4.2 Savings in other Commonwealth spending areas

The Commission’s Phase One Report focused on the Commonwealth’s 15 largest and fastest growing programmes as well as a number of other large spending areas including: reforming general revenue assistance to the States; options to place military superannuation arrangements on a more sustainable financial footing; and other potential savings options.

The Commission has identified scope to reform a number of Commonwealth grants programmes, social welfare programmes and local government initiatives that fall within the other programmes. These reforms are based on the Commission’s Principles of Good Government.

Commonwealth Grant Programmes

The Commonwealth spent about $22 billion on grants in 2012-13, across more than 500 grants programmes.

In its Phase One Report the Commission recommended, among other things, improving the operation and transparency of grants programmes, that 20 grants programmes be abolished and that all grants programmes with a value less than $5 million across the forward estimates be consolidated in each portfolio.

In this second phase, the Commission has examined many of the remaining Commonwealth grants programmes, focusing on budgeted expenditure in 2014-15. Taking account of the 20 grant programmes the Commission recommended abolishing, as well as the fact that a number of current programmes do not extend into 2014-15 and beyond, some 399 grant programmes remain, with aggregate expenditure estimated to be $22.4 billion in 2014-15. A list of the grants programmes is at Annex C in the Phase Two Report.

The Commission notes the many instances in which a large number of grants programmes are directed towards a single common area and suggests that broad-banding grants programmes could lead to better outcomes and significantly reduce the administrative and compliance burden.

The Commission has identified 14 more grants programmes, budgeted to spend more $5 million or more in 2014-15, that could be abolished. These account for around $330 million of budgeted expenditure. In addition, the Commission has identified many smaller programmes that portfolio agencies could consolidate or rationalise and a number of schools-related grant programmes that could be transferred to the States.

Parenting Payment Single

Background

Parenting Payment Single (PPS) provides important support to sole parents with young children, recognising their reduced capacity to work. This payment is separate from other payments that sole parents may be eligible for such as Family Tax Benefit and Rent Assistance.

Rationale for government intervention

The government pays PPS to sole parents with children under eight years of age, after which they are transferred to the unemployment benefit Newstart Allowance. This recognises that given their caring responsibilities, sole parents have a reduced capacity to work. PPS is paid in a manner similar to pensions.

Current structure of the programme

PPS is paid to single parents who care for at least one child less than eight years of age. The maximum rate is $725.10 per fortnight. This includes a Pension Supplement of $21.90 per fortnight, a Clean Energy Supplement of $11.90 per fortnight and a maximum base rate of $691.30 per fortnight which is benchmarked to 25 per cent of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE).

To receive the maximum payment, the recipient’s income must be less than $180.60 per fortnight, plus $24.60 for each additional child. Payment is reduced by 40 cents for each dollar of income over this amount. Recipients may be eligible for a part payment if their income is less than $1,993.35 per fortnight, plus $24.60 for each additional child. This amount may be higher if they are eligible for the Pharmaceutical Allowance.

The pension assets test also applies, with payment being reduced for sole parents with assets greater than $196,750 if they are a homeowner and $339,250 if not.

Trends and drivers

In 2013-14, an estimated $4.3 billion will be spent on PPS and a total of $17.5 billion over the forward estimates.

Changes introduced from January 2013 have significantly reduced the number of PPS recipients. These changes removed previous grandfathering provisions for recipients who started receiving the payment before 2006, which allowed these parents to receive the payment if their youngest child was aged up to 15 years.

At June 2013, there were 255,411 PPS recipients, which was a 20 per cent decrease from around 319,660 in June 2012. This decrease was predominantly as a result of the changes to grandfathering arrangements, which resulted in 63,113 sole parents losing eligibility for PPS from 1 January 2013. The majority of these sole parents (62,155) transferred to Newstart Allowance.

Issues and potential for reform

PPS was historically linked to the Age and other pensions. Until changes were made to the Age and Disability Support Pensions and Carer Payment as part of the Secure and Sustainable Pensions reforms in 2009, the rates and income tests were the same.

