Find out about the 2023/24 Budget, including a rates summary and key major projects.

 

Rates summary

The average residential rates & charges increase across the whole Region is 3.55%*.

The average residential rates & charges increase for Toowoomba City is 3.81%*.

*Average increase of rates and charges that apply to residential properties, based on the average unimproved residential land value.

 

Residential water rates

Annual average residential water charges

 Bulk water supply scheme*

2022/23            

 2023/24 

 Water Infrastructure Charge 20mm             $699.10             $700.64 
 Water Consumption Charge based on the use of 182 kL  $522.34             $562.38 

 

 Non-bulk water supply scheme**     

 2022/23

 2023/24

 Water Infrastructure Charge 20mm  $516.90  $478.34
 Water Consumption Charge based on the use of 182 kL  $303.94  $413.14

  

* Bulk water supply scheme - includes townships of Cabarlah, Crows Nest, Goombungee, Gowrie Junction, Hampton, Highfields, Hodgson Vale, Jondaryan, Kingsthorpe, Meringandan, Oakey, Toowoomba City, Westbrook & Wyreema.

** Non-bulk water supply scheme includes the townships of Cambooya, Cecil Plains, Clifton, Greenmount, Kulpi, Millmerran, Nobby, Pittsworth (including Brookstead & Southbrook), Vale View & Yarraman.

On average 182 kL of water was used across all our residential water customers in the last billable period.

 

Related links:

 

Highlighted projects

Adoption of this budget includes the expectation of the progression of hundreds of projects. Here are a few highlights.

Water

Perseverance raw water main renewal - $8 million

Global Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Control System Implementation - $2 million

Mt Kynoch water treatment plant upgrade (stage 4) - $10.3 million

Smart water meter program - $8 million

Highfields Trunk Water Mains - $5 million

Cressbrook Dam safety improvements - $20 million

Cooby Dam safety improvements - $9.6 million

Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline - preliminary works to investigate a Greenmount and Southern Toowoomba water treatment plant - $3 million

 

Waste

Pittsworth waste management facility weighbridge - $280 000

Greenmount waste management facility upgrade - $4.5 million

 

Wastewater

Gowrie Creek Trunk Sewer Upgrade - $4 million

 

 

 

 



Spending against our corporate plan

corporate plan people People - $25.64 million

corporate plan place Place - $48.26 million

corporate plan sustainability Sustainability - $306.46 million

corporate plan prosperity Prosperity - $5.99 million

corporate plan performance Performance - $63.48 million

 

Where the money comes from and where the money goes

Where the money comes from 

  • rates and charges
  • fees and charges
  • interest received
  • operating grants and contributions
  • capital income including grants
  • loans
  • revenue and reserves
  • sale of assets.

Where the money goes

  • roads, footpaths, bikeways and drainage - $170.65 million
  • town water - $131.35 million
  • business, strategy and operations - $69.99 million
  • community services and facilities - $59.19 million
  • parks and recreation - $52.27 million
  • wastewater - $38.29 million
  • waste services - $32.13 million
  • planning and development - $15.87 million.

 

Special meeting livestream 

Watch the live stream here. 

 

Budget highlights

Cr Paul Antonio
Cr Paul Antonio
Mayor
Economic Development Committee Chair

My fellow Councillors, staff, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to table Toowoomba Regional Council’s 2023-24 Budget and Operational Plan.

Our detailed forward schedule of capital works and operational programs has been carefully devised over the past year.

Inflationary conditions that continue to influence national and global economies are a reminder of the need for cautious and considered financial planning.

Just as families and businesses are keeping close tabs on their spending and finances generally, we at Council face similar challenges across all of our operations.

Council is balancing funding reductions from the state and federal governments, rising material costs, external and internal labour shortages while community expectations keep rising.

Despite many external demands, Council continues to work in accordance with our long-term financial sustainability parameters to ensure we budget for essential capital works and services that support our communities in the coming year and into the future.

Today’s Budget draws on the combined talents of Council’s Financial Services team in collaboration with all operational areas across Council. I thank my Council colleagues for their input over the past year that ensured we kept all our essential services functioning.

Our combined efforts have maintained the focus on delivering for our community. This work highlights what can be achieved by working together.

In our role as community builders, I’m proud to announce that today Toowoomba Regional Council is unveiling a $651 million financial plan that will ensure we maintain and upgrade existing services and facilities while planning for a brighter future in one of Queensland’s most productive and attractive areas.

Council’s solid financial base has allowed us to develop a $201 million capital program along with an operating Budget component of $450 million.

A capital allocation of $109.08 million for asset renewal in this Budget emphasises Council’s strong focus on investing in infrastructure renewal programs across our extensive water, wastewater and road networks, plus other community assets, to look after what we have built in the past.

Council has a legal and moral obligation to maintain its existing infrastructure and our ability to manage our $5.6 billion asset base across 13,000km² is a key performance indicator by which we are judged by the Queensland Audit Office and, more broadly and ultimately, the Queensland Parliament.

In addition, $68.45 million is set aside for upgrade projects, while $23.86 million has been allocated for new capital projects across the Region.

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. We appreciate that every new asset comes with its own ongoing maintenance costs.  

Council’s overall operational and capital expenditure parameters are based on our 10-year Long Term Financial Forecast (LTFF), which is not only adopted by Council, but overseen by the Department of Local Government, the Queensland Treasury Corporation and Queensland Audit Office.

The Queensland Treasury Corporation has maintained Council’s credit rating as Sound with a Neutral Outlook.

The LTFF is a forecasting tool that Council uses to ensure set financial parameters are maintained in the short and long term, thereby ensuring ongoing financial sustainability.

Budget planning in line with our LTFF has enabled Council to deliver a 4% increase in the general rate.

Council’s Budget considerations ensured the general rate increase was kept well below the national inflation figure, which has been 5% or higher for the past year. (Australian inflation hit 6.8% for April 2023)

This is a measured and responsible rate rise, with a net overall increase in rates and charges of 3.81% for the average Toowoomba urban residential property.

This means that most residential ratepayers will have an increase of $129.23 a year, or $2.49 a week, after discount, which includes all rates and charges.

Today’s Budget is the result of consistent planning employed by Council over the past 14 years to ensure we have the strong financial footing to enable future councils to confidently service our growing Region, with the added financial strength to counter unforeseen events. 

Going into the 2023-24 financial year, Council is budgeting for a forecast operating surplus of $1.1 million.

The Budget reflects the priorities outlined in Council’s Operational Plan (2023-24 financial year) and our Corporate Plan (2019-2024), which is in the process of being updated.

