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Tuesday, 24 February 1987
Page: 658

(Question No. 4970)

Mr Moore asked the Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services, upon notice, on 27 November 1986:

(1) When will the new allocation principles, which will govern methods by which Federal funding will be distributed within each State to local authorities, be approved.

(2) Is it a fact that between 40% and 75% of the 835 local councils in Australia will find themselves disadvantaged by the new principles.

Mr Uren —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The States and the Northern Territory are required under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1986 to submit the principles of allocation to me by 1 July 1987. My Department is currently consulting with all States and the Northern Territory on these principles.

I will be assessing each State's submission of principles as it comes forward, and will ensure that the States' requirements with respects to timing of implementation of principles is taken into consideration in the approval process.

(2) As I said in my Second Reading Speech, the principal objective of the new Act is to provide general purpose financial assistance to those councils that are most disadvantaged with respect to their abilities to raise revenue and to provide services.

The States and the Northern Territory are currently developing principles with this objective in mind. As none of these principles have yet been submitted to me I am not in a position to assess how many councils are likely to receive increased grants over time and how many decreased grants.

It is my intention to work with the States to obtain a more equitable distribution of financial assistance grants than may exist at present. I will ensure that any changes in the level of grants to councils are phased in a gradual manner over a number of years so as to avoid disruption to the local government system.