Federal cash for council coffers – but is it enough?

Councils along the north coast and around Australia this week received their third tranche of Financial Assistant Grant funding for the 2016 financial year.

But while Nationals Page MP Kevin Hogan is trumpeting the amounts being spent on councils in his electorate, nearby Richmond MP, Labor’s Justine Elliot, says those in her seat are getting too little.

Mr Hogan said without the Financial Assistance Grant program residents could be paying higher council rates for the same or lower levels of service.

‘The Financial Assistance Grant program is a welcome boost to our local councils which can support community initiatives and assist in establishing essential local infrastructure,’ he said.

Mrs Elliot agreed that the funding would assist councils in delivering local projects, but said she was ‘extremely disappointed with the Liberal Nationals Government’s decision to freeze indexation of these Financial Assistance Grants.’

‘The fact is National Party choices hurt and their decision to cut this funding makes it very difficult for our local councils,’ she said.

‘The cut of nearly $1 billion in Financial Assistance Grants across the forward estimates will hurt the budgets of many local councils.’

In this quarter: Tweed will receive $1.2 million (from an annual total of $4,816,833); Byron will get $369,124 (of $1,476,499); Ballina 495,884 (of 1,983,536); Lismore 735,660 (of 2,942,641) and Richmond Valley 576,511 (of 2,306,045).

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