Few organisations deliver the range of services that local governments provide for their customers every day, from safe drinking water, sewerage and waste collection to roads, parks and a host of amenities such as libraries, galleries, community and cultural centres to a range of planning activities and services to safeguard public health and safety, among many others.

In the coming year, the major areas of capital expenditure will include:

  • $7.50 million for community services and facilities
  • $16.35 million for parks and recreation projects
  • $15.72 million for business strategy and operations
  • $68.96 million for roads, drainage, footpaths and bikeways
  • $5.62 million for waste services
  • $12.82 million for wastewater projects
  • $74.43 million for water projects

Challenges of major infrastructure projects

As well as setting our capital and operational spending priorities for the coming financial year, Council is preparing for an unparalleled level of spending in the coming decade.

Top of this list is the dam safety upgrade project, which is required to comply with Queensland Government dam safety regulations. Upgrading the Cressbrook Dam wall could potentially cost more than $200 million and must be substantially completed by October 2025.

This project will be over and above Council’s annual Capital Works Program and has been quarantined. However, we will continue to advocate for State and Commonwealth Government funding to ensure ratepayers do not pay the entire cost.

In addition to this, our upgrade of the Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant and building new water infrastructure, and the Region-wide rollout of smart water meters, will cost more than $100 million in coming years.

Council is progressing with the permanent reconstruction works for our Flood Recovery Project. The full scope of repairs, which have been estimated at more than $200 million, will be delivered jointly by Council’s internal Construction and Maintenance teams, and in the initial phase by two preferred contractors, who will focus their attention on contracts in the Region’s south.

These major community-building projects illustrate the scale of the physical and financial task that confronts our Region and local governments more generally.

However, at this stage, there is no indication that our good financial standing will change in the short term. But we must plan carefully for the future. 

Advocating for a fair share of federal, state funding

We will continue to advocate for our fair share of funding to achieve our community goals and ambitions.

The reduction in our Financial Assistance Grant allocation will directly affect our capacity to deliver essential urban infrastructure or other services if we do not reverse this decision by the Queensland Local Government Grants Commission. We need more appropriate and equitable funding allocations from the higher levels of government to support our community-building plans. Council’s financial stability should not penalise us, particularly as we navigate an uncertain economic environment. 

It was disappointing to digest the recent Federal Budget news that cut Financial Assistance Grants to councils from 0.52% to 0.5% of the tax revenue.

Council and the Darling Downs and South West Queensland Council of Mayors continue to back the Australian Local Government Association’s campaign calling for a fixed 1% share of Commonwealth tax revenue to aid long-term financial planning. Restoring this non-competitive funding stream would improve Council’s targeted Budget planning and offer greater operational efficiency.

Local government can not carry the full cost of providing essential infrastructure, in addition to meeting residents’ growing expectations across our other activities. Communities are getting less than their fair share of funding and it is ratepayers who will be left to pick up the tab if this trend continues.

Local government needs far greater recognition of its primary role as a community builder to address the current situation. 

Figures published by the Australian Local Government Association (*ALGA) reveal that local governments own and manage around one-third of Australia’s community infrastructure. This includes roads, footpaths, cycleways, parks and gardens, bridges, libraries, community and sporting centres/facilities, swimming pools, water and wastewater infrastructure as well as stormwater systems, all of which come with replacement costs totalling hundreds of billions of dollars nationally.

Local roads account for an estimated 39% of total local government infrastructure assets and comprise 77% of the national road network by length.

(*Figures from the 2021 National state of the Assets Technical Report 2021, which was prepared by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) in partnership with ALGA.)

Building for the future – Olympics/Paralympics legacy, Fast Rail

We will continue our advocacy work to promote the far-reaching benefits of attracting 2032 Olympic and Paralympic events to our Region.

A prime example is the proposed upgrade listed for the Toowoomba Equestrian Centre of Excellence at the Toowoomba Showgrounds. This is exactly the type of legacy project that will deliver for many different events leading into the Games and long after any Olympic activities that do feature here.

Toowoomba has significant potential as a pre-Games training destination across multiple sports. We have experience of this before the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  Our Region also is ideally placed to capitalise on existing supply chains, as well as develop new pathways to market, within our expanding agriculture sector for food and beverage supply to the Games.

We must upgrade and modernise our infrastructure systems to cater for the growth that is coming our way, regardless of the bonus of hosting the Olympics and Paralympics. Plans for better transport connections will accelerate investment in infrastructure to service population growth and support the Games. We will keep advocating for the Fast Rail to Brisbane, which has been a key factor in the Council of Mayors South East Queensland City Deal work and its transport strategy.

Council is determined to capitalise on its strong financial position. Our Region boasts unlimited prospects and an attractive lifestyle with leading health and education resources across welcoming communities.

I particularly wish to acknowledge and thank Deputy Mayor and Finance and Business Strategy Committee chair Cr Geoff McDonald, portfolio leader Cr Kerry Shine, Council’s General Manager of Finance and Business Strategy Ann-Marie Johnston and Executive Manager for Business Transformation and Strategy David Quinlan and their teams for their concerted efforts during our Budget and Operational Plan preparations. Your assistance is greatly appreciated, along with the work of all staff.

I’m confident that our combined efforts will position the Toowoomba Region to become an even more popular destination of choice for families, business investors and tourists and allow future residents to seize opportunities for a positive future.

 

Cr James O'Shea
Cr James O'Shea
Environment & Community Committee chair

Cr James O'Shea

Highlights:

  • Oakey Showgrounds pavilion and toilets replacement – $865,000 ($300,000 in the 2023/24 financial year)
  • Community Safety and Asset Protection Program – $125,000
  • SES building renewals for Clifton and Goombungee – $225,000

This is a Region of choice for our residents because of the quality of life we provide. To ensure we maintain these high standards Council has committed $23.54 million towards capital projects for Environment and Community Services this financial year.

In the coming months, we’ll be preparing for the official opening of the new aquatic centre in Millmerran. The new facility will deliver a refurbished pool shell, an all abilities access ramp, toddler pool and a water treatment system.

This is a significant upgrade for Millmerran and underlines Council’s commitment to our regional towns. Council has also allocated $30,000 towards a pool blanket replacement program for all our regional pools.

In addition to this, Council will undertake $876,000 in building, plant and equipment works at its Aquatic and Fitness Centres during the winter off-season. Works this financial year will take place on the Pittsworth and Yarraman facilities.

In Oakey the Showgrounds will be upgraded through the replacement of the pavilion and toilets. The works in this financial year will include electrical works for the facility, taking power underground and upgrading poles and transformers. The project is expected to be completed in the 2024/25 financial year.

Council will provide further support to the Jondaryan Woolshed, as it continues to repair the ageing facility over the coming years. Council has allocated $400,000 this financial year, which will be spent on the areas in most need of restoration.

