Council delivers with Mid-Year Budget Review

As Townsville City Council continues to deliver for the community, the city has record low unemployment and private sector investment is soaring despite inflationary pressures across the country.

Townsville City Council today handed down the 2022/23 Mid-Year Budget Review at the Ordinary Council meeting.

Council’s operating deficit is forecast to be $2.9m by June 2023 compared to a budget operating deficit of $0.8m which was adopted in June 2022.

The forecast June 2023 operating result is mainly driven by increased operating costs due to labour cost increases, the scarcity of materials, supply chain disruptions and the increase in cost of fuel.

The adopted budget operating revenue is $457.9m compared to a mid-year review budget forecast of $459.3m, with the forecast increase mainly due to higher interest rates on Council’s cash deposits.

Mayor Jenny Hill said despite the challenges of increasing costs in sourcing labour, the scarcity of materials, supply chain disruption and the increased cost of fuel along with other inflationary pressures, Council can be proud of what it has delivered for the city so far in this financial year.

Significantly, the Council will not be compounding the pressure on families or businesses by increasing any rates, fees or charges.

“We continue to have strong financial foundations that allow Council to continue to support our rates concessions for pensioners and not-for-profit organisations, including sporting and religious groups,” Cr Hill said.

“Council has not been immune from the challenges of getting the number of skilled workers we need to conduct the critical work of delivering our capital and operational plans.

“Despite the challenges, our capital program continues to move forward, which is all part of our plan for future service delivery requirements and creating economic growth in the capital of North Queensland.”

Through considered innovation, efficiencies and effort, Council’s astute financial management continues to minimise the impacts on ratepayers of the increasing cost of living.

Council is proud to be serving the community and its role in the progress that the city has made, with Townsville’s 2.8 per cent unemployment rate (the lowest since 2010) well below the state figure of 4.6 per cent. At the same time, Townsville’s estimated labour force rose above 108,000 people, the highest amount in more than a decade.

This record low unemployment, a thriving property market and record investment in the city is another vote of confidence in Council’s 2022/23 Budget and Operational Plan.

At the end of 2022, a total of 540 dwellings were approved for construction, representing a total investment of $146 million. Additionally, 684 residential lots were approved for release and sale across Townsville during the same period.

Business confidence scores also remain positive, and several upcoming Council-supported projects will continue to sustain economic growth.

Private sector investment numbers are also vastly improved on recent years, including more than $690 million in approved commercial developments during the past 12 months. This includes a development application for QPM to commence development of the TECH project at the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct.

Tourism numbers have skyrocketed 57 per cent as the city bounces back to beyond pre-COVID numbers.

Council continues to work for the people of Townsville as we deliver excellence in our essential services and work to make our city a great place to live, invest, learn and earn for a sustainable and prosperous future.

As part of the 2022/2023 financial year budget, and in support of the Council’s Corporate Plan, the Planning and Development City Activation and Jobs Growth Policy continues to yield benefits for growing Townsville.

Council has invested $330,000 in grants to assist with modernising buildings and providing $500,000 in waived infrastructure charges for a significant project (Wulguru Group) that is investing $148 million into the full project, employing an additional 223 jobs. This has resulted in an injection of $64 million during construction and $43 million ongoing into the local economy.

Industry leaders have expressed confidence in the Council’s commitment to facilitating development.

“Townsville City Council is currently doing some great foundation studies with the feasibility studies underway,” Property Council Australia (PCA) Chairperson Simon Walker said.

“I know we (PCA) have said it before, but what Council is doing in working closer with industry and the private sector to get better outcomes for the city is very refreshing and encouraging and it is not going unnoticed.”

Colliers director Peter Wheeler also praised Council’s efforts.

“We look forward to working with Council again in 2023 and hopefully seeing some real progress and outcomes with some of the initiatives we have been discussing,” he said.

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