Budget about “building better communities together”

Fraser Coast Regional Council’s 2022/23 budget takes a “sound and steady” approach with a focus on “building better communities together”, Mayor George Seymour said today.

Press release issued by Fraser Coast Regional Council, 14 June 2022.

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Cr Seymour said Council had sought to minimise the financial burden on residents while investing in the services and facilities our growing community needs.

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“Putting together this year’s Council budget has been a difficult process,” he said.

“With inflation running at six per cent in Queensland, Council has faced increased costs such as petrol and building supplies, while we have less money coming in with reduced government grants.

“We’ve also experienced significant growth as more people realise the Fraser Coast is one of the best places in the world to live, with Council development applications jumping from 636 in 2018 to 920 in 2020 and 1159 in 2021.

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“This year we’ve seen Queensland Government valuations increase by an average of 20 per cent on the Fraser Coast while our region has been hit with three floods in five months.

“Against the backdrop of all these financial challenges, Council has worked hard to deliver a financially sustainable budget and keep the general rates revenue increase to 3.9 per cent, well below the Queensland inflation rate and well below the average valuation increase.

“For two thirds of ratepayers, this will mean a general rates rise of no more than 3.5 per cent, with almost half of all ratepayers having no general rates rise or a rates reduction.”

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Cr Seymour said Council’s total budget would be $357 million in 2022/23, which included $118 million in capital works to stimulate the local economy and improve our infrastructure.

“We’re delivering new and improved roads and footpaths, upgrading water and sewerage networks and treatment plants, and investing in our parks and playgrounds,” he said.

Key highlights of Council’s 2022/23 capital works budget include:

  • $41.3 million for roads, bridges and drainage;
  • $38.6 million for water, waste and sewerage;
  • $3.2 million for parks, pools and playgrounds;
  • $2.7 million for arts, cultural and community facilities; and
  • $1.6 million for footpaths and bikeways.

Cr Seymour said Council was forecasting a $3 million deficit in 2022/23.

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“Council worked hard in the 2021/22 financial year to do more with less and turned around a projected $4.8 million deficit to instead deliver an anticipated $2.9 million surplus,” he said.

“We’ll continue to do what we can to minimise the financial impact on our residents, including maintaining our rates capping policy for those impacted by significantly higher valuations.

“We also recognise that infrastructure we are delivering, such as new and upgraded water and sewage treatment plants, benefit both current and future generations. That’s why Council is looking to spread the financial cost through both current charges and borrowings in coming years.”

Individual project highlights in the 2022/23 Council budget include:

  • $12.3 million to start work on a new Material Resource Recovery Facility (recycling centre);
  • $11 million to continue work on the Boundary Road extension;
  • $5.1 million towards the Hervey Bay City Centre revitalisation, which includes the new library and Council administration centre;
  • $5 million to upgrade the Saltwater Creek Landfill in Maryborough;
  • $3.1 million for the new Howard Sewage Treatment Plant; and
  • $1.9 million to continue the redevelopment of the Scarness Caravan Park.

“This budget is all about building better communities together,” Cr Seymour said.

“While there are multi-million dollar infrastructure projects, there are also smaller works that make a big difference such as the first stages of timber bridge replacements at North Aramara and Gundiah, a floodway reconstruction at Bauple and new footpaths in Tiaro, to name just a few examples.

“We thank both the Australian and Queensland Governments for their continued support as many of the capital works projects in this year’s budget would not be able to go ahead without their collaboration.”

More information about the Fraser Coast Regional Council budget is available on Council’s website at www.frasercoast.qld.gov.au/budget.

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