$1 billion for local councils is spread too thin: ALGA

MORE than $1 billion will flow into councils across Queensland and NSW, but the Australian Local Government Association says it's not enough.

Queensland councils will score $453.1m and NSW councils will get $715.7m under the Federal Government's Financial Assistance Grants program quarterly payment.

The money comes with no strings attached, so local governments can spend it on roads, services, employment projects or any other area they want.

Most of the grants are under $10m.

In Queensland, Bundaberg will get $7,622,042, Fraser Coast, $7,425,733; Gladstone, $7,690,523; Gympie, $5,226,472; Mackay, $6,433,934; and Rockhampton, $6,961,109

Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba councils will be among the biggest recipients with the former receiving $10,295,853 and $16,289,555 going to the latter.

In NSW, Armidale Dumaresq will get $4,076,494; Coffs Harbour, $6,987,262; Forbes, $4,834,637; and Tamworth, $10,127,024.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the government would give $9.3b to local governments by 2019 under the program.

"The Coalition Government is committed to ensuring local councils and the communities they serve get the funding they need to deliver the infrastructure and resources of the 21st century," Mr Truss said.

However, the Australian Local Government Association said councils would be worse off.

Association president Felicity-Ann Lewis said freezing indexation of the grants would cost councils around $596m by 2016.

She said it would hit rural and remote communities hardest.

"The grants … pay for vital community services and infrastructure, including roads, parks, swimming pools, libraries and childcare, are an important part of Australia's Federal system of government, seeking to ensure that all Australians, wherever they live, enjoy a basic standard of local services and infrastructure," Cr Lewis, the mayor of Marion in South Australia, said.

"These grants are essential for all communities and have been a consistent commitment by all Federal governments for 40 years, but the decision of the Federal Government in its first budget to wind back support will have an impact on every community.

"I am very concerned about the implications for services and infrastructure in local communities and these impacts will just get worse as the cumulative impact of the reduction in the grants grows every quarter and every year from now on.

"Councils are trying to work out how to manage their budgets as a result of this decision.

"Many have already said road maintenance and other vital community services like parks, swimming pools and the library will receive less funding."

Councils in both states will also receive $168.7m under the Roads to Recovery program this financial year; a double Roads to Recovery payment next year of $239.9m; and $173.2m over the life of the Community Development Grants program.

Councils can also apply for a share further share of $565m from the Black Spots program and $300m through the Bridges Renewal program

- APN Newsdesk.

AT A GLANCE

Financial Assistance Grant cash payment for 2014-15

  • Bundaberg: $7,622,042
  • Fraser Coast: $7,425,733
  • Gladstone: $7,690,523
  • Goondiwindi: $5,793,397
  • Gympie: $5,226,472
  • Mackay: $6,433,934
  • North Burnett: $10,791,969
  • Rockhampton: $6,961,109
  • South Burnett: $7,103,699
  • Southern Downs: $7,046,977
  • Sunshine Coast: $10,295,853
  • Tablelands: $5,272,967
  • Toowoomba: $16,289,555
  • Townsville: $7,003,170
  • Western Downs: $18,179,217

NSW

  • Armidale Dumaresq: $4,076,494
  • Coffs Harbour: $6,987,262
  • Forbes: $4,834,637
  • Tamworth Regional: $10,127,024


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