2020/21 Paroo Shire Council budget released
Mayor Suzette Beresford's Message
The 2020/2021 Paroo Shire Council budget has been prepared to deliver a range of works, services and projects that implement the ideals outlined in our new Mission Statement. We have taken note of the community input received when visiting the towns of Yowah, Eulo and Wyandra during the past year. Unfortunately we were unable to meet with the Noorama community due to the commencement of the COVID-19 restrictions. These are now starting to ease and Council should be able to resume holding some of their monthly meetings outside of Cunnamulla in the near future.
In setting the budget the Council has endeavoured to maintain a level of services that will meet the needs of the community and in doing this has kept the rate increase to 1.8% which is below the current CPI index. We will continue to offer a discount of 10% for prompt payment of rates and encourage anyone experiencing difficulty meeting their rate payment to contact the Council and discuss payment plans available under our Financial Hardship Policy. A concession on rates for pensioners will also continue to be available.
The coming twelve months will see Council enter into one of its busiest years for projects and works. Completion of the $9m State Government funded project to upgrade the Cunnamulla sewer reticulation system and replace the sewerage treatment plant will occur. Construction will commence on the $6.3m new Civic and Community Enterprise Centre and this project is scheduled to be completed within the 2020/2021 financial year. We have also received advice of further grant funding to continue expanding digital connectivity throughout the Shire which will be of great benefit to the rural businesses.
On the tourism front, work has commenced on obtaining a design for the Hot Springs & Riverwalk Project to take to the community for consultation and input. This project when completed will be a world class facility for visitors and locals alike to use and enjoy. In the meantime promotional work and planning is being undertaken by the tourism office to help our local economy recover from the effects of the coronavirus restrictions.
In addition to the yearly road maintenance programme, the budget contains allocations for the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme of $1.95m, Roads to Recovery funding of $1m and flood damage re-instatement funding of $2.23m for road damage incurred during 2019. Council has submitted details to QRA of the road damage sustained in February this year and it is estimated this work when approved could total approximately $15m. We will also be carrying out an upgrade to the rest area on the Balonne Highway and this work will be 50% subsidised by TMR.
This budget shows the results of extensive work carried out during the past twelve months by Council staff to achieve the financial ratio measures indicated and place the organisation in a more sustainable position, something the Council had prioritised. The newly elected Council of Deputy Mayor Rick Brain, Cr. Joann Woodcroft, Cr. Patricia Jordan, Cr. James Clark and myself as Mayor look forward to a productive and progressive twelve months for the Shire through delivery of this budget.