Financial Assistance Grant to Local Government

The Australian Government has provided over $46 billion under the Financial Assistance Grant programme to local government since 1974–75 (including 2015–16). The grant is provided under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 (the Act).

The Financial Assistance Grant programme consists of two components:

  • a general purpose component which is distributed between the states and territories according to population (i.e. on a per capita basis), and
  • an identified local road component which is distributed between the states and territories according to fixed historical shares.

Both components of the grant are untied in the hands of local government, allowing councils to spend the grants according to local priorities.

Local government grants commissions have been established in each state and the Northern Territory to recommend the distribution of the Financial Assistance Grants to local governing bodies in accordance with the Act and the National Principles for allocating grants.

The Australian Capital Territory does not have a local government grants commission because the territory government provides local government services in lieu of the territory having a system of local government. 

The grant is paid in quarterly instalments to state and territory governments for immediate distribution to local governing bodies.

The quantum of the grant pool changes annually in line with changes in population and the Consumer Price Index, so as to maintain its real per capita value (the Act provides discretion to the Treasurer to alter this annual indexation).

2015–16

On the 29 June 2015, the Australian Government decided to bring forward the first two instalments of the 2015–16 Financial Assistance Grant programme estimate for payment in 2014–15. The bring forward payment will assist councils to continue to provide important services and have early access to funding for critical infrastructure.

The bring forward from 2015–16 was paid to states and territories on 30 June 2015 as below:

JurisdictionGeneral purposeLocal roadsTotal
New South Wales $253,601,909 $102,043,656 $355,645,565
Victoria $197,287,319 $72,510,981 $269,798,300
Queensland $159,338,873 $65,898,568 $225,237,441
Western Australia $87,227,861 $53,777,792 $141,005,653
South Australia $56,649,190 $19,329,140 $75,978,330
Tasmania $17,257,300 $18,638,427 $35,895,727
Northern Territory $8,269,069 $8,238,870 $16,507,939
Australian Capital Territory $13,003,168 $11,277,904 $24,281,072
Total $792,634,689 $351,715,338 $1,144,350,027

The Financial Assistance Grant programme funding pool for 2015–16 will be $1.14 billion as a result of the bring forward decision. The indexation applied to the programme will remain paused for three years (2014–15 to 2016–17).

Financial Assistance Grant programme 2015–16

The aggregate grant payment for 2015–16 is $2.3 billion. State grant allocations include the bring forward payments made on 30 June 2015. The aggregate grant for local government in each state and territory for 2015–16 is:

JurisdictionGeneral purposeLocal roadsTotal
New South Wales $507,430,007 $204,076,047 $711,506,054
Victoria $394,781,661 $145,013,958 $539,795,619
Queensland $318,722,146 $131,789,861 $450,512,007
Western Australia $173,830,734 $107,549,648 $281,380,382
South Australia $113,400,384 $38,656,146 $152,056,530
Tasmania $34,543,821 $37,274,796 $71,818,617
Northern Territory $16,464,343 $16,476,830 $32,941,173
Australian Capital Territory $26,008,781 $22,554,563 $48,563,344
Total $1,585,181,877 $703,391,849 $2,288,573,726

The remaining 2015–16 funding pool will be paid in four equal quarterly instalments which are scheduled to be paid in August, November, February and May.

For information on the 2015–16 allocations to individual local governing bodies within each state and territory refer to:

For a more detailed explanation of the operation of the Act and the provision of funding under the Financial Assistance Grant programme to local government, refer to the 2013–14 Local Government National Report.

For further information on the respective local government grants commissions, refer to: