Govt can't fund deficit alone: Crean
ESTABLISHMENT of a national authority to fund local councils must be investigated to avoid channelling money for councils through state governments, says a report released on Monday.
Local Government Minister Simon Crean launched the Strong Foundations report at a gathering of more than 800 local government representatives in Canberra.
Mr Crean told the Australian Local Government Association the report confirmed that the Federal Government could not fund the infrastructure the nation needed to grow.
"When it comes to meeting the infrastructure 'deficit', the fact of the matter is governments cannot do it alone," he said.
"If we could, then every RDAF project would be funded, every major infrastructure project would be funded.
"To meet this challenge requires partnerships between governments at all levels, and where appropriate, with the private sector.
"The challenge is to join the dots and develop new funding options through new approaches and new financial instruments."
The Ernst and Young report analysed how local infrastructure projects, such as roads, were currently funded and what improvements could be made.
It recommended the Commonwealth investigate the creation of a national financing authority for local government.
The recommendation would be a major change to how councils were paid for local infrastructure projects, removing the states and territories from the process.
While the government had not yet responded to the report, Mr Crean said it would have to consider whether existing financial arrangements were adequate.