Shoalhaven City Council has urged the Australian Government to honour its promise to restore indexation to the local government Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) payments in the upcoming 2017-18 Federal Budget.
Mayor Amanda Findley said the funds have played an important role in helping Shoalhaven City Council provide vital services and infrastructure for the Shoalhaven community.
“The untied FAGs are an important part of our revenue base, allowing us to provide and maintain Shoalhaven City Council’s local community infrastructure and services such as community halls, libraries and parks,” Mayor Findley said. “If the Federal government reinstated the $1.2 million per annum that has been stripped over the last three years of the freeze, and it applied the CPI growth for the future years of the grant, a bit over 2% of the proposed special rate variation increase would not have been required.”
“The FAG’s payment has allowed for Council to service over 45km’s of local road to be repaired and resurfaced annually. The freeze has already impacted the road sealing contract and over 10km’s of road that was planned for repair has been deferred. Capital projects such as renewing street scapes in Berry and Sussex Inlet continue to be deferred.”
“The “freeze” over the last three years has had a very negative impact on our Community. Services particularly impacted is our ability to maintain public buildings facilities and infrastructure, especially roads and community paths. Further reductions or continuance of the “freeze” will lead to reduced service levels in some key services such as libraries and swimming pool opening hours.
Mayor Findley continued to say that the reduction in FAG’s has led to a reduction in litter bin servicing and the removal of over 400 bins in Winter. In addition, the cleaning of over 120 amenities will need to be reduced.
“The Commonwealth’s decision in the 2014 Federal Budget to freeze indexation of this valued funding means Shoalhaven City Council has received a reduced level of FAGs for the past three years, putting a noticeable dent in our cash flow and impacting on the services we’re able to provide to our community.
“The Australian Government committed to restore indexation in this year’s Federal Budget and the Shoalhaven City Council and community will hold them to their promise.
“Council urges Politicians in Canberra to restore indexation of FAGs so Shoalhaven City Council can meet our community's demand for services and provide the level and quality of service that they deserve.”
Shoalhaven City Council has joined other Councils nationwide on a campaign to ensure the Federal Government honours its promise to restore indexation to FAGs in the 2017-18 Federal Budget. More information about the campaign is available at media.endthefreeze.com