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Additional funding for trainees and apprentices, a reduction in Council’s Workcover premium and financial savings from not having to pump water from Wivenhoe Dam are highlights from Toowoomba Regional Council’s March Budget Review.
Deputy Mayor and Finance and Business Strategy Committee Chair Cr Geoff McDonald said Council had identified a number of cost-saving measures through the budget review process.
“Each budget review and adoption requires a review of the long-term financial sustainability plan,” Cr McDonald said.
“We’ve worked hard on saving money wherever possible and an example of this is the reduction in Council’s Workcover premium of $475,000 which reflects Council’s safety first culture.
“In addition to this, we’ve seen a $456,000 increase in revenue from the sale of recyclable materials due to greater than expected volume received.”
With the amended 2021/22 Annual Budget adopted at a Special Meeting of Council on 23 March Cr McDonald said the reduction of the Financial Assistance Grants highlighted why the Federal and State governments needed to make the pie bigger for local government. “Our Region faces added pressures as more people wish to move here. With inflation rising, we’ll need to counter more financial volatility as we deliver services for our growing Region,” Cr McDonald said. “This financial year we see a decrease of $743,000 from the Financial Assistance Grants program and this reduction will increase over the next three years to approximately $8 million.
“Thankfully, with our dams full we won’t have the pumping and electricity costs associated with the Wivenhoe pipeline.
“This provides Council with a $1.4 million saving for the remainder of this financial year, and this will be further reflected in next year’s budget and the long-term financial sustainability plan.
“It’s incredibly important to identify savings wherever possible so we are well-positioned for the impact of additional capital projects, such as dam safety upgrades, in the coming years.
“Taking all of this into account, our Budget review is a responsible approach to volatile times.”