In this year’s budget, Council will also spend $200,000 on repairs at our other regional facilities. We have a large number of halls and buildings, and this funding will go some way towards rectifying rotting timber, leaking roofs and gutters, re-painting and re-leveling buildings.

In 2022 multiple flood events saw our community rely on our SES crews during difficult times. To ensure the SES has adequate facilities to continue servicing the community, $225,000 will be spent on the renewal of the SES Headquarters at Clifton and Goombungee.

At the Goombungee-Haden Cemetery, Council will install shade shelters after community feedback indicated a need for more shade shelters and toilets across Council’s regional cemeteries. Meanwhile, at the Millmerran Cemetery, Council will be replacing the toilet facilities as part of our ongoing infrastructure investment across regional cemeteries.

Community safety remains at the forefront of our minds with Council further investing funds into the Community Safety and Asset Protection Program. With close to 1000 cameras throughout the Region, Council has allocated $125,000 to replace the cameras as they come to their end of life and also for continuous improvements.

In this year’s budget, there is a concentrated focus on repairing our existing infrastructure. While this is the case, Council understands this is a growing Region and is doing the preliminary work on a number of key projects that will form our future.

One of these projects is the Civic Administration Building Project, which will house Council’s staff.

As Council’s existing CBD offices are no longer fit-for-purpose, the new facility will provide a modern and flexible work environment to cater for our CBD-based workforce and help to better support the community.

It’s planned this new building will unite our CBD-based workforce, which sees more than 600 staff currently located at several separate Council-owned and leased assets. There is $2.5 million in the budget this year to commence design that will ultimately facilitate the construction of the new facility in the coming years.

It's vital we continue to plan for the future and have the necessary infrastructure in place to look after the needs of our residents.

 

Cr Tim McMahon

Cr Tim McMahon
Cr Tim McMahon
Environment & Community Committee portfolio leader

Highlights:

  • Carly Hibbard District Park Upgrade – $570,000
  • Emmerson Park upgrade – $1.32 million
  • Toowoomba Escarpment Parks Upgrade – $1.05 million  

Our parks and gardens are our pride and joy and one of the key reasons why so many people choose to live in and visit the Toowoomba Region.

It’s important for Council to offer a variety or modern parks and open spaces to all our residents, which is why we will be undertaking a number of park upgrades over the coming years.

With the Rockville Park Clubhouse now open, our attention turns to the Kearneys Spring Recreation Clubhouse. This work will be completed over multiple years, replacing the existing facility with a more modern clubhouse that will cater to the large number of sporting groups that use these fields.

Council has allocated $570,000 to upgrading Carly Hibbard District Park to meet the growth in this part of the Region. As part of the upgrade, Council will be constructing an amenities building, play areas, footpaths and landscaping.

Another area being transformed into a district park to meet our growing Centenary Heights community is Emmerson Park. With works already underway, Council will spend a further $1.32 million on the construction of new amenities, fitness equipment, paths and car parking for our community.

Other park upgrades taking place this year include Mount Lofty Park ($264,000), Diosma Road in Highfields ($277,000), Black Gully – Linear Recreation Corridor in Newtown ($104,000) and Captain Cook Recreation Reserve ($91,000).

Two parks earmarked for future upgrades are Lucy Street Park in Cambooya and Clara May Smythe Park in Highfields. This year we will begin community consultation and preliminary design works for these areas.

In addition to these upgrades, Council has set aside $960,000 to replace existing play equipment and shade structures at multiple parks throughout the Region. There will also be $324,000 put towards the renewal of items like park signage, shelters and community barbecues.

As part of our rolling schedule for the replacement of existing buildings, $1.3 million will be spent on the proposed replacements identified for Pioneer Park, Gagen Park, Bowenville Park, Quinalow Sports Reserve, Federation Park (Vale View), Martin Klein Park, Henry Stuart Russell Park and Lions Park (Rangeville).

Works on the Toowoomba Escarpment Parks upgrade will continue this year, with $1.05 million in the budget to complete this project. As the entrance to our beautiful Region, this upgrade provides visitors and residents with modern facilities at different points along the escarpment which has proven to be one of our major tourism attractions.

Along the escarpment, Council will also begin the implementation of its Escarpment Mountain Bike Masterplan, extending its trail network over the next two years, with $3 million included in this year’s budget for the project.

The Toowoomba Regional Sports Precinct, which will be delivered over several years, will continue to progress this year with $3.47 million going towards detailed design, in preparation for the start of construction.

The new precinct will provide a mix of high-quality fields and amenities for a variety of outdoor sporting activities and a district-level recreation park. The design also includes opportunities for the inclusion of future indoor and outdoor courts as well as an athletics facility. The master plan consists of seven stages and is expected to cost $197 million.

Our art galleries and libraries continue to be highly valued by our communities which is why we have included $50,000 in the budget to continue with the development of a permanent collection of high quality, original artworks for the cultural enrichment of our Region. We will also be spending $80,000 on updating our Radio Frequency Identification technology in our libraries.

With so much rain over the past year we also need to be conscious of increased vegetation and fire risk which means it’s important that Council continues to improve its fire management network.

In addition to this, compliance programs, such as the Animal Inspection Program and Food Licensing, will continue as we strive to be a more safe and healthy Region.

In this budget Council will ensure we continue to create safe and inviting spaces to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle.


Cr Geoff McDonald

Deputy Mayor Geoff McDonald
Cr Geoff McDonald
Deputy Mayor - Finance & Business Strategy Committee chair

Highlights:

  • $651 million Budget ($201 million capital and $450 million operational)
  • 4% increase to the general rate
  • Net overall increase of rates and charges 3.81% or about $2.49 a week (after discount) for the average urban residential property  

This is the largest budget that has ever been adopted by Toowoomba Regional Council. The overall budget is $651 million which is made up of $201 million in capital expenditure and $450 million in operational expenditure.

We know it’s a challenging time financially for not only our community, but for all residents throughout Queensland and Australia.

Families are having discussions where they are reassessing their weekly spend and cutting back on non-essential items such as eating out, taking part in recreational activities and going to the movies.

As an organisation, Council is in the same position where we have had to reassess what are the essential services our community relies on and what services and projects we need to either reconsider or delay.

We’re having to respond to the dramatic rising costs of materials, services and supplies. There are estimates which indicate construction costs have risen by more than 30 per cent which has contributed to the national CPI annual increase of 6.8%.

When developing the 2023/24 budget we were mindful of these significant increases and the existing pressures on our residents. Councillors have worked closely with Council’s operational team to ensure our rate increase was lower than inflation.

Getting the balance right is imperative and we believe an increase of 4% to the general rates keeps us well below CPI, while ensuring we are in a position where we can deliver essential services to our community.

