ALGA calls for more funding partnerships in federal budget

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has used its 2022-23 budget submission to call for more partnerships between the Commonwealth and the nation’s 537 councils.

Linda Scott

The government has issued a parliamentary sitting calendar indicating it intends to hand down the budget on March 29.

ALGA’s pre-budget submission 2023 calls for funding partnerships around transport and community infrastructure, affordable housing, resilience to climate change and natural disasters and the circular economy, saying this will help drive a locally-led economic recovery.

“Councils are already doing much to support Australia’s COVID-19 recovery, but with better funding partnerships, we could do even more.

“In particular, it is long-term and ongoing funding that will provide us with the confidence to make strategic long-term investments in our communities,” the submission says.

ALGA President Linda Scott says the proposed partnerships would contribute at least $6.65 billion per year to the national GDP and create around 45,000 new jobs.

“Councils are offering solutions to achieve a tailored, community-focussed post-COVID economic recovery – from creating jobs to supporting local business to building new community facilities like libraries, community centres, roads, recreation trails and playgrounds,” she said in a statement.

“Councils have an excellent track record of partnering with the Commonwealth on projects and programs that improve our communities and build better lives for all Australians.”

Other demands include:

  • A four-year extension of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program
  • $300 million per year for road transport bottlenecks
  • Expansion of the Roads to Recovery and Black Spot Programs, and permanent supplementary road funding for South Australia
  • $55 million for digital connectivity in regional, rural and remote communities
  • $200 million per year to mitigate against natural disaster events
  • A new Local Government Climate Response Partnership Fund
  • $200 million over four years for innovative affordable housing partnerships
  • $100 million per year to increase the capacity of Indigenous councils and implement Closing the Gap initiatives
  • A new local government place-based health and activity program
  • Support for community arts and culture sectors impacted by COVID-19
  • $100 million per year for circular economy waste innovation

Financial Assistance Grants also remain a key theme in ALGA’s submission with a request for an initial injection of $1.3 billion worth of FAGs to drive economic recovery and for the total value of untied grants to be gradually restored to at least one per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue.

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