Federal Budget cuts to affect Central Queensland: Labor
QUEENSLAND Senator Chris Ketter is accusing the Federal Government of short-changing regional areas by freezing the indexation of grants to local councils.
He claims figures obtained by Labor reveal that Central Queensland is expected to lose more than $31 million over the next four years after the Financial Assistance Grants indexation is frozen.
TOP STORIES ONLINE TODAY
The Financial Assistance Grants have provided over $44 billion through the Federal Government since 1974-75. The grant program consists of two parts: a general component which is distributed according to population, and a road component which is distributed based on fixed historical shares.
The value of the grant pool changes annually in line with changes in population and the Consumer Price Index.
However, the government announced in the 2014-15 budget that the indexation would be frozen for three years, until 2016-17.
Senator Ketter said this freeze would tear about $680 million out of regional Australia, more than twice the amount which metropolitan Australian would miss out on.
"Residents in Central Queensland are now faced with a double whammy of the freeze on indexation of Financial Assistance Grants and an end to the freeze on indexation of fuel excise," he said. "The flow-on from these cuts will hamper the ability of regional councils to service their communities and develop and maintain pivotal critical infrastructure."
The total cuts from 2014-15 to 2016-17 would total $680,437,598 in non-metropolitan areas and $245,973,439 in metropolitan areas.
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development was given a chance to comment but was unable to yesterday. Its response will be published tomorrow.