Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion -

LAST week’s re­port head­lined “Fed­eral freeze blows in” saw a se­ries of base­less claims be­ing made by Western Aus­tralia Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Troy Pickard in relation to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s tem­po­rary pause to the in­dex­a­tion of Fi­nan­cial As­sis­tance Grants to coun­cils.

Un­for­tu­nately, I wasn’t given the op­por­tu­nity to re­spond to th­ese claims, which need to be clar­i­fied for the ben­e­fit of all Swan res­i­dents.

In the ar­ti­cle, Mayor Pickard stated that “the freeze would cost WA com­mu­ni­ties more than $50 mil­lion”.

The truth, how­ever, is lo­cal gov­ern­ments will ac­tu­ally re­ceive $30 mil­lion more this fi­nan­cial year in Fi­nan­cial As­sis­tance Grants than they did last year, due to pop­u­la­tion growth ad­just­ments.

The $2.3 bil­lion in Fi­nan­cial As­sis­tance Grants to coun­cils I wel­comed on Au­gust 18, in­clud­ing $13.6 mil­lion for coun­cils in the Swan elec­torate, also comes with no strings at­tached, mean­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments can spend their full al­lo­ca­tion on lo­cal pri­or­i­ties.

Far from cut­ting es­sen­tial ser­vices such as in­fra­struc­ture as Mayor Pickard claimed, lo­cal coun­cils will also re­ceive other key fund­ing mea­sures to support their projects.

This in­cludes fund­ing un­der the Coali­tion’s $2.1 bil­lion Roads to Re­cov­ery pro­gram, the ex­panded $565 mil­lion Black Spot and $248 mil­lion Heavy Ve­hi­cle pro­grams, the new $300 mil­lion Bridges Re­newal pro­gram and the new $1 bil­lion Na­tional Stronger Re­gions Fund. STEVE IRONS, Fed­eral Mem­ber for Swan.

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