The maximum rate of the payment is now around $120 lower than the pensions per fortnight, but still maintains some similar characteristics. Historically, pension rates have been set with regard to community standards by indexing the rate of payment by wages rather than simply maintaining its value in real terms. This ensures that a pensioner’s standard of living continues to have some reference to the incomes of the broader community. For this reason the maximum basic rate of PPS is benchmarked to 25 per cent of MTAWE. The rate of the PPS has grown by just over 15 per cent in real terms since its introduction in 1998.

The policy rationale for using MTAWE as a benchmark is weak as the increase in female labour force participation means a wage measure covering only males is an anachronism in the context of contemporary Australia. Average Weekly Earnings is a more appropriate benchmark for payments, given that women are a major part of the labour force. Benchmarking to Average Weekly Earnings still recognises that pensions should have regard to community standards through benchmarking to wages.

In the Phase One Report the Commission recommended that the maximum base rate of the Age and Disability Support Pensions and Carer Payment be changed over time to be equal to, and then grow in line with, 28 per cent of Average Weekly Earnings. Consistent with this recommendation, it is also recommended that the benchmark for PPS be changed to 25 per cent of Average Weekly Earnings.

The re-alignment over time could be achieved by indexing the current maximum rate of PPS by CPI until it reaches the new benchmark.

As shown in Chart 4.1 below, on current trends the transition could be expected to be completed by around 2027-28 (in just under 15 years’ time). The proposed transition to the new arrangements would mean that although sole parents’ payment will be less than it otherwise would be, it will not fall in either real or nominal terms.

Chart 4.1: Transition to new Parenting Payment Single benchmark

As described in the text, this chart compares projections of the current rate of Parenting Payment Single with the proposed rate, and shows that the proposed rate would be projected to reach 25 per cent of AWE by around 2027-28.

Source: National Commission of Audit.

References

Department of Human Services 2014, Guide to Australian Government Payments, Centrelink, Canberra.

Harmer, J 2009, Pension Review Report (‘The Harmer Review’), Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Canberra.

Youth Allowance

Background

Youth Allowance provides income support for young people who are unable to work full-time as they are studying, and for job seekers under the age of 22. There is scope to better target certain elements of the payment.

Rationale for government intervention

Access to education is important to enable people to reach their potential, to engage in the workforce and to make a productive contribution to society. As well as supporting Australia’s economic competiveness, education is a key driver of social mobility, economic prosperity and social cohesion. For these reasons, government has an important role in supporting people to participate in education.

For students, Youth Allowance provides income support in recognition of their reduced capacity to work because they are studying. For many students this support is important to enable them to study, serving the objectives of encouraging participation in, and equitable access to, education.

Jobseekers under the age of 22 also receive Youth Allowance (instead of Newstart Allowance, which is provided to older jobseekers). For this group, a further aim of Youth Allowance is to encourage young people with minimal education to choose education or training over job search in order to improve their long-term employment prospects. To support this aim, people under 22 years of age without a Year 12 or equivalent qualification are required to participate in education and training until they complete Year 12 or an equivalent Certificate Level II or above qualification.

Current structure of the programme

The basic eligibility for Youth Allowance includes full-time students and apprentices aged 16–24 (excluding secondary school students who if eligible would receive Family Tax Benefit instead) and job seekers aged under 22. Rates and means testing arrangements vary with recipients’ circumstances and are shown in Table 4.2 below.

If claimants are not considered to be independent from their parents, income and assets tests will also apply to their parents. Claimants aged 22 years or over are automatically considered independent. Claimants under 22 are considered independent if they have supported themselves through full-time paid employment (defined as working for an average of at least 30 hours per week throughout a period of 18 months), are partnered or have children, or where specific circumstances apply (see Department of Human Services, 2014a, for further detail).

Table 4.2: Rates and means testing arrangements for Youth Allowance
Eligibility Personal income test Parental means test and assets tests Maximum basic fortnightly rates
Full time Students and Australian Apprentices aged 16 to 24 • Payment is reduced by 50c for each dollar of before-tax income over $415 per fortnight, then 60c for each dollar over $498 per fortnight.

• Students can accumulate an ‘income bank’ of up to $10,300, and Apprentices $1,000, which assists to smooth the amount of earned income over time before payment is withdrawn.
• For young people dependent on their parents, payment is reduced by 20c for each dollar of their parent’s income over $48,837 per annum.

• Dependent claimants will be ineligible for any payment if their parent’s assets exceed $642,000.

