Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) Finance and Business Strategy Committee has flagged continuing financial support for the Jondaryan Woolshed in the wake of Council’s latest Budget Review.

The 2020/21 February Budget Review will be considered for adoption at Tuesday’s April Ordinary Meeting of Council (April 20).

TRC Deputy Mayor and Finance and Business Strategy Committee chair Cr Geoff McDonald said Council had been meeting with the Jondaryan Woolshed Board since the March Council meeting to plan the heritage-listed facility’s future operations.

“The extra funding provided will allow us to undertake a detailed building and safety assessment to inform us of the necessary costs to bring the facility to a safe and operational standard,” Cr McDonald said.

“This is an important step for the future success of the Jondaryan Woolshed.

“While the facility is currently closed for general admission, we’ve worked with the Board to make sure private functions can continue to take place and that the variety of volunteer organisations have access to their restricted area to continue their fine work.

“Council thanks the Jondaryan Woolshed Board for its ongoing contributions to the Woolshed and appreciates all of the work that the Board and volunteers undertake to provide that active link between the past and the present.

“The Jondaryan Woolshed Board is made up of a group of industry professionals who are dedicated to the success of the Woolshed. Without their support, and the ongoing support of our volunteers, we simply wouldn’t be able to have a functioning facility.

“The Queensland Audit Office provided their interim report at the Finance and Business Strategy Committee meeting and it is clear to see from this report that there are no outstanding audit issues for the Jondaryan Woolshed. This result validates Council’s ongoing confidence in the Woolshed Board.

“We will continue to work with the Board, the Woolshed’s volunteers and other stakeholders with a clear focus on the future of this Heritage Listed attraction.”

Jondaryan Woolshed’s Board Director and liaison to the volunteers Anthony McWatters said the Board welcomed the funding commitment from Council and changes to operations for private functions and volunteers.

“From recent meetings it’s clear that all stakeholders of the Woolshed want to see the facility returned to its former glory, open and welcoming to the community, our guests and visitors to the Region. Ultimately, our volunteers want to be hosting heritage festivals and special events that honour the legacy of our pastoral and farming pioneers on the Downs,” Mr McWatters said.

“It’s pleasing that we’re making progress towards these ambitions and that volunteer organisations will again have access to their respective areas to continue the outstanding work they do at the Woolshed.

“The Woolshed Board acknowledges the sterling efforts of Woolshed General Manager Emma Otto, her staff and all the volunteers who have kept the facility operating over the past year. Their efforts deserve our praise.”

Cr McDonald said Council was on track to record an operating surplus for the 2020/21 financial year.

“Our February Budget Review clearly indicates that Council remains in a financially sustainable position, in line with the parameters in our Long Term Financial Sustainability Plan,” Cr McDonald said.

“To help our community in the initial stages of last year’s COVID-19 lockdown, we included a $50 million Pandemic Response Investment Program as part of this year’s Budget, with the remainder of the program set to continue into the 2021/22 financial year to make sure the benefits can be stretched as far as possible.

“As part of this response we’ve ensured local suppliers are engaged wherever possible.

“To date, 90% of the Program that has been delivered has been done by local suppliers.”