Ms LEY (Farrer—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (13:56): I rise on behalf of local councils in my electorate of Farrer. For well over a year now, my mayors and general managers have been patiently waiting for the promised increases in local government funding.

And when did the Albanese government make this promise? Before the 2022 federal election.

For most of that time I’ve also been privately warning local government that Labor’s delays and reviews of the coalition’s regional development funding was blatant evidence of cost shifting back on to local ratepayers.

Last November the local government minister told the Commonwealth Grants Commission, ‘I really want to see councils front and centre of so many services.’

By February it was a vastly different tune: ‘Councils are doing it incredibly tough. It’s a harsh reality that services might need to reduce.’

And that is true.

My councils are crying out for urgent assistance from this government.

So what did they get last week? Another Labor government review.

On Friday afternoon the minister welcomed a parliamentary inquiry into local government sustainability. Of course she welcomed it; she was the one who asked for it.

And here’s the kicker: the Standing Committee on Regional Development, Infrastructure and Transport won’t even look at this until after the May budget.

Here we are, in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, with Labor cuts to councils falling back on family budgets and ratepayers forced to fund the gaps in demand for new infrastructure, maintenance and critical services.

Those opposite should be ashamed.