• Independent claimants will be ineligible for payment if they have assets greater than $196,750 if they are homeowners, or $339,250 if they are not homeowners.
• Under-18 years, living at home - $226.80

• Over-18 years, living at home - $272.80

• Not living in the family home - $414.40

• Single with children - $542.90

• Partnered with children - $455.00
Jobseekers aged under 22

• Payment is reduced by 50c for each dollar of before-tax income over $143 per fortnight, then 60c for each dollar over $250 per fortnight.

• Jobseekers can access the Working Credit scheme.

Source: Department of Human Services, 2014a and 2014b.

Full-time students and apprentices who are aged 25 years or more may be eligible for Austudy, which is paid at similar rates to Youth Allowance. Personal income and assets tests apply. Students who are receiving Youth Allowance immediately before turning 25 will continue to receive Youth Allowance while they remain in the same course.

Additional scholarships

Students eligible for Youth Allowance also receive Student Start-up Scholarships and may be eligible for Relocation Scholarships. In the 2013-14 Budget it was announced that the Student Start-up Scholarship would be converted into an income-contingent loan for new recipients of student payments in higher education from 1 January 2014. Legislation to implement this change is currently before Parliament. Due to this, the Student Start-up Scholarship will be available to new students commencing higher education study in the first semester of 2014. The intention is that the new Student Start-up Loans will be available to full-time students in receipt of Youth Allowance who are undertaking a higher education course or a preparatory course at a higher education institution. Eligible students will be able to claim up to two income contingent loans each year of $1,025 each (a total of $2,050 in 2014).

Relocation Scholarships are available to full-time dependent students in receipt of Youth Allowance who have to live away from home to undertake their course and, in specific circumstances, independent students who are unable to live in the parental home. The Relocation Scholarship provides $4,145 to eligible students in the first year they live away from home to study. Students moving from major cities receive $1,036 in each subsequent year. Students from regional areas receive $2,073 in their second and third years and $1,036 in any further years that they live away from home to study.

The Relocation Scholarship is payable in addition to the Student Start-up Scholarship. Relocation Scholarships are automatically provided to all eligible students, that is, they do not need to be claimed. Currently, the scholarships are provided to students moving to a regional area or to a major city for study, including students moving within their home capital city.

Portability

‘Portability’ refers to the amount of time recipients of government payments are able to continue receiving the payment if they travel overseas. Full-time students receiving Youth Allowance or Austudy are able to travel overseas for up to up to six weeks for any reason without affecting their payment. Other recipients (including part-time students and jobseekers) can continue to receive the payment for a period of up to six weeks only when their reason for travel is to seek eligible medical treatment, to attend to an acute family crisis, or for a humanitarian purpose.

Students who are undertaking overseas study as a part of an approved full-time Australian course are able to receive payment for the entire period of their absence.

Trends and drivers

It is estimated that government will spend $14.2 billion on Youth Allowance over the forward estimates, of which almost $10 billion is on Youth Allowance for students. Of this, just over half a billion dollars will be spent on Relocation Scholarships.

Some recent policy changes to Youth Allowance (Other) have contributed to increasing expenditure on Youth Allowance; including the increase in the maximum age from 20 to 22 from 1 July 2012 and the increase in the income free area from 1 January 2013. While increasing the maximum age for Youth Allowance (Other) has resulted in increased expenditure on Youth Allowance, this represents a shift from Newstart Allowance and therefore a decrease in overall expenditure.

Issues and potential for reform

There is scope to reform Relocation Scholarships and the portability rules for Youth Allowance and Austudy, in order to better target assistance to those most in need.

Relocation Scholarships

Assistance with the costs of relocating may be important in enabling some young people to participate in education.

Relocation Scholarships should be converted into a voluntary, income-contingent loan similar to the Student-Start-up Scholarships. This would help to ensure that the scholarships are limited to those students who genuinely need help with their relocation costs.

The Commission also considers that there is limited rationale for providing relocation assistance in subsequent years after the student has moved away. For this reason the Relocation Loans should be limited to the year of relocation only and not paid in subsequent years as it is currently. Students would remain eligible to claim Start-up Loans in the subsequent years, which could help with recurrent costs of studying such as text books.

Further, the Commission considers that there is little rationale for the loans to be available to students moving within their capital city and therefore recommends that this cease.

