Griffith has lost up to half a million dollars over the past three years due to a freezing of federal government assistance, says Mayor John Dal Broi.
Federal assistance grants are annual payments by the federal government to local governments. One allocation is provided for the councils to spend on improving roads, and another allocation can be spent at the council’s discretion.
Historically, these payments have increased every year in line with general price increases, called indexation.
However, in 2014, the federal government decided to freeze the indexation.
“I estimate that we have lost between $450,000 and $500,000 over the past three years as a result of this assistance freeze,” Cr Dal Broi said.
I estimate that we have lost between $450,000 and $500,000 over the past three years as a result of this assistance freeze.Mayor Dal Broi
Mr Del Broi says that although the Griffith City Council remains in a strong financial position, the funding is vital to maintain road quality and ensure projects – such as a new hospital – can be pursued.
“We need to maintain our roads to a higher standard than other councils, given our role as an agricultural hub,” Cr Dal Broi said
Cr Dal Broi nominated improvements to Banna Ave as a possible priority for which the missing half a million to be used.
Griffith City Council received a federal assistance grant of $4.924 million over the last financial year. If grants are indexed again next year, it stands to gain an extra $150,000 in 2017-18.
According to the peak national body for local government, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), the three-year freeze to indexation continues to have a significant impact on a number of councils, particularly those in rural and remote areas.
“The Government promised to end the freeze and ALGA has urged them to honour their promise in the coming budget and ensure indexation is restored to Financial Assistance Grants in 2017-18,” ALGA president David O’Loughlin said.