The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has released a statement responding to the Federal Government’s suggestion that major infrastructure projects should be funded 50-50, stating that the change is an unfair cost shift.
According to the Grattan Institute’s Potholes and Pitfalls report, councils are responsible for 77 per cent of roads but receive only three per cent of all taxes.
The Federal Government claims 80 cents out of every tax dollar , while the states get the remaining 17 cents.
Based on these numbers, Queensland Mayors and the LGAQ joined Deputy Premier Steven Miles’ meeting in Canberra, arguing for a better deal for Queensland taxpayers and ratepayers. The group argued that any cuts to funding and projects are cuts to community liveability.
LGAQ said that it’s local councils that provide the vast majority of critical services and infrastructure that communities rely on, such as roads, footpaths and waste collection.
LGAQ has said that too often councils have been left to deal with problems pushed on to them from the State and Federal Governments when those levels of government or the private sector pull back or pull out.
The association warns that it is just not sustainable that the level of government that gets just three cents in every dollar of tax revenue, can and should have to deliver and maintain one third of the nation’s public infrastructure.
According to the LGAQ, State and Federal Governments have been asking councils to do more with less funding for decades. Earlier in 2023, the Queensland Auditor-General released his report that showed 46 councils are at moderate to high risk of not being financially sustainable.
LGAQ argues that if Canberra is getting the bulk of the tax income it should also start paying more to the level of government – councils – that are providing the on-the-ground services.
LGAQ said that it will now look forward to the federal minister clarifying publicly what flexibility might be possible with the move to 50/50 infrastructure funding.