Council Budget

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Budget Summary

2022/23 Financial Year

Western Downs Regional Council is recognised as a Council that delivers as well as one that operates as a financially sustainable and responsible organisation. This year's budget is big on providing for long-term growth and sustainability for the region through investment in quality infrastructure, enhancing liveability through high quality service delivery, and balancing the costs of delivery with affordability.

This year Council, just like local businesses and industry, must contend with global pressures and impacts, while also working to repair the extensive damage to our infrastructure after five consecutive disaster events. Council's agile business model and financial responsibility has positioned us well to be able to meet these challenges head on, without reducing service quality or delivery. This year, Western Downs general rates have increased by 3.9%, which is much less than the current national inflation rate, but will allow Council to deliver on our commitment to high quality service and financially sustainability. This budget won't be without investment and region building projects either, with exciting major projects being delivered this year including Russell Park Mountain Bike Trails and 120 Cunningham Street Dalby.

Disaster recovery will require a huge program of works to repair flood damage to our critical road and bridge network which estimates suggest could be as high as $75 million. With the help of federal and state sources Council will focus on restoration works, while also delivering a $21 million capital works program to improve connectivity in our region and ensure that unimpacted roads are maintained and improved.

Water security remains one of Council's key focusses and in the 2022/23 financial year and investment of $6.45 million will be made for a long-term water supply project featuring new infrastructure, treatment systems and a pipeline corridor being constructed as part of a Dalby Water Strategy to underpin economic development for the region.

Our budget will also look to the future with a commitment to deliver on our 5 year corporate plan and develop strategies to build a clear vision for the future. This year will see the development of a Regional Showgrounds Strategy, an Aquatic and Recreation Facilities Strategy and the delivery of a Communication and Community Engagement Strategy to help Western Downs Regional Council to be future focused in delivery.

Council is committed to supporting the amazing work of our region's numerous community groups and events committees, as well as supporting art and culture initiatives and delivering exciting events to the region to enhance our quality lifestyle and active and vibrant community. This year residents will enjoy events and programs like Big Skies, Words Out West, Regional Artists Exhibition, performing arts and stand-up comedian programs and more.

 

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Mayoral Budget Statement

2022-23-Budget-Mayors-Statement-Image.png It is my pleasure to officially present the adopted 2022-23 Council Budget.   

The Western Downs is surging ahead as a diverse region at the forefront of the changing world, and is fast becoming one of the most desirable regions to live, work and raise a family. 

Right now, local governments across Australia are grappling with global pressures presenting a wide range of challenges. 

Increasing costs due to supply shortages, recent increases in the rate of inflation, and significant damage costs associated with five consecutive flood events since November have all placed pressure on Council and our region.

But what sets this Council apart, is the hard work we have done in recent years to ensure our region is well-placed to tackle challenges such as these head on and provide our residents with certainty into the future. 

As our region continues to grow and prosper, it's important we continue to maintain our assets and keep up our high standard of essential services, while also balancing the impacts of costs and we are fortunate to have put our Council in a position where we don't have to reduce services. 

The Western Downs economy is thriving and continues to demonstrate its desirability as an ideal place to invest and call home.  

In 2021 the number of people migrating to our region from city areas increased by a massive 48%, the third highest increase in the country, and demonstration of our region's continuting growth and vitality.  

To cater to this growth, Council must ensure our region is backed by modern and reliable infrastructure and quality essential services.   

We hear it reported in the News daily the pressures created by a national inflation rate of 5.1% and the increasing cost of materials, fuel and energy. Balancing these factors with a commitment to providing high quality services to our residents, while also measuring the impact of costs was a tough decision in prepareing this year's budget. 

The total operating expenditure of this year's budget is over $153 million and includes a total capital spend of $56 million. We have a general rates increase of 3.9%, which I am pleased to report comes in much lower than the current inflation rate thanks to Council's years of responsible financial management.  

This modest 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. 

A key focus of Council's financial strategy is long term asset management. Captial works investment in our assets and strategies for maintenance now, will ensure their long term viability and reduce maintenance costs in the long term. 

We know our roads and bridges have suffered enormously due to consecutive flooding events in recent months, and this year Council will be commencing the mammoth job of repairing our damaged network with vital state and federal disaster recovery funding.  

