Investing in our Regionâ€™s Future BUDGET 2011/12
Investing in our Region’s Future...
Our Challenge The region is still emerging from the global financial crisis and continues to feel the effects of the recent flood events with increasing construction costs expected to continue for the next 12 months. The region’s development industry has suffered significantly with data indicating that employment has reduced by 7,463 or 54% of fulltime employees in the period from November 2008 whilst the tourism sector has also suffered on the Fraser Coast. A recent study revealed unemployment within the region is about 8%. The same study showed that, on average, households within the region earn a lower income than the state average and more than 50% of the population lives on less than $400 per week. The downturn in the tourism and development industries, floods and natural disasters early in 2011, significantly impacted on the local economy and Council’s budget. The 2011/12 Budget has been developed in a difficult economic cycle for the region, however this makes it imperative for Council to continue creative initiatives to grow and invest in the regions future. This is why the budget makes “investing in our region’s prosperity” a priority. Council will continue the commitment to maximise the region’s prosperity by building the infrastructure required now for the future and promoting the region as an attractive region to invest and do business. This infrastructure investment is paramount to attract, support and encourage major development within the region bringing with it employment opportunities for our youth.
Our Opportunity Council is working hard to find creative solutions to assist the region through this tough time. The development of Fraser Coast Opportunities gives the region a strong voice on a state and national level and will bring much needed business and investment to the area. Council is one of the largest employers and business consumers on the Fraser Coast and this budget will inject $111 million into the economy supporting local business and industry. Council has reduced its operational expenses by $10.27 million since 2008 and will incur an operating deficit of $3.6 million in 2011/12 to shield ratepayers from significant cost increases and revenue shortfalls. To provide essential services that the community expect and rely on, rates have increased in line with the cost of providing these services whilst ensuring that Council is fiscally responsible and provides an environment conducive to business recovery.
...to sustain economic growth and our lifestyle
Our Commitment Our focus in this budget is to invest in the future prosperity of our region. A key focus will be on attracting and maintaining sustainable growth within the region by supporting local business, creating an environment conducive to business and industry development and encouraging partnerships, business networks and alliances. We will ensure that services and infrastructure meet business and community needs and work smarter to develop more efficient and streamlined processes. Council is working to develop initiatives to raise the awareness of the Fraser Coast as a desirable place in which to live, work and visit. We
will focus on the following key strategies to make this happen: • Building community infrastructure • Promoting our vibrant community • Developing economic prosperity • Protecting our unique natural environment • Ensuring fiscal responsibility
The Budget has been developed in a difficult economic cycle for the region, however this makes it imperative for Council to continue creative initiatives to grow and invest in the region’s future. “Investing in our region’s prosperity” is a priority. We need to build the infrastructure required for the future now and promote the region as an attractive region to invest and do business.
Investing in infrastructure...
Our Challenge Council is focused on ensuring the sustainable management and replacement of its existing $1.2 billion infrastructure base. As with all Local Governments, Council is facing challenges in ensuring sufficient funds are available for the renewal and replacement of existing infrastructure while meeting the demand for new services. The significant reduction and availability of State subsidies has heavily impacted on Council’s ability to provide essential infrastructure and has resulted in the necessity for Council to increase borrowings to fund the gap from the removal of these subsidies. The prolonged contraction in development activity has resulted in a significant reduction in funding for the provision of trunk infrastructure. Council will continue to face the challenges of dealing with the combined effects of population growth, demand for infrastructure and services while dealing with the effects of climate change on coastal communities.
Our Opportunity Whilst the region’s economy has slowed, it provides an opportunity for Council and the industry to take stock and prepare for its future growth. Council is committing to spend $40.46 million on infrastructure in 2011/12 with the majority of the funds (50% or $20.21 million) being spent on the region’s 2,600 km road network. An additional $2.85m will be spent on the region’s drainage network. This continued investment in the region’s $1.2 billion asset base will not only benefit the existing community but will prepare the Fraser Coast to meet the challenges and demands of the future population and employment growth.
Our Commitment Council’s $40.46 million spend on infrastructure will create jobs, provide new facilities, upgrade key business areas and provide a stable platform to sustain the continued growth of the region. Road infrastructure - $20.21 million will be spent on the region’s 2,600 km road network on works such as road construction and resurfacing, kerb and channelling, footpaths, bikeways and rural road upgrades.
