Rich Traditions, Bold Ambitions is the catchcry of this region and we have continued to seize opportunities as they have arisen during the 2016/17 financial year.
We are maturing as a region and our community is becoming one of the major support beams of the Queensland economy. Our role as a regional city, agricultural hub, knowledge and research centre, and freight and logistics hub provides enormous strengths and competitive advantages.
As one of the most diverse economies in Australia, Toowoomba’s Gross Regional Product is estimated at $9.58 billion and represents 3.1% of Queensland’s Gross State Product (GSP). We are in the midst of a rapid growth phase and, with a population edging above 164,000 and 14,982 local businesses, our future looks bright.
As one of Australia’s most family friendly cities, we know that the quality of life on offer here is second to none and this is what really matters to our residents. This year we have invested funds into roads, essential infrastructure, parks management and water and waste management. We have increased engagement with our diverse communities and worked hard to deliver services that meet community expectations.
The long-awaited delivery of the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing is within our grasp and we have invested significantly this year into building roads that provide direct connectivity between Toowoomba City and this major infrastructure project. We have also honoured one of our Rich Traditions, investing $8.36 million into the redevelopment of one of our magnificent heritage buildings, the Toowoomba City Hall.
At a time when funding from higher levels of government is increasingly difficult to obtain, we have improved efficiencies and developed ways to deliver ongoing value for money for our residents. Specifically, through a rigorous budget process, we achieved an average 3.24% rates and charges increase, while maintaining current service delivery and funding a range of important new services and initiatives.
Through careful management we have delivered a net operating surplus for the third year running. Our financial position is sound and we believe we have delivered the right balance between opportunity and stability; investment and affordability; and risk and responsibility.
We have delivered outstanding results for ratepayers and the broader community in 2016/17. Our Annual Report provides a comprehensive summary of our achievements and accounts for our performance over the past year.
Stakeholder Engagement and Communication
- 2017 Silver Reporting Award, awarded by Australasian Reporting Awards, for effective communication of financial and business information in the 2015/16 Annual Report.
2017 Silver Reporting Award
People and Organisational Development
- Outstanding achievement - Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year.
- Large Employer of the Year Runner Up, awarded by Queensland Training Awards 2017.
- State finalist - Category eight: Best rehabilitation and return to work management system, awarded by Queensland Safe Work and Return to Work.
- Large Employer of the Year (for training) - for the South West Queensland region, awarded by Queensland Training Awards 2017.
Large Employer of the Year (for training)
- Best People Strategy and Culture Award, awarded by Contact Centre Excellence Awards.
- Manager/Leader - Regional Winner, awarded by Australian Leadership Excellence Awards.
- State Award - Customer Contact Manager, awarded by Auscontact Association.
- State Award - Customer Contact Professional, awarded by Auscontact Association.
- State Award - Operations Champion, awarded by awarded by Auscontact Association.
Winner of 5 Customer Service awards
Parks and Recreation Services
- Award for Excellence in Leisure and/or Open Space Planning, awarded by Qld Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA).
- Award for Leisure and/or Open Space Planning, awarded by Qld Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) for the Oakey Creek Linear Corridor Master Plan.
- Award for Public Engagement and Community Planning, awarded by Qld Planning Industry Australia (PIA) for the Clifton Township Open Space Concept Master Plan.
Award for Excellence in Leisure and/or Open Space Planning
Community Development and Facilities awards
Excellence in public messaging and education, awarded by Royal Life Saving Society of Australia National Aquatic Industry for community water safety campaigns including the Downs Little Lifeguards program.
Jonas Leisure Facility of the Year Award, awarded by Australian Leisure Facilities Association Queensland for commitment to consistency and excellence in all facets of the business.
Australia’s No.3 Function Coordinator, awarded by ABIA (Australian Bridal Industry Academy).
Gold award - Major festivals and events category, awarded by Queensland Tourism Awards.
Best national major festival or event, awarded by 2016 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.
Carnival Of Flowers - winner of multiple awards
- Winner of Excellence in Public Works - Projects over $10 million, awarded by Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA), for the Toowoomba City Library & Civic Square Project.
- Regional Commendation, awarded by 2017 Darling Downs/West Moreton Regional Architecture Awards - Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). This was won by Council’s consultants/ contractor) James Cubitt Architects and Peddle Thorp in association with Elia Architecture for the Toowoomba City Library.
- Queensland Winner, awarded by 2017 Regional Projects, for the Toowoomba Region Flood Recovery Program (2011-2016).
- Major Award – Project of the Year, awarded by Downs/West Region – Master Builders Queensland. This was won by Council’s consultants and contractor J Hutchinson P/L T/A Hutchinson Builders for the Toowoomba City Library.
- Australian Engineering Excellence Award High Commendation for Project Management, awarded by Engineers Australia, for the Building a Resilient Community - Toowoomba Regional Council Flood Recovery Program.
Toowoomba City Library & Civic Square Project - winner of Excellence in Public Works - Projects over $10 million
Strategic Planning and Economic Development
- Excellence in Urban Design Commendation, awarded by Deputy Premier's Award for Urban Design, for Kwong Sang Walk.
- Commendation for Excellence in Design 2017, awarded by Deputy Premiers Award for Urban Design, for Kwong Sang Walk.
- Award for Planning Excellence 2016 - From Plan to Place, awarded by Planning Institute of Australia, for Kwong Sang Walk.
Kwong Sang Walk - winner of multiple awards
- Innovation Award - 2017 Australian Landfill and Transfer Stations Innovation and Excellence Awards. The awards recognise the best that landfills and transfer stations have to offer, with the aim of applauding sites that are exceptional and encouraging best practice in operations. Council won this Australia wide award for innovation in the operation of its Greater Toowoomba Waste Management Facility.
Innovation Award - 2017 Australian Landfill and Transfer Stations Innovation and Excellence Awards
- Individual award - Qld Young Water Operator of the Year, awarded by Qld Water Awards.
- Best tasting water, awarded by Water of Origin. A two litre sample was provided to be judged in a taste test for recognition of Queensland's best tasting water.
Qld Young Water Operator of the Year