While our priority is ensuring our roads are safe, we’re also bolstering connectivity across the region to keep pace with our region’s growing needs – and will be delivering $21 million capital works this year to improve local roads – outside of our flood recovery program. 

$10.7 million allocated to water and sewerage infrastructure upgrades and preventative asset maintenance, and $5.25 million funding for fleet and plant equipment. 

Despite higher than usual rainfall this year, Council continues to be future focussed and prepare for times of lower rainfall.  

Water is our most prescious resource, and like many other regional areas, long term water sources and supply is critical for the future growth of the region and our local economy. We will be strongly advocating for new water sources and supply for our region's future. 

We will continue a significant investment into the long-term viability of the Dalby town water supply, which will underpin the economy for the whole region, with $6.45 million allocated to progressing important infrastructure improvements this financial year. 

I am proud to announce that the popular water tank rebate scheme will continue this financial year. This program was originally announced in 2020, and continues to be a valuable support measure to boost community resilience and water storage capacity across the region.  

Already we have seen a massive 6.3 additional megalitres of water added to our region's private supply as a result of the scheme, which is a fantastic outcome.  

This year we continue to focus on the long-term needs of our community and deliver on our commitment to a 5 year corporate plan. As such, Council will be using this year to develop key strategies for the future of our valued community facilties. 

We will be commencing the development of a Regional Showgrounds Strategy and an Aquatic and Recreation Facilities Strategy with the goals of ensuring our facilities are well maintained, continue to meet the needs of the region and work towards a clear vision for the future.     

We are also continuing to match the State Government’s Rates Subsidy Scheme, offering qualifying pensioners a 20% rebate on eligible rates and charges. 

Liveability is highly important and I'm happy to say that Council’s popular Adopt a Street Tree Program will also continue this year, with nearly $400,000 committed to this fabulous program.   

Since its introduction in 2017, 5,753 trees have been planted across the Western Downs, making our region cleaner, greener and strengthening community pride.  

We want to ensure our recreational spaces and community facilities are safe, attractive and accessible for all residents. 

This budget includes a $11.37 million investment into our much-loved parks, open spaces and cemeteries. 

Following on from a huge program of works to upgrade prominent facilities across the region, this year will see the completion of a further three major projects to drive economic growth and boost our great liveability. 

A new public space at the former Mary’s Commercial Hotel site at 120 Cunningham Street in Dalby will be completed, offering something special for the CBD and creating a vibrant space for residents and visitors.  

A new adrenalin experience to boost visitor numbers to the region will be finalised this year, with works to be completed on the Russell Park Mountain Bike Trails.  

As we invest in creating exciting spaces to bring the people together, we also need to ensure our facilities are alive with activities – so almost $3 million will be invested in local community programs this year. 

This includes funding for a variety of wonderful initiatives to boost creativity in the region, including a new placemaking and public art program, plus the return of performing arts and stand up comedy shows and the Regional Artists Exhibition.  

Additionally, Council understands the importance of supporting the work of our amazing community groups and has committed $950,000 to ensure the continuation of their vital work in the region. 

We’re a forward-thinking Council, committed to ensuring our region continues to prosper now, and into the future. Our economy has seen a 34% increase in our Gross Regional Product in the last five years and this Council will continue to aggressively attract business and investment opportunities across the region. 

Our region has built a reputation as a premier destination for major events in Queensland, that drive tourism and energize our local economy.  

This budget includes funding for our renowned festivals and events including the Big Skies Festival which returns this September to the stunning Jimbour House. We will also welcome the return of Words Out West, and the famous Opera at Jimbour.  

We also continue to support our fabulous community-driven destination events, with funding allocated to support Dalby Delicious and DeLIGHTful Festival, Tara Festival of Culture & Camel Races and the Chinchilla Melon Festival.  

We empower our communities to deliver initiatives and events, and we are delighted to see these festivals continuing to drive visitation and connect our region.    

In conclusion, I would like to acknowledge the work and fantastic collaboration of both Councillors and staff in preparing this budget for the Western Downs community.  

This budget is about providing certainty and long-term security for our growing region – balancing the needs of the community whilst competing with external factors and seizing opportunities to deliver a strong future for the Western Downs.  

