Powell Gets It Wrong Nearly 17 Million Times

Local Government Minister Jeanette Powell has been caught out misleading Victorians, by claiming councils would receive a far lower increase in Commonwealth funding than was actually the case.

Shadow Minister for Local Government Richard Wynne said Ms Powell’s embarrassing gaffe was made in a media release yesterday.

“Either through carelessness, laziness or inability to read her own sector’s annual reports, Ms Powell has simply got it wrong by $16.8 million,” Mr Wynne said.

Ms Powell’s release claimed the Victorian Grants Commission (VGC) Annual Report 2010-11 showed the Commonwealth had increased funding for councils by only 0.36 percent.

In fact Victoria’s share of funding for 2011-12 will be $370.4 million – an increase of 4.4 percent on the $353.6 million Victoria received in 2010-11.

The only reference to a 0.36 percent change in funding in the VGC’s annual report is on page 12 where the report shows the difference between the initial estimate and the final allocation for 2010-11.

“Clearly, Ms Powell was too keen to run a grubby attack on the Gillard Government, even if it was based on a lie,” Mr Wynne said.

“This is a serious error made by the Minister who has misled the Local Government sector.

“The fact remains the Federal Government is one of the largest sources of revenue for councils, and they do not need a lazy State Minister misrepresenting the facts.”

“Either Jeanette Powell doesn’t understand what the Grants Commission’s annual report says, or she wilfully misled Victorians about the situation,” Mr Wynne said.

“Either way she should retract her comments and apologise to Victorian local councils.”