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




The Tannum beauty competing for this year's Miss Australia

Amanda Vallance is a finalist in this year's Miss Australia.

A former Tannum woman is in the running to be Miss Australia.

URGENT: Why you must update your iPhone iOS settings now

Apple is urging iPhone and iPad users to do an urgent update of their software for security reasons.

Hackers have found a way to break into every iPhone in the world.

Here's 7 really cool jobs up for grabs in Gladstone

Reef off Heron Island - Courtesy of GAPDL

Ever wanted to live and work on an island?

Latest deals and offers

Kanye West gets 'free reign' at VMAs

Kanye West has been let off the leash for the VMAs

Robbie Williams sings at manager's funeral

Robbie Williams and Lamar sang at the funeral of their manager

Twice as much Troy will please country music lovers

CATCH HIM WHILE YOU CAN: Singer Troy Cassar-Daley plans to take some time off to spend with family next year.

TROY Cassar-Daley is releasing a new album and book.

Courtney Stodden gets Reborn Doll

Courtney Stodden is trying to get over her recent miscarriage

Kate McKinnon 'destitute' before SNL

Kate McKinnon says she can't do anything but act

FBI investigating Leslie Jones website hack

The FBI are investigating Leslie Jones' personal website hack

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Gladstone landlords in trouble with Bechtel job losses

"If a big project was announced tomorrow I wouldn't want to see it"