Highfields Aerial photo

Toowoomba Regional Council has this week adopted the 2020/21 budget with projects earmarked for Highfields and surrounding districts. The projects form part of a $215 million capital works budget, which this year includes a $50 million Pandemic Response Investment.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said Council's $567 million financial plan would maintain and upgrade existing services and facilities while planning for a brighter future.

"We have a responsibility to plan for maintenance and upgrades to our existing infrastructure to guarantee the long-term viability of essential services to residents.

"The program will build on our earlier economic stimulus packages and is designed to help the community recover as Coronavirus lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

"The Coronavirus pandemic forced Council to reshape our budget plans to focus sharply on how we can directly support communities across our Region. Fortunately, Council's solid financial footing has allowed us to provide an operating budget of $352 million and develop a $215 million capital program.

"This includes a $165 million regular 12-month calendar of capital works. In addition, Council has dedicated $50 million to a Pandemic Response Investment program with accelerated projects to stimulate economic activity across the Toowoomba Region.

"Stimulating local employment throughout our Region is one of the most constructive and immediate ways Council can help revive and sustain our regional economy.

In the 2020/21 Budget Council has allocated $11.5 million for construction of the new Highfields Library. The new facility will replace the existing temporary library which supports around 52,600 visitors each year.

Construction of the new facility will deliver a modern purpose-built library, customer service centre and community meeting facility in Highfields. The roadworks for the site will be completed in 2020, and construction of the Library building will commence early in 2021 with the new facility expected to open later in the year.

Council will continue to progress work on its Waste Infrastructure Plan in the upcoming year as it completes the Kleinton Waste Management Facility. With the existing site reaching capacity, $11.2 million has been allocated for the redevelopment of the Kleinton Tier 2 waste management facility, with works expected to be completed in the first half of 2021.

In this budget, Council has a significant focus on renewing water and waste infrastructure throughout the Region.

This year Council will accelerate $17.74 million to the staged-replacement of the Perseverance raw water main from Pechey Reservoirs to the Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant. This pipeline is a critical piece of infrastructure, supplying water to residents connected to the Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply.

As well as looking at opportunities to increase water security, Council recognises water is a limited resource and in this budget has focused on refining its practices where possible. This year Council will begin testing its Smart Water Meter Program. Through smart meter technology, residents will be able to monitor their water usage and identify leaks which will lead to savings.

In Crows Nest, Council is undertaking staged planning, approvals, design and construction of a Wastewater Treatment Plant which will replace the existing lagoons. In addition to this, there will also be $2.7 million spent on upgrading the Gowrie Creek Trunk Sewer.

In this budget, $3 million has been allocated to upgrading the Highfields Trunk Water Mains and $400,000 for stormwater upgrades.

Each year Council prioritises park upgrades in growing areas guided by the 2016 Open Space Strategy. In this year's Budget, Council has allocated $3.42 million for the continued upgrade of the parks including $305,000 for McMahon Park, Gowrie Junction upgrade and $160,000 for the Kingsthorpe Recreation Reserve Upgrade.        

Highfields and district will also benefit from regionwide projects, including:

  • Regional Rehabilitation Program $15 million
  • Regional Reseal Program $8 million
  • Regional Resheet Program $6.17 million
  • Asphalt Renewal Program $3.89 million
  • Stormwater Drainage Renewal Program $500,000
  • Footpath Renewal $1.45 million   
  • Community Grants Program $740,000

"Council's capital works program is an important investment in the essential services we provide for the community.

"The additional $50 million to the capital works program for the Pandemic Response Investment Program follows Council's initiative to enhance our Procurement Policy and offer local firms the best chance to do business with us."

For full details of the 2020/21 Budget, please visit www.tr.qld.gov.au/budget