Greens back important inquiry into regional funding

October 20, 2003 - The Greens (WA) have supported a long-overdue Parliamentary inquiry into the financial relationships between the State, Federal and Local governments. The inquiry, proposed by Liberal MLC Norman Moore, was amended by Greens (WA) MLC Dee Margetts to encompass the way in which the Federal Government grants funds to the States.

'It is an interesting situation to have the State Government continually crying poor as a result of skewed priorities of the Federal Government that systematically disadvantage Western Australia - while the State Government is starving regional areas of funds in exactly the same manner,' Mr Chapple said.

'The inquiry was supported by all parties, and crucially will include a hard look at how state agreement Acts over large resource projects have left Local Government Authorities without a crucial source of income in the form of rates. There will also be scope to examine how the system of royalties could be used to drive more sustainable patterns of settlement and employment in regional areas.'

'I commend all parties for working together to establish some direction as to how these long-standing problems might finally be tackled,' Mr Chapple said.

The full terms of reference for the Inquiry are as follows:

That the Standing Committee on Public Administration and Finance be required to inquire into

  • (a) the rationale behind the local government rating system applying to past and proposed state agreement Acts;
  • (b) the distribution of state funding support to the State's regions - including royalties and the grants to local government; and
  • (c) the most equitable way of ensuring a secure financial base for local government authorities in the context of the operation of commonwealth-state financial relations.

with a view to determining whether changes are required to create greater equity in the distribution and level of state financial support available to regional Western Australia.

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