Financial Assistance Grants

Local Government Financial Assistance Grants are funded by the Commonwealth Government and distributed among 137 local governments in Western Australia each year.

These grants are the State's entitlement for financial assistance from the Commonwealth Government, paid in equal quarterly installments for a financial year, under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995.

The distribution of Financial Assistance Grants is for local government purposes and aims to achieve equitable levels of services by reasonable effort.

Western Australia's share of Commonwealth funding for 2023-24 is $394m which is 12.13% of the national allocation of $3.247b. This national allocation has increased from 2.817b in 2022-23.

Minimum grant local governments received $24.90 per capita.

The funding is untied, there are no conditions on how the funds should be spent. The amount is divided into 2 parts, a general purpose component and a local roads component.

The WA Local Government Grants Commission is responsible for making recommendations to the Minister for Local Government on the allocation of Financial Assistance Grants.

Provision of funding to local governments

The funding provided to local governments is allocated on the basis of horizontal equalisation to ensure that each local government in the State is able to function at a standard not lower than the average standard of other local governments.

All local governments are entitled to receive at least the minimum grant. That minimum grant cannot be less than 30% of what the local government would receive if all grants were allocated on a per capita basis.

Balanced budget

The balanced budget approach has been used to calculate General Purpose Grants since 1994. The commission calculates the equalisation requirement of each local government by assessing the revenue raising capacity and expenditure need of each local government. 5 categories (called standards) are used to calculate revenue raising ability and 6 categories are used to establish expenditure needs.

The equalisation requirement is the difference between the assessed expenditure need and the assessed revenue raising capacity of each local government. The commission has developed a range of cost adjustors (for example: location, population dispersion and socio-economic disadvantage) and these are included in calculating the standards to recognise the additional costs a local government faces due to its physical or demographic characteristics.

Asset preservation model

The commission uses an asset preservation model for local road funding. This model is used to assess the cost of maintaining a local government’s road network and takes into account annual and recurrent maintenance costs and the costs of reconstruction at the end of a road’s useful life. Asset Preservation Model documents are available under the download section below. 

Public hearings

The commission is required to keep up with the changes in local government to ensure that its methods reflect the operations of the industry.

As part of this process, it visits about 30 local governments each year to hold public hearings that provide an opportunity for local governments to inform the commission of the issues they are facing.

The commission also receives submissions from local governments seeking modifications to the grant determination process so that it will reflect their needs more effectively.

Information Return

The commission requires all local governments to complete the Information Return to facilitate the processes for allocating Financial Assistance Grants. The 2022-23 financial year Information Return is available in the download section below. Local governments are required to complete it and submit by close of business on Monday 31 January 2024. 

Completed returns and/or queries can be emailed to


More information

Telephone 61 8 6552 7300

Page reviewed 11 March 2024