Shire wide services of remembrance | Mayor's Column, Ken Halstead, April 19

Back during the 2014/15 Federal Budget then Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey announced a raft of changes designed to slash the national debt.

One of the more controversial moves involved implementing a budget freeze on the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants. These grants are traditionally allocated on an annual basis to local governments across the country.

The consequence of this freeze was, and continues to be, profound.

It’s meant that monies that were usually distributed each year were effectively cut and capped at the 2014/15 rates. The move was one of many designed to reign in the national budget but the reality was far different.

It has meant that communities right across the country have missed out on an estimated $925 million in combined funding since the freeze was introduced.

In NSW alone it is estimated that the state has missed out on approximately $287.7 million in funding since introduced four years ago.

Along with councils across the state and with the support of the Australian Local Government Association, I call on our national leaders to end the freeze and restore the indexation in the upcoming Federal Budget.

Prior to this year’s budget being handed down next month, I ask that our Federal Members for Whitlam and Hume, the Hon Stephen Jones and Angus Taylor take a stand and show their commitment to local government.

Next Tuesday, April 25 is of course ANZAC Day. On this day we pause to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the landing of the first wave of Australian troops on the Turkish shores of Gallipoli.

By the end of the ill-fated operation, more than 50,000 Allied troops had fallen.

Services will be held across our shire in most towns and villages. Visit council’s website at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/council/anzac-day to view a full list of locations and times of local services.

I encourage everyone to attend a service on the day and take a moment to reflect upon the sacrifices our servicemen and women made over a century ago.

Lest We Forget.