Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines will be part of a committee investigating the financial sustainability and service delivery obligations of local governments over the coming months.

In March the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Development, Infrastructure and Transport launched an inquiry to examine and report on challenges impactinglocal governments and their delivery of services to the community.

“Since being elected as the Independent Member for Indi, I have worked closely with the nine regional councils that cover the electorate. What I hear time and again from mayors, councillors and CEOs is that their local government budgets do not stretch far enough to cover the needs of their communities,” Dr Haines said.

“Communities rely on councils to deliver essential services such as maintaining local roads so that their safe to drive on, putting in the critical infrastructure needed to build more homes, and looking after the spaces that bring our communities together.

“Beyond meeting core infrastructures needs of communities, some councils also provide importantcommunity services such as childcare, aged care, disability and local health services. We must ensure councils can continue to fund these important community amenities.“While we cannot pre-empt what the inquiry will learn from public submissions and hearings, I look forward to working with my parliamentary colleagues to find solutions to current challenges and make recommendations for the federal government to act upon.”

The inquiry’s terms of reference will include:

• an understanding of the financial sustainability and funding of local government;

• the changing infrastructure and service delivery obligations of local government;

• attracting and retaining a skilled workforce in the local government sector;

• structural barriers to security for local government workers and service delivery; and

• the role of the federal government in addressing issues raised during the inquiry.

“As a regional Independent MP, I will be particularly interested in the committee examining the challenges faced by local governments in meeting the needs of communities in regional, rural, and remote areas,” Dr Haines said.

“Thriving, prosperous regional communities require consistent and effective delivery and management of local services and critical infrastructure.”

“Communities expect the management of resources and funding to benefit them locally and be sustainable long into the future.”

Written submissions related to the inquiry’s terms of reference can be made by individuals and organisations by 31 May 2024 via the committee website.


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