Mayor's Message

It is with great pleasure that I present the 2016/17 Budget – the first of this Council’s term.
 
Totalling $138.7 million, this budget provides a strong financial plan for the coming year. To continue to advance our region, our focus this year is on the maintenance of our roads, facilities, services and infrastructure.
 
This year’s budget minimum general rate, cent in the dollar rate and services increase is 3.5%. As we continue to improve efficiencies across the board, I will be working with the Councillors to keep rate increases to a minimum in the coming years.
 
We have already made steps towards this, as we are now in a position of no new borrowings. A fantastic achievement for us as a Council – over the next 12 months we will pay $1.6 million off our debt; putting us in good stead for the future.
Tourism
 
Council has been sure to look after the region’s pensioners, with a rebate of 50% off the minimum general rate being kept. With a saving of up to a maximum $282.50 available; when added to the State Government’s rebate of $200, Maranoa’s pensioners could potentially receive up to $482.50 off their annual bill – this is a significant saving. Also, pensioners’ gas reticulation network access charge has been halved – going from $66 - $33.
 
Our rural road network has been one of the biggest winners of this budget with $10.51 million put aside for the upgrade of our roads. With renewal and upgrades prioritised, Council has worked hard to put those roads requiring work in the program for this year. Gravel resheeting work will be a big task for our teams over the next 12 months with over $4.8 million set aside, as well as widening and seal works with over $1.6 million allocated.
 
A few highlights from our rural roads program include:
  • Injune’s Westgrove Road gravel resheet - $1.4 million
  • Mitchell’s Redford Road rehabilitation - $1.2 million
  • Surat’s Maranoa Road shoulder widen and seal - $720,000
  • Roma’s Orallo Road realignment - $670,000
  • Yuleba’s Fernleigh Wyena Road gravel resheet - $171,120.
  • Another commitment for our road network includes the hiring of additional Rural Road Maintenance Coordinators. These new roles, will see three coordinators look after central/north, south/east and west rural roads. An exciting initiative for Council, these staff members will be locally based and ‘in-the-know’ about all the roads in their area.
Implementation of Mitchell’s Master Drainage Study will continue progressing this year, with $550,000 set aside for the replacement of stormwater infrastructure (as recommended by the study). A significant step forward in this project, once complete, the improvements to Mitchell’s drainage infrastructure will increase drainage capacity & improve flow paths during rain events.
 
The region’s sporting community can expect exciting times ahead, with a $1.268 million netball complex at Bassett Park featuring in the Budget. Including eight new netball courts, four team shelters, change rooms, amenities, lighting, clubhouse (with servery) and car parking. A jointly funded project, the State Government has provided $850,000 and Council $425,000.
 
As the current runway at the Roma Airport is approaching the end of its useful life due to high usage in recent years, funds have been allocated from airport revenue towards a new runway overlay. While the project will cost $5.283 million, we will continue to pursue external funding opportunities for the project.
 
During deliberations, investment into our community once again featured as a priority. Over the next twelve months Council will be supporting the community by making available over $441,000 in support of projects and activities that enrich the life of residents within the Maranoa.
 
This year, Council will also be contributing $70,000 to the new Wallumbilla State Emergency Service / Rural Fire Brigade Shed. With emergency services, including road crash recovery on the Warrego Highway, often needed by residents from across the Maranoa and beyond, this is an essential investment.
 
As the first budget for the new term of Council, I’d like to thank the Councillors and the staff for the time and effort they have put in during the budget deliberations.
 
With a new financial year of Council projects, initiatives and work ahead, I am looking forward to working with our community and Councillors to make our region the best place to visit, live, work and raise a family. Thank-you.