Anger over ‘inadequate’ budget funds

Mayor Carol Adams.
Mayor Carol Adams.

A $60 million provision over three years, comprising a $45 million subsidised loan facility and $15 million in grants, was included in last week’s State Budget.

The WA Local Government Association had asked for between $60m and $100m.

Speaking at Kwinana council’s meeting on Wednesday, Cr Adams said the cost earmarked by the State was inadequate.

‘What the government offers falls well short of what we all know is needed in relation to the operation side of reform,’ she said.

‘The State Government’s budget announcement has left a very bitter taste in our mouths.’

She said local government officials ‘unanimously agreed’ to reject the loan fund during a meeting last Monday.

‘We reject the notion of local governments having to increase rates or contributing financial resources to fund the State’s structural reform program,’ she said.

Under the current proposed local government reform model, the City of Kwinana would expand north to include a large portion of the City of Cockburn.

Cr Adams said a meeting of local government leaders on Monday would be important.

‘We really need certainty with funding, especially as we are all working to finalise our council budgets,’ she said.

‘The meeting is crucial in deciding the way forward on this issue, especially as to whether we take any specific decisions back to our respective councils for determination.’

The Local Government Advisory Board is expected to complete its report on local government reform in July and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson will then decide its fate.