Council budget drives economic certainty and long-term security

Western Downs Regional Council is driving economic certainty and long-term security as it hands down its 2022-23 Council Budget with a focus on maintaining quality services and delivering future-focused initiatives to support continued growth.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said Council’s continued responsible financial management had ensured strong outcomes for the region, despite increasing inflation and significant global pressures.

“We continue to demonstrate our ability to drive sustainable growth across the region, by delivering a responsible budget that aligns the needs of our community with effective service delivery in the face of significant cost pressures for material, labour and energy” Cr McVeigh said.

“Across Australia, local governments are grappling with global pressures due to supply shortages, recent increases in the rate of inflation, and significant costs associated with consecutive natural disasters.

“What sets Western Downs Regional Council apart is the hard work we have done over recent years to ensure our region is well-placed to tackle these challenges head on and provide our residents with certainty into the future.

“That’s why this year’s budget includes an average general rate increase of 3.9%, which is well below the national inflation rate of 5.1%, demonstrating our ability to balance global uncertainty with delivering the standard of services our residents expect.

“This measured rate increase shows our community that we are able to continue our standard of service while keeping costs as low as possible in the current climate.”

Cr McVeigh said consecutive weather events had battered the road network, with significant flood restoration works to take place this year utilising disaster recovery funding from State and Federal Governments.

“Our road and bridge network has suffered considerable damage over recent months, and Council has the mammoth job of completing a huge program of recovery work which is estimated at more than $75 million,” he said.

“While we know there is a significant backlog of flood damage, we also need to ensure our service delivery keeps pace with the growing region and ensure unimpacted roads are maintained and improved.

“Delivering a strong capital works budget in line with Council’s focus on long-term asset management is critical for our organisation’s financial sustainability and will be a priority for the year ahead.

“On top of the flood road restoration work, Council will deliver a $56 million capital works program including $21.9 million for roads, bridges and footpaths to boost connectivity and deliver a region-wide road improvement program.

“$10.7 million is allocated to water and sewerage infrastructure upgrades and preventative asset care, as well as $5.25 million funding for the renewal of Council’s fleet and equipment.

“The region’s water security is also a key focus for Council, and we will continue the popular rainwater tank subsidy scheme in 2022-23.

“This year will also see the continuation of a significant investment into the long-term water strategy for Dalby which underpins economic development for the region. $6.45 million is allocated this financial year to deliver new infrastructure including the development of bore, treatment systems, and a pipeline corridor.

“Liveability is highly important, and popular community programs like Adopt A Street Tree, which has seen 5,753 trees planted since the program’s inception in 2017, will return this financial year.

As part of its focus on building a secure future for residents, this financial year Council will deliver key strategies to ensure proactive and sustainable planning for the future. This will consist of long-term plans including the completion of a Communications and Community Engagement Strategy, and development of a Regional Showgrounds Strategy and Regional Aquatic and Recreation Facilities Strategy.

Cr McVeigh said the upcoming financial year would also see the completion of key projects to boost liveability across the region, progressing a huge package of accelerated major projects.

“This year we will see the completion of fantastic future-shaping projects across the region including the new Russell Park Mountain Bike Trails, a new landmark public space at 120 Cunningham Street in Dalby, and the completion of the renewed Aquatic Centre at Tara,” he said.

“We continue to empower communities to develop local initiatives and events, which is why we are continuing to invest in the region’s premier destination events including the Big Skies Festival, Chinchilla Melon Festival, Dalby Delicious and DeLIGHTful festival, Tara Festival of Culture & Camel Races, and Words Out West.

“We are also investing in local community programs to support our active, vibrant community, with a new initiative to drive community pride by delivering more placemaking and public art in our towns, as well as delivering cultural initiatives such as performing arts and stand-up comedian programs, and the Regional Artists Exhibition.”

“Council understands the important role that our community groups play in our towns and this year has committed $804,000 to assist groups to continue their great work in the region”

2022-23 Capital Budget Highlights:

$21.9 million – Roads, bridges, and footpaths

  • $5,000,000 – Regional (Gravel) Resheet Program
  • $4,741,000 – Regional (Bitumen) Reseal Program
  • $4,500,000 – Various town street reconstructions including kerb and channel infrastructure upgrades
  • $1,800,000 – Bullockhead Road upgrade – Tara
  • $1,230,000 – Arubial Road reconstruction and widening – Condamine
  • $748,342 – Roche Creek Road reconstruction and widening – Wandoan
  • $496,000 – Bitumen dust suppressions on rural unsealed roads
  • $485,936 – Myall Park Road Upgrade – Miles
  • $385,510 – Chances Plains Road reconstruction – Chinchilla
  • $354,329 – Upper Humbug Road and Chinchilla – Tara intersection upgrade – Tara
  • $253,092 – Beutel Street reconstruction – Brigalow
  • $117,000 – New concrete footpath – Warra
  • $100,800 – Price Street Footpath (Warrego Highway to Fraser Street) – Chinchilla
  • $564,000 – Mary Street Stormwater Upgrade – Dalby

$10.7 million – Water and sewerage infrastructure upgrades

  • $6,450,000 – Water supply upgrades for regional economic development – (Bore development, treatment development, pipeline corridor) – Dalby

$11.6 million – Facilities and buildings

  • $3,000,000 – 120 Cunningham Street Dalby continuation – ^co-funded with the Queensland Government
  • $220,000 – Dalby PCYC basketball court flooring repair – Dalby
  • $294,196 – Leichhardt Hall roof replacement and structural remediation – Miles
  • $72,000 – Tara Soldiers Memorial Hall Audio Upgrade – Tara

$11.4 million – Parks, open spaces, recreational spaces and cemeteries

  • $133,000 – Regional Parks & Gardens Capital Upgrade Package – Regional
  • $91,000 – Regional Parks Irrigation Upgrade Package – Regional
  • $20,000 – Charleys Creek Riverside Park – Chinchilla
  • $7,806 – O’Sullivan Park fencing – Wandoan

$1.4 million – Waste Management infrastructure

  • $1,038,000 – Winfields Road Landfill Development – Dalby
  • $340,000 – Waste and Recycling Transfer Station construction – Warra
  • $57,157 – Replacement transfer bins at regional waste facilities – Regional

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.