Legislative Council Wednesday 11 July, 2018
Ms FORREST question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
According to the Treasury website, the State Grants Commission methodology page notes -
Current Assumed Allowances and Component Rates:
Underpinning the Commission's methodologies are some allowances and component rates that the Commission uses to help determine the allocation of the financial assistance grants. Some of the rates are updated annually to ensure they reflect current cost profiles, whereas others are updated periodically as determined appropriate by the Commission.
Rates used in the Base Grant Model:
The current Expenditure Allowances, and the recipient councils, that the Commission used for making its 2017-2018 Base Grant recommendations, were as follows:
There are a number. The one I am interested in is -
Provision of airport services (Airport allowance), $70 000 … [for] King Island
(1) Has this allowance been reviewed in the last 12 months?
(2) What is the 2018-19 Base Grant recommendation?
(3) Has the King Island Council indicated to the Government, at any time in the last five years, that additional financial support is needed to ensure the financial sustainability of the King Island Airport? If so, what was the response from the Government?
Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her question.
(1) No. The current airport allowance has not been reviewed in the previous 12 months. According to the State Grants Commission's 2018-19 Triennium Work Plan - Progress Update 1 (Information Paper IP16-25), which is publicly available on the commission's website, a review of allowances is planned for 2018. The review of allowances will include consideration of island public airport allowances.
(2) The 2018-19 Base Grant recommendations have not yet been made by the State Grants Commission. The 2018-19 Base Grant allocation information will not be publicly available until the recommendations are approved by the federal Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, Doctor John McVeigh MP.
(3) The Government engages with the King Island Council and other councils on a regular basis in relation to a wide range of matters. The Government is not in a position to say what discussions may or may not have been held with the council by the previous government. It is also not clear precisely what the member is specifically referring to in relation to ensuring financial sustainability. It can be advised, however, that the following approaches by the council have been made or support has been provided by the Government in relation to the King Island Airport -
• First, the King Island Council requested borrowings of $1 million in its 2013-14 loan council application to meet the cost of an upgrade to the airport terminal. This was subsequently deferred to 2014-15 and the borrowing request was reduced to $500 000. This request was approved.
• Second, the council applied in June 2016 for a grant under the competitive Regional Revival Fund program for funding for some infrastructure improvements, but was not successful. However, the council was subsequently successful in a funding application to the Commonwealth Building Better Regions Fund in 2017 for a similar set of improvements.
• Third, funding of $220 000 allocated in the 2018-19 Budget for the King Island Airport as part of the Government's Taking King Island to the next level policy. This funding will be provided as a grant to the King Island Council through the Department of Communities Tasmania.