The Commission considers that a rebalancing of the public and private contributions to higher education costs is warranted, reflecting the substantial private benefits that arise from higher education, and the Phase One Report recommends changes to the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) to reflect this. The Relocation Loan should be repaid after HELP and Student Start-up Loans are repaid and, therefore, the Phase One Report recommendations on the repayment of HELP debts should also apply to the repayment of Student Start-up and Relocation Loans.

The relevant recommendations from the Phase One Report that would apply to the new loans include:

  • increasing the interest rate applying to HELP loans from the current rate (equal to movements in the CPI) to a rate which reflects the full cost to the Commonwealth of making the loan (incorporating the government borrowing rate, as well as the cost of bad debts and administration costs);
  • reducing the threshold for HELP repayment from $51,309 per annum to the minimum wage of $32,354 (with a low starting repayment rate of only 2.5 per cent); and
  • changing the indexation arrangements for the HELP repayment income threshold from movement in Average Weekly Earnings to movements in the CPI.

Portability rules

Full-time students receiving Youth Allowance or Austudy can travel overseas for any reason for up to six weeks and continue to receive their payment. This is more generous than the portability rules applying to part-time students and jobseekers receiving the same payment, or to recipients of other income support payments.

The Commission considers that the rules for full-time students receiving Youth Allowance or Austudy should be aligned with those for other recipients of these payments and other working-age payments. This change would only allow payments to continue for up to six weeks if the recipient is required to travel overseas for specific circumstances (for example to receive medical treatment, humanitarian reasons or in an acute family crisis). Students who travel for the purpose of their study would continue to receive their payment for any period of travel.

References

Australian Government 2010, Australia’s Future Tax System, (Henry Tax Review), Australian Government, Canberra.

Department of Human Services 2014a, Guide to Australian Government Payments, Centrelink, Canberra.

Department of Human Services 2014b, Youth Allowance website, viewed 26 March 2014, http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/youth-allowance.

Working-age payments

Background

The Commission examined and made recommendations on Newstart Allowance in the Phase One Report. The Commission has identified some scope to reform other elements of working-age payments, specifically relating to the higher rates of working-age payments received by recipients over the age of 60, and the Pensioner Education Supplement and Education Entry Payments paid to recipients who are studying.

Rationale for government intervention

Higher rates of payment for recipients of Newstart, Widow and Sickness Allowance aged over 60 and who have been receiving the payment for more than nine months were introduced in 1990. As recipients were only five years away from being eligible for the Age Pension, it was considered appropriate to assist them with the higher rate.

The Pensioner Education Supplement and Education Entry Payment are two separate supplements paid to recipients of certain working-age payments who are studying. They are designed to provide additional assistance with the costs of study.

Current structure of the programme

Recipients of Newstart, Widow and Sickness Allowance who are aged 60 or over and have been receiving payments for at least nine months continuously receive a higher rate of payment than younger recipients, as well as the Telephone Allowance. For example a recipient of Newstart fitting these criteria would receive a basic rate of $552.40 per fortnight compared to $510.50 received by younger recipients. Telephone Allowance provides $105.50 per annum.

Pensioner Education Supplement is provided to recipients of a range of working-age payments (not including the Age Pension) who take up study in a secondary or tertiary course. Predominantly, recipients of Pensioner Education Supplement receive either Parenting Payment Single or the Disability Support Pension. Payment is $62.40 per fortnight for full-time students and $31.20 per fortnight for students with a study load of at least 25 per cent, but less than 50 per cent.

Education Entry Payment is available to recipients of certain working-age payments, for example Newstart Allowance and Parenting Payment Single, who have been receiving their payment for at least 12 months and commence an approved education course. Eligibility is broader than that for the Pension Education Supplement. The payment provides $208 when the recipient commences study and is limited to once per annum.

Trends and drivers

Total current expenditure on Newstart Allowance is around $8.4 billion per annum.

It is estimated that around $317.5 million will be spent on Pensioner Education Supplement over the forward estimates. Data on the costs of Education Entry Payment is not available separately.

Issues and potential for reform

The Commission considers that there is little rationale for Newstart recipients aged over 60 receiving higher rates of assistance than those under 60. Accordingly it is recommended that the rate of these allowances for those over 60 be reduced to align with those for other recipients.

