News

Council finances questioned after budget release

FINANCIAL management at Gladstone Regional Council is under fire after the budget released last week cast doubt on its strategy for managing debt and spending.

But the council has hit back, claiming its financial management approach is second to none.

New Auckland resident Andrew Hopkinson said big projects like the Philip St redevelopment were costing ratepayers at a time when the council needed to knuckle down and focus on repaying its $170 million debt.

"Is it wise to continue pushing with the Philip St precinct even after the government funding applications were rejected?" he asked.

"Is this actually what the community wants?

"The state of the Gladstone economy is a mess.

"Gladstone is coming to the end of such a prosperous time, with an enormous debt."

Mr Hopkinson, a mechanical engineer by trade, said the council's current debt management strategy was irresponsible.

He said the council's debt management policy would lead ratepayers into inevitable increases in repayments over the years.

"The current situation is unsustainable and will drive people away from Gladstone increasing the burden on those that remain.

"The debt must be paid back. Council waste must be cut and more responsible reflective decisions must be made."

But the council said its long-term financial plan was reviewed independently by qualified economists.

GRC chief financial officer Mark Holmes admitted the council's credit rating had been downgraded from "sound" to "moderate", but said the new rating indicated council had "adequate capacity to meet its short, medium and long-term goals".

"The council's ability to service debt has been reviewed... externally by Queensland Treasury Corporation, which concluded the council's debt levels are sustainable through a number of commercial financial indicators," he said.

Mr Holmes said the council's assets offset its debts, which is equivalent to 7.96% of the value of its assets.

"This equates to debt of $7960 on a $100,000 mortgage," he said.

COUNCIL DEBT

Outstanding borrowings

  • $170 million

Repayments this year

  • $19 million

Council asset base

  • $2.13 billion

Planned future borrowings

  • 2014-2015: nil
  • 2015-2016: $14.1 million
  • 2016-2023: $46.6 million

Topics:  finances, gladstone regional council, queensland treasury corporation




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

OPINION: How to prepare your child for day care

Your kids will love childcare, but it may take some adjusting.

GETTING your child ready for day care is vital.

MUMS' TOP 5: 'Musts' to have on your childcare checklist

SOME FALL SHORT: Organisations that train childcare workers will be subjected to extra audits.

SENDING your child off to day care can be daunting and confusing.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Everything you need to know for the next cruise ship arrival

The Pacific Jewel docked in Gladstone.

Pacific Jewel visiting Gladstone on Tuesday

LETTER: Where do Flynn candidates stand in abortion debate

This is a priority for this Gladstone resident

Flynn candidates share their ‘resumes’

Jordan Puku pictured when he was around 12 years old.

Flynn candidates share their 'resumes'

Latest deals and offers

Kirkwood Rd car crash

A Suzuki van crashed on Kirkwood Rd today, flipping on its side. Gladstone Fire and...

Van flips on Kirkwood Rd

A van has flipped on Kirkwood Rd, and police are diverting traffic.

Vivid timelapse

Screenshot from timelapse of Sydney's Vivid Festival

This timelapse shows Sydney's Vivid Festival

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%