Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Stabilisation Fund for Western Victoria

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (11:53): My question is to the Minister for Local Government. Recently I met with the Yarriambiack and Buloke shire councils to discuss issues that they are experiencing. It will come as no surprise that housing, population, unfilled jobs and financial stability are the major issues for most regional councils in western Victoria, indeed right here as well. There are not enough houses to attract more residents, which is leading to unfilled local jobs and hindering the ability for sustainable revenue for councils. Although there are other complex matters at hand, this is the simplest way to put it. One reform option within the Rural and Regional Councils Sustainability Reform Program report from December 2017 was a small shires stabilisation fund, described as an infusion of funding that will help councils over immediate financial pressure to stabilise their finances and maintain infrastructure. The omission of funding streams, such as the fixing country roads program, are also contributing to the financial stress put on our most at risk councils. My question is: has the Minister for Local Government had any conversations with key stakeholders about the creation of a stabilisation fund to provide financial support for the operating costs of our smaller and at-risk councils?


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