This budget is a measured and well thought out plan which will see the average Toowoomba urban residential property with a net overall increase in rates and charges of 3.81%. This works out to an annual increase of $129.23, or $2.49 a week, after discount, which includes all rates and charges, including water and wastewater charges.

While we believe this is a responsible budget from Council, we acknowledge any increase to rates is difficult.

To help our community we will again provide a pensioner rebate on the general rates at $109 for the year, which is an increase of 4% from the previous financial year. The pensioner rebate for the water infrastructure charge is also available at $70 for the year.

Prudent financial management helps ensure we aren’t adding further to the pressures of our residents.

As part of the $201 million capital projects, $23.86 million has been allocated towards new projects, $68.45 million on upgrades and $109.08 million on renewals.

There is no doubt the flood recovery works and the dam safety upgrades pose the biggest challenge Council faces financially over the coming years.

In order to meet dam safety regulation requirements, we will have to spend in the order of $200 million to complete these upgrades which will provide no additional water capacity at our dams. This figure is still only an estimate, with a more accurate figure expected towards the end of 2023.

To put this in perspective, the cost of this project alone is comparable to what we would normally spend on all of our capital projects over a financial year.

While we have, and continue to, make our case known to the State and Federal Governments for this critical funding, the lack of external funding means a number of community focused initiatives and maintenance works will need to be delayed over the coming years to ensure Council remains financially sustainable while delivering the project.

In addition to this, Council is in the middle of upgrading its current water treatment plant and building new water infrastructure throughout the Region which will cost in excess of $100 million over a number of years.

Some of these are projects that only come along once in a lifetime and how we navigate this period will be crucial.

Without State and/or Federal funding, projects such as the Civic Administration Building and Toowoomba Region Sports Precinct will likely be delayed to ensure we are able to fulfil our legislative requirements.

In this budget, Council will continue its pricing path for water infrastructure and consumption fees. This has come following an independent review that identified opportunities to tidy up some inconsistencies in water pricing across our water schemes.

What this means is that the average charge for residents connected to the Bulk Water Supply will rise by 3.4% and those not connected to this system will rise by 8.6%.

After completing a review of our water charges last year, this year Council had an independent review undertaken of the general rates to ensure fairness and equity to all rate payers.

While the feedback indicated we have a sound model in place, it identified areas where tweaks were required to better align with industry benchmarking and best practices.

Rating categories such as our retirement/lifestyle villages and non-strata flats will experience a noticeable rise. Where this has occurred, Council will phase the increase in over multiple years to make the transition more manageable and give our community time to plan for this change.

With this budget we are forecasting an operating surplus of $1.11 million, however, given how unstable the market has been over the past few years, our assumptions will be regularly reviewed.

The years ahead will be a major financial hurdle we need to overcome, and we’re doing everything within our power to ensure our residents aren’t significantly impeded along the way.

For Council to remain financially sustainable we need to maintain a small operating surplus with an upper debt limit of $300 million. With such large projects ahead of us, we need to continue being prudent with our spending.

The 2023-24 budget is the last annual budget to be adopted for this term of Council.

At $651 million, this is the largest budget adopted by Council since its formation in 2008. This budget signals the start of a decade of defining projects that will further position our Region as the best Region in Australia to live, learn, work and play.


Cr Kerry Shine

Cr Kerry Shine
Cr Kerry Shine
Finance & Business Strategy portfolio leader 

Highlights:

  • Cyber security – $200,000
  • ICT Equipment Replacement Program – $1.22 million
  • Pathway UX technology - $200,000

It has never been more important to have well-connected systems and technology in place than it is now so we can respond and provide timely advice to our community.

Residents expect and deserve accurate information at the tip of their fingers and to ensure we’re able to deliver this service to our community we will be rolling out a number of ICT programs in the 2023/24 financial year.

Council has invested in the Digital Enabling Transformation journey. A three year road map has been developed and endorsed to kick off this journey.

This includes a $200,000 investment into the Infor Pathway Enhancements program which will improve our communities interaction with Council through our online services and E-Pathway.

Over the past year we’ve witnessed several instances where well-known organisations have been attacked online through data breaches. We’re aware of this risk and the need to protect our resident’s privacy and as such, we will continue to invest in this space.

Council will continue to bolster its cyber security capabilities in moving to deliver a high level of protection for Council’s information systems and assets. Council has committed $200,000 for this project to deliver cyber security initiatives throughout the organisation.

Small businesses are the backbone of our community and as an organisation, we understand our role in facilitating growth in this industry.

Council is committed to working with our local suppliers. We proudly promote our Procurement Policy, which was enhanced at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and continues to pay dividends. In the 2021/22 financial year Council spent more than $200 million with local suppliers and as at May 2023, $141 million had been spent on local suppliers this financial year.

When you compare this to our local spend of $56 million back in 2012, its clear we are on the right path with the changes we have made since then.

In addition, our 14-day payment terms (from the date of invoice) further highlight the priority we place on keeping jobs and capital circulating in the Toowoomba economy.

Council makes an annual contribution to the Empire Theatre, in addition to the formal Operating Agreement, towards the renewal of audio and staging equipment and installation. This funding will continue in the upcoming financial year with $300,000 helping ensure this facility remains our Region’s cultural hub.

It's important we continue to support the Empire Theatre as it’s a showpiece for our Region that helps stimulate the local economy. An example of this is the January to March quarter this year when the theatre hosted 48 events. From these events, it’s estimated the patrons spent about $3.5 million in the local community, outside of the ticket sales.

Keeping our community well-informed remains at the forefront of our mind. Knowing our Region is almost 13,000 km2 in size, we have a wide range of ways in which we communicate information to our residents. Whether this is through Council’s BOLD magazine, which is distributed to all households throughout the Region, the website, our social media channels, local news outlets and other methods, we’re committed to informing and engaging with our community.

In addition to this, our staff continue to make themselves available at our Customer Service Centres for any questions residents may have. This can be done by visiting one of the offices in person, making a call to our friendly team or by contacting us online. Our staff are here to assist residents with their day-to-day requests.

Council plays a critical role to the growth and life of our community. We take on this responsibility with pride and will continue to do everything we can to preserve and enhance the lifestyle we have throughout the Toowoomba Region.


Cr Carol Taylor

Cr Carol Taylor
Cr Carol Taylor
Infrastructure Committee chair

Highlights:

  • Flood damage restoration is the major focus of the Infrastructure Portfolio for 2023-24
  • $48.6 million committed to capital infrastructure projects across the Toowoomba Region
  • $4.0 million TIDS Project to complete the sealing of the road between Crows Nest and Blackbutt
  • $2.0 million for Kuhls Road, Highfields rehabilitation  

Council will invest in major projects and the continued renewal of our Region’s assets in 2023-24. These essential projects are the key to ensuring our community remains resilient (particularly from wet weather events in recent years) and prospers into the future.

