Road, bridge and water infrastructure upgrades, along with the start of the Queanbeyan CBD transformation project headline Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council’s draft Operational Plan for 2021-22.
Significant grant funding will allow Council to progress the reconstruction of Captains Flat Road and sealing of Nerriga Road, while four timber bridges will be replaced with safer, concrete bridges during the financial year. After years of planning, the Queanbeyan Civic and Cultural Precinct will rise from the site of Council’s former administration building in Crawford Street, while the much-anticipated upgrade of Monaro Street will kick off.
“The 2021-22 financial year is an important and exciting one for Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council with more than $140m of capital works to be progressed across the Local Government Area,” Queanbeyan-Palerang Mayor, Cr Tim Overall said.
“The majority of the capital works program will be funded from grants, reserves and loans, with a significant program of works scheduled within our water and sewer businesses to ensure we can continue to provide reliable service to our residents.”
Some of the key projects in the 2021-22 Operational Plan are:
- Further upgrades to the Braidwood Pool
- Commence construction of Stage 1 of the Regional Sports Complex at Jerrabomberra
- Finalise construction of Stage 1 of the Bungendore sports hub
- New playground for Bungendore
- Start of $10m Captains Flat Road reconstruction project
- Replacement of bridges at Brick Kiln Lane, Foxlow Street, Wallaces Gap and River Forest Road
- Commence construction of the Queanbeyan Civic and Cultural Precinct
- Planning for a decked car park in the Morisset car park
- Upgrade of Queanbeyan’s Monaro Street and pedestrian laneways
- Relocation of Council’s Bungendore office
- Finalise designs and planning for the upgrade of the Queanbeyan Sewage Treatment Plant
Council is expecting a consolidated $428,000 surplus across its General, Water, Sewer and Waste funds. However, a $6.5m deficit in the General Fund has resulted in councillors considering more than $2m worth of budget reductions.
Council’s long term financial plan was forecasting short term operating deficits for the General Fund, that were to improve over time into a surplus position over the next three years. The improvement is driven by a financial strategy of reducing operating costs through merger and efficiency savings, increasing fees and charges, implementing dividends from the Queanbeyan water and sewer funds, and deferring some capital expenditure. The impact of COVID-19 and natural disasters in the past 18 months has impacted the budget by around $2m, while external increases to employee Award entitlements, insurances, depreciation and the Emergency Services Levy have collectively exceeded the rate peg income of $795,000.
“Council flagged more than $2m worth of projects that may be removed from the budget, however we’ll wait to hear from the community and will also consider some other adjustments over the coming weeks.
“These proposed adjustments are funded directly from the General Fund and with them removed we get closer to the forecasts identified in the Long Term Financial Plan,” Cr Overall said.
Council is also seeking community feedback on proposed changes to the water and sewer tariffs for Palerang communities following the adoption of the Integrated Water Cycle Management Plan and the draft QPRC Waste Strategy which proposes the harmonisation of fees and services across the Local Government Area over three years.