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Foreword

Commonwealth Crest
2000-2001 Report on the Operation of the Local Government
(Financial Assistance) Act 1995

I am pleased to present to Parliament, the sixth annual report on the operation of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995.

This report, on the distribution of Federal Government financial assistance grants to local governments has been prepared with the cooperation of not only councils, but also State and Territory Governments who administer Federal grant distribution through their local government grants commissions. In 2000-01, the Federal Government provided more than $1.3 billion in financial assistance grants to Australian local councils and this report features information on how the funds are distributed in accordance with agreed national principles of equity and fairness.

Local government is a publicly accountable key player in all our lives, providing us with a wide range of day-to-day essential services and responding to local community priorities. As well as recording the distribution of Federal Government grants, the report records the efficiency and effectiveness with which local government, as a significant and vital sector of the Australian economy, provides service and administers funds for the benefit of more than 700 local communities in every part of the country.

It also reports on the review of the operation of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 carried out by the Commonwealth Grants Commission in 2000-01. The Commission's report was presented to the Government in June 2001. In it, the Grants Commission recommended an enhanced role for this report in providing improved transparency and accountability of local government grants commissions to councils on the way they distribute grants and in monitoring compliance of their methods with the National Principles.

This report records community action on issues as diverse as urban planning, local infrastructure construction and maintenance, public order and safety, water supply, waste management, services to the very young and the old, salinity and constructive leisure. At the same time, it looks to the future and records the adaptability and advanced thinking of a strong and durable democratic institution. It reports on adoption of leading practice and new technology through initiatives such as the National Award for Innovation in Local Government.

I commend to you this report on the operation of the Local Government Financial Assistance Act 1995 in 2000-01.

Wilson Tuckey
Minister for Regional Services, Territories
and Local Government