The Toowoomba Region has experienced fires and floods in recent times. These events have placed enormous social, emotional and financial pressure on our community and will continue to do so as we recover from the impacts these events have brought upon us.

Council looks after more than 6,600 kilometres of sealed and unsealed roads, more than 85 roundabouts and over 700 kilometres of footpaths and cycleways. Every time we leave home, we journey along a local road. 

With this in mind, Council has made a commitment to road improvements and safety across the Region, investing $48.6 million on our road and drainage Capital Budget, $13 million on replacing fleet and a continuation of operational spending.

A major focus for the 2023-24 year will be the continual flood recovery effort which involves the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) projects.

$4 million has been allocated to complete the upgrade of the unsealed section of Nukku Road (north of Crows Nest), which links to Blackbutt.

Two timber bridge replacement projects will commence, including the Melrose Road Bridge at Brookstead with $1.9 million allocated this year and $500,000 also allocated to commence the Branchview Road Bridge replacement.

$1.9 million has been allocated to Newman Road between Cashmore Street and Smith’s Creek for rehabilitation works, including a culvert upgrade, and Preston Boundary Road at Preston will receive rehabilitation works of $500,000.

Kleinton School Road at Kleinton will be rehabilitated with $1 million allocated this year.

Many roads are key freight routes in our Region and our investment will create jobs and strengthen the economic growth of our Region’s key agricultural industries, supporting the network as it continues into neighbouring Council areas.

Agriculture is the backbone of the Toowoomba Region and Council is focussed on strengthening our rural communities. These projects are vital to the economic success of our agricultural sector and will enhance productivity for our rural residents and improve overall road safety for all road users.

To further support our agricultural producers, Council is allocating funds for upgrade projects under the Australian Government’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Productivity Program.

This year, $50,000 will be allocated to complete the design and early works for a $2.24 million project to upgrade a section of Oakey-Biddeston Road between Oakey Creek and Oakey Crosshill Road to two lanes to accommodate road trains.

Under the same program, $300,000 will be allocated to complete the design and early works to upgrade the single lane section of Bowenville-Moola Road between Dunns Road and Myall Creek to a two-lane road.

This $2.7 million project in total will improve safety and access for road trains and all traffic in this productive agricultural area.

Council has committed a further $1.5 million for early works to commence on the upgrade of the Highfields, O’Brien and Kratzke Road intersection, recognising traffic flows will continue to increase in Highfields.

A major focus of this year’s infrastructure budget is on safety and trafficability with $2 million allocated to bring a number of Lower Order Roads up to a minimum gravel standard road. Roads such as Oestriech Road at Wellcamp, Volker Road at Mt Rascal, Hoffman Road at Wyreema, Glencoe-Yalangur Rd at Gowrie Little Plain, Back Creek Road at Crows Nest, Rocky Gully Road at Emu Creek, Hirstglen Road at Hirstglen, James Road at Goombungee and Gerald Lane at Greenmount will see either design and/or construction begin in the 2023/24 financial year.

As part of our asset renewal, Council has committed $14.2 million to rehabilitating and resealing the sealed road network, gravel resheeting and renewing asphalt surfaces across the Toowoomba Region.

This significant spend underlines our commitment to maintaining and improving the road network, especially in regional areas. I have advocated for this every year since being elected to Council in 2008.

It’s vital that residents in our Region have a reasonable level of access to the road network, regardless of where they live.

As Infrastructure Services Committee Chair, I acknowledge Infrastructure Services Portfolio Leader, Cr Melissa Taylor and my fellow Councillors.

I wish to acknowledge the valued work of the entire organisation, with special thanks to Infrastructure Services Group General Manager, Mike Brady, managers and Council’s entire ISG team.

These are particularly challenging times for Council and our staff teams. While there is much work to be done, rest assured we stand beside our communities.

We look forward to delivering our infrastructure budget, supporting local businesses and growing our Region.

 

Cr Melissa Taylor

Cr Melissa Taylor
Cr Melissa Taylor
Infrastructure Committee portfolio leader


Highlights:

  • $1.5 million committed to renewing, upgrading, constructing and designing footpaths including in our regional towns
  • Planning and designing of active transport projects in Toowoomba, Oakey and Highfields
  • Upgrading bus stops to meet Queensland Government disability compliance

Our Region is vibrant and dynamic and continues to flourish and grow despite the economic and social challenges that have continued in 2023.

As Toowoomba further bridges the divide between being a big country town and regional city, it’s vital Council delivers infrastructure that will keep pace with the growth of our Region as it moves towards a new era.

Investing in key infrastructure and assets now, means we can plan for future growth and sustain the lifestyle and culture we hold so dear for generations to come.

As the Region grows, we have a responsibility to facilitate safer, more reliable and user-friendly public and active transport. Council continues to explore active transport options that help reduce car trips in and around the city centre.

Footpaths are the foundation of any active transport network and ensuring residents are able to move easily throughout the Region will be an ongoing focus for Council.

This year we’ll invest significantly into constructing and planning for new footpaths as well as maintenance through our Footpath Renewal Program. These programs aim to upgrade footpaths across the Region to current standards to improve connectivity and maintain functionality. Many of these paths are in regional towns right across the Region.

This financial year we will deliver new footpaths in Millmerran (Campbell and William Street), Yarraman (Margaret and Toomey Street), Kingsthorpe (Gowrie Street), Clifton (Clark Street), Westbrook (Barwicks Street) and Toowoomba (Greenwattle Street, Albert Street and Prince Henry Drive). This is in addition to $700,000 for renewing footpaths across the Region.

Design work also will be undertaken for future footpaths in Millmerran, Wyreema and Toowoomba.

Promoting more frequent use of active transport has numerous health, social, economic and environmental benefits. Council will invest in cycleway projects in Toowoomba, as well as undertake planning and design projects for active transport in Toowoomba, Oakey and Highfields.

These include the design of the Highfields cycleway project from the new Library along O’Brien Road, across Klein Creek and along Barracks Road to the Highfields Sports Park.

Toowoomba cycleway projects include: The design and construction of the West Creek Cycleway, from Pierce to Alderley Streets, to be completed in 2023-24 and the design for the section of West Creek Cycleway from the James Street underpass to South Street. Design will continue for the East Creek Cycleway from Margaret to James Street along the East Creek corridor and design will start for the Baker Street Cycleway (University of Southern Queensland ring road – Luck Street) connecting to the existing cycleway facilities on Baker Street (from West Street to the UniSQ ring road).

