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Federal budget restores vital grants indexation

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The 2017/18 Federal Budget delivers on the government’s promise to restore indexation of Financial Assistance Grants, providing much-needed funding to Victorian councils.

Financial Assistance Grants are a vital source of funding for councils, who are able to spend the grants according to their community priorities.

But since a freeze on indexation of the grants began in 2014, Victorian communities have missed out on around $200 million for their local roads and services.

“The MAV is pleased that the Federal Government has delivered on its promise to ‘end the freeze’ on Financial Assistance Grants indexation,” MAV President Cr Mary Lalios said.

“This will be good news for councils, particularly councils in rural areas as their communities have been hurting as a result of the lost funding. The grants help councils to meet the costs of providing more than 100 essential services to local communities and maintaining $80 billion worth of community infrastructure.

“However, councils will still be left playing catch-up as they recover from the $200 million that has been lost since the freeze began.”

Cr Lalios said in further good news for local government, the Roads to Recovery program had been extended for another two years.

“Roads to Recovery provides much-needed funding to help councils maintain 85 per cent of Victoria’s road network, to achieve better safety, economic and social outcomes for their communities,” Cr Lalios said.

Other welcome funding initiatives for local government in Victoria include:

  • A new $472 million Regional Growth Fund for regional infrastructure and community projects
  • $200 million for the Building Better Regions Fund
  • $500 million for Victorian passenger rail
  • Funding to support 15 hours of kindergarten a week until the end of 2018.

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Contact: Cr Mary Lalios on 0447 189 409 or MAV Communications on 9667 5547.