$11.8m freeze would hit hard

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Rural City of Wangaratta mayor Ken Clarke.

A FREEZE on indexation for indexation of Financial Assistance Grants has cost the Rural City of Wangaratta $1.2 million, refreshing calls for restoration in the Federal Government’s 2017-18 budget.

The missing money from Wangaratta council’s coffers has tightened purse strings that would cost the rural city $11.8 million over 10 years if the freeze continued.

The grants are indexed by a combination of consumer price index (CPI) and the rate of population growth.

However, the former Treasurer placed a three-year freeze on the indexation component in the 2014 Federal budget.

Rural city mayor Ken Clarke backed calls from the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and councils across Australia for the freeze to be lifted.

He said the $1.2 million loss over the last three years during the freeze on indexation has been worth a five per cent rate rise.

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