Thank you.
Mayor Paul McVeigh

Water Tank Rebate

The popular Water Tank Rebate is returning in this year's budget after already increasing the region's private supply by a massive 6.3 additional megalitres of water. This generous incentive means that households can capture their own water while building the region's water resilience.

 Would you like to know more?

Adopt a Street Tree

Since 2017, Council has planted over 5,000 street trees across the region making the region greener, cleaner, cooler in summer and enhancing local town pride. This fantastic initiative returns in this year's budget.

Would you like to know more? 

Destination Events

Big Skies Festival

Our budget will provide support for several major events across the region. These premier festivals and events are about 'the people that make it', and are a huge boost to our local economy. Council is also delivering a grants program to support new ideas for events in the region. 

Community Programs

Arts on Top 2021

A series of exciting events and activities will unite our community this financial year. Includes Library Programs, Regional Artists Exhibition, performing arts and stand-up comedian programs as well as cultural and arts programs throughout the year. 

 

Major Budget Considerations

In developing the year's Council budget a number of factors have been balanced and considered including:

High Quality Service Delivery

Businesses and industry across Australia, just like local Governments, are feeling the impacts of global pressures, consecutive natural disasters, rising inflation rates, supply shortage impacts on material and energy costs and a skilled labour shortage. These pressures impact the cost to construct and maintain assets and to provide a standard of service delivery that our community expects. These increasing costs have been measured and balanced by Council in the creation of this budget with major considerations given to keeping the Western Downs an attractive and affordable place to live, work, invest and raise a family. 

Flood Recovery

After five consecutive natural disasters, our region's road and bridge network has suffered significant damage. Works to survey the latest damage continues but some estimates suggest that the total reconstruction bill could be as high as $100 million. Council recognises that a good quality road and transportation network is essential for the safety of our residents and the productivity of business and industry in our region. With the support of State and Federal funding, Council will roll out a disaster recovery package to repair our major corridors and damaged roads but in addition to this recovery program, Council has also committed $21 million in this budget to improve local roads to bolster connectivity across the Western Downs. 

Asset Management

Delivering high quality services to our community requires an extensive fleet, vast network of assets and an array of facilities. These assets, which include critical infrastructure like water, gas and sewerage pipes require regular maintenance. Council has elected to invest in, and undertake, more frequent assessment and preventative maintenance works on our networks to detect early signs of problems and extend the life of the network, which will save our community money over the long term. This preventative maintenance requires an investment by Council which is represented in this years budget. 

Investment into Future Strategy

The Western Downs is a diverse region at the forefront of a changing world. This future-focused principle is one that has driven Council to invest in the development a series of strategies and plans for the future of the organisation and the region in this year's budget.  These strategies include:

Water Play Area at Chinchilla Botanic Parkland

  • Regional Showgrounds Strategy: Council are reviewing their operational strategy and plans for potential future developments of the region's Showgrounds, which will involve extensive community consultation with local stakeholders to determine opportunities and priorities to be considered for future planning.
  • Communications and Community Engagement Strategy: Council is focusing on meaningful communications and community engagement with our residents and has developed a strategy to understand the way our community wants to communicate and engage, and establish communication channels to inform our residents.
  • Regional Aquatic and Recreation Facilities Strategy: This new strategy is being formulated through stakeholder engagement to deliver a new future-focused approach to Council's aquatic facilities, while proactively managing renewal and development processes, and looking at opportunities while maintaining a financially sustainable outlook.

Council believes that an investment this financial year will deliver on the priorities of our corporate plan for the creation of a strong diverse economy, active vibrant community, quality lifestyle for our residents and a sustainable organisation for the future. 

Budget Documents

Revenue-Statement 2022/23(PDF, 11MB)

Budget Policy 2022/23

Differential General Rates Minimum 2022/23 Category 1 Residential(PDF, 90KB)

Differential General Rates Minimum 2022/23 Category 2 Commercial & Industrial(PDF, 101KB)

Differential General Rates Minimum 2022/23 Category 3 Rural(PDF, 94KB)

Differential General Rates Minimum 2022/23 Category 4 Other(PDF, 98KB)

2022/23 Utility Charges(PDF, 224KB)

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