This $20.21 million investment includes: • $4.53 million to be spent on resurfacing and gravel resheeting; • $4.20 million on trunk road infrastructure; • $2.69 million for road upgrades and construction works; • $2.54 million for rural roads; • $1.04 million on kerb and channelling; • $0.98 million on footpath and bikeway improvements; and • $0.55 million on public transport and carparks.
...to stimulate economic opportunity
Rural roads will benefit with $2.54 million allocated for upgrades including: • $893,688 for rural road rehabilitation; • $100,000 for Castles Road; • $421,800 for Chapel Road; • $670,000 for Craignish Road to Karraschs Road; • $200,000 for Old Coach Road; • $100,000 for Crawford Road; • $80,000 for Karraschs Road; and • $80,000 for Walkers Point Road. In addition, $725,000 has been committed to gravel road resheeting, resurfacing and sealing. Drainage and flood mitigation - $2.85 million has been allocated to continue Council’s commitment to improving drainage in the region. Airports - $1.06 million will be spent on the region’s airports to provide further opportunities to increase the number of visitors to the region, including $900,000 for runway overlays.
Council’s $40.46 million spend on infrastructure will create jobs, provide new facilities and upgrade key business areas and provide a stable platform to sustain the continued growth of the region. This continued investment in the regions $1.2 billion asset base will not only mutually benefit the existing community but will prepare the Fraser Coast to meet the challenges and demands of the future population and employment growth.
Promoting our vibrant community...
Our Challenge Council encourages tourism that sustains and enhances the geographical character of the region by developing and improving it in ways that are distinctive, reflective of its natural and cultural heritage, to encourage market differentiation and cultural pride.
Our Opportunity The Fraser Coast is a desirable place to live and play. Council is committed to encouraging and facilitating healthy lifestyle opportunities by fostering connectivity between people, community groups, facilities and services. To celebrate community, creativity and a sense of belonging, Council is committed to staging a range of community events throughout the region and supporting community groups to stage events.
Our Commitment To achieve this, Council has allocated $362,000 to operate the regionâ€™s Visitor Information Centres in Maryborough, Hervey Bay and the Airport as well as supporting the Tiaro Visitor Information Centre. A further $670,000 has been allocated for Tourism and Marketing initiatives to actively promote the image and liveability of the region to residents, visitors and investors. Satisfied and excited visitors are ambassadors for the region, thus providing continuing demand for the destination while encouraging the local community to experience its own regional attractions.
Celebrating Community Pride Council will allocate $704,000 to support and stage its iconic regional events that celebrate community pride, creativity and a sense of belonging. These events include the Worldâ€™s Greatest Pub Fest, Mary Poppins Festival, Hervey Bay Whale Festival and the RACQ Technology Challenge Maryborough. These events are critical in promoting the Fraser Coast region as a desirable place to live and visit whilst encouraging and facilitating healthy lifestyle opportunities and involving the community by fostering connectivity between people, community groups, facilities and services.
...and celebrating our community pride
Supporting Community Groups Community organisations are fundamental to the social well-being of a community. Council has allocated $575,000 in community sponsorship and assistance to encourage a community that is participative, empowered and selfsustaining, through a supportive network. This includes ensuring our beaches are safe by providing the Hervey Bay Surf Lifesaving Club with $13,000 to carry out patrols over summer. Also gaining support are the Teebar Rodeo, Fraser Coast Cultural Festival, Hervey Bay Seafood Festival, Fraser Coast Show, Queensland Eisteddfod, Messiah production and Whistle Stop Tour. Council has allocated $257,553 towards concessions for community and sporting groups which can apply for a 100% concession on general rates and up to 50% concession on sewerage and water rates.
Creating Community Spaces Council will spend $8.04 million on new parks and recreational facilities, which includes $5.5 million to complete the $6.5 million redevelopment of the Maryborough Aquatic Centre. The allocation also includes $1.5 million for park and recreational equipment and public amenities that will provide the community with a diverse range of active and passive recreational and sporting facilities Projects range from $100,000 for lighting on the Hervey Bay Esplanade, $636,000 for park furniture and play equipment and $519,000 for public amenities. At the same time $473,000 will be spent on landscaping and upgrades. A further $334,000 has been allocated for improvements and upgrades to facilities at the Maryborough Showground and Equestrian Park.
