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Council set to payout 33 loans reducing debt by almost $25 million

3 February 2016

Western Downs Regional Council will reduce its debt levels by 40 per cent following confirmation at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on Wednesday 3 February.

  • The $25 million repayment will improve Council’s future flexibility and result in interest and redemption savings of over $30 million over coming years;
  • The decision reflects Council’s focus on providing strong and responsible financial management, enabling it to operate economically whilst still improving the quality of services for Western Downs residents and business;
  • The loans that are being paid out had an average interest rate of 5.48%. This compares to Council’s current borrowing rate of between 2.5% and 3.6%;
  • The loan repayment will reduce Council’s current portfolio of 38 loans to 5 loans. The remaining loans fund the delivery of major infrastructure including water, sewerage and saleyards;
  • Council’s net debt will reduce from its current $62.4 million to $37.6 million, which is roughly the same debt as at the end of the 2011/12 financial year;
  • This repayment will reduce the region’s debt from $3,264 per ratepayer to $1,967 per ratepayer.

Council Spokesperson for Corporate Support Councillor Ian Rasmussen said this outstanding achievement demonstrates that we’re working harder and smarter to deliver value for residents and businesses.

“It puts the Western Downs region in its strongest financial position in many years by providing Council the ability to strategically choose how to invest these savings into other projects and activities in the future, and reduces our interest bills which frees up more operating funds,” he said.

Mayor Ray Brown said this decision ensures Western Downs Regional Council is well placed to meet any future challenges, as well as positioning Council as a leader in financial management across Queensland local governments.

“We’re committed to paying down Council’s debt and keeping debt at a manageable level, and living within our means is critically important to our region’s future success,” he said.

“Council will be able to retire debt, strengthen our financial position and deliver important community infrastructure that improves amenity works that make a real difference to people’s lives.

“For me personally, knowing that Council is in such a strong financial position and so well placed to meet any future challenges is a great way to end my tenure as Mayor for this great region.”

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