CASH PAUSE: Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss says the funding freeze decision will not be reversed.
CASH PAUSE: Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss says the funding freeze decision will not be reversed. Alistair Brightman

Fund freeze costing us close to $1m

WARREN Truss is playing hardball on a funding freeze that is costing our region almost $1 million.

Bundaberg Regional Council is feeling the pinch as the Federal Government's three-year pause on financial assistance grants indexation enters its second year.

OUR SAY: A rock and a hard place

The Deputy Prime Minister's office told APN Newsdesk there would be no backdown on the 2014/15 budget decision that is costing the council at least $700,000.

"Funding to the council from this important area of federal assistance is diminishing in real terms," Mayor Mal Forman said.

"In the 2011/12 financial year, council received almost $8.3 million in funding.

"This current financial year that has fallen to $7.6 million or $700,000 less than four years ago.

"The council has been told that the same funds will be provided in 2015/16 with no increase. These funds support a large number of community based programs operated by the council."

A spokesman for Mr Truss said the decision would not be reversed.

"The temporary indexation pause of the grants program is necessary to repair Labor's debt and deficit disaster," the spokesman said.

"All Australians are being asked to play a part in repairing our nation's financial woes, including local government."

The spokesman said the government was providing $9.45 billion under the program to councils.

"This temporary indexation pause is more than offset by increases in other Federal Government funding to councils."

ALGA president Troy Pickard said councils across the country had to make tough decisions about rates and infrastructure investment because of the decision.

"In the face of the freeze, councils are re-evaluating what services and infrastructure they can continue to provide to adjust to the reduced revenue levels," he said.

"It is ultimately our communities that will feel the pain of this freeze, so on their behalf ... the ALGA is renewing its call to the government to restore indexation of the grants as soon as possible."

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