Burnett outlines Gladstone Budget highlights
BEFORE Mayor Matt Burnett unveiled the 2020/21 budget and associated operational plan, he issued an impassioned statement to the Gladstone community.
"The theme of this year's budget is our community, our future," Cr Burnett said.
He said while uncertainty remained regarding the long term impacts of COVID-19, Gladstone Regional Council was delivering a budget that ensured key projects were continued.
"And new projects are brought forward to support continued employment opportunities," Cr Burnett said.
"Council partners with both the state and federal governments, community groups, industry and economic partners to ensure we are well positioned to deliver the best outcomes for our community now and into the future."
Cr Burnett said that by fostering these partnerships council could deliver extra services and facilities to the region while reducing the burden of rates and charges on ratepayers.
"The focus of this budget is about helping our region recover strongly from both natural disasters and the COVID-19 health emergency," Cr Burnett said.
"Importantly, the budget will ensure well maintained infrastructure continues to support cost effective service delivery to our community in the future."
Cr Burnett revealed council's 2021 budget featured financial assistance from the state and federal governments totalling $15 million.
- $1.6m through the Federal Government's accelerated Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program
- $8.2m from the Financial Assistance Grant, including indexation
- $5.2m from the COVID Works for Queensland Program.
Councillor Burnett said GRC was also proud to declare for the eight consecutive year, there were no new borrowings.
"A focus on reducing existing debt has seen interest bearing debt decline to $100.2 million by June 2021," Cr Burnett said.
A $64 million capital works program includes state and federal funding of $27.2 million, reflecting what Cr Burnett said was the effective strategy of seeking specific funding for capital project expenditure.
"This external investment will see important projects delivered right across the region," he said.
"Council's signature strategic project, the Phillip Street Communities and Families Precinct, is under construction and will deliver a much-needed social services hub, retirement village and age care facility for the Gladstone community."
Mr Burnett said it had never been more important for council to focus on the economic development of the region as the region worked to navigate a way through the COVID-19 pandemic-induced downturn.