Returning the budget to surplus to continue investing in productive infrastructure and paying down debt have been high priorities in Sunshine Coast Council’s 2021/22 Budget.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said council would return to surplus this year, with no reduction in services to our community.
“In fact, our council will return to a positive operating result and is forecast to post an $18.8 million surplus for 2021/2022.”
Finance Portfolio Councillor Ted Hungerford said council has again been assessed by the Queensland Treasury Corporation with a Strong Financial Sustainability rating.
“That is the result of a responsible and focussed approach to managing and forecasting our finances, managing our assets and prioritising the delivery of services to our community in a sustainable way.
“We have kept a close eye on the bottom line and remained disciplined in our decisions and we are proud of that.
“Most importantly, we will continue to deliver for our community the essential services they require, while reinforcing the foundations for our region’s recovery and be even stronger than before.”
Cr Hungerford said council had listened to the community feedback received during the Communication Satisfaction Survey, to maintain strength in disaster management.
“This Budget will re-establish the $5 million Disaster Rehabilitation Reserve which will be set aside to aid our recovery from a possible future major disaster,” he said.
“That fund was pivotal to our support for business and our community last year and the success of our recovery efforts”.
Customer Service Portfolio Councillor Winston Johnston said council has also placed an added priority on frontline council services which are valued so highly by our community.
“In this budget, we will increase our investment in on-the-ground services, such as maintaining parks and gardens, community facilities, sporting precincts and providing health and wellbeing programs – all of which will support more people, more often.
“We have also increased our investment in managing our civil assets and transport infrastructure, customer response, development services and our environmental operations.
“Our investment in our reseal program has increased by $5 million.”
Cr Johnston said this Budget had balanced council’s investment in the environment, the community and economy.
“There is no doubt that our community is proud of our natural assets and it takes a continued focus and investment in our environment and that new initiatives are continually being investigated so we remain agile and responsive,” Cr Johnston said.
“That’s why this Budget places a strong focus on weed management, especially in the hinterland areas.
“The Environment Levy will increase by $4 per rateable property, 100 percent of which will be allocated to enhancing the region’s response to invasive and destructive weeds.
“We know if we don’t respond proactively to the growth of invasive plant species, our natural plant and animal species will suffer and our efforts to preserve natural corridors and ecosystems will be jeopardised by weed infestation.
“Our additional $600,000 investment will enable us to establish targeted weed management demonstration programs; new community, industry and other agency partnerships; and a focus on exploring and trialling new technology to improve the identification and management of weeds.
“We will gain a better understanding of weeds across the region by bringing together a taskforce of representatives from rural producers, state and local government technical officers and environment groups.
“Together, they will provide guidance on the extent of weed distribution within the Sunshine Coast and priorities for targeted action, especially controlling morning glory.
“We will also investigate support mechanisms for private landholders; new technologies to map the extent of weed infestation and technologies to innovate and improve efficiencies for weed control delivery systems.
“This is just one aspect of council’s strong commitment to our region’s environment so we can provide a legacy for our community now, and for generations to come.
“That’s a win:win for our community and our environment.”