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Council Connections - Mayor's Message 27 March 2019

27th March 2019

Federal Elections

With the Federal Election due by May 2019 there are particular statistics I would like to bring to your attention concerning funding arrangements for Local Government.

Of the total taxation revenue raised in Australia, the Commonwealth accounts for 84 percent, the State receives 13 percent and Local Government receives just 3 percent.

At the same time, local Councils across the country have had to bear more of the burden of managing and maintaining the public’s infrastructure.  Councils receive 3 percent of the revenue overall, but must manage 33 percent of the nation’s public assets.

The 3 percent is total funding towards Local Government in General.  All individual Councils receive funds from the Federal Government under what is called the ‘Federal Assistance Grants’ (FAGs).  Councils can use this money for whatever program they like.  In 1996, the funding provided under FAGs was equal to around 1 percent of total taxation revenue.  Today the figure has fallen to just under .55 percent of total taxation revenue.

So, as you can see, despite being the level of Government that is charged with providing the bulk of the everyday services that a community essentially needs to function – Local Government receives the least amount of funding from your tax dollar.

Under the auspices of the Australian Local Government Association, all Local Councils throughout Australia are petitioning Government, opposition and other political parties and candidates to commit to a minimum FAGs payment to Local Government of 1 percent of all tax revenue.  By increasing to 1 percent, Queensland Council’s will enjoy an increase of $400 million in funding.

So if you happen to be talking to your Federal Member or a candidate for the forthcoming Federal Election – let them know about the 1 per cent for FAGs.  It will make a significant difference to our community.

Local Government Reform

Are you aware of the Palaszczuk Government’s plans to force major change to the way Queenslanders elect their local Councils?

The main changes proposed are:

  • introducing compulsory preferential voting. This change would make voting significantly more complex and much easier to make mistakes, resulting in your vote being null and void.  Last election our Councillor field was 23 candidates. Imagine having to number 1 – 23 for local elections.
  • Introducing the notion of proportional representation for undivided Councils. That is how the Australian Senate operates.  This would benefit political parties and drown out local voices.
  • Mandating the use of ratepayer money to pay candidates running for election. The proposal is that each candidate securing more than 4% of the vote will be paid $1.57 per vote received to reimburse election expenses.  That means less ratepayer money being spent on infrastructure and services.

For further information on the proposed reforms, please visit https://www.dlgrma.qld.gov.au/local-government-reform.html .

Local Governments throughout the State unanimously believe that most reforms proposed will be detrimental to current processes and do not support the Government actions.  A campaign “Hands off my Council” has been launched.  The campaign may be viewed at www.handsoffmycouncil.com.au 

Hinchinbrook Emergency Services Cadets

Council is very happy to be involved with and supporting the Hinchinbrook Emergency Services Cadets as we recognise the great outcomes that such a program brings to a community such as ours.

The Emergency Services Cadets is a unique and innovative Cadet program for young people aged 12-17 years old.  Delivered by PCYC Queensland and funded by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, the Cadets focus on developing emergency response skills, leadership potential, volunteering ethos and encouraging young people to consider joining the emergency services as an adult in either a paid or volunteer capacity.  The program engages emergency services, local Councils, schools and organisations in a strengths based approach to form a sustainable mentoring framework.

The Official Launch Ceremony for Hinchinbrook Emergency Services Cadets will be held at the Ingham Coast Guard Complex, Lucinda on Monday 27 May 2019 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

Need to print the Council Connections page? Click on the link below for the printable version. 

COUNCIL CONNECTIONS - 27 MARCH 2019 

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