Federal funding foul-up ‘hits
councils in back pocket’
COUNCILS across the state will be forced to reassess and modify their adopted 2012-13 budgets after the federal Government substantially overestimated the amount of funds councils would receive in Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) for 2011-12, says the body representing local government.
Shires Association president, Cr Ray Donald, says councils throughout New South Wales – in fact Australia – plan their budgets incorporating projections for FAGs provided by the Commonwealth.
“It’s a disgrace that the Commonwealth Government’s FAG estimates for 2011-12 were so over-inflated that many councils will be short the funds needed to carry out many of the critical local services and vital capital works projects planned for in their budgets,” says Cr Donald.
“It’s very disappointing that I’ve already heard from several NSW councils they are considering postponing or cancelling projects which were to be funded from FAGs.
“Due to the Commonwealth Government’s gross miscalculation, many NSW councils no longer have the necessary funds to see their 2012-13 projects through.
“This will be disastrous for those communities impacted.
“I call on the Australian Government to honour the full estimated amount of FAGs for 2011-12 to ensure councils can fulfil their commitments and planned activities as adopted in their current budgets,” Cr Donald says.
Councils were recently advised of the Commonwealth adjustments to FAGs by the NSW Grants Commission, he says.