Hindmarsh hurts under freeze

HINDMARSH Shire Council has lost more than $500,000 over the past three years due to the Commonwealth’s decision to freeze indexation for Financial Assistance Grants. 

At Wednesday’s council meeting, councillors said the freeze hurt the shire and if it continues for another three years they would have lost $1 million in six years.

Council called on Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Treasurer Scott Morrison and Minister for Regional Development and Local Government Senator Fiona Nash to request the reversal of the freezing of indexation from the start of the 2017-18 financial year. They will also write Andrew Broad requesting his support. 

Corporate and community services director Anne Champness said the grants have always been a vital part of council revenue.

“They have played an important role in helping us provide vital services and infrastructure for our community,” she said.

“The untied grants have always been an incredibly important part of our revenue base, allowing us to provide and maintain community services and infrastructure.

“The Commonwealth’s decision in the 2014 federal budget to freeze indexation of this funding means that we have received a reduced level of FAGs for the past three years, putting a noticeable dent – more than $500,000 - in our cash flow and impacting on the services we’re able to provide to our community.

“To put that $500,000 into perspective, our typical capital works budget, without extraordinary projects like the new Nhill Early Years Centre, is only around $5 million every year.”