July 15, 2013
South Burnett Mayor Wayne Kratzmann has written to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd inviting him to visit the South Burnett and see for himself why local government needs a larger share of Federal Government funds.
Mayor Kratzmann wrote to the Prime Minister to request more taxpayers’ dollars be given back to local regions.
“In particular, I raised my Council’s concerns about the small amount of funding that currently finds its way back to Local Government despite this sector of government being responsible for a relatively large public infrastructure asset base,” Mayor Kratzmann said.
He said figures that have been produced suggested that of the taxation revenue collected by the Federal Government (excluding GST revenue), about 83 per cent was retained for its own purposes; about 14 per cent was distributed to State Government and only about 3 per cent went to Local Government.
“This break-up of revenue may have been reasonable and appropriate in the past but today it does not have validity in respect of the relationship between funding, expenditure and service provision by Local Councils,” Mayor Kratzmann said.
“Local government services continue to grow, both in number and type, but they are doing so without adequate resources.
“Ratepayers are expressing dissatisfaction with their rate increases yet infrastructure such as bridges, roads, water supplies and Council-owned buildings are in chronic asset decline.
“This decline cannot be abated due to the financial situation of Local Government and the cost of maintaining this infrastructure.”
Mayor Kratzmann said that in the South Burnett there were 35 bridges and 3270km of council roads.
“The asset condition of our bridges and roads is poor and they have, and will, increasingly impact on the economic performance of the region,” he said.
“I invited the Prime Minister to tour the South Burnett to see first-hand the state of our infrastructure assets so that he can make an informed decision about the tax break-up before future Budgets.”
The Mayor proposed a funding model be introduced where Local Government received about 10 per cent of taxation revenue (excluding GST). The amount could be increased from the current 3 per cent by 1 per cent each year until this goal was reached.
“I am very interested to hear the Prime Minister’s response and I look forward to personally taking him on a tour around our region,” he said.