Promoting Cultural Diversity and Learning Providing a diverse range of cultural experiences that promote community inclusiveness, participation and enjoyment is a priority for Council with $313,000 allocated to the Regional Art Gallery in Hervey Bay, $214,000 for the Heritage Gateway and $208,000 for cultural services. To enhance the regionâ€™s accessibility to cultural arts performance and entertainment, $516,000 has been allocated to the operations of the Brolga Theatre. Providing accessibility to information and fostering a learning environment for the entire community is a core service provision of our libraries. Council has allocated $2.15 million for our regional library service. Our libraries offer a community space for social connectiveness and provide relaxed and pleasurable facilities to communicate and interact.
Community events are critical in promoting the Fraser Coast region as a desirable place to live and visit whilst encouraging and facilitating healthy lifestyle opportunities and involving the community by fostering connectivity between people, community groups, facilities and services. Providing accessibility to information and fostering a learning environment, our libraries offer a community space for social connectiveness and provide a relaxed and pleasurable facility to communicate and interact.
Supporting Economic Prosperity...
Our Challenge The downturn in the tourism and development industries, floods and natural disasters early in 2011 have significantly impacted on the local economy with unemployment rates fluctuating to as high as 8%.
Our Opportunity The development of Fraser Coast Opportunities is one way Council will show its commitment to diversify the region’s economy and make it more resilient to future shocks. Council will work with external organisations and key industry bodies to find co-ordinated strategies to improve employment opportunities in the region.
Our Commitment Council has allocated $481,000 to economic development to foster a supportive business environment that encourages the development of business and investment. Cultivating a diverse regional industry base that supports an enterprising and innovative business culture is fundamental for our region’s economic prosperity.
Encouraging New Business Council is actively encouraging new businesses and industries to make the Fraser Coast region their home. Council will ensure that the necessary infrastructure and services exist to cater for new business and industry into the future. • Tourism - Tourism Fraser Coast will receive $255,000 for tourism promotion activities. •
Economic Development and Enterprise Collaboration (EDEC) – Council will contribute $25,000 to this collaborative research initiative which will be spent on research to guide economic diversification and investment decisions.
• Regional Economic Development Fund - $200,000 has been allocated to continue work in business attraction and regional economic development projects.
Creating and Protecting Jobs and businesses Council will continue to support local business and contractors for the provision of services. In 2010/11, 80 – 90% of Council’s discretionary operational and capital budget was spent locally supporting over 1,196 local suppliers. In addition, Council spends $42 million employing over 500 staff locally.
Home Based Business and Medical Centre Initiatives To support and encourage small home based business, domestic water, sewerage and waste charges have been reduced.
...and encouraging business investment and expansion
To build a better region, Council has lowered infrastructure charges and other costs for medical centres setting up in existing business zones and for home-based practitioners. These initiatives, coupled with the development of a new 110-bed $100 million St Stephens Private Hospital and other medical centres, will attract specialists and para-medical practitioners to the region. People considering setting up a home-based business have also been given a boost through the reduction of fees by 28 percent. Council has lowered fees charged to process an impact assessable home-based application from $2,632 to $1,883. Council has also changed the way it calculated fees for transport infrastructure contributions for home-based businesses resulting in a 59% reduction in contributions. Council also supports a State Government initiative that will drop infrastructure charges paid by people setting up a home-based business to zero from July 1. As part of Councilâ€™s support of the tourism industry, fees for outdoor dining have been lowered. The chair charge for foreshore dining establishments has been lowered by $13 to $51. As well as this, changes have been made to ensure that all bed and breakfast operators in the region are rated equitably. Motel waste charges have been reduced and Council will now charge one standard waste charge per two units. These changes recognise the contribution that these small businesses make to our region.
Cultivating a diverse regional industry base that supports an enterprising and innovative business culture is fundamental for our regionâ€™s economic prosperity.
