From Hilltops Council Margaret Roles

Written by: Mayor Margaret Roles

Marg-Roles-2022

Margaret Roles - Mayor

This time last year I attended, on behalf of Hilltops, the first Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG) to be held since 2013.

As this column goes to print, I will be attending the 2024 ACLG in Canberra.

Mayors from all over Australia will attend. I am sure that the financial sustainability of local government will be forefront once again.

From both federal and state tiers of government there is recognition that local government is the workhorse of the community; making sure that services such as local road networks, sporting and recreational facilities, water and waste services are provided and maintained. Increasingly, Local Government Areas (LGAs) are limiting or closing community services, as they attempt to balance the books.

Councils are under the same cost of doing business pressures as everyone else in our modern society. As a proactive council, Hilltops is engaged in a Financial Improvement Strategy to make sure that business practices are streamlined and cost effective.

However, there is a point that funding, through rates, charges and grants is not enough to support the ever-increasing expectations that are placed on LGAs by the higher levels of government and indeed, by the community.

The Federal Assistance Grant (FAG) to local government is central to the survival of local government. FAGs are paid to state governments for distribution to local governing bodies to help them deliver services to their communities. FAGs funding is untied, meaning it can be spent where it is most needed.

Since the mid-1980s, FAGs funding has declined from about 1% to 0.53% of Commonwealth taxation revenue.

Presently, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), the peak body representing local government is seeking a commitment from the Australian Government to restore FAGs to at least 1% of Commonwealth taxation revenue.

It is important that Hilltops shows support for this position as we look to advance a bright future for our beautiful Hilltops.

Graymont

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