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About the Commission

The Queensland Local Government Grants Commission's (the Commission) statutory powers come under sections 230-233 of the Local Government Act 2009.

The Commission provides recommendations to the Minister responsible for local government in Queensland on the distribution of the Commonwealth Government's Financial Assistance Grant to local governing bodies in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 (Commonwealth) and the national principles prescribed under the Act by the Commonwealth Minister.

It is the Commission's responsibility to ensure the distribution of the Financial Assistance Grant is based on horizontal fiscal equalisation (or relative need). The differences in each council's expenditure required for performance of functions, and the capacity to raise revenue, are taken into account. The grant allocation to the local governing body should therefore assist them to function by reasonable effort to an average standard for the state.

Under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 (Commonwealth) only local councils and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councils are eligible for funding.

Commission members

Commissioners are appointed by the Governor in Council for up to three years. The current Commission was appointed on 24 March 2019.

The Local Government Act 2009 and Local Government Regulation 2012 requires the Commission to be comprised of six members:

  • Four persons with knowledge of local government, of which one is the Chairperson.
  • One person with knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander local government.
  • An officer of the department.

Chairperson

Paul Bell AM

Deputy Chair

Natalie Wilde

Members

  • Deirdre Comerford
  • Jo Sheppard
  • Janelle Menzies
  • Vacant – Les Walker resigned on 17 November 2020

Legislation

The Commission's statutory powers come under the Local Government Act 2009 and Local Government Regulation 2012. Chapter 10 of the regulation provides: Section 308 - 'What chapter 10 is about'

  • This chapter is about the way the grants commission performs its responsibilities as a Local Government Grants Commission under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act.

Legislative links are provided below:

National principles

Please refer to national principles relating to the allocation of general purpose grants payable under Section 9 of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 (Commonwealth) (the Act) among local governing bodies.

  • Following final approval of the distribution of funds in July by the Commonwealth Minister, quarterly payments are made on the first working day after the 15th day of August, November, February, and May.

  • As the Commission is required to apply the national principle of effort neutrality, the internal functioning of a council on its decisions does not impact on a council's grant. The allocation of the grant is determined by state averages; council revenues and expenditures contribute to state averages only. State revenue and expenditure averages are determined by aggregating the financial data and function detail splits supplied by councils in the consolidated data collections.

    Effectively a council cannot improve its grant, however to get the best return a council should provide information in consolidated data collections by the required due date.

  • A council's relative capacity to provide services is compared to a state average. If a council is assessed as below average in its capacity to provide services, it will receive funds on a per capita basis that allows it to function as close to the average standard as possible. If a council is assessed as above or meeting the average standard, it is only entitled to receive a minimum grant, which is the council's share of 30 per cent of the available funds distributed on a per capita basis across the state.

  • The Commission does not provide estimates of future Financial Assistance Grant allocations for a number of reasons:

    • As the annual pool is updated annually for consumer price index (CPI) and population growth, this can change the distribution depending on individual council population movements and if the prior year estimation of CPI was over or understated. The estimation is generally understated, resulting in a minimal increase in cash for each council the following year.
    • Annual updates of data used in the calculation will also cause changes in the outcomes from year to year.
  • Each year the total funding pool is updated for annual CPI and population growth. As this advice is provided in July, and is very close to the end of the June quarter, an estimate is made on the annual CPI. The following year, the difference between the estimated CPI and actual CPI is allocated to the state.

    The grant is allocated each year on the estimated CPI and population growth pool. This is termed a council's grant entitlement.

    In addition each year the adjustment relating to the prior year CPI is allocated to all councils on the prior year's distribution. It is these two amounts together that make up a council's cash grant.

  • Cost adjustors are indices that are applied to expenditure or revenue categories to account for factors outside a council's control, that potentially impact on its ability to provide services.

  • The data collection instrument has been developed to standardise the requirements of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Queensland Local Government Grants Commission and includes the department's annual performance indicator collection.

Last updated: Friday, Dec 4, 2020