The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) is calling on the Federal Government to restore Financial Assistance Grants to at least one per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue.
A motion put forward by Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor and LGAQ policy executive member Jack Dempsey was carried at the LGAQ conference in Mackay on Wednesday.
Local government raises just over three per cent of national tax revenue through property rates. Rates are the only tax base for local government, whereas the Commonwealth and states have access to around 260 other taxes.
The Commonwealth, with 82 per cent of the tax revenue, has just one tenth of the assets held by local government.
Financial Assistance Grants benefit regional communities
Mayor Dempsey said councils were united in seeking a “fair share” to maintain and improve community infrastructure and services.
“Financial sustainability is a key issue for many local councils and this additional funding would provide much-needed local economic stimulus to support local supply chains and create jobs,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“This would see over $160 million per annum in additional funding flow to Queensland councils, supporting more than 1500 jobs, predominantly in rural and remote parts of the state.
“Increased financial assistance grants would enable projects that improve community infrastructure and maintain important services.
“State and Federal Governments continue to shift responsibilities to councils for issues such as waste management, disaster response and climate change but funding hasn’t kept pace in real terms.”
Mayor Dempsey and Bundaberg Regional Councillors Wayne Honor, Steve Cooper and May Mitchell are attending the LGAQ conference.
Support for hydrogen
A Bundaberg motion to support the emerging hydrogen industry was also carried.
Mayor Dempsey said LGAQ would now advocate to the Federal and State Governments for funding to help Councils across Queensland investigate and support the uptake of hydrogen use in their own operations and across local industries.
“With State Government support we hope there will be a research project on the potential for utilising Council assets such as wastewater and fleet to develop a local hydrogen industry,” he said.
“We think there should also be a scoping study to inform the location and selection of hydrogen projects for local governments.”