Council passes record budget amid confident growth and investment in city

Townsville City Council’s 2022/23 Budget and Operational Plan is delivering a strong economic and social vision to cement the city’s reputation as the capital of Northern Australia.

In 2021 Council delivered its Corporate Plan, mapping out its strategy to grow Townsville as a highly liveable city while bouncing back from the social, health and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today the city is more resilient, and council are better equipped to manage living with the virus.

Releasing the $957.5 million 2022/23 budget today, Mayor Jenny Hill said Townsville had bounced back strongly following COVID-19 with the city experiencing record low unemployment, new public and private sector investment and a strong property market.

“We are committed to continuing our strategy to grow Townsville while delivering high quality services across the city and minimising cost-of-living pressures on ratepayers,” Cr Hill said.

“Our budget is fiscally responsible, recognising the cost-of-living pain residents are feeling while also having a plan to deliver throughout the coming financial year.”

Cr Hill said the council’s strong financial management was recently recognised by both the Queensland Treasury Corporation and the Queensland Audit Office and had positioned the city well to deal with the current rising costs environment.

“This budget was possible due to our well managed fiscal strategy and means we can continue giving Townsville locals the lifestyle they expect while delivering the critical infrastructure and services they need.

“The 2022/23 budget details Council’s strategy to maintain services and standards while continuing to invest in Townsville’s future, growing our community into a sustainable and globally connected city.

“In this budget we have handed down a general rate rise of 2 per cent in the dollar across Council’s rating categories.

“While innovation and efficiencies have allowed Council to absorb most of the increased costs of materials and services, a rate rise was necessary to ensure service delivery and city-growing investment in infrastructure could be maintained.

“Significant increases in state government land valuations across many suburbs added another layer of complexity to this year’s budget deliberations.

“Previously, land valuation impacts have been capped at 30 per cent. This year Council has taken a very deliberate decision to reduce that cap to 10 per cent for residential owner-occupiers and minimise the impact increased land valuations had on households.

“This means we are delivering one of the lowest general rates rises in the state and will mean the average owner-occupier will only pay an additional $3 a week in their rates including average land valuations.

“We are also investing in major projects to help grow Townsville, making it an even more attractive place to live, work and visit.

“Council has worked hard to secure $228M of Federal and State Government funding to invest in city enhancing projects which includes projects such as $80 million is being invested for enabling infrastructure for the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, to activate our economy and create sustainable jobs, $34.9 million will go towards the duplication of the Ross River Dam to Douglas Water Treatment Plant pipeline, and $74.7 million is being invested in Stage 2 of the Haughton Pipeline Duplication for long term water security in Townsville.

“Council is also making a considerable investment of $203.8 million in capital investments across Townsville’s mainland suburbs and $14.2 million in capital investments for Magnetic Island.”

Planning and Development Committee chairperson Deputy Mayor Mark Molachino said the 2022/23 budget was the second in a five-year plan of capital and operational commitments for Townsville residents.

“Council’s prudent and responsible financial management over the past nine years has delivered six budgets in surplus and one balanced budget during that time,” Cr Molachino said.

“Our $957.5 million budget will balance the delivery and maintenance of services and infrastructure with reducing the impact that rising land valuations could have otherwise had on ratepayers across the city.

“Our population has just passed 200,000 which means it is more important now than ever to get our fundamental services right for our community.

“We are investing 80 per cent of our budget, equal to $774 million, in the delivery of services like asset maintenance, water, waste and wastewater treatment.

“Our community expects us to get those things right which is why we are investing in delivering for services today as well as building to meet for future demand.”

Townsville Water and Waste Committee chairperson Russ Cook said $50.6 million was being invested in rubbish collection and resource management, while funding has also been set aside to support council’s strategic focus on developing a green, circular economy.

“We are investing $1.3 million into the green economy, including the food organics and garden organics program, to ensure our city is operating in an environmentally sustainable way and working toward our zero landfill targets.”

The $774 million investment for fundamental services in 2022/23 budget includes:

  • $129.5 million for wastewater services
  • $297 million for water services
  • $201million for road, drains and stormwater management
  • $96 million for maintaining parks and open spaces.

The budget also includes important liveability investments like:

  • $39.5 million for arts, culture and events
  • $33.8 million for safe city investments, including CCTV systems, community response vehicle and youth services
  • $33 million to support affordability for pensioners and community clubs and organisations.

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