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Bucketing down

Weekly column from Council Courier e-newsletter by CEO Greg Hallam, Friday, 16 June 2017.

All sorts of buckets were dropped this week, from a very council-friendly State Budget that deposits another $400 million into council piggy banks, to the pile of you-know-what left under parliamentary privilege courtesy of Cairns independent MP Rob Pyne.

But let's be positive and focus on the good stuff. Over the last two state and federal budgets the LGAQ can put its hand on its heart and say we have played a leading role in the delivery of an extra $1 billion to our members. About $400 million of that is due to one program, the Palaszczuk Government’s Works for Queensland.

That figure does not include a further $450 million under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements to be paid to our member councils next financial year.

During the last 12 months we have won all but two of the big policy fights affecting local government, including the restoration of Financial Assistance Grants indexation, securing day labour and plant hire eligibility under NDRRA , the re-indexation of infrastructure charges, a $30 million boost to TIDS, waste charges, extra Roads to Recovery money, and the restoration of the real value of State Government Financial Assistance payments to indigenous councils, just to name some.

Our two losses were in the areas of industrial relations reform and the LGAQ’s bid to purchase the State’s street lighting network. But overall the ledger still sits in local government’s favour.

Mr Pyne doesn't deserve another second of our time, suffice to say that, metaphorically speaking, he has managed to shoot himself in the head and both feet this week.

So, let's ignore the naysayers. Time to commit to spend wisely all the new money coming local government’s way and play our part in getting unemployment down and the state moving in the right direction.

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