We will continue an options analysis and concept design for a cycleway link from the Glenvale area (connecting to the Department of Transport and Main Roads’ Karrool Street cycleway) to the city centre, which is currently underway.

Work will also continue on the development of Walking Network Plans for the Toowoomba city centre, Oakey town centre and Highfields town centre.

Public transport users will benefit from a $300,000 allocation to upgrade TransLink bus stops to meet Queensland Government disability compliance requirements.

While major infrastructure projects are critical for our Region, I’m pleased to see a concerted effort in this Budget towards maintaining and upgrading our road networks in our regional areas.

This is something our Infrastructure Committee Chair Councillor Carol Taylor has advocated for over many years and I’m happy to join her on this journey.

I would like to acknowledge Cr Carol Taylor and all my fellow Councillors with special thanks to Infrastructure Services Group General Manager, Mike Brady and his team.

Residents choose to live in the Toowoomba Region for its unparalleled lifestyle. It’s vital Council meets the needs of the community and provides residents with essential services and facilities so ours remains a liveable, modern and attractive Region for visitors and residents alike.

In this Budget we’ve carefully balanced the needs of all the areas throughout the Toowoomba Region, as we strive to make it an even better place for our community.

 

Cr Megan O'Hara Sullivan

Cr Megan O'Hara Sullivan
Cr Megan O'Hara Sullivan
Planning & Development Committee chair

Highlights:

  • Informed planning: Under our Toowoomba Region Futures banner, the new Planning Scheme will review policy settings to ensure they remain contemporary and positively guide future development and draft the Toowoomba Region Infrastructure Plan (TRIP) to efficiently provide for sustainable urban infrastructure to support our growing Region.
  • Protecting vegetation as part of new Planning Scheme: Council is committed to providing stronger environmental protection under the new Planning Scheme.
  • Housing supply and housing choice: In addition to reviewing housing policy settings in drafting the new Planning Scheme, Council will consider measures to stimulate housing choice and supply in existing urban areas, particularly in the shorter term. 

Council is continuing with a multi-year project, Toowoomba Region Futures, to create a shared vision for how our Region will develop in the next 30 years.

The liveability of our city and regional communities will always be Council’s key priority, in line with our vision of being a vibrant, inclusive and liveable Region. There are significant opportunities for the Region, especially through recently delivered and planned investment in major infrastructure.

Our Region is also facing many challenges including managing growth, affordable housing, urban infrastructure, and climate change. Toowoomba Region Futures will provide the roadmap to navigate change and realise opportunities, ensuring that new development and private investment makes a positive contribution to our future.

Our six priorities for planning our Region’s future are responding to changing climate, green Region, transport choice, housing choice, healthy communities, and economic growth and diversity.

It is important that our housing is in a form that meets the needs of our local people, in a location with easy access to jobs and services, and is affordable.

Housing supply and housing choice: In addition to reviewing housing policy settings in drafting the new Planning Scheme, Council will consider measures to stimulate housing choice and supply in existing urban areas, particularly in the shorter term. As well as reviewing the zoning for future greenfield areas, the new planning scheme will identify diversity targets and completely overhaul the medium density residential code to ensure future unit projects are fit for purpose, appropriately located, and financially viable to build. While Council is not a home builder or developer, we can advocate and work with relevant housing providers to address the shortfall in housing stock, especially for affordable and social housing.

Promoting more liveable communities through the new Planning Scheme: Council’s key outcomes include:

  • Protecting vegetation as part of the new Planning Scheme: Council is committed to providing stronger environmental protection under the new Planning Scheme. The background studies and mapping undertaken in 2022 will be transformed into Overlay mapping and incorporated into Planning Scheme codes (especially a Vegetation Overlay Code and the Reconfiguration of a Lot Code). Reflecting the community’s highest values, environmental protection will be based around a network of corridors, habitats, waterways and tracts of significant vegetation and biodiversity.

Our planning strategies will provide clear planning policies and direction for residents and the development industry. The key outcomes from our ongoing Toowoomba Region Futures project include:

Growth Planning: Last financial year Council completed its Toowoomba Region Growth Plan.  The Growth Plan anticipates the Toowoomba Region will accommodate an additional 66,000 people in the next 30 years.  This financial year, the Infrastructure Plan for the extension of the networks to support this growth will be planned and costed (water, wastewater, roads, parks and stormwater), including standards of service.

New Planning Scheme:  Council is committed to preparing a new Planning Scheme that is contemporary and positively guides change that will occur in the Region over the coming decade. A more informed Planning Scheme helps Council streamline approval processes, especially when contemplating the location of future residential development, services and jobs. One of our objectives is to include more detailed policies in the new scheme to offer clearer and more consistent information for users of the Toowoomba Region Planning Scheme.

Council will continue to develop other key strategic projects that influence and contribute to our liveability. These include:

Protecting cultural heritage: Council recognises the importance of our unique cultural heritage, both First Nations and European heritage. Two comprehensive studies are underway where the unique properties of historic or culturally significant places are recorded, photographed and registered. Council has a strong commitment to protecting our important cultural heritage places for future generations.

Regional Architecture and Heritage Branch:

Numerous projects concerning our built environment and how we use best practice design elements to provide better and more sustainable outcomes will be delivered under our Toowoomba Region Design brand. This covers projects such as:

  • Warm Temperate Climate Building Design Guidelines: The Toowoomba Region’s climate is changing, and climate responsive building design is essential to the liveability of our Region for our growing community. We will look to increase advocacy in relation to good building design and explore future guidelines to keep our Region’s growing communities informed.  
  • City Centre Master Plan (CCMP): Successful recruitment to the growing design team will support ongoing development of an essential piece of policy used to drive the liveability of Toowoomba City. The positive contribution of the CCMP to the Toowoomba CBD growth over the past 10 years has seen significant revitalisation and economic investment. A review of the plan and implementation strategy for the next 10 years will help establish an agenda for CBD investment into the future.   

Inter-Council Collaboration: We will continue to build networks between neighbouring Councils to offer assistance and services relevant to building certification. Total Range Certification, Council’s Private Certification Business Unit, currently has agreements with three neighbouring councils to provide building certification services. These growing relationships build and maintain strong support networks across South West Queensland.

Requests for Design Specialists continue to grow: Requests for involvement from the built environment design specialists, within the Regional Architecture and Heritage branch, continue to grow within the organisation as the team and Council seek to promote design excellence in architecture and urban design, heritage conservation and landscape architecture, with both internal and external stakeholders.

The Heritage Advisory Committee (HAC): The committee will meet several times in the lead-up to the local government elections in the first half of 2024. The members will continue to offer advice and information to Council in relation to heritage issues.

