I am pleased to present the 2019 Annual Report of the Western Australian Local Government Grants Commission.
The Grants Commission is a statutory body established under the Local Government Grants Act 1978. Its principal function is to make recommendations to the Minister for Local Government regarding the allocation of Commonwealth financial assistance to WA’s 137 local governments.
Over the past 12 months, the Commission visited 31 local governments and I would like to thank them all for their willingness to participate in the public hearing process. The hearings provide an opportunity for local governments to further understand the grant methodology and the Commission’s decisions behind funding. It also allows the Commission to understand local government needs and challenges which in turn shape the grants methodology. I strongly believe that having the opportunity to meet local governments in their own environment provides greater context to the Commission’s own deliberations and considerations of matters.
The Commission approved and submitted its Financial Assistance Grant recommendations to the State and Commonwealth Ministers at the end of July 2019. These were approved with local governments receiving their first payments in mid-August.
I would like to thank the outgoing Chairperson, the Hon Paul Omodei, for his contribution to the Commission, first as the Country Rural member and then as Chairperson. Paul was very passionate and brought extensive experience to the role. I wish him well in his future endeavours.
Due to staff changes within the Department, there have also been two Deputy Chairperson changes in the last year. I thank Nick Sloan and Dr Ken Parker for their contributions to the Commission. Hopefully some of their experiences with the Grants Commission will prove useful in their new roles in the local government sector.
I was appointed Chairperson of the Commission in August 2019, and so I would like to thank all the Commissioners and the staff for their hard work over the past 12 months. Although there have been a number of personnel changes within the Commission, with this comes opportunities for different views and experiences to inform decisions.
I am excited for the year ahead and look forward to being involved in the Commission’s continued approach to refining the methodology and identifying areas of improvement. Over the next 12 months, the Commission will be undertaking reviews on population dispersion, regional centres, location, fire mitigation and the governance standard.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the executive staff who continue to provide high level support to the Commission throughout the year. Your assistance helps us to operate in an efficient and effective manner. To Julie Knight, Shannon Wood, Chris Berry and Chloe Papasergio, we appreciate your dedication and professionalism.
If you have any queries regarding the Commission and its operations, I encourage you to contact the staff or Commissioners.
The Hon Fred Riebeling
Chairman — WA Local Government Grants Commission