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Rudd Government to deliver $2.2 billion to local councils: an increase of $202 million.



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Media Statement

RUDD GOVERNMENT TO DELIVER $2.2 BILLION TO LOCAL COUNCILS - AN INCREASE OF $202 MILLION

The Rudd Labor Government is set to deliver more than $2.2 billion to Australia’s 565 local councils and shires in the new financial year.

This record level of funding is an increase of around $202 million than the last financial year.

All councils will be able to spend these funds on a range of priorities including local roads, parks and pools, libraries, community centres, health and child care services, and water and sewerage services.

The $2.2 billion in federal funding in 2008-09 includes:

É An estimated $1.9 billion in Financial Assistance Grants, which are untied and can be spent according to local needs;

É $355 million in Roads to Recovery funding for nominated local roads [This includes $48 million not spent by local councils in previous years, which the Government will make available again this year]; and

É $14.3 million in supplementary local road funding for South Australia.

The Rudd Labor Government is putting local government at the heart of our nation-building agenda.

Australia’s local councils are not only critical to maintaining vibrant local communities but make a vital contribution to the nation’s productivity.

For example, local councils maintain 657,000 kilometres of road across Australia.

The Rudd Government also understands the importance of financial sustainability of local government and differing abilities to raise revenue.

Rural and regional communities, in particular, are under increasing pressure.

That’s why around two-thirds of the grants will go to rural and regional councils due to their higher costs in providing services and difficulty in raising revenue.

Local government grant commissions in each state and territory will recommend where the financial assistance grants will be allocated, with the

first quarterly instalment to be delivered in August 2008. Roads to Recovery funds are provided directly to councils for nominated local road projects.

Contact: Moksha Watts 0413 389 070

1 July 2008