Thursday, May 30, 2024

Toowoomba council adopts largest ever budget

Toowoomba Regional Council has today adopted its largest ever annual budget.

Mayor, Paul Antonio said Council’s $651 million 2023/2024 financial plan would maintain and upgrade existing services and facilities while planning for a brighter future for current and successive generations.

“The Budget, which is the largest adopted by Council, reflects the priorities outlined in the Operational Plan (for the 2023-24 financial year) and Council’s Corporate Plan (2019-2024, which is being updated),” Mayor Antonio said.

He 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 $201 million capital program along with an operating Budget component of $450 million.”

Mayor Antonio said a capital allocation of $109.08 million for asset renewal in the Budget emphasises Council’s strong focus on investing in infrastructure renewal programs across the region’s extensive water, wastewater and road networks, plus other community assets.

“Council has a legal and moral obligation to maintain its existing infrastructure and our ability to manage our $5.6 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,” he said.

In addition, $68.45 million has been set aside for upgrade projects, while $23.86 million is allocated for new capital projects.

“Inflationary conditions that continue to influence national and global economies are a reminder of the need for cautious and considered financial planning,” said Mayor Antonio.

“Just as families and businesses are keeping close tabs on their spending and finances generally, we at Council face similar challenges across all our operations.

“Council is balancing funding reductions from the state and federal governments, rising material costs, external and internal labour shortages while community expectations keep rising.

“Despite many external demands, Council continues to work 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 into the future.

“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.”

Going into the 2023-24 financial year, the Council is forecasting an operating surplus of $1.1 million.

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