Redland City Council pushes for 'more equitable' funding as part of federal election advocacy

REDLAND City Council will push for the federal government to increase the proportion of tax revenue given to local governments.

If the federal government agreed to council’s proposal, the city would get an extra $4 million in its coffers.

Mayor Karen Williams said she would call on the federal government to restore financial assistance grants to at least one per cent of the Commonwealth tax revenue.

She said that in 1996 the grants were about one per cent of tax revenue but a freeze on the indexation of the FAGs had seen a 43 per cent decline over 20 years.

Cr Williams said the council was the level of government closest to the community and responsible for delivering much of the infrastructure and services needed by residents.

“Local government manages 33 per cent of public assets but collects only 3 per cent of total government taxes to manage these assets,” she said.

“In contrast the federal government collects 80 per cent of taxes and manages 11 per cent of public assets.”

Cr Williams said it was not equitable and the push for change was designed to restore the balance.

She said council estimated that increasing the grants would deliver an increase of about $4 million to the city and about $400 million for Queensland councils.

Cr Williams said that last year the grant had equated to about 0.55 per cent of tax revenue.

“This reduction is despite an average of 3.47 per cent annual growth rate in Australia’s gross domestic product between 1960 and 2017,” Cr Williams said.

“This means local government is effectively getting less of the nation’s taxation to deliver the services and infrastructure required in their communities.”

Cr Williams said she would write to the relevant minister and the request could be included in council’s federal election advocacy document.

Bowman MP Andrew Laming said he was a massive supporter of fixing a portion of Canberra funding to councils.

“(However) it relies on the Labor Party agreeing to stop running Australia into deep debt every time they get their hands on government,” he said.

“Our budget balances this year after six years of repair and locals understand there is not point borrowing from overseas to fund our councils.”