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Council’s 2020/21 budget to lead community recovery

Steering the community through recovery and delivering a solid future for the Western Downs is the focus of Western Downs Regional Council’s 2020/21 Budget adopted today (22 July, 2020).

Council’s investment underpins its record $50 million program to guide the region through the COVID-19 Health Crisis with a comprehensive recovery package designed to put the region back on its feet and secure a strong future for residents.

Mayor Paul McVeigh said preparing this year’s budget presented Council’s greatest challenge yet, but Council’s responsible financial management had ensured it was able to deliver stimulus that would have immediate, direct and long-lasting outcomes for families.

“This year has presented challenges like no one has ever seen before, and as a Council we are doing all we can to ensure our region bounces back from this crisis and moves forward with a strong future ahead,” Cr McVeigh said.

“This budget is about supporting our region to recover from the ground up, with a record investment in projects to secure and create jobs, deliver new community facilities, and create new opportunities for economic growth right across the region, while keeping the same high standard of essential services.

“This year’s budget will deliver a massive $64.8 million capital works program that will generate jobs and kickstart the economy, with investment stretching right across the region to deliver a raft of community projects and initiatives.

“We’re delivering one of the largest Council COVID-19 Recovery Packages in the state, if not the country, because we are serious about supporting our region through this significant moment in the world’s history.

“Despite the economic challenges before us, we have managed to do this while continuing to remain debt-free, thanks to our stringent planning in previous years to reserve funds for challenges just like this.”

Cr McVeigh said the 2020/21 budget would include a general residential rate rise of 2.5% for most ratepayers, which is an average of an additional $1.44 per week.

“We’ve also introduced a brand-new initiative to conserve water and future-proof the region, offering a water tank rebate for all residents looking to install a water tank on their property.”

Council is investing in local jobs and new opportunities for the region, and the 2020/21 Council Budget includes a huge investment in 11 major projects to stimulate the economy and enhance the region for generations to come.

The Accelerated Major Projects Program and Accelerated Infrastructure Program will also secure and create hundreds of local jobs while delivering high-standard community facilities for residents to enjoy.

Western Downs Regional Council encompasses the largest road network in the state, and Council is continuing to invest in our roads to make our region safer and more accessible, with around $44 million invested in roads, bridges and footpaths this year. Also, an additional $5 million will be spent on flood recovery road works right across the region.

Council is continuing to invest in the vibrant liveability of the region, with nearly $2 million to be spent on new and upgraded footpaths in the region, connecting our towns by an additional eight kilometres of footpath.

The successful Adopt a Street Tree Program will also continue in 2020/21 with $300,000 committed to the program.

Some other highlights of our plan to boost liveability include $22.3 million to deliver high-quality facilities and community programs. Some features include $8.5 million to upgrade community facilities right across the region, featuring $2.3 million for aquatic centres including a major revamp of the Tara Pool, $3.9 million for cultural centres, and more than $1 million on community halls and showgrounds.

Council is committed to supporting and enhancing the region’s community connectedness and cultural diversity, and is continuing to invest in local events and festivals with support for upcoming festivals such as the Chinchilla Melon Festival, Opera at Jimbour, Miles Back to the Bush Festival, Jandowae Timbertown Festival, Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races, Dalby Delicious and DeLIGHTful and Big Skies.

Words Out West Readers and Writers Festival will also return to the region following the hugely successful inaugural event held in February.

Council is also continuing to support the various other fantastic events and festivals across the region through our continued investment in our Grants and Funding programs, on top of other relief grants on offer to help our community groups back on their feet, as well as helping them improve their facilities for the benefit of the region.

Budget highlights by region

Chinchilla and District
• Chinchilla Cultural Precinct Major Project – $3.4 million contribution by Council (co-funded)
• Chinchilla Weir Major Project – $843,286 contribution by Council (co-funded)
• Ehlma Boundary Road reconstruction – $1.28 million
• Burnt Bridge Road upgrade – $484,160
• Chinchilla Creative Centre Outdoor Area Extension – $30,000

Dalby and District
• Thomas Jack Park Major Project – $1.2 million contribution by Council (co-funded)
• Russell Park Mountain Bike Trails Major Project – $994,466 contribution by Council (co-funded)
• Lake Broadwater Major Project – $921,176 contribution by Council (co-funded)
• 120 Cunningham Street Major Project – $850,000 contribution by Council (co-funded)
• Wilds Road reconstruction – $896,000
• Thomas Jack Park Major Project – $1.2 million contribution by Council (co-funded)
• Russell Park Mountain Bike Trails Major Project – $994,466 contribution by Council (co-funded)
• Lake Broadwater Major Project – $921,176 contribution by Council (co-funded)
• 120 Cunningham Street Major Project – $850,000 contribution by Council (co-funded)

• Wilds Road reconstruction – $896,000
Miles and District
• Miles CBD Streetscape – $2.5 million contribution by Council (co-funded)
• Arubial Road upgrade – $1.75 million
• Drillham South Road upgrade – $1.15 million
• Caliguel Lagoon Major Project – $514,068 contribution by Council (co-funded)
• Miles VIC @ Historic Village Entrance and Landscaping Major Project – $280,000 contribution by Council (co-funded)

Tara and District
• Tara Lagoon Parklands – $1.92 million contribution by Council (co-funded)
• Tara Pool Major Upgrade – $3 million
• Bullock Head Road reconstruction and widening – $851,200
• Tara Showgrounds upgrades – $387,000
• Meandarra Apex Park upgrade – $75,000

Wandoan and District
• Booral Road reconstruction – $441,280
• Waterloo Plains Park Major Project – $385,000 contribution by Council (co-funded)
• Soldier Settlers Avenue of Honour, O’Sullivan Park – $100,000
• Stephen Street upgrade – $92,000
• Wandoan Cultural Centre Disability Access Ramp – $20,000

For more information about Council’s 2020/21 Budget, visit the Council website: www.wdrc.qld.gov.au

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Media Contact: Western Downs Regional Council Media Office 07 4679 4265