Council funding model review urgently needed
MAYORS from across the region are calling for an urgent review into a non-competitive funding model to help local councils adequately service its communities.
Friday's Darling Downs and South West Queensland Council of Mayors (DDSWQ) meeting at Charleville discussed the topic of local government funding models, as well as issues of drought support, energy costs, and the challenges associated with attracting and retaining skilled labour.
Chairman Cr Paul Antonio said the meeting supported a call for all levels of government to finalise a more workable funding model to allow local government to continue its extensive programs with certainty.
"The work that all councils perform across their communities justifies state and federal government support,” said Cr Antonio, who also is Mayor of Toowoomba Regional Council.
"It is imperative that there is long-term sustainable distribution of taxation revenues between the levels of government that reflect the responsibilities of Councils.
"Local government has gone about as hard as it can in terms of funding its services through rate income alone.
"Ratepayers should not have to totally fund items such as the provision of essential infrastructure.
"We need to start a serious conversation around a workable, non-competitive funding model that will guarantee that councils can build parks, roads, sewers and storm water infrastructure.
"There are high expectations on local government service delivery and we need another guaranteed funding stream to ensure we meet this demand.
"We are the community builders and are in the best position to plan and understand our respective communities' needs.”
Cr Antonio said he had raised the proposal with various state and federal government representatives, including the Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, Dr John McVeigh.
Cr Antonio said he was pleased to note a number of high-profile speakers in attendance at Charleville, including the Regional Director, Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning John Bird, new TSBE CEO Ali Davenport, and RDA DDSW chairman Professor Jim Cavaye.
Cr Antonio said the group was an important forum for promoting the unique and wide-ranging issues facing the member councils.