New research has found that if local councils were more sustainably funded, they could boost Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by up to $7 billion.  

The research, which will be released by ALGA in early July, shows a $1 billion annual investment in local government roads would increase Australia’s GDP by $3.5 billion per year, and an extra $350 million for parks and open space could increase GDP by $900 million per year. 

ALGA highlighted the research while appearing at a House of Representatives inquiry into local government sustainability, along with several other key reforms to show how local communities could grow and thrive with more federal funding and better partnerships in the future. 

“With extra responsibilities being forced on to Australia’s 537 councils every year, we highlighted a range of solutions to consider and address the financial challenges and funding shortfalls currently faced by local governments,” said ALGA President, Councillor Linda Scott. 

“This inquiry presents a valuable opportunity to outline the value and services we are delivering in our communities and to highlight the much-needed funding reforms local government needs to be sustainable,” Cr Scott said.  

As part of its comprehensive, evidence-based submission to the inquiry, ALGA made five key recommendations to the committee, with the number one priority being increasing untied Financial Assistance Grants for local government to at least one per cent of Federal taxation revenue. 

“The best way to support increased efficiency and productivity in Australia is increasing federal Financial Assistance Grants, so councils get our fair share of national tax revenue. 

“ALGA’s research shows over the past decade local government expenditure per capita has flatlined, while spending by other levels of governments has continued to rise.  

“We are committed to partnering with the federal, and state and territory governments, to facilitate more affordable housing, better prepare for natural disasters, and deliver on our national emissions targets, but we can’t do this without greater support.” 

Image: myphotobank.com.au /shutterstock.com 

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