Legislative Council Wednesday 11 July, 2018
Ms FORREST question to the LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
Page 103 of the budget paper 1 for 2018-19 notes that local government grants are $45 million in 2018-19, down from $77.2 million in the 2017-18 year, mostly due to a $36.8 million entitlement paid to councils in 2017-18 -
(1) (a) What was this entitlement for?
(b) What is the estimated outcome for 2017-18, as that year's budget said $77 million?
(c) Why the large increases from 2019-20 onwards?
(2) (a) With regard to water and sewerage, are the costs of the TasWater proposals included in the Budget? If so, where?
(b) How and where will the funds be recorded? Will they be equity contributions? I note they are mentioned in Treasury and Finance and there is a footnote on page 332 of budget paper 1 saying it will be funded by Finance General, so where is it?
Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her question.
(1) (a) The Australian Government provides financial assistance grants to local government under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 to improve the capacity of local government to provide equitable levels of service to its residents, including general purpose funding and local road funding. Finance-General forwards funds received from the Australian Government to local government.
(b) The decrease in the 2018-19 Budget reflects an advance payment of $36.8 million relating to the 2018-19 budgeted entitlement. The Australian Government paid an advance of $37.9 million of the 2018-19 entitlement on 20 June 2018, which takes into account current population estimates. The 2017-18 estimated outcomes for local government grants is $39.4 million. This decrease from the original budget reflects an advance payment of 50 per cent of the 2017-18 entitlement in 2016-17.
(c) The increase from 2019-20 onwards reflects the full local government grant entitlement being received in the relevant financial year.
(2) (a) and (b)
The 2018-19 Budget and forward Estimates include equity funding of $20 million in each year as a contribution from the state and TasWater over a 10-year period from 2018 19 to implement the new shared ownership model and support the objectives in the MOU of an accelerated infrastructure investment program and lower prices to customers.
As this is an equity contribution it is included in equity investments within the statement of financial positions for Finance-General.