Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Clancy says Clarence a winner under Greens plan - fairer funding for regional councils

NSW Greens candidate in Clarence Valley local government election Greg Clancy, media release, 15 August 2016:

Fairer Funding for Regional Councils: Clarence a winner under Greens plan to ensure a fairer distribution of crucial Commonwealth roads funding.

Greens Senator and Local Government Spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said, "NSW regional councils are the winners under the Greens plan for a fairer federal funding based on local needs rather than on a per capita basis.

"When parliament resumes on 30 August I will move to set up an inquiry into Commonwealth Financial Assistance Grants to gather evidence to show that regional areas are losing out under the current system."

Under the current system, the federal grants are awarded according to population numbers with little consideration of the size of the region and transport networks that must be maintained.

Greens candidate for Clarence Valley Council, Greg Clancy said, "Getting equitable road finding, based on financial need and the size of a council's road network, would see the Clarence Valley Council with extra funding to build local infrastructure.

"The roads need fixing and Council needs better support to do that. People also want cycleways, parks, playgrounds and pools. The federal grants program can make that happen.

"The current system of awarding road grants to Councils based on their population and not of their needs is inequitable and short changes regional areas.

"You only have to look at the results from last year's funding. Fairfield Council, which covers just 104 square kilometres and has 677 km of roads, received $5.1 million in Federal road funding. Clarence Valley, which has 2445 km of roads across 10,441 square kilometres, also got $5 million. From these figures, it is clear that something is seriously wrong.

"We're talking about a significant amount of funding. This is crucial funding for roads that needs to be distributed fairly, with those Regional Councils in most need getting priority funding in order to deal with their extensive road network.

"It's not just the Greens saying this. The NRMA has said the same, so has a recent NSW Parliamentary report. A new federal funding model would provide a 'win-win' for Council and the community," Dr Clancy said.

"I believe we need more Greens on regional councils to get behind our senators and state MPs so we get the support for a national senate inquiry to fix the broken federal funding model for local councils," he said.

Further information on the General Purpose and Local Road Financial Assistance Grant available at: http://regional.gov.au/local/assistance/fags-state-summaries-nsw.aspx

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