The Fraser Coastâ€™s perfect location, idyllic lifestyle and progressive approach to attracting and encouraging business, creates exciting opportunities for investment, innovation and industry.
Protecting our natural environment...
Our Challenge The Fraser Coast is world renowned for its natural attributes which are enjoyed and appreciated by residents and visitors. Council recognises the challenges of sustainable modern living particularly achieving a balance between the needs of the economy, society and the environment without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Our Opportunity Council commits to encouraging this balance, ensuring a more sustainable future for the region where social well-being is supported by a vibrant and diverse economy and sustained by a safe and healthy environment. Council has a mandate to incorporate sustainability into all of its operations as a â€œway of doing businessâ€?.
Our Commitment Council has committed $500,000 for the implementation of recommendations from the Shoreline Erosion Management Plan that will identify significant coastal erosion issues, develop and evaluate options for erosion protection and management, and facilitate community input on coastal erosion issues. A further $325,000 has been allocated for foreshore restoration works and $158,000 for environmental initiatives with $172,000 allocated to coastal jetties, boat ramps, boardwalks and piers. The Environment Levy will secure $1.2 million for Council to enhance biodiversity including habitat, bushland, greenspace, waterways, catchments and coastal ecosystems. It will also help promote resilience to the growing impacts of climate change by preserving and protecting the natural and physical environment and promoting sustainability. Our environment and quality of life will also benefit from the $63,000 allocated to the Councilâ€™s Climate Change and Sustainability Program. A key goal will be to promote community awareness of sustainable, energy efficient solutions for house and lifestyle choices. Council has also implemented a Conservation Areas Rates Rebate Scheme to encourage responsible landowners who are responding to the growing impacts of climate change by preserving, restoring and protecting the natural environment. Landowners who have entered into a voluntary conservation agreement or nature refuge agreement may qualify for this rebate.
...supporting our future with a sustainable lifestyle
Council will continue to support the Community Environment Program (CEP) which provides opportunities for residents to actively participate in the ‘on-ground’ maintenance and management activities of bushland and open spaces, as well as environmental awareness programs including events and education.
Council is committed to preserving the Fraser Coast’s unique natural environment and to promoting and implementing sustainable business practices.
Council recognises and commits to ensuring a balance between sustainable modern living, the needs of the economy, society and the environment and will: • Provide a clear commitment of Council’s intent to achieve a sustainable community within the Fraser Coast and to exercise community leadership on sustainable development; • Provide guidance on key decisions that impact on the sustainability of the region; and • Exercise leadership by incorporating sustainability policies, strategies and practices into Council’s own operations and decision making processes.
Council recognises the challenges of sustainable modern living particularly achieving a balance between the needs of the economy, society and the environment without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Our Sustainable Fraser Coast Charter will continue to be implemented educating, motivating and supporting the community, business and industry partners in establishing, implementing and achieving sustainability for the betterment of the region.
Ensuring a sustainable water supply...
Over the years, Fraser Coast communities have invested more than $586 million in water and wastewater assets to provide high quality water services. It is essential that we operate and maintain these assets so that they can service the community long into the future. Without proper asset management and maintenance now the community will only end up paying even more later. The costs of operating and maintaining the water and wastewater assets of the Fraser Coast have increased significantly. Sewerage sludge and waste disposal along with mechanical and electrical maintenance have increased by 42%, while chemicals have increased 6%.
...through innovative re-use strategies
WBWC is currently undertaking a large capital expenditure program which includes the following significant projects:
Hervey Bay • $4 million for the construction of the Community Solar Farm and the Hervey Bay Hospital solar project with all funding provided by the State Government.
Hervey Bay water • • • • •
$2.9 million over the next two years for the design and construction of a fishway on the Burrum River. $800,000 for construction of a new main across the Burrum River to serve Burrum Heads. $500,000 for improvements to the Howard and Burgowan water treatment plants to improve operational performance. $1 million to reduce inflow from illegal connections and improvements to existing network infrastructure. $3.6 million for reticulation improvements in Hervey Bay, Toogoom and Burrum Heads.
Maryborough water • $1.2 million to complete automation of the Teddington water treatment plant, to ensure water supply quality, and lower future operational costs. • $7.3 million to improve water reticulation throughout Maryborough with the Federal Government funding 50% of this work.
