LGAQ to appear at public hearing
LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam will explain how local government will be affected by proposals to change how the Federal Government distributes GST revenue when he appears at a Productivity Commission hearing next week.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad wrote to the Commission earlier in the year, requesting a public hearing be held in regional Queensland given the “challenges Queensland faces as a decentralised state”. In a letter to the LGAQ, Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad emphasised the impacts the proposed changes would have on Queensland.
“Should the PC’s review result in reduction in GST funding to Queensland this will inevitably affect service delivery.
“A reduction of $1.588 billion a year in GST revenue to Queensland is the equivalent of about 14, 881 public school teachers – or losing about one in every three public school teachers in Queensland.” She said.
In its submission to the inquiry, the LGAQ emphasised the importance of state and federal funding,
“Indigenous councils are almost entirely reliant on Queensland and Commonwealth Government operating grants, while the rural/remote and resource councils are also very heavily reliant on grant funding.” The submission said.
The submission also highlighted the additional financial burdens Queensland councils faced due to service delivery arrangements unique to Queensland due to the wide spread of its population and responsibility for high-cost services like water supply
“Unlike some states, Queensland local government maintains responsibility for water supply and waste water services, which require the maintenance of high-cost capital assets’
“The situation was compounded by the Commonwealth’s decision to stop indexing Financial Assistance Grants for three years, which was estimated to cost Queensland councils a further $180-200 million.”
Ahead of the hearing, LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam met with the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Glenn Butcher this week.
Public hearings have already been held in Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart.
The hearing is part of the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation. The Commission is due to hand its final report to the Turnbull Government on 15 May.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006