The Commission considers that the Education Entry Payment generally duplicates the assistance provided by the Pensioner Education Supplement and assistance with start-up costs that is available through Job Services Australia when recipients commence study. The Education Entry Payment should therefore be abolished.

Also recipients of the Pensioner Education Supplement currently receive the payment throughout the year, including during vacation periods. The Commission recommends that the Supplement only be provided to recipients during study terms or semesters.

References

Department of Human Services 2014, Guide to Australian Government Payments, Centrelink, Canberra.

Housing Help for Seniors

Background

The Housing Help for Seniors programme was announced by the previous Government in the 2013-14 Budget, having been informed by the work undertaken by the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing. A trial of the scheme is set to proceed from 1 July 2014. The programme would provide an income and assets test exemption for pensioners over age pension age who ‘downsize’ their home.

Rationale for government intervention

The exemption is designed to help pensioners who want to move to a smaller home that better suits their needs, but are concerned about the possible impact of increased liquid assets on their eligibility for pensions.

Current structure of the programme

The trial would create an exemption from the pension means test for pensioners who downsize their home by allowing at least 80 per cent of the net sale to be invested in a special account.

To be eligible, claimants must be over age pension age and receive either the Age, Disability Support, Wife, Widow B or Service Pensions or Carer Payment, and have lived in and owned their home for more than 25 years. If they downsize to a home of lesser value, they will be able to place at least 80 per cent of the excess sale proceeds (to a cap of $200,000) from the sale of their former home into a special account, which will be exempt from the pension income and assets tests for up to 10 years, or until a withdrawal is made from the account, whichever occurs first. The scheme will not be available to people moving into residential aged care.

The trial is set to commence on 1 July 2014 and close to new claimants on 1 July 2017, at which point the scheme would be reviewed.

Trends and drivers

The trial will cost around $170 million to 2017-18, with continued and likely growing costs should the scheme be made permanent.

Issues and potential for reform

In the Phase One Report the Commission recommended replacing the current Age Pension income and assets tests, from 2027-28, with a single comprehensive means test which would deem income from a greater range of assets, including the value of the principal residence in excess of $750,000 for coupled pensioners and $500,000 for a single pensioner.

The Commission considers that the Government should not proceed with the trial as it would treat seniors with similar levels of wealth differently in terms of Age Pension eligibility, depending on whether they have recently downsized their home.

The scheme would be counter to the directions implied by the Commission’s other recommendations in this area, which are intended to make the Age Pension more sustainable in the long term. The effect of the Housing Help for Seniors programme would be to introduce a new exemption which would move the Age Pension towards a less comprehensive means test arrangement.

Quarantining the proceeds from the sale of the primary residence from the current pension assets test would further exacerbate the differential treatment of home owners relative to non-home owners due to the exclusion of the home from the assets test. It would also increase complexity in the system.

Research published by Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute in January 2014 shows that the main factors influencing downsizing decision-making for older Australians included maintenance of the home and yard, lifestyle improvement, locational factors and the accessible design of the new home. Financial considerations were among the least common motivations for downsizing noted by survey respondents.

References

Judd, B., Liu, E., Easthope, H., Davy, L. and Bridge, C. 2014 ‘Downsizing amongst older Australians’, AHURI Final Report No.214, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, Melbourne.

Department of Human Services 2013, Budget 2013-14: Supporting senior Australians —housing help for seniors—pilot, viewed March 2014, http://www.humanservices.gov.au/corporate/publications-and-resources/budget/1314/measures/older-australians/47-10907.

Payments to local government

Background

As detailed in the Phase One Report, the Commission recommended that the States be provided with access to the Commonwealth personal income tax base and that the Commonwealth lower its personal income tax rates to allow room for the States to levy their own income tax surcharge. The impact of lower revenue collections for the Commonwealth would be offset through an equivalent reduction in other financial assistance payments to the States (Recommendations 7-11).

Rationale for government intervention

The Commonwealth has provided general purpose untied Financial Assistance Grants to local government since 1974-75 (Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, 2014). The objectives of this funding include improving local governments’ capacity to provide their communities with an equitable level of services and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of local government.

Since 1991, the Commonwealth has also provided Financial Assistance Grants to help local governments with the cost of maintaining local roads.

