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Tony Abbott rips $288 MILLION from local councils across NSW

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TONY ABBOTT RIPS $288 MILLION FROM LOCAL COUNCILS ACROSS NSW

STATE LIBERALS AND NATIONALS MUST STAND UP FOR NSW

NSW Labor has today condemned the decision by Tony Abbott to slash $288 million worth of funding from already cash-strapped local councils across NSW by pausing indexation of Local Government Financial Assistance Grants.

This means local councils will not be able to repair and maintain local roads. In addition, this will result in job losses such as council road maintenance and engineering staff. NSW Labor has asked the NSW Roads Minister to explain how the cut will affect rural and regional roads.

“Tony Abbott has swung an axe through the heart of local government, and NSW Liberals and Nationals must stand up for the families and businesses of our State,” Shadow Minister for Local Government Sophie Cotsis said.

NSW Shadow Minister for Roads Walt Secord said that local councils are at the heart and centre of providing safe and reliable roads, particularly in rural and regional areas. “The National Party has rolled over and allowed the Liberals to rip road funding out of the hands of local communities,” Mr Secord said.

Shadow Minister for Regional & Rural Affairs Mick Veitch condemned the NSW Nationals’ betrayal of local communities. “Commonwealth Financial Assistance Grants have provided more than $41 billion to local councils since they were introduced by the Whitlam Government,” Mr Veitch said.

“The Abbott Government’s decision to cut $288 million from this important program will mean that all 152 councils across NSW will be forced to make cutbacks to vital road upgrades and infrastructure work.”

Recent reports by the NSW Government show that:

· NSW councils have a $7.2 billion infrastructure backlog;

· Only one third of councils reported an operating surplus in 2012; and

· A quarter of councils are currently in a ‘weak’ or ‘very weak’ financial position.

“Tony Abbott’s cuts will mean that many NSW rural and regional councils will have to cut local jobs and services,” Ms Cotsis said. “

Mike Baird must tell his Manly surfing-buddy to stop the cuts and support local communities.”

PRESS RELEASE

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