Local Governments and their communities will benefit from the State Government fulfilling its budget promises, while at the same time maintaining its focus on fiscal recovery.
The State Budget handed down today was considered to provide a balance between the need for fiscal restraint and spending on important community priorities.
WALGA President Cr Lynne Craigie said Local Governments recognised there were limited funds available for new spending initiatives, with the Government needing to focus on the difficult task of paying down the State’s record debt.
 “It’s pleasing to see the Government continue to deliver on existing commitments such as the introduction of the Container Deposit Scheme, due to come into effect next year,” Cr Craigie said.
“Whilst the early return to surplus is welcome news, there is a missed opportunity to progress initiatives that could have greatly assisted the sector and local communities, such as funding for the implementation of the State Public Library Strategy, or a review of Local Government Fees and Charges.”
Funding provided for a number other initiatives such as pilot health projects and additional funding through the Local Government Grants scheme for insurance payments for volunteer bushfire fighters will serve to assist Local Governments.
“These initiatives are an important priority for the communities involved,” Cr Craigie said.
Funding for sector related projects over the next five years includes:
  • $3.1m for implementation and oversight of the Container Deposit Scheme
  • An additional $2.7 million for increased grant payments under the Local Government Grants Scheme, due to increased volunteer bushfire fighter insurance costs
  • $26.4m over the next three years on the implementation of the Sustainable Health Review recommendations, including $7.5m to create the Implementation Support Unit and $18.9m to deliver initiatives across four pilot projects.