Aerial view of Toowoomba

Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) estimated capital budget for the 2023/24 financial year has decreased by about $10 million, largely due to the timing associated with a number of water projects.

At a Special Meeting of Council held on 27 February, Finance and Business Strategy General Manager Ann-Marie Johnston said contractor works as part of the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements had also come in below the original forecast.

“The total repair works for the 2022 Flood Recovery Program is expected to be about $250 million with assistance provided through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA),” she said.

“To see any reduction in the estimated cost is a great outcome for our community.

“As part of the budget review process, Council is also expecting to receive an additional $3.5 million due to an increase in interest revenue received.

“While this news is positive, we know we’re operating in a challenging market with fluctuating prices and this has a significant impact on our budget.

“We continue to see the price of materials and services, and other expenses increasing.

“As a result of this, additional funding will be required for the operating expenses associated with waste and water operations as well as many other services provided by Council.

“We’ve also had to account for the additional funding required for business continuity, risk management and insurance.

“There has also been an adjustment of capital projects such as the Toowoomba to Warwick pipeline, the Highfields Trunk Water Mains and the Cressbrook Dam Safety Improvement Project, which is largely due to the timing of payments, with the projects all still progressing as planned.

“It’s crucial we continue to be prudent with our spending, however, we know we need to continue planning for the growth of our Region which is why we have increased funding for the continuation of the Toowoomba Region Futures Program, as well as the Central Highfields Divestment Strategy.”

With changes approved at the meeting earlier today, Council is now anticipating a $1,323,241 surplus this financial year.

Toowoomba Regional Council will continue to focus on meeting the State and Federal Government sustainability ratios to ensure Council is well-positioned to deliver products and services for the community.