Victoria’s rural and regional councils will get a much-needed funding boost, thanks to a change in the way Financial Assistance Grants are decided.
Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek has endorsed a recommendation by the Victoria Grants Commission’s (VGC) to adjust the funding model for the Commonwealth Financial Assistance Grants Program.
The recommendation boosts assistance to Victorian councils, with $616.3 million going to councils for the current financial year – including more than $455.6 million in general purpose grants and $160.7 million in local road grants.
The role of the VGC is to allocate financial assistance grants from the Federal Government to local councils in Victoria, with any changes to the funding model requiring the endorsement of the Victorian Minister for Local Government.
The model will now give greater consideration to the needs of councils which have a temporary or part-time population, such as smaller coastal councils with high holiday populations.
It also includes an increase in base funding for Victoria’s six smallest councils to recognise the fixed costs that all councils face to provide core governance, environmental, business and economic services.
Rural and regional councils benefiting from major funding increases for 2019-20 include:
- Buloke Shire, which received $6.6m, up 5.5% from the previous year
- Hepburn Shire, which received $5.1m, up 7.9% from the previous year
- Hindmarsh Shire, which received $4.9m, up 7.2% from the previous year
- Mansfield Shire, which received $3.2m, up 11.7% from the previous year
- West Wimmera Shire, which received $6.1m, up 10.1% from the previous year.
The VGC has been able to provide these increases whilst maintaining overall grant increases to the majority of Victoria’s 79 councils, including an average increase in financial assistance grants across all small rural councils is 5.5 per cent.
The VGC has also ensured rural councils, which comprise just over 12.8 per cent of Victoria’s population, have received 45.2 per cent of the total funding available for this year.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek
“These changes ensure that financial assistance funding is directed to those councils that need it most – supporting small rural councils with high infrastructure needs but lower income.”
“The Commission has made crucial changes that will provide a much-needed boost to our rural and regional councils.”