Refining internal referral processes

We will further refine internal processes to help the various areas of Council that are involved in the assessment of development applications balance competing priorities, while ensuring compliance with statutory timeframes under the Planning Act 2016.

Cr Bill Cahill

Cr Bill Cahill
Cr Bill Cahill
Planning & Development portfolio leader

Highlights:

  • Recognising, planning for our rural towns: By creating structure plans for each rural township, which will form part of the new Planning Scheme. The structure plans will articulate the preferred direction for land use, built form and public spaces, so the unique attributes of each town can be celebrated.
  • Urban Form Guidelines: This project will define the vision and principles for the Toowoomba Region’s urban form.
  • Incentive policies on offer: Council will continue to offer various economic development incentive policies, particularly for the Toowoomba CBD and the Railway Parklands Priority Development Area. Council has various residential assistance measures implemented to support the housing supply pipeline and offer greater housing choice.
  • Delivery Model for Central Highfields Structure Plan: Council will adopt a development model for Central Highfields to help guide investment in our major suburban growth area.
  • Climate Risk Management Strategy: The Climate Risk Management Strategy is a recommended output of Phase 1 of the Queensland Climate Resilient Council’s Climate Risk Management Framework, which Toowoomba Regional Council is following. 

We’re continuing with our extensive work under the Toowoomba Region Futures banner to build a community vision for our Region’s growth and development over the next 30 years.

Council in the coming year will update the Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP) – Interim Amendment. The interim amendment will ensure that our plans for trunk infrastructure remain current and in line with anticipated growth in coming years.

It will ensure that we continue to provide for efficient and cost-effective urban infrastructure. At the same time, we will be comprehensively updating our urban infrastructure plans in line with projected growth as part of the Toowoomba Region Infrastructure Plan (TRIP).  

This recognises its important role in ensuring our Region remains an attractive lifestyle destination and that the infrastructure required to service growth is both affordable and facilitates economic development.

The TRIP will include a 10-15-year plan to service our growing communities with essential infrastructure.  This means:

  • Creating great places to live and ensuring a high quality of life for our residents,
  • Delivering a well-connected transport and road network,
  • Supporting community life and recreation,
  • Keeping water flowing from our taps, and
  • Keeping our city clean and sustainable, and protecting our waterways.

The TRIP is part of the Planning Scheme that incorporates development infrastructure to cater for our growing community in a way that is sustainable and affordable.

Planning for infrastructure is a key part of the land use planning system across Queensland as it identifies the infrastructure required to service growth in an efficient and orderly manner. This offers certainty to communities on the future of our Region.

We know our Region will continue to grow and our planning is a sensible and vital step that enables Council to understand the cost of servicing growth.

For the development industry, it provides transparency around Council’s provision of trunk infrastructure and allows Council to impose conditions relating to necessary trunk infrastructure on development approvals. Charges collected for infrastructure will help cover the cost of servicing new growth areas.

This is an equitable way of planning and charging for new infrastructure that services our growth areas. The TRIP is the critical ingredient for responsibly delivering urban development in accordance with the Toowoomba Region Planning Scheme.

Without properly coordinated infrastructure roll-out we cannot have ongoing urban development.

Promoting more liveable communities through the new Planning Scheme: Council’s key outcomes include:

  • Recognising and planning for our rural towns: By creating unique structure plans capturing the identity and character for each rural township, which will form part of the new Planning Scheme. The structure plans will articulate the preferred direction for land use, built form and public spaces, so the distinctive attributes of each town can be celebrated. The structure plan can communicate how population and economic growth can be managed, and how best to meet the economic, social and environmental objectives of each town.

Regional Architecture and Heritage Branch:

Numerous projects concerning our built environment and how we use best practice design elements to provide better and more sustainable outcomes will be delivered under our Toowoomba Region Design brand. This covers projects such as:

  • Urban Form Guidelines: This project will define the vision and principles for the Toowoomba Region’s urban form – translating the detailed research from the Toowoomba Region Urban Form Framework into the new Planning Scheme – informing the urban form Planning Scheme provisions. The project will also produce a guideline document to help stakeholders understand the core urban form principles relevant to the built environment across our Region.

Council will continue to develop other key economic development projects that influence and contribute to our liveability. These include:

  • Encourage regional business stimulation and assist in the recovery of small business and regional towns: The Community Economic Development Grant program is aimed at building the capacity of regional groups. Council is supportive of Chambers of Commerce, Progress Associations and other not-for-profit groups that deliver economic benefits to their communities. We will continue to assist our small business community through delivery of training to target their specific recovery needs.
  • Incentive policies across the Region: Council is continuing the Temporary Incentives Policy to target substantial investment and stimulate CBD projects aligned with the City Centre Master Plan and Railway Parklands Priority Development Area (PDA). The Temporary Economic Development Incentives for District Townships provides support and encourages investment to enhance and maintain our vibrant regional districts. The Industrial Development Incentive encourages the creation of new industrial lots and/or industrial development construction. The Medium Density Residential Incentive encourages the creation of new residential unit development. A temporary local planning instrument streamlines development in emerging community land.
  • Delivery Model for Central Highfields Structure Plan: Council will adopt a development model for Central Highfields to help guide investment in our major suburban growth area. The plan will guide investment and development of Council’s land to deliver the community’s vision of a vibrant, central heart with a mix of uses, including public space, commercial, retail and residential areas.
  • Climate Risk Management Strategy: The Climate Risk Management Strategy is a recommended output of Phase 1 of the Queensland Climate Resilient Council’s Climate Risk Management Framework, which Toowoomba Regional Council is following. The Strategy will articulate a commitment or intent to improve the management of Council's climate risks for the benefit of the Region, and lay out the ‘next step’ actions for Council. Work underway includes a qualitative assessment of impacts to Council’s services, including compounding and cascading impacts, and the local causes of those impacts.
  • Economic Development Strategy Review: Council established a strategy to guide economic development within the Toowoomba Region in May 2018, Bold Ambitions 2038. In 2023-24, Council will review and refresh that strategy to ensure that it remains current and responds to new and emerging opportunities, including those created by the Toowoomba Bypass, the new Toowoomba Hospital and the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics.

 

Cr Rebecca Vonhoff

Cr Rebecca Vonhoff
Cr Rebecca Vonhoff
Water & Waste Committee chair

Highlights

  • $20 million to start construction of safety upgrades at Cressbrook Dam to ensure compliance with State Government requirements
  • $10.3 million committed to the continuation of the Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant Upgrade
  • $8 million for the continued replacement of the Perseverance raw water trunk main
  • $8 million for the continued roll out of Smart Water Meters across the Region
  • $5 million allocated for new trunk water mains in the Highfields and Meringandan areas to cater for future growth

Water is the Toowoomba Region’s most precious resource. In Council’s 2023-24 Budget, almost $87.2 million has been committed to water and wastewater capital projects.

