Financial Assistance Grant to Local Government

The Australian Government has provided over $48 billion under the Financial Assistance Grant programme to local government since 1974–75 (including 2016–17). The grant is provided under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 (the Act).

The Financial Assistance Grant program 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 in each state and the Northern Territory recommend the distribution of the funding under the Financial Assistance Grant programme 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 as 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 (the Act provides discretion to the Treasurer to alter this annual indexation).

Financial Assistance Grant programme 2016–17

The aggregate grant payment for 2016–17 is $2.3 billion. The aggregate grant for local government in each state and territory for 2016–17 is:

JurisdictionGeneral purposeLocal roadsTotal
New South Wales $508,095,062 $204,085,189 $712,180,251
Victoria $397,215,307 $145,020,454 $542,235,761
Queensland $318,493,238 $131,795,765 $450,289,003
Western Australia $172,207,706 $107,554,465 $279,762,171
South Australia $112,799,283 $38,657,876 $151,457,159
Tasmania $34,275,869 $37,276,466 $71,552,335
Northern Territory $16,129,077 $16,477,568 $32,606,645
Australian Capital Territory $26,037,340 $22,555,574 $48,592,914
Total $1,585,252,882 $703,423,357 $2,288,676,239

Funding will be paid in four equal quarterly instalments scheduled for August, November, February and May.

For information on the 2016–17 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: