Local MP for Richmond Justine Elliot joined the announcement of quarterly grants worth more than $2.2 million for local Councils in the seat of Richmond under the federal government’s Financial Assistance Grant Programme this afternoon.
‘This funding will assist Councils in delivering local projects, but I am extremely disappointed with the Liberal National government’s previous decision to freeze the indexation of these Financial Assistance Grants,’ said Ms Elliott.
‘In 2013, the Liberal National government imposed a three year freeze on indexation of Financial Assistance Grants. This indexation freeze, which was imposed on local government’s by the Liberal Nationals government, saw $925 million cut from their budgets. Around two-thirds of these cuts, or $680 million, was borne by regional communities, who can least afford it.
‘The fact is National Party choices hurt and their decision to cut this funding made it very difficult for our local Councils.’
It is interesting to note that the government is keeping a tight control over who gets to announce the various funding releases across NSW. Today’s announcement of $38 million this financial year to support local communities as part of the 2018/19 Financial Assistance Grant Program in the seat of Page, that stretches from Iluka to Lismore, was given to the Nationals federal member for Page Kevin Hogan while funding in the seat of Richmond that covers Byron through to Tweed was announced by the Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams rather than its federal member Labor’s Justine Elliott.
The 2018/19 Financial Assistance Grant Program has provided local councils with some extra money so that ‘local councils [can] target local priorities,’ said Mr Hogan.
‘The councils are free to spend this untied funding based on their own local priorities including the infrastructure and services their community’s need.’
There is also additional funding that is being provided under the Roads to Recovery, Black Spot and Bridges Renewal programs.
Clarence Valley Council will receive a quarterly payment of almost $1.4 million and almost $11 million for the year, Lismore City Council will receive $775,500 ($6.3 million for the year), Kyogle Council will receive more than $550,000 ($4.3 million for the year), Richmond Valley Council will receive $636,000 ($5 million for the year), Ballina Council will receive more than $550,000 ($4.5 million) and Coffs Harbour City Council more than $900,000 and about $7.5 million for the year.
The Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams said ‘Tweed Shire Council has received $1,311,268, Ballina Shire Council $563,865 and Byron Shire Council $395,986 in first quarterly payments.Overall in 2018–19 Tweed Shire will receive $10.6 million in Financial Assistance Grant Program, Ballina Shire Council $4.4 million and Byron Shire Council $3.12 million.