We’ve focused on the importance of asset management, future growth, and renewing ageing infrastructure that delivers an urban water supply to tens of thousands of residents every day.

A key investment this financial year is $20 million to start works on the Cressbrook Dam Spillway Safety Upgrades. The upgrade will widen the spillways and ensure compliance with State Government legislation to meet current standards to ensure flood resilience and safety into the future. The upgrade project is by far the largest capital project for the Toowoomba Region in recent memory and will likely cost in the order of $200 million once complete.

A further $10.3 million is set aside this financial year for the continued upgrade of the Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant which will extend the life of the current Mt Kynoch plant by more than 10 years.

The works include duplication on the inlet works, a new Powdered Activated Carbon tank, two new filters and an Ultra Violet Light disinfection system that will provide an additional treatment barrier. The upgrades will also complement the work that will start to plan for a future treatment plant for the Toowoomba Region to cater for expected growth.

An investment of $8 million has been set aside this year for the further roll-out of Smart Water Meters across the Region. Smart Water Meters is a key project in ensuring water resilience into the future.

The Smart Meters can detect leaks in real time, which helps to prevent water escaping our network, saving residents money and preserving our precious water. This commitment is a win-win for residents and Council.

The growth of the Highfields and Meringandan areas will be serviced with the installation of a new trunk water main at various locations, including Cawdor Road and Kratzke Road at a cost of $5 million.

Safety and bushfire resilience on the escarpment is catered for in this Budget with a $500,000 commitment to Mt Lofty and Picnic Point pressure zones to improve fire fighting capability on that part of The Range.
Upgrades to the Gowrie Creek Trunk Sewer to allow for growth and increased flows will occur this year with a 1.8-kilometre section of pipe to be replaced with higher capacity infrastructure at a cost of $4 million.

The Emmanulla Drive Reservoir at Kingsthorpe will be upgraded to meet growth and service standards with a $1.2 million investment, including an $847,5000 contribution under the State Government’s Building Our Regions program.

Water resilience and security will continue to be a major focus for Council in coming years with some of the largest capital projects to occur in this area of the Budget.

I thank Cr Sommerfield for her knowledge and passion in the portfolio and those staff who have shown their service and dedication to our community, inclusion and leadership.

 

Cr Nancy Sommerfield

Cr Nancy Sommerfield
Cr Nancy Sommerfield
Water & Waste portfolio leader

Highlights:

  • $5.6 million invested in capital projects for Waste
  • $4.5 million committed for the continued upgrade of the Southern Region Waste Management Facility

Waste management is one of Council’s core essential services, playing a huge role in our community, public health, and environmental outcomes.

We all generate waste and as our population continues to grow so does the volume of waste our Region produces, increasing the costs of operating landfills and presenting more challenges in identifying long term, sustainable waste solutions to minimise negative impacts on our environment.

As we move towards a bigger and better Toowoomba Region, we need to find new opportunities for innovative ways to use our resources, reduce landfill and optimise service levels for our community members.

It’s crucial we find the right balance between delivering new, essential waste infrastructure while managing the costs of ongoing maintenance and replacement of existing assets.

In this Budget Council has placed a significant focus on waste infrastructure, investing $5.6 million in waste capital projects.

We’ll invest $4.5 million for the continuation of the first stage of the Southern Region Waste Management Facility. Ultimately, the project will greatly enhance the operations and better serve the Greenmount community, while providing new opportunities to maximise diversion from landfill.

A major focus of the waste Budget this year will include the rehabilitation of the closed landfill at Crows Nest to meet EA licence conditions with $100,000 set aside for the initial stages of the work. Council will also spend $334,000 at various Waste Management Facilities across the Region on improving hardstand areas.

This financial year, Council will continue to reap the benefits from the landfill gas utilisation project at the Toowoomba Waste Management Centre landfill at Cranley to generate power for the Wetalla Wastewater Treatment Plant.

This is a progressive and exciting project which is using landfill gas to generate energy to offset about 60% of the power consumption at Wetalla, as well as generate electricity to power the state’s electricity grid.

Landfills are considerable emitters of greenhouse gas and this type of re-use project will help to significantly reduce the emissions and provide a return to Council by reducing costs associated with operating Wetalla.

The project will deliver income through royalty payments to Council from the sale of electricity and carbon abatement programs. We estimate the site will produce around 600mᵌ of gas per hour, which is sufficient to run a 1MW generator.

$280,000 has also been committed to install a weighbridge at the Pittsworth Waste Management Facility to comply with Queensland Government regulations associated with the State’s waste levy.

I want to thank and acknowledge my fellow portfolio Councillor Rebecca Vonhoff as well as the staff involved in the very important Waste Services portfolio, a core function of Council. 

 

Budget FAQs

Toowoomba Regional Council has undertaken an external review of its general rates structure.

The review benchmarked the Toowoomba Region with other local government areas in Queensland.

The review considered various land uses that generate different levels of demand on local government services and infrastructure.

Council resolved at its Ordinary Meeting of 18 April 2023 to implement the recommended changes to Council’s rating categories as a result of the review. Council also resolved to take a phased approach to most of these changes over a number of financial years from 1 July 2023.

Council intends to write to residents where the overall impact has been significant.

This is the first general rating review undertaken by Toowoomba Regional Council and the recommendations adopted by Council are aimed towards enhancing equity and fairness across the Toowoomba Region.

The review benchmarked the Toowoomba Region with other local government areas in Queensland and determined that while Council’s rating structure was generally sound, some land uses across the Region should be categorised more equitably.

The changes come into effect from 1 July 2023 (with the changes noticeable on the August rate notice), however, the increases are staged over a number of financial years to make the transition more manageable for the higher impacted categories.

The new categories ensure that a number of land uses, including large retail, resources and energy, high-intensity rural, non-strata flats and lifestyle villages, are categorised in a manner that better reflects the impact that certain land uses place on Council’s network.

We also reviewed residential non-strata flats (i.e.. duplexes and blocks of flats which have more than one residence on a property that is held under the same ownership).

New rating categories will be implemented, providing a more equitable outcome regarding the additional demand generated on Council services and infrastructure by these properties, to ensure those properties make a fair contribution to general rates collected.

All changes to residential non-strata flats will be phased in over three financial years to make the transition more manageable for those who have been impacted.

Council continues to work with any ratepayer facing difficulties in paying their rates and has a dedicated team available to assist on a case-by-case basis. Please contact 131 872 to speak with someone from our team.