The Commission considers that, should the reforms proposed in the Phase One Report be implemented, the States will have greater ability to fund more of their expenditure. This includes support for local government.

Current structure of the programme

The Commonwealth Government provides untied grants to local government through Financial Assistance Grants, composed of general purpose grants ($787.3 million in 2013-14) and untied roads funding ($349.3 million in 2013-14) (Australian Government, 2013a).

Funding in 2013-14 is lower than trend and reflects a decision by the former government to assist local governments to respond to natural disasters by bringing forward $1.1 billion from 2013-14 to be paid in 2012-13.

Both components of Financial Assistance Grants are paid to the States to be passed on to local government. The method of allocating the two types of Financial Assistance Grants differs with:

  • general purpose grants distributed between States on the basis of population; and
  • untied roads funding distributed among the States according to the shares that existed in 1991, when roads grants changed from being tied to untied (Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, 2013).

Supplementary local roads funding ($17.5 million in 2013-14) has also been provided to South Australia since 2004-05. This is on the basis of a Parliamentary committee finding that South Australia had been disadvantaged under the prior interstate distribution of the local road grants (House of Representatives Standing Committee of Economics, Finance and Public Administration, 2003).

Both types of Financial Assistance Grants are distributed within the States and the Northern Territory by state grants commissions consistent with agreed national principles, including fiscal equalisation. Under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995, all councils are guaranteed a minimum annual payment, with councils with lower revenue raising ability and greater expenditure requirements receiving larger grants.

Financial assistance grants are untied in the hands of local governments, who are free to spend them according to local priorities.

Trends and drivers

Financial Assistance Grants ($1.14 billion in 2013-14) are indexed annually to growth in population and the CPI (around 3 per cent annual compound growth) (Australian Government, 2013a).

Issues and potential for reform

As detailed in the Phase One Report, the Commission proposed that a comprehensive review of the roles and responsibilities between the Commonwealth and State governments be undertaken to ensure that: policy and service delivery is as far as is practicable delivered by the level of government closest to the people receiving those services; each level of government is sovereign in its own sphere; and duplication between the Commonwealth and the States is minimised.

The Commission considers that should the Commission’s reforms to address vertical fiscal imbalance and horizontal fiscal equalisation be adopted, the States should make greater use over the longer term of access to the personal income tax base to fund their expenditure responsibilities, including to support local government.

In the interim, to the degree that the Commonwealth continues to provide general purpose grants to local governments, these should generally be untied, rather than tied to particular activities. This would give local government clearer responsibility for delivering local services and greater accountability to the communities they serve.

Consistent with Recommendation 5 in the Phase Two Report, local roads Financial Assistance Grants should be included in a single funding pool for infrastructure, to be allocated to the States on a formulaic basis.

The efficiency and effectiveness of government spending would be enhanced if small tied grants to local and State governments ceased, and to the extent that programmes are a priority that they be funded from existing sources.

References

Australian Government 2013a, 2013-14 Budget – Budget Paper 3, Part 2, Australian Government Canberra.

Australian Government 2013b, Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport Portfolio Budget Statement 2013-14, Australian Government, Canberra.

Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) 2013, ALGA Submission to the National Commission of Audit, ALGA, Canberra.

Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) 2013, Briefing Paper: Australian Local Government Financial Reform – A Federal Perspective, prepared for ANZSOG Institute of Governance and the ACELG, viewed March 2014, http://www.acelg.org.au/sites/default/files/2013ACELG_Briefing_paper_Financial_Sustainability.pdf.

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development 2013, 2010–11 Local Government National Report, Canberra.

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development 2014, Financial Assistance Grants to local governments, viewed March 2014, http://www.regional.gov.au/local/assistance.

Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport 2013, 2012-13 Annual Report, Canberra.

Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport 2013, Submission to the Commonwealth Grants Commission for the Financial Assistance Grants Review, Canberra.

Productivity Commission 2008, Assessing Local Government Revenue Raising Capacity, Research Report, Canberra.

House of Representatives Standing Committee of Economics, Finance and Public Administration 2003, Rates and Taxes A Fair Share for Responsible Local Government (‘The Hawker Report’), Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.

Webb, R 2003, Commonwealth General Purpose Financial Assistance to Local Government, Department of the Parliamentary Library Research Paper No 1 2003-04, Canberra.