CLAIMS BASELESS

LAST week’s report headlined ‘Federal freeze blows in’ saw a series of baseless claims being made by Western Australia Local Government Association president Troy Pickard in relation to the Federal Government’s temporary pause to the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants to councils.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t given the opportunity to respond to these claims, which need to be clarified for the benefit of all Swan residents.

In the article, Mayor Pickard stated that ‘the freeze would cost WA communities more than $50 million’.

The truth, however, is local governments will actually receive $30 million more this financial year in Financial Assistance Grants than they did last year, due to population growth adjustments.

The $2.3 billion in Financial Assistance Grants to councils I welcomed on August 18, including $13.6 million for councils in the Swan electorate, also comes with no strings attached, meaning local governments can spend their full allocation on local priorities.

Far from cutting essential services such as infrastructure as Mayor Pickard claimed, local councils will also receive other key funding measures to support their projects.

This includes funding under the Coalition’s $2.1 billion Roads to Recovery program, the expanded $565 million Black Spot and $248 million Heavy Vehicle programs, the new $300 million Bridges Renewal program and the new $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund.

STEVE IRONS,

Federal Member for Swan