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Baldock points to broad local govt policy base

Wednesday, 4 August, 2004

Baldock points to broad local govt policy base

GST off rates may be only fair for the tax-paying public, but it is just one of a number of changes that should be made at a local government level, United Future's Larry Baldock told Parliament today.

"United Future is committed to promoting a number of significant policies, including lifting the Financial Assistance Rate (FAR) paid by Transfund for the maintenance of local roads to 80 percent," Mr Baldock, United Future's local government spokesman, said

"We will also be promoting the lifting of the rates rebate level to assist those on fixed incomes - and we applaud those councils that now allow asset-rich, cash-poor older ratepayers to stay in their homes by deferring rates payments to their estates," he said.

Mr Baldock also took the opportunity to call for the Government to go further and share a percentage of GST revenue with local authorities, distributed on a regional basis.

Even a figure of 1 percent handed back to communities, possibly specifically for use on infrastructure projects, based on tax take estimates for the current financial year, would provide about $95 million for local government bodies.

Such a move would recognise the increasing responsibility that has fallen to local government in recent years without any additional funding sources, Mr Baldock said.

Ends.

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