In keeping with the Australian Government’s commitment to fiscal discipline, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has finalised and lodged its submission to Government for the 2012-13 budget at the end of January.
While ALGA acknowledged the Government’s pledge to bring about a surplus in the coming financial year, ALGA believes that priorities do not wait for a convenient moment and ALGA has called on the Government to show commitment to longer-term funding of vital services.
The submission – Stability and Security for Communities – outlines core issues which local government can not address without support from the Commonwealth.
The submission focuses on; measures to ensure the adequacy of Financial Assistance Grants, as well as the negotiation of a new Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA); support for the campaign for constitutional recognition of local government; ensuring the long-term security of Roads to Recovery funding; protecting local government infrastructure from climate change; providing support for more effective indigenous programs.
According to ALGA the submission reinforces the need for constitutional reform to formally recognise the role of local government within the Commonwealth Constitution to ensure direct funding of local government and the long-term financial sustainability of councils.
ALGA stated its submission reasons that in times of fiscal constraint, governments should focus on community priorities, investment in infrastructure and the most efficient process for delivering programs.
It argues that direct funding of local government to deliver infrastructure and services makes sense in the current environment.