Hervey Bay wastewater • • •
$10 million to increase treatment capacity at Pulgul Wastewater Treatment Plant over the next three years. This investment will allow the catchments served to grow by a further 10,600 new dwellings, coping with the predicted population growth for the area through to 2031. $2.4 million investment over the next two years in effluent re-use schemes to safely and environmentally dispose of the increased waste streams generated by population growth, while at the same time creating a revenue stream for the community. $2 million investment in new trunk sewers and renewing our existing sewers to ensure levels of service are maintained.
Maryborough wastewater • • •
$5.75 million upgrade of Aubinville wastewater treatment plant over the next two years to improve existing facilities, performance, effluent quality, and to cope with growth with a full upgrade being planned within the next few years. $4.5 million investment over the next two years in effluent re-use schemes to safely and environmentally dispose of the increased waste streams generated by population growth and wastewater treatment plant upgrades, while at the same time creating a revenue stream for the community, ie. selling timber for power poles. $2.5million to improve the reticulation network in Maryborough and prevent overflows to the Mary River.
The Fraser Coast has invested more than $586 million in water and waste water assets to provide high quality water services.
Our Challenge This budget has been developed to provide essential services and infrastructure for the community, however rising costs over the next 12 – 18 months will continue to impact on the financial capacity of Council. This coupled with the prolonged contraction in the development industry has resulted in a significant reduction in funding for the provision of key infrastructure. In addition, the significant reduction in State subsidies has impacted on Council’s ability to provide essential infrastructure and has resulted in the necessity for Council to increase borrowings to fund the gap from the removal of these subsidies. The costs of operating and maintaining the water and wastewater assets of the Fraser Coast have increased significantly. Sewerage sludge and waste disposal along with mechanical and electrical maintenance have increased by 42%, while chemicals have increased 6%. Another significant contributing factor to increases in water costs is the building of large-scale, long-term infrastructure for water and wastewater services; most recently this includes the Nikenbah Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Burgowan raw water main. The provision of infrastructure adds significant interest and depreciation costs which are apportioned over the life of the facility.
Our Opportunity The budget delivers a modest increase in general rate revenue of 5.40% (which is below the Local Government Associations of Queensland’s expected increases of 7%). This aims to build on the strong foundation for developing the region’s future long-term financial sustainability. Council will also continue where possible to provide business to local companies and contractors to carry out work.
Our Commitment Because Council is aware of the rising cost pressures faced by the community, it is ensuring that the budget delivers a modest rate increase. Operational Savings - Council has identified $2.7 million in savings during the budget process. Since amalgamation Council has reduced its operational expenses by $10.27 million and will incur an operating deficit of $3.6 million in 2011/12 to shield ratepayers from significant cost increases and revenue shortfalls. While savings have been made, Council will maintain service levels to ratepayers and continue to improve operations and operate more efficiently.
Doing More with Less Council will incur an operating deficit this year which will require Council to identify new innovative service delivery models and drive operating efficiencies to reduce costs and to return the budget to surplus in 2013/14. Council is investigating ways to work smarter and more efficiently and is focussing on the priority projects for the region.
...through innovative and strong leadership
Assisting the household budget Council recognises the continuing financial challenges that rising prices, rising interest rates and the economic climate are having on household budgets. To assist household budgets, Council has introduced a new payment and discount structure.
Council Rates and Charges Council will issue its rates notices annually (ie General Rates, Waste Charges, Environmental Levy and Fire Levy) and will offer: • • •
Annual Upfront 10% Discount - a 10% discount on total rates if they are paid within 45 days of the notice being issued; Two Instalments 5% Discount - a 5% discount on total rates if paid in two instalments ie: first payment within 45 days of rates notice issue and second payment within 225 days. Four Instalments - ratepayers will be able to pay their rates in four instalments without incurring penalty interest.
To minimise the impact on pensioners, Council will provide $1.7 million in concessions to the region’s 11,000 pensioners with all pensioners (both single and married) eligible for a $150 concession. This concession is in addition to the State Government Pension Concession, for which pensioners can also apply.
