Local Government Financial Sustainability – NSW Local Government, Clerical, Administrative, Energy, Airlines and Utilities Branch

The following motion was referred to National Conference by the NSW Local Government, Clerical, Administrative, Energy, Airlines and Utilities Branch to adopt the following motion into union policy.

“The ASU recognises local governments are an important part of our community. They provide the services that we, as citizens, rely heavily on: waste management, roads maintenance, and the provision of local libraries and public swimming pools to name a few.

The ASU recognises the financial sustainability of local governments across Australia continues to be a challenge and has been undermined by Commonwealth funding arrangements that are no longer fit for purpose.

In recent times the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges to local government on a scale not seen before and has further exacerbated the sustainability challenges already faced by the sector. The diversity of the sector means that no single solution or approach will address the sustainability challenges faced by many local governments.

National Conference therefore commits to lobbying the federal government to implement the following measures aimed at improving the financial sustainability of local government:

  • Australian government Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) to Local Government should be set to at least 1% of aggregate Commonwealth tax revenue.
  • Reform the Local Government financial system to ensure no councils are financially disadvantaged.
  • End cost shifting – Government must offer funding and grants to keep pace with delivery costs.
  • A federally funded trainee and apprenticeship scheme should be launched centred on Local Government.
  • The establishment of a Fair Jobs Code to stop the exploitative use of labour hire, lift standards and to protect the rights of all local government workers.
  • Amendments to National Disaster Funding should be made to channel additional funding through Local Government and ensure financial assistance is expended in affected local communities and work performed by locally employed council workers.
  • Inclusion of Local Government as a permanent member of National Cabinet
  • Rate capping should be abandoned as a matter of priority.
  • The Regional Employment Development Scheme (the RED scheme) should be reintroduced. This could be provided at a reasonable cost with the
  • Federal Government providing a base pay equivalent to current safety net payments and council’s topping up those payments to the rates of pay applicable in that particular workplace having regard to Award, Enterprise, and Salary System rates of pay in the relevant State or Territory.
  • Ensure a national Energy Transition Authority is federally funded and established.
  • Financial sustainability will allow local governments to provide the goods and services they promise, in an efficient and sustainable manner: because no one can afford for councils to fail due to financial difficulties.