Brown folders with the headings 'grants', 'funding' and 'projects'

Following the release of the Australian National Audit Office’s review of the Building Better Regions Fund in late July – which found National-held electorates received more than $100 million extra compared with what they should have got if money was handed out fairly – the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has said it highlights the importance of fair and transparent federal funding.

ALGA President, Linda Scott, said formula-based funding programs like Financial Assistance (FA) Grants and the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program are completely transparent and benefit every Australian community.

“The October Federal Budget is an opportunity for the government to redirect funding from competitive grants programs to FA Grants and ensure that funding is fairly provided right across the country,” Cr Scott said. 

“Financial Assistance Grants have declined from one per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue in 1996 to just 0.55 per cent today, and this has had a significant impact on many of our regional and rural councils that rely heavily on this funding.

“Some councils are looking at closing local facilities such as swimming pools or reducing their community centre hours of service due to budgetary pressures.

“Other councils can’t move ahead on key projects such as vital stormwater upgrades because they’ve been unable to secure funding through over-subscribed grants programs.”

Cr Scott hopes to see the Financial Assistance Grants restored to one per cent over time, to ensure every Australian council is sustainable, and every community is liveable.

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