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Local communities need investment to continue for the longer term

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In announcing a budget headlined by responding to short-term financial pressures, the Federal Government has missed an opportunity to deliver further longer term benefits by investing in Victorian communities through councils.

There are positives for local government in the continued investment in the untied Financial Assistance Grants and Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, but the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) says more vision is required to position us for the future.

MAV President, Cr David Clark, who only this week called for further assurance on financial assistance grants, again emphasised that funding council projects will have lasting impacts on peoples health and well being, as well as their budgets.

“Cost of living pressures are real and being felt by many across our communities,” Cr Clark said.

“While the MAV is pleased to see it being addressed, increased funding for local government will deliver benefits for every community that will outlast temporary support.”

“The temporary cuts to fuel exise, one-off payments and tax relief are supported, however community investment in critical infrastructure will deliver greater long term benefits to communities over time.”

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) released other funding for local councils and communities announced in last night’s Federal Budget, which included:

  • $2.8 billion in untied Financial Assistance Grants (up from $2.65 billion in 2021-22, with $2.1 billion to be brought forward this financial year);
  • $491 million in Roads to Recovery Funding (down $8 million from 2021-22);
  • $129 million for the Black Spot Program (down $8 million from 2021-22);
  • $131 million for the Bridges Renewal Program (up $42 million from 2021-22); and
  • $818 million over five years for expanding digital mobile coverage in regional Australia.

Rightly, significant disaster recovery funding has been announced for New South Wales and Queensland, however the government continues to miss the opportunity to invest in disaster prevention and mitigation.

“The recent productivity commission found that Australia invests 3% of its disaster mitigation money in preventative works and 97% in recovery and repair.  Surely we can all see this is not delivering real benefits for communities,” Cr Clark explained.

“Working with both the Commonwealth and Victorian governments, councils have made our cities and regions better places to live and work, and created thousands of new jobs in a tough economic climate. We call on the federal government to continue to ensure no community is left behind.”

For further information, contact the MAV Strategic Communications team on (03) 9667 5590.