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Federal Budget 2017/18

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The 2017/18 Federal Budget is an infrastructure driven budget as indicated by the various funded programs. These investments are welcomed. However, the $500 million investment in regional rail for Victoria is well short of the forecast $1.45 billion required for the Victorian government’s Regional Rail Revival Plan outlined in the State Budget handed down last week. This will be subject to intense negotiations between the state and federal governments, and will have implications on the prioritisation of the Revival Plan.
The lifting of the freeze on the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants is welcomed. However, the freezing of the indexation has meant a loss of grants to councils in real terms since 2014; especially for rural and regional councils. The bringing forward of 2017-18 payment to the 2016-17 year will have implications on the financial reporting of councils, which may see some distortions in their profit and loss statements.
While the federal government appears committed to invest in homelessness and affordable housing in the 2017-18 year, it is unknown how these measures will be supported in the form of dedicated funding in the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement.

 

Quote attributable to the President of the VLGA Cr Marg Attley

"We hope that the State and Federal Government can find common ground regarding the funding for regional rail. This is a vital piece of infrastructure for economic growth and liveability in our regions."

Quote attributable to the CEO, VLGA Kathryn Arndt
"The restructure of penalties for unemployed people may disadvantage the most vulnerable in our society. The proposed saving of $200 million a year has been determined without discussion with the community sector. The VLGA believes these initiatives warrant further consultation and examination."

 

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