2017 State Election: Policy Priority 9 - Country Local Government Fund Thursday, October 27, 2016
Local Government is seeking the restoration of the Local Infrastructure Asset Renewal and New
Assets component of the Country Local Government Fund to fund community infrastructure in non-metropolitan Local Governments.

Since its launch in December 2008, the Country Local Government Fund (CLGF) has been highly
valued as an integral component of the Royalties for Regions program, particularly by communities
in country Western Australia. The CLGF has represented the most significant investment into country
Local Government infrastructure in this current era and has changed the landscape of regional
Western Australian communities through the provision of renewed and new infrastructure. The ‘Local
Infrastructure Asset Renewal and New Assets’ initiative within the CLGF has been instrumental in
achieving this. Nonetheless, there is a substantial backlog still to be addressed.

The Western Australian Regional Development Trust (WARDT) recommended in the 2012 review of the CLGF, that the State Government ‘continue the CLGF at least at the current level of budget allocation’ and further ‘that WALGA’s previous estimate of Local Government’s infrastructure backlog at $1.75 billion is ‘potentially very conservative’.

The effectiveness of the CLGF for achieving regional development goals was recognised in the WARDT review of the program, which stated: ‘the CLGF has been and is an innovative and practical program addressing essential upgrades in the social and economic infrastructure that is needed, used and appreciated by country WA’. Furthermore, the WARDT review found that the program’s expenditure has been well targeted: ‘…to a large degree the CLGF had got it right and “what should be funded” is what is funded now’.

WALGA has acknowledged the importance of the CLGF by continuing its advocacy for the reinstatement of the fund at a level commensurate with its original intent of addressing the country Local Government infrastructure backlog in non-metropolitan Western Australia.

It is recommended that $50m per annum is allocated to the ‘Local Infrastructure Asset Renewal and
New Assets’ component of the CLGF. In subsequent years the funding should be reviewed in line with
the Local Government Integrated Planning Framework to ensure its goal of addressing the infrastructure
backlog is achieved.

Funding:
$50 million per annum.

Benefit to the State:
The Country Local Government Fund represents an effective vehicle for delivering regional development goals in non-metropolitan Western Australia while reducing a significant infrastructure backlog that, if not addressed, would represent a large liability for the broader Western Australian community.

Responses WALGA has received from political parties:

WA Labor:
WA Labor state this would be subject to the budget position if they win Government.

The Greens WA:
The Greens WA are very supportive of all of the ten priority areas with the focus on improving the quality of life of citizens. This is akin to our principle that Local Government has a valuable role as the third tier of government and in local governance and the representation of local issues and delivery of essential community services.

The National Party of WA:
The Country Local Government Fund was initially implemented to assist Local Governments in
addressing the significant infrastructure backlog left by successive city-centric governments. Since
2008/9 over $1.3 billion has been invested through Royalties for Regions to support projects for Local Governments throughout regional Western Australia. Through Royalties for Regions, The Nationals
have now implemented Regional Investment Blueprints, which provide Local Government and
development commissions the chance to apply for funding through the blueprint process. This delivers
a co-ordinated approach to regional development through which Local Governments benefit.


Liberal Party of WA:
WALGA has yet to receive a response.