meaningful level. That’s a lot of mayors to have off side. They are unlikely to stay politely quiet about the issue in the next five weeks of the election campaign. That spells potential trouble for candidates in marginal seats, especially for those with mayors who have a loyal community following. Those hoping to win the day on 18 May will be reminded regularly that councils in Queensland employ 40,000 people and manage public assets worth more than $150 billion, and are headed by mayors, all popularly elected by their communities, who are not happy with the current financial treatment being meted out by Canberra.
Watch this space…
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006