Wide Bay Water – Water and Sewerage Charges Wide Bay Water will issue three water and sewerage notices per annum (ie Water Access, Sewerage Access and Water Consumption) and will offer: • Three Water & Sewerage Notices 7.5% Discount - a 7.5% on all water and sewerage rates if they are paid within 30 days of the notice being issued. These changes in payment options and discounts will provide flexibility for household budgets to spread the rate burden over a twelve month period rather than requiring a 100% upfront payment to receive discounts.
Equitable rate and fee increases The budget delivers a modest increase in general rate revenue while aiming to build on the strong foundation for developing the region’s longterm financial sustainability. Total after • • • • •
rates and charges have increased by an average of $2.75 per week discounts across the region including: General rates will rise by an average of $56 (5.4%); Waste charges have increased by $15 (5.2%); Water access charges have risen by $32 (8.5%); Sewerage access charges have risen by an average of $42 (7.4%); Water usage charges have risen by 6 cents per 1000 litres (4.4%).
The budget delivers a modest increase in general rate revenue of 5.40% (which is below the Local Government Associations of Queensland’s expected increases of 7%) while aiming to build on the strong foundation for developing the region’s future long-term financial sustainability.
Leading the way for the region’s future...
Fraser Coast Opportunities establishes a strong collective marketing umbrella for “Doing business on the Fraser Coast”. It works to promote our unique, enviable lifestyle and the region’s extensive business, employment and learning opportunities. Fraser Coast Opportunities is a collaborative partnership between the Fraser Coast Regional Council, Urban Development Institute of Australia (Fraser Coast); Chambers of Commerce and the Economic Development and Enterprise Collaboration Unit of the University of Southern Queensland. Our objectives are to: • Demonstrate strong leadership with an outcome focused framework to advocate and facilitate in a collaborative manner; and • Develop closer partnerships, build stronger stakeholder engagement and collaboration with industry partners, government and the community to deliver key economic outcomes for the region Council in partnership with industry groups will lead the way by fostering an environment that retains and supports existing businesses while expanding economic opportunity and ensuring that the region is a desirable place in which to live and invest. Council will be proactive in marketing the region’s competitive advantages, and will encourage the development and retention of local businesses.
...through strong, collaborative partnerships
Major Developments for the region include: • • • • • • •
110 bed $100 million St Stephens Hospital Redevelopment; 21,000 m2 $76 million Stockland Shopping Centre Redevelopment; 20,000 m2 Station Square Shopping Centre Expansion; 254 unit residential and resort complex on Boat Harbour in Urangan; 250 unit Holiday Resort by Wyndham Group; Eight Storey Office and Commercial Complex – 6,410m2 of office space; Gilligans Backpacker Resort on the Esplanade -136 suite accommodation units (500 beds) 6 storeys.
“You don’t have to be in a suburb of Brisbane to lead an expanding business. We can service 54 outlets across Queensland and the Pacific from the Fraser Coast. With highspeed internet, direct flights to Sydney and Brisbane, it is easy to contact or meet with suppliers and clients; and at the end of the day I live only seven minutes from work and I can look at the ocean every day.”
Community Infrastructure Projects in progress include: DAVID SMITH, DIRECTOR AUSTCART PTY LTD
• • • • •
$5.0 $6.2 $5.6 $0.4 $4.0
million million million million million
Community Centre; Maryborough Aquatic Centre; Stage 1 Fraser Coast Cultural Centre; Tiaro Medical Centre; Stage 3 & 4 Airport Industrial Estate.
MASTER FRANCHISEE CARTRIDGE WORLD QUEENSLAND
“The Fraser Coast region is expected to experience continued population growth over the next 20 years. This growth will inevitably lead to escalating demands for professionals in health, management, engineering, manufacturing, construction, trades and other industries, which, in turn, will require concentrated efforts on the development of human capital. USQ Fraser Coast, working with all sectors of this community, will be a key player in meeting the needs of this region.” PROFESSOR KEN STOTT PROVOST USQ FRASER COAST
For more information Hereâ€™s how to contact us: Write: Office of Chief Executive Officer Fraser Coast Regional Council PO Box 1943, Hervey Bay Qld 4655 Web: www.frasercoast.qld.gov.au Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 1300 79 49 29 Fax: (07) 4197 4455