The peak body representing Queensland’s councils has welcomed steps to help address the national housing crisis as well as an increase in road funding but is disappointed the Federal Budget has failed to reveal an increase in crucial funding for local government.
Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) CEO Alison Smith said Queensland’s councils had been among the first to raise the alarm about the housing crisis and would be looking closely at the Housing Accord and other measures announced by Treasurer Jim Chalmers in his first Budget.
“Councils will welcome the confirmed increase in the highly successful Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program (LRCIP) – up $40 million to $171 million this year for Queensland councils - but would still like to see it made permanent with the certainty that would provide,” Ms Smith said.
“The $200 million available for disaster mitigation is also a measure welcomed by our members, the councils of Australia’s most disaster-prone state.
“There is also an ongoing commitment to infrastructure but our members will be disappointed at the delay in some project funding, with the likes of Bridges Renewal and Roads of Significant Interest (ROSI) seeing funding pushed into the out years.
“There will also be concern about the reduction in water infrastructure funding for Queensland.”
The LGAQ is looking forward to more detail being released regarding the $1 billion in funding for two new programs, the Growing Regions and the Precincts and Partnerships Program funds, for which councils will be eligible to apply, with Growing Regions to replace the Building Better Regions Fund.
Ms Smith also urged the Federal Government not to penalise councils who had already put in applications for funding under the Building Better Regions Fund with extra red tape to apply for any replacement fund.
Ms Smith said it was vital the Commonwealth listened to councils and addressed funding for both FA Grants for local communities to achieve the level of liveability they not only need but deserve.
“The LGAQ has consistently called for the FA Grants to be restored to at least one per cent of Federal tax revenue to bolster the financial sustainability of local governments and lift the liveability of every community in our state,” Ms Smith said.
“The Albanese Government has promised a fair increase in FA grants but we are yet to understand exactly what that looks like.
“We will continue to push for a fairer deal because it is critical to ensuring local councils can deliver the infrastructure and services their local communities not only need but deserve because every local community deserves to be a liveable one.”
The LGAQ will continue to advocate for an increase in the FA Grants and permanency for LRCIP among other crucial asks in the next Budget in May.
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