Livingstone Mayor slams Federal Government funds freeze

THE Federal Government's decision to freeze grants to local councils would result in a cumulative loss of $2.7 million in revenue for Livingstone Shire Council over 10 years.

That's what Mayor Bill Ludwig drove home at yesterday's Livingstone council meeting, when he said ratepayers would have to foot the bill as a result of the "grossly unfair" decision.

Cr Ludwig said the government's decision in the 2014 Federal Budget, to freeze the indexation of financial assistance grants (FAG) for three years beginning in 2014-15, would result in Australian councils losing an estimated $925 million by 2017-18.

While the FAGs are paid through each state's Local Government Grants Commission, the funding comes from the Commonwealth.

"The bottom line is time and time again the level of government that has all the purse strings and gets the majority of revenue... is cost shifting onto local councils.

"The other way of recuperating that cost is by putting it onto our ratepayers," Cr Ludwig said.

Cr Nigel Hutton will attend a FAGs national conference in Canberra later this year.



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