TOO DEAR: Council say repairs to the footbridge over Harkness Boundary Creek in Eidsvold is too expensive to fund unilaterally without passing the cost on to ratepayers.
TOO DEAR: Council say repairs to the footbridge over Harkness Boundary Creek in Eidsvold is too expensive to fund unilaterally without passing the cost on to ratepayers. Alex Treacy

Opinion: Council needs funding increase

EIDSVOLD is a town divided.

On one side is where most of the residents live.

On the other is where most of their facilities are-the skate park, football fields, the RM Williams Bush Learning Centre and Eidsvold Showgrounds.

The key link between the two, the footbridge over Harkness Boundary Creek, is so decayed it visibly sags underfoot in places.

Council can't afford to fix it without slugging ratepayers.

Who is to blame?

Although the footbridge is their responsibility, I don't believe it is council.

In its 2018/19 budget submission to then-treasurer Scott Morrison, the Australian Local Government Association made an impassioned plea for more Federal funding to trickle down to the council level.

The submission noted that a large proportion of local government budgets, particularly in rural and regional councils, are derived from Financial Assistance Grants, which totalled $2.3billion in 2016.

In 1996, these grants totalled about one per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue. In 2016, these grants equated to about 0.57 per cent, a relative decline of 43 per cent.

Across the North Burnett, playgrounds and public toilets lie dormant behind construction fencing, waiting for a cash injection for work to commence.

The Federal Government needs to step up.


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