State Grants Commission Annual Cycle
Schedule of Hearings and Visits.
Under Section 11 of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995, a state is not entitled to receive its grants unless the state's local government grants commission has held public hearings in connection with the recommendations and permitted or required local governing bodies in the state, or associations of those bodies, to make submissions to it in connection with the recommendations.
In accordance with the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 requirement to hold public hearings the Commission holds advertised annual hearings in regional centres at which councils and the general public can attend. All councils are invited to participate in the consultation process and attend regional hearings.
In parallel with the annual hearings, the Commission also conducts a rolling program of council visits, where approximately one third of all councils are invited to participate in a visit each year. This program is aimed at the Commission visiting every council at least once every three years. Councils not due for a visit by the Commission, or declining the Commission’s visit invitation, are invited to attend a hearing with the Commission.
Invitations for virtual Commission visits in 2021 were issued to the following councils:
- South: Central Highlands Council, Derwent Valley Council, Huon Valley Council, Kingborough Council and Southern Midlands Council
- North: Launceston City Council and George Town Council
- North West: Central Coast Council, Waratah-Wynyard Council and West Coast Council.
The Commission will be conducting its 2021 Hearings and Visits as virtual meetings commencing Monday 15 February 2021 to Friday 26 February 2021. These meetings are open to the general public. Members of the public wishing to attend any specific council’s hearing or visit are required to pre-register via email firstname.lastname@example.org by noon Thursday 11 February 2021.
Current Research Focus
Over recent years the Commission has been progressing its review into the impact of non-residents on councils.
The Commission has decided that the current manner it uses to recognise the impact of non-residents on councils using the Regional Responsibility Cost Adjustor needs to change as the expenditure re-allocative "power" of the current Regional Responsibility Cost Adjustor is too large for a measure based largely on judgement.
In December 2020, the Commission issued Discussion Paper DP21-01 Non Resident Impacts in the Base Grant Model - Regional Service Industry Employment Cost Adjustor - 2021 Proposal as the basis for consultation with councils in 2021. This discussion paper reflects the Commission's latest proposal for recognising the impact of non-residents and reflects the Commission's consideration of the feedback received from councils during the Commission's 2020 Hearings and Visits and consultation period on its proposal in the Commission's DP20-01 Regional Responsibility & Non-Resident Impacts: The Bigger Picture paper.
The 2020 feedback indicated that most councils leant towards a modified version of the Regional Service Industry Employment Cost Adjustor proposed as Scenario 4 in DP20-01. Council feedback also indicated that there was still a role for the Commission's other non-resident type cost adjustors. Accordingly, DP21-01 covers a refinement of the Commission's Regional Service Industry Employment Cost Adjustor proposal as a replacement of the Regional Responsibility Cost Adjustor only while also retaining the other non-resident impact type cost adjustors.
As this review is still in progress, no methodology changes relating to this issue were applied in determining the Commission's 2020-21 Base Grant Recommendations.
Reporting to Councils:
The Commission has been reviewing and redesigning its communications with councils regarding the annual recommendations allocations and improving the explanations provided as to the drivers behind grant outcome changes.
The Commission seeks to improve transparency and comprehension of its methodologies with councils.
In this vein, the Commission has developed some short, general purpose guidance and educational material on aspects of the FA Grant program in the form of fact sheets. These are aimed at assisting stakeholders understand, in general terms, concepts associated with the administration of the Australian Government's Local Government FA Grant program in Tasmania.
The first in the series of Facts Sheets are:
Fact Sheet FS-001: The National Financial Assistance Grant (FA Grant) Funding Pool and Australian Government's calculation of Tasmania's allocation: Indexation
Fact Sheet FS-002: The National Financial Assistance Grant (FA Grant) Funding Pool and Australian Government's calculation of Tasmania's allocation: Advance Payments
Fact Sheet FS-003: Cost Adjustor Impacts
The Commission welcomes feedback from councils on the usefulness of these Fact Sheets as well as ideas and suggestions for further topics to be addressed in this format.
Initial written submissions and feedback on the Commission's 2021 Discussion Paper and Fact Sheets are due by 22 January 2021. Councils will also have the opportunity to provide verbal submissions, discuss their written submissions, and raise other matters of interest with the Commission at the 2021 Hearings and Visits.
The closing date for final written submissions is Wednesday, 10 March 2021.
In addition to any discussion papers, information papers, conversation starter and fact sheet topics prepared by the Commission, councils are always invited to raise other relevant issues with the Commission as part of the annual hearings and visits program or via email.
For details on the outcome and decisions made by the Commission following previous Hearings and Visits discussions, please refer to the relevant sections of the Commission's Annual Reports.