Rockhampton Mayor Tony Williams has criticised the state grant commission's decision to cut $6.77 million in annual funding to council, calling it "a joke".
Following a review last year, the body which manages the federally-funded Financial Assistance Grants given to councils - the Queensland Local Government Grants Commission - announced 50 out of 77 councils would receive more of the funding, while the other 27 would receive less.
Rockhampton Regional Council's grant funding has been cut by 25 per cent a year, meaning in three years time, it will have dropped from $9 million a year to just over $2.2 million.
Mr Williams said the decision would have a serious impact on the city's budget.
"To be frank, I would label this decision a joke except no one in our community will be laughing," Mr Williams said.
"I can't overemphasise the seriousness of what this means for council and the impact it will have on our region."
Mr Williams said the cuts came at a time when the airport revenue had decreased by $6.7 million from previous forecasts since COVID hit in 2020 and the cost of trucking water to Mount Morgan had reached $3.9 million.
"These hopefully short term challenges brought about by the pandemic and drought are already tough for council to bear, so to receive this news that we're also going to be significantly worse off in the long term with less grant funding is a real blow," Mr Williams said.
Council is yet to decide how it will address the issue.
Mr Williams joins a list of regional mayors who have recently spoken out against the funding cuts, including those from North Burnett, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Fraser Coast and South Burnett councils.
Responding to the criticism from councils affected by the changes, the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning said the Queensland government was committed to advocating for a better funding deal for councils.
The DSDILGP said it had been about 10 years since the commission's last review of the methodology and the review focused on considering if there was a more equitable distribution for the Financial Assistance Grant.
It said the need for a review of the methodology "was supported" through feedback received by the commission from Queensland councils.
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