Queensland councils have put federal election candidates on notice that their communities want a dramatic increase in the amount of financial assistance grants the Federal Government distributes to local communities, saying vital facilities such as libraries, parks and roads need a fairer injection of cash from Canberra.
Delegates at the Local Government Association of Queensland’s annual conference in Brisbane unanimously resolved to lobby the Federal Government to restore untied grants funding to the equivalent of at least 1 percent of total Commonwealth taxation revenue.
The vote assures that boosting untied grants to local communities will top the policy wish list councils across Australia will deliver to political parties contesting the next Federal election, due by May next year.
LGAQ President and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the call by councils would merely restore the level of grants to where they were more than 20 years ago.
“These grants are a critical source of funding for councils, but in relative terms, they have declined by around 43 percent over the past 20 years and now amount to only 0.55% (2018) of Commonwealth taxation revenue,” he said.
“Local communities deserve a much better deal from Canberra than that.”
Mayor Jamieson said many Queensland councils relied on Commonwealth grants to properly fund community infrastructure like road maintenance and assets.
“The reality is that local councils in Australia collect just 3 percent of the total national taxation take through rates yet need to manage and maintain 33 percent of the nation’s public assets,” he said.
“A boost to financial assistance grants would allow us to provide a more equitable level of services to our communities.”