Toowoomba Regional Council today (June 13) adopted its 2022-23 Budget, Operational Plan and Revenue Statement.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said Council’s $519 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 2022-23 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.

“Fortunately, Council’s solid financial footing has allowed us to develop a $159 million capital program along with an operating Budget component of $360 million.

“A capital allocation of $69.49 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 $5.5 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, $66.53 million is set aside for upgrade projects, while $23.26 million has been allocated for new capital projects across the Region.

“Despite the uncertain global financial outlook, Council has managed to continue working 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 long into the future.

“Our combined efforts have maintained the focus on delivering for our community. We understand how health restrictions, disruptions from natural disasters, plus rising cost pressures across all sectors are affecting business activity and investment, not to mention family household budgets.

“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 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.

“We are committed to working with our local suppliers. In the current financial year to May 2022, Council has spent $177 million with local suppliers. This equates to 64% of our total expenditure, with additional payments to be made in June.”

For full details of the 2022-23 Budget, please visit www.tr.qld.gov.au/budget

2022-23 Budget highlights

• A $519 million Budget
• A 2.5% increase to the general rate (net overall increase in rates and charges of 2.35% for an urban residential property. The majority of urban residential ratepayers will have an increase of $81.28 a year, or $1.56 a week, after discount, which includes all rates and charges, including water and wastewater charges.)
• Operational (service delivery) expenditure of $360 million
• A capital (infrastructure) program of $159 million

In the coming year, the major areas of capital expenditure will include:
• $50.73 million for roads, bridges, footpaths, bikeways, drainage and aerodrome projects
• $46.66 million for water projects
• $6.28 million for wastewater projects
• $11.7 million for waste services
• $14.41 million for parks and recreation projects
• $11.4 million for community services and facilities
$2.3 million for Information, Communication and Technology

Infrastructure
• Flood damage restoration will be the major focus of the Infrastructure Services Group
• $50.73 million for capital infrastructure projects across the Region
• $2 million to upgrade unsealed Nuuku Road at Crows Nest (link to Blackbutt)
• $1.25 million blackspot project to upgrade Margaret and Mackenzie Street intersection
• $2.3 million to renew, upgrade and construct footpaths and bus stops, including in many regional towns
• $1 million to continue the CBD Smart Parking Project
• $590,000 to upgrade elements of the Region’s cycleway network

Water and Waste
• $21.5 million for the next stage of the Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant Upgrade
• $8 million to start safety upgrades at Cressbrook and Cooby Dams for flood resilience
• $3.5 million for new trunk water mains in the Highfields and Meringandan areas to cater for future growth
• $1.5 million for the design and construction of Clifton Wastewater Treatment Plant
• $11.7 million invested in capital projects for Waste
• $3 million to upgrade the Greenmount Waste Management Facility
• $2.5 million for the design of a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to further the Region’s sustainability goals

Environment and Community Services
• $3.17 million for Rockville Park Clubhouse amenities replacement
• $5.81 million for Millmerran pool upgrade
• $865,000 for Oakey Showgrounds pavilion and toilets replacement
• $1.713 million for Emmerson Park upgrades in Centenary Heights
• $1.567 million for Toowoomba Escarpment Parks Upgrade
• $1.315 million for completion of the new Highfields Library

2022-23 General Rate increase
2.5 %

Historical General Rate decisions

Year            Decision
2021-22      2.5%
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 2022-23 financial year, Council is forecasting an operating deficit of $5.8 million.

Captions: (top) TRC Deputy Mayor and Finance and Business Strategy Committee chair Cr Geoff McDonald (left), Finance and Business Strategy portfolio leader Cr Kerry Shine and Council’s General Manager of Finance and Business Strategy Ann-Marie Johnston following the 2022-23 Budget adoption.

(Below) Cr Geoff McDonald (left), Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio and Cr Kerry Shine outline Council’s financial plan for the coming year.

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