Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Stabilisation fund for Rural and Regional Western Victoria

My question is to the Minister for Local Government. The Western Victoria electorate comprises 24 local councils, and I have had a great working relationship with each of them. Each of these councils delivers the ground services that make big differences to the places we live. Rural councils have become increasingly important to our smaller communities. The last decade has been quite tough on some of our smaller councils. Revenue is down, but roads and other council programs need extra funding to keep afloat. Bills such as the Windfall Gains Tax and State Taxation and Other Acts Further Amendment Bill 2021 are not making life any easier. Earlier this year I asked the minister to establish a stabilisation fund for our smaller councils. The answer I received was that the government had spent $50 million on public library projects and $6 million on finance and there was $8 million available in grants for rural councils to work together on collaborative projects. Although these projects are welcome, they do not address the core issue that small rural councils do not have access to finance to maintain and grow their councils. My question is: will the minister commit to ongoing funding to support regional and rural councils in Western Victoria through a stabilisation fund?


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