A stack of Australian money

The Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA SA) has called on the Federal Government to stand by its commitment to increase local government funding ahead of the release of the Federal Budget.

Citing the Federal Government’s election commitment to increase grant allocations for councils, including increases to Financial Assistance Grants, LGA SA President and Kimba Mayor, Dean Johnson, urged the Federal Government to keep its promise and provide financial support to councils.

“The last few years have been very challenging – local councils have been hit hard by inflation, rising costs and the effects of natural disasters,” Mayor Johnson said.

“The LGA SA is asking for a restoration of Federal Financial Assistance Grants, which have almost halved over the past three decades, to at least one per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue.

“These grants make up more than 20 per cent of annual operating expenditure for around one in four Australian councils – they are a lifeline for the liveability and productivity of communities.

“Councils play a crucial role in providing essential services and community infrastructure at a local level, supporting initiatives and funding through local government helps keep our suburbs safe, vibrant and attractive places to live and work.

“Funding programs go a long way, we’ve seen councils facilitate thousands of projects recently under the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program – everything from new community centres and upgrades to sporting facilities, to the development of recreational trails, playgrounds and renewal of roads.

“Cutting funding levels or changing eligibility to limit access under programs like this would only leave communities worse off in the long-term.

“Many council services help those already financially strained or vulnerable, including access to library services, home help for the elderly, and support for community groups.

“Alongside funding for community infrastructure programs, we’ve also asked the Federal Government to allocate additional road funding of $20 million each year to support the safety and productivity of our local road network.

“For many councils, maintaining roads is the single largest item of expenditure they have and in South Australia, we have seven per cent of Australia’s population and eleven per cent of its local roads, but receive just 5.5 per cent of the Federal Government’s local road funding under Financial Assistance Grants.

“We need the Federal Government to stand by their commitment during the election and ensure the Budget doesn’t leave South Australian communities behind.”

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