Toowoomba Regional Council today (June 16) adopted its 2021-22 Budget, Operational Plan and Revenue Statement.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said Council’s $551 million financial plan would maintain and upgrade existing services and facilities while planning for a brighter future for current and successive generations.

“The Budget reflects the priorities outlined in the Operational Plan (for the 2021-22 financial year) and Council’s Corporate Plan (2019-2024),” Mayor Antonio said.

“Council remains committed to implementing a responsible and calculated financial approach in its Budget planning and delivery.

“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.

“I am positive that today’s program will build on our earlier economic stimulus packages that were designed last year to complement state and federal government economic relief measures in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Fortunately, Council’s solid financial footing has allowed us to develop a $187.1 million capital program along with an operating Budget component of $364 million.

“A capital allocation of $91.8 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 $5.4 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, $66.7 million is set aside for upgrade projects, while $28.6 million has been allocated for new capital projects across the region.

“Council’s overall operational and capital expenditure parameters are based on our long-term (10 year) Financial Sustainability Plan (LTFSP), which is not only adopted by Council, but overseen by the Department of Local Government, the Queensland Treasury Corporation and Queensland Audit Office.

“The LTFSP 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.

“The LTFSP is continually revised to track Council’s financial progress as well as being used to undertake scenario analysis for annual Budget developments, Budget reviews, capital works programming and operational service delivery assessments.

“Council will deliver the balance of the projects under our dedicated $50 million Pandemic Response Investment program, valued at $17.7 million.

“We are scheduling future projects to ensure our local workforce can bid for and deliver these works. Council designed this program of work to complement, not compete with, other private projects.

“Council has spent $19 million, or 90% of total expenditure to date, with local suppliers on the Pandemic Response Investment program.

“Last year’s move to enhance our Procurement Policy in order to offer local firms the best chance to do business with us continues to pay dividends.

“We are committed to working with our local suppliers. In the current financial year to May 2021, Council has spent $137 million with local suppliers. This equates to 51% of our total expenditure, with additional payments to be made in June.”

For full details of the 2021-22 Budget, please visit www.tr.qld.gov.au/budget 

2021-22 Budget highlights

• A $551 million Budget
• A 2.5% increase to the general rate (net overall increase in rates and charges of 2.76% for an urban residential property. The majority of urban residential ratepayers will have an increase of $91.43 a year, or $1.76 a week, after discount, which includes all rates and charges, including water and wastewater charges.)
• Operational (service delivery) expenditure of $364 million
• A capital (infrastructure) program of $187.1 million

In the coming year, the major areas of capital expenditure will include:
• $82.69 million for roads, bridges, footpaths, bikeways and drainage projects
• $38.52 million for water projects
• $16.31 million for wastewater projects
• $6.19 million for waste services
• $17.22 million for parks and recreation projects
• $22.14 million for community services and facilities; library and cultural services and property services
• $ 4.03 million for business strategy and operations

Infrastructure
• $29.9 million committed to renewing infrastructure across the Toowoomba Region
• $3.3 million invested in the Dalby-Nungil Road upgrade
• $2.5 million to continue the Russell Street Urban Renewal Project
• $1.76 million committed to renewing, upgrading and constructing footpaths as part of the Region Wide Footpath Renewal Program
• $1.2 million invested in continuing the CBD Smart Parking Project
• $400,000 in seed funding allocated to planning and development of the Region’s Principal Cycle Network.

Water and Waste
• $6.5 million continued investment in the Perseverance Raw Water Main Renewal
• $4.8 million committed to the Highfields trunk water mains project
• $4.8 million allocated to the next stage of the Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant upgrade
• $1.1 million for the Crows Nest Wastewater Treatment Plant
• $3.5 million committed to upgrade the Yarraman Waste Management Facility
• $1.5 million for Stage 2 of the Toowoomba Waste Management Centre (TWMC) vertical expansion.

Environment and Community Services
• $3.8 million for the Toowoomba RSL Soldiers’ Memorial Hall Upgrade
• $1.9 million for the Rockville Park Clubhouse amenities replacement
• $3.65 million for pool upgrades at Millmerran, Yarraman and Oakey
• $756,000 for the Community Grants Program: for two community grant rounds in the year
• $2.4 million for the Final Stage of the Queens Park Master Plan Upgrade
• $8.79 million to complete the new Highfields Library
• Upgrades for Carla Crescent Park in Westbrook ($250,000), Lions Park in Hodgson Vale ($305,000) and Pioneer Park in Goombungee ($729,000).

2021-22 General Rate increase
2.5 %

Historical General Rate decisions

Year           Decision
2020-21     2.5%
2019-20     2.5%
2018-19     3.0%
2017-18     3.0%
2016-17     3.0 %
2015-16     3.0 %
2014-15     4.06 %
2013-14     4.5 %
2012-13     4.95 %
2011-12     4.38 %
2010-11     8.45 %

Financial position

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

• Going into the 2021-22 financial year, Council is budgeting for an operating surplus of $783, 168

Caption: Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio (centre) with TRC Deputy Mayor and Finance and Business Strategy Committee chair Cr Geoff McDonald (left) and Finance and Business Strategy portfolio leader Cr Kerry Shine after the adoption of today’s 2021-22 Toowoomba Region Budget.